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(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
32 c. BCE

* Hieratic
Hieratic
32 c. BCE

* Demotic 7 c. BCE

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Libyco-Berber
3 c. BCE

* Tifinagh
Tifinagh

* Paleohispanic (semi-syllabic) 7 c. BCE

* Aramaic 8 c. BCE

* Kharoṣṭhī
Kharoṣṭhī
4 c. BCE

* Brāhmī 4 c. BCE

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Brahmic family
(see)

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Hangul
(core letters only) 1443

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13 c. CE

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Ogham
(origin uncertain) 4 c. CE

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* Cyrillic c. 940 CE

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Thaana
Thaana
18 c. CE (derived from Brahmi numerals )

* v * t * e

NUMERAL SYSTEMS

HINDU–ARABIC NUMERAL SYSTEM

* Western Arabic * Eastern Arabic

* Bengali * Gurmukhi * Indian * Sinhala * Tamil

* Balinese * Burmese * Dzongkha * Gujarati * Javanese * Khmer * Lao * Mongolian * Thai

EAST ASIAN

* Chinese

* Suzhou

* Hokkien * Japanese * Korean * Vietnamese

* Counting rods
Counting rods

ALPHABETIC

* Abjad * Armenian * Āryabhaṭa * Cyrillic

* Ge\'ez * Georgian * Greek * Hebrew * Roman

FORMER

* Aegean * Attic * Babylonian * Brahmi

* Egyptian * Etruscan * Inuit * Kharosthi
Kharosthi

* Mayan * Muisca * Quipu
Quipu

* Prehistoric

POSITIONAL SYSTEMS BY BASE

* 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 8 * 10 * 12 * 16 * 20 * 60

NON-STANDARD POSITIONAL NUMERAL SYSTEMS

* Bijective numeration (1 ) * Signed-digit representation ( Balanced ternary ) * factorial * negative * Complex-base system (2i ) * Non-integer representation (φ ) * mixed

List of numeral systems

* v * t * e

The KHAROSTHI SCRIPT, also spelled KHAROSHTHI or KHAROṣṭHī, is an ancient script used in ancient Gandhara
Gandhara
and ancient India (primarily modern-day Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Pakistan
Pakistan
) to write the Gandhari Prakrit
Prakrit
and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
. It was popular in Central Asia as well. An abugida , it was in use from the middle of the 3rd century BCE until it died out in its homeland around the 3rd century CE. It was also in use in Bactria , the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
, Sogdia
Sogdia
and along the Silk Road
Silk Road
, where there is some evidence it may have survived until the 7th century in the remote way stations of Khotan
Khotan
and Niya . Kharosthi
Kharosthi
is encoded in the Unicode range
Unicode range
U+10A00–U+10A5F, from version 4.1.

CONTENTS

* 1 Form * 2 Vowels * 3 Consonants * 4 Additional marks * 5 Punctuation * 6 Numerals * 7 History * 8 Unicode
Unicode
* 9 Gallery * 10 See also * 11 Further reading * 12 References * 13 External links

FORM

Kharosthi
Kharosthi
is mostly written right to left (type A), but some inscriptions (type B) already show the left to right direction that was to become universal for the later South Asian scripts.

Each syllable includes the short /a/ sound by default, with other vowels being indicated by diacritic marks. Recent epigraphical evidence highlighted by Professor Richard Salomon of the University of Washington has shown that the order of letters in the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script follows what has become known as the Arapacana alphabet. As preserved in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
documents, the alphabet runs: a ra pa ca na la da ba ḍa ṣa va ta ya ṣṭa ka sa ma ga stha ja śva dha śa kha kṣa sta jñā rtha (or ha) bha cha sma hva tsa gha ṭha ṇa pha ska ysa śca ṭa ḍha

Some variations in both the number and order of syllables occur in extant texts.

Kharosthi
Kharosthi
includes only one standalone vowel sign which is used for initial vowels in words. Other initial vowels use the a character modified by diacritics. Using epigraphic evidence, Salomon has established that the vowel order is /a e i o u/, rather than the usual vowel order for Indic scripts /a i u e o/. That is the same as the Semitic vowel order. Also, there is no differentiation between long and short vowels in Kharosthi. Both are marked using the same vowel markers.

The alphabet was used in Gandharan Buddhism as a mnemonic for remembering a series of verses on the nature of phenomena. In Tantric Buddhism , the list was incorporated into ritual practices and later became enshrined in mantras.

VOWELS

Vowels

INITIAL DIACRITIC

IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT WITH \'K\'

Unrounded low central

𐨀 a /ə/ — — 𐨐 ka

high front

𐨀𐨁 i /i/

𐨁 𐨐𐨁 ki

Rounded high back

𐨀𐨂 u /u/

𐨂 𐨐𐨂 ku

Syllabic vibrant

𐨃 𐨐𐨃 kr̥

Mid front unrounded

𐨀𐨅 e /e/

𐨅 𐨐𐨅 ke

back rounded

𐨀𐨆 o /o/

𐨆 𐨐𐨆 ko

Vowel
Vowel
diacritic placement VOWEL POSITION EXAMPLE APPLIES TO

-i horizontal 𐨀 + 𐨁 → ‎𐨀𐨁 a, n, h

diagonal 𐨐 + 𐨁 → ‎𐨐𐨁 k, ḱ, kh, g, gh, c, ch, j, ñ, ṭ, ṭh, ṭ́h, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ, t, d, dh, b, bh, y, r, v, ṣ, s, z

vertical 𐨠 + 𐨁 → ‎𐨠𐨁 th, p, ph, m, l, ś

-u attached 𐨀 + 𐨂 → ‎𐨀𐨂 a, k, ḱ, kh, g, gh, c, ch, j, ñ, ṭ, ṭh, ṭ́h, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ, t, th, d, dh, n, p, ph, b, bh, y, r, l, v, ś, ṣ, s, z

independent 𐨱 + 𐨂 → ‎𐨱𐨂 ṭ, h

ligatured 𐨨 + 𐨂 → ‎𐨨𐨂 m

-r̥ attached 𐨀 + 𐨃 → ‎𐨀𐨃 a, k, ḱ, kh, g, gh, c, ch, j, t, d, dh, n, p, ph, b, bh, v, ś, s

independent 𐨨 + 𐨃 → ‎𐨨𐨃 m, h

-e horizontal 𐨀 + 𐨅 → ‎𐨀𐨅 a, n, h

diagonal 𐨐 + 𐨅 → ‎𐨐𐨅 k, ḱ, kh, g, gh, c, ch, j, ñ, ṭ, ṭh, ṭ́h, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ, t, dh, b, bh, y, r, v, ṣ, s, z

vertical 𐨠 + 𐨅 → ‎𐨠𐨅 th, p, ph, l, ś

ligatured 𐨡 + 𐨅 → ‎𐨡𐨅 d, m

-o horizontal 𐨀 + 𐨆 → ‎𐨀𐨆 a, k, ḱ, kh, g, gh, c, ch, j, ñ, ṭ, ṭh, ṭ́h, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ, t, th, d, dh, n, b, bh, m, r, l, v, ṣ, s, z, h

diagonal 𐨤 + 𐨆 → ‎𐨤𐨆 p, ph, y, ś

CONSONANTS

Occlusives

VOICELESS PLOSIVES VOICED PLOSIVES NASALS

UNASPIRATED ASPIRATED UNASPIRATED ASPIRATED

IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA

Velar

𐨐 k /k/

𐨑 kh

𐨒 g /ɡ/

𐨓 gh

Palatal

𐨕 c /c/

𐨖 ch

𐨗 j /ɟ/

𐨙 ñ /ɲ/

Retroflex

𐨚 ṭ /ʈ/

𐨛 ṭh

𐨜 ḍ /ɖ/

𐨝 ḍh

𐨞 ṇ /ɳ/

Dental

𐨟 t /t/

𐨠 th

𐨡 d /d/

𐨢 dh

𐨣 n /n/

Labial

𐨤 p /p/

𐨥 ph

𐨦 b /b/

𐨧 bh

𐨨 m /m/

There are two special modified forms of these consonants:

IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IMAGE TEXT TRANS.

Modified form

𐨲 ḱ

𐨳 ṭ́h

Original form

𐨐 k

𐨛 ṭh

Sonorants and fricatives

PALATAL RETROFLEX DENTAL LABIAL

IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA IMAGE TEXT TRANS. IPA

Sonorants

𐨩 y /j/

𐨪 r /r/

𐨫 l /l/

𐨬 v /ʋ/

Sibilants

𐨭 ś /ɕ/

𐨮 ṣ /ȿ/

𐨯 s /s/

OTHER

𐨰 z ?

𐨱 h /h/

ADDITIONAL MARKS

Various additional marks are used to modify vowels and consonants:

MARK TRANS. EXAMPLE DESCRIPTION

𐨌 ◌̄ 𐨨 + 𐨌 → ‎𐨨𐨌 The vowel length mark may be used with -a, -i, -u, and -r̥ to indicate the equivalent long vowel (-ā, -ī, -ū, and r̥̄ respectively). When used with -e it indicates the diphthong -ai. When used with -o it indicates the diphthong -au.

𐨍 ◌͚ 𐨯 + 𐨍 → ‎𐨯𐨍 The vowel modifier double ring below appears in some Central Asian documents with vowels -a and -u. Its precise phonetic function is unknown.

𐨎 ṃ 𐨀 + 𐨎 → ‎𐨀𐨎 An anusvara indicates nasalization of the vowel or a nasal segment following the vowel. It can be used with -a, -i, -u, -r̥, -e, and -o.

𐨏 ḥ 𐨐 + 𐨏 → ‎𐨐𐨏 A visarga indicates the unvoiced syllable-final /h/. It can also be used as a vowel length marker. Visarga is used with -a, -i, -u, -r̥, -e, and -o.

𐨸 ◌̄ 𐨗 + 𐨸 → ‎𐨗𐨸 A bar above a consonant can be used to indicate various modified pronunciations depending on the consonant, such as nasalization or aspiration. It is used with k, ṣ, g, c, j, n, m, ś, ṣ, s, and h.

𐨹 ◌́ or ◌̱ 𐨒 + 𐨹 → ‎𐨒𐨹 The cauda changes how consonants are pronounced in various ways, particularly fricativization . It is used with g, j, ḍ, t, d, p, y, v, ś, and s.

𐨺 ◌̣ 𐨨 + 𐨺 → ‎𐨨𐨺 The precise phonetic function of the dot below is unknown. It is used with m and h.

𐨿 (n/a) ‎𐨢 + ‎𐨁 + ‎𐨐 + ‎𐨿 → ‎𐨢𐨁𐨐𐨿 A virama is used to suppress the inherent vowel that otherwise occurs with every consonant letter. Its effect varies based on situation: When not followed by a consonant the virama causes the preceding consonant to be written as a subscript to the left of the letter before that consonant. When the virama is followed by another consonant, it will trigger a combined form consisting of two or more consonants. This may be a ligature, a special combining form, or a combining full form depending on the consonants involved. The result takes into account any other combining marks.

‎𐨐 + ‎𐨿 + ‎𐨮 → ‎𐨐𐨿𐨮

‎𐨯 + ‎𐨿 + ‎𐨩 → ‎𐨯𐨿𐨩

‎𐨐 + ‎𐨿 + ‎𐨟 → ‎𐨐𐨿𐨟

PUNCTUATION

Nine Kharosthi
Kharosthi
punctuation marks have been identified:

SIGN DESCRIPTION SIGN DESCRIPTION SIGN DESCRIPTION

𐩐 dot 𐩓 crescent bar 𐩖 danda

𐩑 small circle 𐩔 mangalam 𐩗 double danda

𐩒 circle 𐩕 lotus 𐩘 lines

NUMERALS

Kharosthi
Kharosthi
included a set of numerals that are reminiscent of Roman numerals . The system is based on an additive and a multiplicative principle, but does not have the subtractive feature used in the Roman number system.

Numerals VALUE 1 2 3 4 10 20 100 1000

Image

Text 𐩀 𐩁 𐩂 𐩃 𐩄 𐩅 𐩆 𐩇

The numerals, like the letters, are written from right to left. There is no zero and no separate signs for the digits 5–9. Numbers in Kharosthi
Kharosthi
use an additive system. For example, the number 1996 would be written as 1000 4 4 1 100 20 20 20 20 10 4 2 (image: , text: 𐩇𐩃𐩃𐩀𐩆𐩅𐩅𐩅𐩅𐩄𐩃𐩁).

HISTORY

The Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script was deciphered by James Prinsep
James Prinsep
(1799–1840) using the bilingual coins of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (obverse in Greek, reverse in Pali
Pali
, using the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script). This in turn led to the reading of the Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
, some of which, from the northwest of South Asia, were written in the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script.

Scholars are not in agreement as to whether the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script evolved gradually, or was the deliberate work of a single inventor. An analysis of the script forms shows a clear dependency on the Aramaic alphabet but with extensive modifications to support the sounds found in Indic languages. One model is that the Aramaic script arrived with the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
's conquest of the Indus River
Indus River
(modern Pakistan) in 500 BCE and evolved over the next 200+ years, reaching its final form by the 3rd century BCE where it appears in some of the Edicts of Ashoka
Ashoka
found in northwestern part of South Asia. However, no intermediate forms have yet been found to confirm this evolutionary model, and rock and coin inscriptions from the 3rd century BCE onward show a unified and standard form. An inscription in Aramaic dating back to the 4th century BCE was found in Sirkap
Sirkap
, testifying to the presence of the Aramaic script in northwestern India at that period. According to Sir John Marshall , this seems to confirm that Kharoshthi was later developed from Aramaic.

The study of the Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script was recently invigorated by the discovery of the Gandhāran Buddhist texts , a set of birch bark manuscripts written in Kharosthi, discovered near the Afghan city of Hadda just west of the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
in modern Pakistan
Pakistan
. The manuscripts were donated to the British Library
British Library
in 1994. The entire set of manuscripts are dated to the 1st century CE, making them the oldest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered.

UNICODE

Main article: Kharoshthi ( Unicode
Unicode
block)

Kharosthi
Kharosthi
was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Standard in March, 2005 with the release of version 4.1.

The Unicode
Unicode
block for Kharosthi
Kharosthi
is U+10A00–U+10A5F:

KHAROSHTHI Official Unicode
Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+10A0x 𐨀 𐨁 𐨂 𐨃

𐨅 𐨆

𐨌 𐨍 𐨎 𐨏

U+10A1x 𐨐 𐨑 𐨒 𐨓

𐨕 𐨖 𐨗

𐨙 𐨚 𐨛 𐨜 𐨝 𐨞 𐨟

U+10A2x 𐨠 𐨡 𐨢 𐨣 𐨤 𐨥 𐨦 𐨧 𐨨 𐨩 𐨪 𐨫 𐨬 𐨭 𐨮 𐨯

U+10A3x 𐨰 𐨱 𐨲 𐨳

𐨸 𐨹 𐨺

𐨿

U+10A4x 𐩀 𐩁 𐩂 𐩃 𐩄 𐩅 𐩆 𐩇

U+10A5x 𐩐 𐩑 𐩒 𐩓 𐩔 𐩕 𐩖 𐩗 𐩘

NOTES 1.^ As of Unicode
Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

GALLERY

*

Kharoshti script on a wooden plate in the National Museum of India in New Delhi *

Kharoshti script on a wooden plate in the National Museum of India in New Delhi *

Kharoshti script on a wooden plate in the National Museum of India in New Delhi *

Kharoshti script on wood from Niya , 3rd century CE *

Double-wedged wooden tablet in Gandhari written in Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script, 2nd to 4th century CE *

Wooden tablet inscribed with Kharosthi
Kharosthi
characters (2nd–3rd century CE). Excavated at the Niya ruins in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
, China. Collection of the Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Museum . *

Wooden Kharosthi
Kharosthi
document found at Loulan, China by Aurel Stein
Aurel Stein
*

Fragmentary Kharosthi
Kharosthi
Buddhist text on birchbark (Part of a group of early manuscripts from Gandhara
Gandhara
), first half of 1st century CE. Collection of the British Library
British Library
in London
London
*

Silver bilingual tetradrachm of Menander I
Menander I
(155-130 BCE). Obverse: Greek legend, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ (BASILEOS SOTEROS MENANDROU), literally, "Of Saviour King Menander". Reverse: Kharosthi
Kharosthi
legend: MAHARAJA TRATARASA MENADRASA "Saviour King Menander". Athena
Athena
advancing right, with thunderbolt and shield. Taxila mint mark. *

Coin of King Gurgamoya of Khotan
Khotan
(1st century CE). Obverse: Kharoshthi legend "Of the great king of kings, king of Khotan, Gurgamoya. Reverse: Chinese legend: "Twenty-four grain copper coin". *

Coin of Menander II Dikaiou Obverse: Menander wearing a diadem . Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ "King Menander the Just". Reverse: Winged figure bearing diadem and palm, with halo , probably Nike . The Kharoshthi legend reads MAHARAJASA DHARMIKASA MENADRASA "Great King, Menander, follower of the Dharma
Dharma
, Menander". *

The Indo-Greek Hashtnagar Pedestal symbolizes bodhisattva and ancient Kharosthi
Kharosthi
script. Found near Rajar in Gandhara
Gandhara
, Pakistan
Pakistan
. Exhibited at the British Museum
British Museum
in London. *

Pillar capital with addorsed lions and Prakrit
Prakrit
inscriptions in Kharoshthi script *

Fragments of stone well railings with a Buddhist inscription written in Kharoshthi script (late Han period to the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
era). Discovered at Luoyang
Luoyang
, China in 1924. *

Portion of Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
's Rock Edicts at Shahbaz Garhi *

Portion of Emperor Ashoka's Rock Edicts at Shahbaz Garhi

SEE ALSO

* Brahmi * History of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
* History of Pakistan
Pakistan
* Pre-Islamic scripts in Afghanistan
Afghanistan

FURTHER READING

* Kaschgar und die Kharoṣṭhī
Kharoṣṭhī
(1903)

REFERENCES

* ^ A B C R. D. Banerji (April 1920). "The Kharosthi
Kharosthi
Alphabet". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2): 193–219. JSTOR
JSTOR
25209596 . * ^ A B C Daniels, Peter T. ; Bright, William , eds. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press, Inc. pp. 373–383. ISBN 978-0195079937 . * ^ A B C D E Glass, Andrew; Baums, Stefan; Salomon, Richard (2003-09-18). "L2/03-314R2: Proposal to Encode Kharoshthi in Plane 1 of ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). * ^ Glass, Andrew; Baums, Stefan; Salomon, Richard (2003-09-29). "L2/02-364: Proposal to add one combining diacritic to the UCS" (PDF).

* ^ Graham Flegg, Numbers: Their History and Meaning, Courier Dover Publications, 2002, ISBN 978-0-486-42165-0 , p. 67f. * ^ A Guide to Taxila, John Marshall, 1918

Icon for links to pages in the Prakrit
Prakrit
Languages

* Dani, Ahmad Hassan. Kharoshthi Primer, Lahore Museum Publication Series - 16, Lahore, 1979 * Falk, Harry. Schrift im alten Indien: Ein Forschungsbericht mit Anmerkungen, Gunter Narr Verlag, 1993 (in German) * Fussman's, Gérard. Les premiers systèmes d'écriture en Inde, in Annuaire du Collège de France 1988-1989 (in French) * Hinüber, Oscar von. Der Beginn der Schrift und frühe Schriftlichkeit in Indien, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1990 (in German) * Nasim Khan, M.(1997). Ashokan Inscriptions: A Palaeographical Study. Atthariyyat (Archaeology), Vol. I, pp. 131–150. Peshawar * Nasim Khan, M.(1999). Two Dated Kharoshthi Inscriptions from Gandhara. Journal of Asian Civilizations (Journal of Central Asia), Vol. XXII, No.1, July 1999: 99-103. * Nasim Khan, M.(2000). An Inscribed Relic-Casket from Dir. The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. V, No. 1, March 1997: 21-33. Peshawar * Nasim Khan, M.(2000). Kharoshthi Inscription from Swabi - Gandhara. The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. V, No. 2. September 1997: 49-52. Peshawar. * Nasim Khan, M.(2004). Kharoshthi Manuscripts from Gandhara. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. XII, Nos. 1 Rome: Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, 2006), pp. 181–224.

EXTERNAL LINKS

* List of all known Kharoṣṭhī
Kharoṣṭhī
(Gandhārī) inscriptions. * A Preliminary Study of Kharoṣṭhī
Kharoṣṭhī
Manuscript Paleography by Andrew Glass, University of Washington
University of Washington
(2000) * On The Origin Of The Early Indian Scripts: A Review Article by Richard Salomon, University of Washington
University of Washington
(via archive.org )

* v * t * e

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