vxilios  asked:

Do you know if a script has ever changed from reading left-to-right to right-to-left, or vice versa? I had a thought this morning about a deluded southpaw emperor who changes the language just so he doesn't smudge his writing.

Greek was written in boustrophedon style until it settled on a single direction. Egyptian hieroglyphs were written in one of any number of directions, and they seemed to be fine with it. I imagine it wouldn’t be impossible, but it seems unlikely if the script is only LTR or RTL that it’d go to the other.


The Code of Gortyna, Crete

The Code of Gortyna preserves the ancient legal system of Crete that was so admired by Plato and it served as a model for the constitutions of Sparta and Athens. It seems to have been carved in the late sixth or early fifth century BC, and it may have originally been displayed in the town hall of Gortyna. Today it is preserved on site where it was discovered by archaeologists in a gallery behind the Odeion. The inscription is written in an archaic Doric dialect of Greek in the system known as ‘boustrophedon’ (as the ox plows); reading from left to right on one line and from right to left on the next, as one would plow a field.

The Kvinneby amulet (Öl SAS1989;43) is an 11th-century runic amulet found in the mid-1950s buried in the village of Södra Kvinneby in Öland, Sweden. The amulet is a square copper object measuring approximately 5 cm on each side. Near one edge there is a small hole, presumably used for hanging it around the neck.

he inscription consists of some 143 runes, written boustrophedon, supplemented by an engraving of a fish; the relevance of the fish to the text is unclear.

The inscription is one of the longest and best preserved for its time but it has proven hard to interpret. The “official” Rundata interpretation is:

Here I carve(d) protection for you, Bófi, with/… … … to you is certain. And may the lightning hold all evil away from Bófi. May Þórr protect him with that hammer which came from out of the sea. Flee from evilness! You/it get/gets nothing from Bófi. The gods are under him and over him.


Shout [a draft]

Some early Greek inscriptions were written in a style called boustrophedon … in which the line ran left to right, bent around, and then continued from right to left with individual letters also drawn backwards … the technique was perfectly linear.

Jay David Bolter, Writing Space, p. 108.

Adam strides

boisterous and boustrophedonic

table to urinal, to ATM, to bar

back to table

a simple stubborn line.

Always the same bargirl.

Keep reading