At 20:57 -0400 2005-08-13, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

> >>>Your Ogham font I would not consider very useful,
> >>Why?
>>Well, the stemline is thicker than the strokes, which I find very
> >offputting, not to say ugly and incorrect. Some Ogham fonts have no
>As if there were some hallowed tradition of how to represent Ogam with

As it happens, there is practice, if not "tradition" in Ogham font
design. Brash's 1879 Ogam Inscribed Monuments of the Gaedhil uses
Ogham fonts. I have studied Ogham typography, and I have made a
number of Ogham fonts available. See where eight Ogham
fonts can be viewed. (There are ten Ogham fonts on the page, but
Beith-Luis-Nion, Pollach, and Maigh Nuad are all based on the same

In your font, the primary weight is given to the stemline, not to the
strokes making up the letters. The stemline is helpful in Ogham
fonts, but it is the letters which are significant; the stemline
itself is even optional. Either the strokes should be much thicker
and bolder than the stemline, or it and they should have the same
weight. It's perverse to give the stemline the primary emphasis.

> > stemline at all; in any case the strokes are significant, the
>> stemline not. Nevertheless I prefer my Ogham letters to have their
>> stemlines drawn on either side of each letter, not the way that
>I don't know what that means. Ogam is carved on the edge of a stone.

I'll be happy to explain what I mean. Typically, Ogham fonts with a
stemline include bits of the stemline on either side of the letter
-|||- so that the letters can join together.Your fonts don't, which
means that you would have to type an inter-letter stemline in order
to get the words not to run together. That means that you can't type
Ogham text (in the sense of something you could search for correctly
on the internet for example) with your font, because instead of
searching for MUCOI you would have to search for M-U-C-O-I.

The Unicode encoding for Ogham assumes that each letter will have its
stemline inherent in the font glyph so that the letters attach
correctly; there is also an OGHAM SPACE MARK which would have the
shape of a stemline can be used between words. On p. 344 of your
book, you give spaces between the words; in ordinary typography I
would set this with the OGHAM SPACE MARK, preferring
of course in the context of p. 344 the word space helps the reader
recognize the breaks, which is perfectly reasonable.)

> > you've done them. Your vowel signs in the Ailm series are better than
>> many in that they are short; but I prefer notches to small strokes
>> for these shapes. That's a question of taste.
>> In the body of the article, I would say that the suggestion that
>> Ogham texts are boustrophedon is simply incorrect. Ogham inscriptions
> > may begin on one side of a stone, go up over the top and down the
> > other side, but that is still as single line of text. It is not
> > boustrophedon.
>Did you notice who wrote the article? Do you consider yourself a greater

Of course I noticed who wrote the article. When I prepared Irish
Standard 434
( and the
submission for Unicode encoding of Ogham I consulted with him about
the letter names. Damian is, however, incorrect in his use of the
word boustrophedon here, and I would have no problems telling him so.
A boustrophedon text has a line-break where the directionality of the
text is reversed. That isn't the case in Ogham. As I said, a text may
begin on one side of a stone, go up over the top and down the other
side, but that is still as single line of text. There is no
line-break -- no field-ploughing, so to speak -- so boustrophedon is
not the correct term.

I would also query Damian's description of the arrowhead as a "word
separator". Typically, the arrowheads are used more or less
decoratively on either end of a word or phrase.

And yes, I consider myself an expert on Ogham. I do not venture to
compare myself with Damian, but I have no problem disagreeing with
him where he appears to be imprecise or in error.
Michael Everson *