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SF Old South Arabian

by Sultan Fonts

Both fonts: $60.00


About this font family

Historical Background
Old South Arabian Script (OSA) was used before the Islamic era not only in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, but actually in
the entire Peninsula. In addition, samples of OSA have been found as far as Uruk in Mesopotamia, Delos in Greece, and Giza in Egypt. Archaeological finds show that as far back as
the 8th century BCE, OSA was used in trade, religious writing, and in civil records. Following the spread of Islam in Yemen, the decline of OSA began in the 7th century CE as it was
gradually supplanted by Arabic script.
OSA was typically known by the name of the then-dominant peoples in the Southern Peninsula.
At various times, it was known as Sabaean, Qatabani, or Hadramite, among others. Although it was used for a variety of languages, OSA is most strongly associated with Sabaean. Many
Peninsular languages borrowed OSA before introducing further changes of their own. Prime examples are the Thamudic, Safaitic, and Lihyanite scripts which eventually developed into
independent scripts.
The westward migration of the Sabaean people into the Horn of Africa introduced the South Arabian consonantal alphabet into the region. The transplanted script formed the roots of the
Geez script of Ethiopia, which, in time and under presumably external influences, developed into a rich syllabary unlike any other Semitic script in history. Even a cursory examination of the
letter forms of Modern Ethiopic writing reveal a striking similarity to South Arabian Script.
OSA inscriptions typically reveal a dominant right-to-left directionality, although there are also many cases of alternating directions, known as boustrophedon writing. Figure 1 is a fine example of this style of writing. OSA inscriptions were discovered early in the 19th century. Soon thereafter, two orientalists, Gesenius and Rödiger, made great strides towards deciphering the script. More…

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Available formats

available in all of the styles:
OpenType OTF  

only available in some of the styles:
OpenType TTF  


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