Boustrophedon

Boustrophedon /ˌbuːstrəˈfiːdən/ (Ancient Greek: βουστροφηδόν, boustrophēdón "ox-turning" from βοῦς, bous, "ox", στροφή, strophē, "turn" and the adverbial suffix -δόν, "like, in the manner of"; that is, turning like oxen in ploughing)[1][2] is a type of bi-directional text, mostly seen in ancient manuscripts and other inscriptions.[3] Every other line of writing is flipped or reversed, with reversed letters. Rather than going left-to-right as in modern European languages, or right-to-left as in Arabic and Hebrew, alternate lines in boustrophedon must be read in opposite directions. Also, the individual characters are reversed, or mirrored. It was a common way of writing in stone in Ancient Greece.[4]

Crete - law of Gortyn - boustrophedon
Ancient Greek boustrophedon inscription, Gortyn code, Crete, 5th century BC
Forum inscription
The Forum inscription (one of the oldest known Latin inscriptions) is written boustrophedon, albeit irregularly: reading from top to bottom, lines 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16 run from right to left; lines 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, and 15, from left to right; 8, 9, and 16 are upside down. (From a rubbing by Domenico Comparetti.)

Explanation

Boustrophedon
An example, in English, of the style of Boustrophedon as written in ancient manuscripts in Greece (lines 2 and 4 read right–to–left)

Many ancient scripts, such as Safaitic and Sabaean, were frequently or typically written boustrophedonically, but in Greek it is found most commonly in archaic inscriptions, becoming less and less popular throughout the Hellenistic period.

By analogy, the term may be used in other areas to describe this kind of alternation of motion or writing. For example, it is occasionally used to describe the print head motion of certain dot matrix printers. In that case, while the print head moves in opposite directions on alternate lines, the printed text is usually not in boustrophedon format.[5]

The Hungarian folklorist Gyula Sebestyén (1864–1946) writes that ancient boustrophedon writing resembles how the Hungarian rovás-sticks of Old Hungarian writing were made by shepherds. The notcher holds the wooden stick in his left hand, cutting the letters with his right hand from right to left. When the first side is complete, he flips the stick over vertically and starts to notch the opposite side in the same manner. When unfolded horizontally (as in the case of the stone-cut boustrophedon inscriptions), the final result is writing which starts from right to left, and continues from left to right in the next row, with letters turned upside down. Sebestyén states that the ancient boustrophedon writings were copied from such wooden sticks with cut letters, applied for epigraphic inscriptions (not recognizing the real meaning of the original wooden type).[6]

Reverse boustrophedon

Reverse boustrophedon
Schematic of reverse boustrophedon text, in the fashion of rongorongo, but using the Latin alphabet

The wooden boards and other incised artifacts of Rapa Nui also bear a boustrophedonic script called Rongorongo, which remains undeciphered. In Rongorongo, the text in alternate lines was rotated 180 degrees rather than mirrored; this is termed reverse boustrophedon.

Example of Hieroglyphic Luwian

The Luwian language had a hieroglyph version, hieroglyphic Luwian, that read boustrophedon[7] (most of the language was written down in cuneiform).

The Hieroglyphic Luwian is read boustrophedon, with the direction of any individual line pointing into the front of the animals or body parts constituting certain hieroglyphs. However, unlike Egyptian hieroglyphs with their numerous ideograms and logograms, which show an easy directionality, the lineal direction of the text in hieroglyphic Luwian is harder to see.

Other examples

A modern example of boustrophedonics is the numbering scheme of sections within survey townships in the United States and Canada. In both countries, survey townships are divided into a 6-by-6 grid of 36 sections. In the U.S. Public Land Survey System, Section 1 of a township is in the northeast corner, and the numbering proceeds boustrophedonically until Section 36 is reached in the southeast corner.[8] Canada's Dominion Land Survey also uses boustrophedonic numbering, but starts at the southeast corner.[9] The term is used by postmen in the United Kingdom to describe street numbering which proceeds serially in one direction then turns back in the other. (The same numbering method is used in some European cities.) This is in contrast to the more common method of odd and even numbers on opposite sides of the street both increasing in the same direction.

Rongorongo of Easter Island was written in reverse boustrophedon.

In art history, it additionally means that you read from bottom left in a series of pictures; as in the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

Another example is the boustrophedon transform, known in mathematics.[10]

Sometimes computer printers with a typewriter-like moving type head print boustrophedon text if set up incorrectly.

Additionally, the Indus script, although still undeciphered, can be written boustrophedonically.[11]

Notice in Avoiuli script at a custom school, Pentcost Island, 2014
Notice in Avoiuli script written using boustrophedon

The Avoiuli script used on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu is written boustrophedonically by design.

In constructed languages

The constructed language Ithkuil uses a boustrophedon script.

The Atlantean language created by Marc Okrand for Disney's 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire is written in boustrophedon to recreate the feeling of flowing water.

The code language used in The Montmaray Journals, Kernetin, is written boustrophedonically. It is a combination of Cornish and Latin and is used for secret communication.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ βοῦς, στροφή, βουστροφηδόν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "boustrophedon". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. ^ Sampson, Geoffrey (1985). Writing Systems: A Linguistic Introduction. Stanford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-8047-1756-7.
  4. ^ Threatte, Leslie (1980). The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. W. de Gruyter. pp. 54–55. ISBN 3-11-007344-7.
  5. ^ "Boustrophedon". The Jargon File. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  6. ^ Sebestyén, Gyula (1915). A magyar rovásírás hiteles emlékei. Budapest. pp. 22, 137–138, 160. ISBN 9786155242106.
  7. ^ Campbell, George Frederick (2000). Compendium of the World's Languages. Routledge. p. 78. ISBN 0-415-20296-5.
  8. ^ Stilgoe, John R. (1982). Common Landscape of America, 1580 to 1845. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 104. ISBN 9780300030464.
  9. ^ Taylor, B.C.L.S., W.A. (2004) [1975]. Crown Lands: A History of Survey Systems (PDF) (5th Reprint ed.). Victoria, British Columbia: Registries and Titles Department, Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. p. 21.
  10. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. (2002). CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics (Second ed.). Chapman & Hall/CRC. p. 273. ISBN 1-58488-347-2.
  11. ^ Possehl, Gregory L. (2003). "The Indus Civilization: An introduction to environment, subsistence, and cultural history". In Weber, Steven A.; Belcher, William R. (eds.). Indus ethnobiology: New perspectives from the field. Lanham MD: Lexington Books. pp. 1–20.
  12. ^ Cooper, Michelle (2008). A Brief History of Montmaray. Australia: Random House Australia. ISBN 9780375858642.

External links

Abjad

An abjad (pronounced or ) is a type of writing system where each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel. So-called impure abjads do represent vowels, either with optional diacritics, a limited number of distinct vowel glyphs, or both. The name abjad is based on the old Arabic alphabet's first four letters—a, b, j, d—to replace the common terms "consonantary" or "consonantal alphabet" to refer to the family of scripts called West Semitic.

Archaeological Museum of Rethymno

The Archaeological Museum of Rethymno is a museum in Rethymno, Crete, Greece.

Avoiuli

Avoiuli (from Raga avoi "talk about" and uli "draw" or "paint") is a writing system used by the Turaga indigenous movement on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It was devised by Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua over a 14-year period, based on designs found in traditional sand drawings, and intended as a native alternative to the Latin alphabet. It is used mainly for writing in the area's native Raga language, although it can also be used for other languages including Apma, Bislama and English.

Bi-directional text

Bi-directional text is text containing text in both text directionalities, both right-to-left (RTL or dextrosinistral) and left-to-right (LTR or sinistrodextral). It generally involves text containing different types of alphabets, but may also refer to boustrophedon, which is changing text directionality in each row.

Some writing systems of the world, including the Arabic and Hebrew scripts or derived systems such as the Persian, Urdu, and Yiddish scripts, are written in a form known as right-to-left (RTL), in which writing begins at the right-hand side of a page and concludes at the left-hand side. This is different from the left-to-right (LTR) direction used by the dominant Latin script. When LTR text is mixed with RTL in the same paragraph, each type of text is written in its own direction, which is known as bi-directional text. This can get rather complex when multiple levels of quotation are used.

Many computer programs fail to display bi-directional text correctly.

For example, the Hebrew name Sarah (שרה) is spelled: sin (ש) (which appears rightmost), then resh (ר), and finally heh (ה) (which should appear leftmost).

Note: Some web browsers may display the Hebrew text in this article in the opposite direction.

Boustrophedon (album)

Boustrphedon is a live album by free jazz saxophonist and composer Evan Parker and the Transatlantic Art Ensemble featuring Roscoe Mitchell recorded in Germany in 2004 and released on the ECM label.

Boustrophedon cell decomposition

The boustrophedon cell decomposition (BCD) is a method used in artificial intelligence and robotics for configuration space solutions. Like other cellular decomposition methods, this method transforms the configuration space into cell regions that can be used for path planning.

A strength of the boustrophedon cell decomposition is that it allows for more diverse, non-polygonal obstacles within a configuration space. The representation still depicts polygonal obstacles, but the representations are complex enough that they are very effective when describing things like rounded surfaces, jagged edges, etc.

It is a goal of the method to optimize a path that can be chosen by an intelligent system. While a BCD can represent the existence of objects in a physical space, it does very little to nothing in terms of recognizing the objects. This would be done using another method, one which most likely requires additional sensory data in order to be used.

Boustrophedon transform

In mathematics, the boustrophedon transform is a procedure which maps one sequence to another. The transformed sequence is computed by an "addition" operation, implemented as if filling a triangular array in a boustrophedon (zigzag- or serpentine-like) manner -- as opposed to a "Raster Scan" sawtooth-like manner.

Floyd–Steinberg dithering

Floyd–Steinberg dithering is an image dithering algorithm first published in 1976 by Robert W. Floyd and Louis Steinberg. It is commonly used by image manipulation software, for example when an image is converted into GIF format that is restricted to a maximum of 256 colors.

The algorithm achieves dithering using error diffusion, meaning it pushes (adds) the residual quantization error of a pixel onto its neighboring pixels, to be dealt with later. It spreads the debt out according to the distribution (shown as a map of the neighboring pixels):

The pixel indicated with a star (*) indicates the pixel currently being scanned, and the blank pixels are the previously-scanned pixels. The algorithm scans the image from left to right, top to bottom, quantizing pixel values one by one. Each time the quantization error is transferred to the neighboring pixels, while not affecting the pixels that already have been quantized. Hence, if a number of pixels have been rounded downwards, it becomes more likely that the next pixel is rounded upwards, such that on average, the quantization error is close to zero.

The diffusion coefficients have the property that if the original pixel values are exactly halfway in between the nearest available colors, the dithered result is a checkerboard pattern. For example, 50% grey data could be dithered as a black-and-white checkerboard pattern. For optimal dithering, the counting of quantization errors should be in sufficient accuracy to prevent rounding errors from affecting the result.

In some implementations, the horizontal direction of scan alternates between lines; this is called "serpentine scanning" or boustrophedon transform dithering.


In the following pseudocode we can see the algorithm described above. The values of the input image's pixels are normalized in floating point format to [0,1] with 0 (black) and 1 (white).

When converting 16 bit greyscale to 8 bit, find_closest_palette_color() may perform just a simple rounding, for example:

Gargettus

Gargettus or Gargettos (Ancient Greek: Γαργηττός) was a deme of ancient Attica. From the mythical story of the war of the Pallantidae against Theseus, we learn that the demoi of Pallene, Gargettus, and Agnus were adjacent. When Pallas was marching from Sphettus in the Mesogaea against Athens, he placed a body of his troops in ambush at Gargettus, under the command of his two sons, who were ordered, as soon as he was engaged with the army of Theseus, to march rapidly upon Athens and take the city by surprise, But the stratagem was revealed to Theseus by Leos of Agnus, the herald of Pallas; whereupon Theseus cut to pieces the troops at Gargettus. In consequence of this a lasting enmity followed between the inhabitants of Pallene and Agnus.The road from Sphettus to Athens passed through the opening between Mount Pentelicus and Mount Hymettus. A monastery there by the name of Ieraka (or Hieraka) is the site of Gargettus. The proximity of Pallene and Gargettus is indicated by another legend. Pallene was celebrated for its temple of Athena; and we are told that Eurystheus was buried at Gargettus in front of the temple of Athena Pallenis.Between the monastery of Ieraka and the small village of Charvati, a celebrated inscription respecting money due to temples was discovered , and which was probably placed in the temple of Athena Pallenis. In Ieraka there was also found the boustrophedon inscription of Aristocles, which probably also came from the same temple.

Graffito (archaeology)

A graffito (plural "graffiti"), in an archaeological context, is a deliberate mark made by scratching or engraving on a large surface such as a wall. The marks may form an image or writing. The term is not usually used of the engraved decoration on small objects such as bones, which make up a large part of the Art of the Upper Paleolithic, but might be used of the engraved images, usually of animals, that are commonly found in caves, though much less well known than the cave paintings of the same period; often the two are found in the same caves. In archaeology, the term may or may not include the more common modern sense of an "unauthorized" addition to a building or monument. Sgraffito, a decorative technique of partially scratching off a top layer of plaster or some other material to reveal a differently colored material beneath, is also sometimes known as "graffito".

Lydian alphabet

Lydian script was used to write the Lydian language. Like other scripts of Anatolia in the Iron Age, the Lydian alphabet is related to the East Greek alphabet, but it has unique features.

The first modern codification of the Lydian alphabet was made by Roberto Gusmani in 1964, in a combined lexicon, grammar, and text collection.

Early Lydian texts were written either from left to right or from right to left. Later texts all run from right to left. One surviving text is in the bi-directional boustrophedon manner. Spaces separate words except in one text that uses dots instead. Lydian uniquely features a quotation mark in the shape of a right triangle.

Phoenician alphabet

The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, is the oldest verified alphabet in the wider sense of the term "alphabet". It is an alphabet of abjad type, consisting of 22 consonant letters only, leaving vowel sounds implicit, although certain late varieties use matres lectionis for some vowels. It was used to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the ancient civilization of Phoenicia in modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel.The Phoenician alphabet, which the Phoenicians adapted from the early West Semitic alphabet, is ultimately derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs. It became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where it was adopted and modified by many other cultures. The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet is a local variant of Phoenician, as is the Aramaic alphabet, the ancestor of the modern Arabic. Modern Hebrew script is a stylistic variant of the Aramaic. The Greek alphabet (with its descendants Latin, Cyrillic, Runic, and Coptic) also derives from the Phoenician.

As the letters were originally incised with a stylus, they are mostly angular and straight, although cursive versions steadily gained popularity, culminating in the Neo-Punic alphabet of Roman-era North Africa.

Phoenician was usually written right to left, though some texts alternate directions (boustrophedon).

Right-to-left

In a right-to-left, top-to-bottom script (commonly shortened to right to left or abbreviated RTL), writing starts from the right of the page and continues to the left. This can be contrasted against left-to-right writing systems, where writing starts from the left of the page and continues to the right.

Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu Sindhi are the most widespread RTL writing systems in modern times.

Right-to-left can also refer to top-to-bottom, right-to-left (TB-RL or TBRL) scripts such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, though they are also commonly written left to right. Books designed for predominately TBRL vertical text open in the same direction as those for RTL horizontal text: the spine is on the right and pages are numbered from right-to-left.

Rocket Science (Rocket Science album)

Rocket Science is the eponymous debut album by the collaborative quartet assembled by trumpeter Peter Evans and featuring British saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Craig Taborn and computer musician Sam Pluta. It was recorded live at the Vortex in London, at the start of the quartet's first tour which then visited the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the Moers Festival in Germany. Evans recorded Scenes in the House of Music with the Parker-Guy-Lytton trio, and is a member of Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. Taborn played piano in Parker's Transatlantic Art Ensemble which recorded Boustrophedon. Pluta is a member of the Peter Evans Quintet that recorded Ghosts.

Rongorongo

Rongorongo (; Rapa Nui: [ˈɾoŋoˈɾoŋo]) is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appears to be writing or proto-writing. Numerous attempts at decipherment have been made, none successfully. Although some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, none of these glyphs can actually be read. If rongorongo does prove to be writing and proves to be an independent invention, it would be one of very few independent inventions of writing in human history.Two dozen wooden objects bearing rongorongo inscriptions, some heavily weathered, burned, or otherwise damaged, were collected in the late 19th century and are now scattered in museums and private collections. None remain on Easter Island. The objects are mostly tablets shaped from irregular pieces of wood, sometimes driftwood, but include a chieftain's staff, a bird-man statuette, and two reimiro ornaments. There are also a few petroglyphs which may include short rongorongo inscriptions. Oral history suggests that only a small elite was ever literate and that the tablets were sacred.

Authentic rongorongo texts are written in alternating directions, a system called reverse boustrophedon. In a third of the tablets, the lines of text are inscribed in shallow fluting carved into the wood. The glyphs themselves are outlines of human, animal, plant, artifact and geometric forms. Many of the human and animal figures, such as glyphs 200 and 280 , have characteristic protuberances on each side of the head, possibly representing eyes.

Individual texts are conventionally known by a single uppercase letter and a name, such as Tablet C, the Mamari Tablet. The somewhat variable names may be descriptive or indicate where the object is kept, as in the Oar, the Snuffbox, the Small Santiago Tablet, and the Santiago Staff.

Rongorongo text Z

Text Z of the rongorongo corpus, also known as Poike, is an inscription that may be one of two dozen surviving rongorongo texts. Its authenticity is in question.

Sarati

Sarati is an artificial script created by J. R. R. Tolkien. According to Tolkien's mythology, the Sarati alphabet was invented by the Elf Rúmil of Tirion.

Sator Square

The Sator Square (or Rotas Square) is a word square containing a five-word Latin palindrome:

S A T O R

A R E P O

T E N E T

O P E R A

R O T A S

In particular, this is a square 2D palindrome, which is when a square text admits four symmetries: identity, two diagonal reflections, and 180 degree rotation. As can be seen, the text may be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, or right-to-left; and it may be rotated 180 degrees and still be read in all those ways.

The Sator Square is the earliest dateable 2D palindrome. It was found in the ruins of Pompeii, at Herculaneum, a city buried in the ash of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It consists of a sentence written in Latin: "Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas." Its translation has been the subject of speculation with no clear consensus; see below for details.

Other 2D Palindrome examples may be found carved on stone tablets or pressed into clay before being fired.

Tactile alphabet

A tactile alphabet is a system for writing material that the blind can read by touch. While currently the Braille system is the most popular and some materials have been prepared in Moon type, historically there have been a large number of other tactile alphabets:

Systems based on embossed Roman letters:

Moon type

Valentin Haüy's system (in italic style)

James Gall's "triangular alphabet," using both capital and lower-case, which was used in 1826 in the first embossed books published in English

Edmund Frye's system (capital letters only)

John Alston's system (capital letters only)

Jacob Snider, Jr.'s system, using rounded letters similar to Haüy's system, which was used in a publication of the Gospel of Mark in 1834, the first embossed book in the United States.

Samuel Gridley Howe's Boston Line using lowercase angular letters, influenced by Gall's system but more closely resembling standard Roman letters

Julius Reinhold Friedlander's Philadelphia Line, using all capital letters, similar to Alston's system, used at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

William Chapin (also at the Pennsylvania Institution)'s system, combining the lowercase letters of the Boston Line with the capitals of the Philadelphia Line, forming the "combined system" (used by 1868 in books printed by N. B. Kneass, Jr.)

Elia Chepaitis's ELIA Frame tactile alphabet/font system includes the major characteristics of the Roman alphabet letter within a frame. The frame denotes where the letter begins and ends and allows for systematic exploration. The use of the Roman alphabet's features in the design helps previously sighted people learn it. And its similarities to standard Roman fonts helps sighted caregivers to learn and share the alphabet with people who have a visual impairment.

Systems based on arbitrary symbols:

Night writing

Braille

Thomas Lucas's system, based on shorthand and phonetic principles

James Hatley Frere's system, similar to Lucas's in that it was based on shorthand, but written in a boustrophedon manner

New York Point, a system of points invented by William Bell Wait, that competed with braille for some time before braille won out

DecapointSee also Vibratese.

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