[MUD-Dev] Scripting Languages and Magic
Nathan F. Yospe
nyospe at mac.com
Tue Oct 14 09:46:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003
On Saturday, October 11, 2003, at 11:17 PM, Sheela Caur'Lir wrote:
> From: "Crosbie Fitch"
>> From: Sheela Caur'Lir
>>> I'd almost say, that the only alphabet that does not put several
>>> meanings behind every single letter, is the latin one ... which
>>> is the one used across the western world nowadays.
>> Maybe there is a current field of study, 'archaeophilology' or
>> "archaeological linguistics', that is already attempting to
>> reconstruct a rune or ideographic basis underlying old english
>> simply by cataloging all the syllabic meanings and
>> inventing/matching a symbol for each?
> Hmmm ... dunno if such a field exists as such.
Palaeography, actually. Or Paleography, either will get hits. From
Greek: "Palæo" (ancient) + "Graph" (writing). Quite big, as an
academic field. Do a web search. No, they don't invent symbols to
represent syllables... they know more of the symbol set than they do
of the phonemic character of old english, and there was some
migratory commonality with other scripts around the same time. The
best approximations they have for phonemes comes from Roman sources,
as far as I am aware. Not reliable, as far as it goes, due to
certain biases, but...
Keep in mind also that Old English really means Anglo-Saxon, a
rather late entry. Saxony held the southern range of the main
island off the coast of Anglia, which was part of where France is
now. There were several Celtic tribes populating the rest, across
both islands, including the hill people (ancient Welsh) in the
central regions, who were the ones attributed with most of the magic
in old english mythology. Their language was the one written in a
rune-like script. Anglo-Saxon is completely representable in
extended Latin, possibly (I haven't confirmed this recently)
entirely within the first three sections of the Unicode standard.
Some of the Gaelic and Celtic forms require the higher range Latin
Extended Additional. Incidentally, Old English is well-known enough
that you can go to Amazon.com and order a textbook to read an Old
English manuscript in original form.
> I do know that there is a book on the runes mostly used in
> Scandinavian area in the era of Vikings. It also contained some
> myths on what magic was associated with which runes - Thors rune
> was associated with Strength if I remember correct. Been a while
I've seen one Palaeographically bogus book of the sort, though the
bit about Thor having a rune is accurate. Thurs looks the same
(more or less) as the Latin Thorn, and has a common root.
> As for the old English I'm uncertain - I guess the old Celtic ways
> would have left something here ..
Nope. See above.
> like the Zodiac signs, the magic of the moon phases, Stone henge
> and tree's. It was based on the belief that balance was the key to
> everything. Which also meant that not only men was ranking
> members of their religion, which was the druidic society. They had
> an interesting faith in spirits in tree's (true treehuggers I
> guess) and identified female treespirits as Dryads. I'm sure there
> is some description of their alphabets somewhere in all
> that. Gotta be something there.
Err... no. Not even for the real Celtic forms. Phases of the moon
and Seasons are the basis of most of them, true, but look up the
time for Stonehenge... about 5000 years old, and Celtic and Druidic
cultures originate after 300AD. As for the trees, the pines were
used to sacrifice people, in some ceremonies, a far cry from hugging
them. A lot of later religion in England was introduced by Roman
missionaries, and is a variant of that culture's polytheistic
warring pantheon. Saxons, under Anglic influence (read: successive
invasions) were converted to their own form of Christianity
somewhere around 600AD. The Normans, coming later, reestablished
"proper Catholicism", later fallen to the Anglic (Episcopalian)
The Saxons came to England from Germany by way of France early in
the 3rd century AD (possibly late 2nd), having taken Gaulic
territories with their sword bearing armies. (Saxon == Sword)
As for who built the stone circles? No one history recalls.
> *looks around*
> Hmm .. reminds me that the Zodiac table is closely related to
> modern astrology and calendars and times zones.
Isn't modern western astrology entirely based on the Zodiac?
It strikes me that a game would be better off staying purely a
fictional world if it is going to assign global power to words as
this thread proposes. Most of the historical references of Western
European word-magic beliefs say that there is a power, inherent in
the person, needed to make the words perform their mysteries.
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