Ogham, (pronounced Oham, with a silent g) is an ancient written language that was used in Ireland and parts of the UK between the 5th and 9th centuries. The Ogham alphabet is the earliest known form of writing in Ireland and is seen as the first intellectual creation of Irish-speaking people.
Ogham was used mainly for writing names as opposed to long passages. In early centuries, the owner of a plot of land was traditionally buried on the boundary of his property and an Ogham stone erected in his name.
Ogham inscriptions are written vertically and read from bottom to top. In manuscripts, Ogham is written horizontally and is read from left to right. Ogham script was used at the top of manuscript pages to annotate and display scholars’ names. Some written inscriptions contain an arrow at the beginning. This was used to denote the orientation or direction in which the inscription should read.
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