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Bustrophedon in Crete

Bustrophedon (also boustrophedon ) describes the spelling with alternating line-by-line writing direction , mostly related to a horizontal writing direction.

Greek βουστροφηδόν boustrophēdón literally means “ox turn” (βούς bous “ox”, στρέφειν strephein “turn”; cf. stanza ). What is meant is: "back and forth like an ox plowing". In German, the expression "furrowing" is occasionally used.

The noun Bustrophedon describes the writing feature, sometimes also a text written in this way (“this is a Bustrophedon”). There are also the adjectives bustrophedon (“a bustrophedon text”), which is mostly used adverbially (“a bustrophedon written text”) or bustrophedic with the same meaning .

Examples of bustrophedic writings

Greek text in bustrophedon
Example of a bus trophy

Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions from the time of the Hittite Empire in the 2nd millennium BC And the neo-Hittite states at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC Are often written bustrophedon. In addition to ancient Greek inscriptions from the 6th century BC BC (before that the usual writing direction was from right to left, after 500 BC it was continuously from left to right) there are also isolated early Etruscan , Latin and runic inscriptions that are written bustrophedon .

Not only was the direction of writing flexible in early epigraphic use, the alignment of the individual letters was also not yet generally applicable. The “bellies” of the letters often pointed in the direction of writing, so that a line appears from right to left in mirror writing .

In the Archaeological Museum of Corfu there is a grave stele with a vertical bustrophedon inscription, the so-called Arniadas grave stele.

A well-known example is the SATOR-AREPO square , also called ROTAS-OPERA square. It is carved into the wall of the palaestra of Pompeii and excavated in 1936. The text from the 1st century, read deeply, reads "SATOR-OPERA-TENET-AREPO-ROTAS".

The pictorial writing Rongorongo of the early Easter Island residents is preserved on carved Toromiro wooden panels (25 examples are preserved). It is read as a bus trophy, with the reading board turned over after each line read. Reading starts at the bottom left; after turning over the second line from the top is also read from left to right, then the board is turned over again. The glyphs are upside down compared to the previous line.

Writing in serpentine lines means that there is no interlace when reading. In the 19th century, William Moon therefore developed his braille as a bustrophedone script (see Moon alphabet ).

Individual evidence

  1. Christa Dürscheid : Introduction to Script Linguistics. 3rd, revised and expanded edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-525-26516-6 , p. 118.
  2. ^ Hans Joachim Störig: Adventure language. A journey through the languages ​​of the earth. 2nd, revised edition. Langenscheidt, Berlin / Munich 1997, ISBN 3-581-66936-6 , p. 117.
  3. Wolfgang Krause: Runes. de Gruyter, Berlin 1970, p. 12.
  4. Harald Haarmann: Universal history of writing. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt / New York 1990, ISBN 3-593-34346-0 , p. 189.
  5. See Herbert E. Brekle : Die Antiqualinie from approx. −1500 to approx. +1500: Investigations into the morphogenesis of the western alphabet on a cognitivistic basis. Cape. 3.2: linearity, direction of writing, lines. Nodus publications, Münster 1994, ISBN 978-3-89323-259-8 , pp. 31-46.

Web links

Commons : Boustrophedon  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bustrophedon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Boustrophedon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: bustrophedon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations