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“The Armenians had no characters peculiar to themselves until the fourth century, but they used indifferently those of the Syrians, of the Persians, of the Arabians, and of the Greeks.
The present Armenian Alphabet contains thirty-eight letters, which they say were invented by one Mesrop or Miesrob, minister of. state, and secretary to Warasdates, and Arsaces IV. kings of Armenia. Some authors affirm, that this Mesrop afterwards became a hermit, and corresponded with St. Chrysostom, who lived in the fourth century; though Angelus Roccha, in his discourse on the books in the Vatican library, George, patriarch of Alexandria, and Sixtus Senensis, assert, that St. Chrysostom was the inventor of the Armenian characters, in whose time the Bible was translated into the Armenian language, from the Greek Septuagint, by some of their doctors who had learned the Greek language, and amongst others by one Moses the grammarian, and David the philosopher.
Although the Armenian characters are generally supposed to have been derived from the Greek, their forms are very different, and their number exceeds those in the Greek alphabet, by more than one third. The powers of the Armenian letters are peculiarly adapted to the notation of that language, which is very unpolished, and consequently very unlike the Greek. This alphabet contains several letters or marks for sounds which frequently occur in the Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and Armenian languages, but are not found in the Greek.
“The Armenians have four kinds of writing : The first is called Zakghachir, or flourished, used for the titles of books, and for the beginning of chapters.
“The second is called Erghathachir, writing with iron, or with a Stylus, which has long been disused.
“The third is called Poloverchir, or round, which is found in their fairest MSS.
“The fourth is called Notrchir, or running hand, which is used for the ordinary affairs of life. The names and powers of the Armenian letters are as follow:
“The Armenians say that Haik, who lived before the destruction of Babel, was the first who spoke the Haikanian or Armenian language.” — Astle.
|Names of the Letters||Figures of the Letters||Powers of the Letters||Numerical Value|
|ա (a)||տ (d)|
|գ (ch)||դ (t)|
|ե (je)||է (e)|
|զ (ss)||ղ (k)|
|ը (je)||ր (r)|
|ժ (sg)||ծ (z)|
|ի (i)||խ (hh)|
|լ (l)||շ (sc)||չ (cc)|
|ձ (zz)||ն (n)|
|ռ (rr)||ս (s)||ո (v)|