The Ogham alphabet


One of the most interesting thing I found about the primitive cultures in Ireland, was the alphabet that it is supposed they used for writing. And the history behind, directly related to the Babel Tower.

The Ogham, called the “Celit Tree Alphabet”, is an early medieval alphabet used for early irish (around 4 to 6th centuries), but in myth, it was supposed to be an alphabet created by the celtic god Oghma, and given to the humanity.

But if we look for the origins legendary, is when we get amazed, as the origins described by the Lebor Gabála Érenn set the source from this alphabet on Fenius Farsa and Goídel mac Ethéoir (Goídel Glas). Fenius with the help of some scholars travelled to Shinar and studied all the languages that were confused by the fall of Nimrod and the Tower. After some years (ten as a suposition) of studying all these languages, he created the “in Bérla tóbaide”, the selected language, that got the name Goidelic from his companion, Goídel mac Ethéoir.

Oghma created the Ogham alphabet

The real history behind these fantastic origins is to be determined, but the two main schools defend in one hand (Carney and MacNeill), the alphabet was a cryptic one in the beginning, with the idea of not to be understood by the latin-alphabet users. So the main reason behind the creation maybe were political, military or religious. In the other hand (McManus) examinates the idea of early christians in Ireland, creating the alphabet to be able to transcript the so complex early irish.

The image opening this post is from the Book of Ballymote, and explains the ogham scripture.

Bibliography:

Ogham in the Wikipedia

The Poet’s Ogam: A Living Magical Tradition, John-Paul Patton, IBSN 978-1-4466-6033-1

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