The Ethiopic Syllabary
Pages 2

The signs of the Ethiopic Syllabary have preserved the character of the letters in the old Minaean and Sabaean Alphabets; each is formed of thick, clear lines, and when clearly written is not easily confounded with any other. A cursive form of Ethiopic writing is not known. When exactly the Abyssinians began to add lines and strokes and circles to the old Sabaean Alphabet to mark the vowels cannot be said, but in the inscriptions of ‘Ezana, who reigned in the first half of the 4th century after Christ, we find letters without and with vowels used. Thus in No. 6 of Littmanns edition we find :

and in No. 9: 1 n * iV j I toti I I am I h fr I

In Ethiopic manuscripts the words are divided by two dots s, which are the equivalent of the upright line in Sabaean inscriptions, and the end of the sentence is marked by a. The end of a section or paragraph is marked by a = a. In lists and sentences in which the words are very closely connected the sign which marks the division of words is often written T.