from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun An alphabetic system of inscribed notches for vowels and lines for consonants used to write Old Irish, chiefly on the edges of memorial stones, from the fifth to the early seventh century.
- noun A character used in this alphabet.
- noun An inscription in the ogham alphabet.
- noun A stone inscribed in the ogham alphabet.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A character belonging to an alphabet of 20 letters used by the ancient Irish and some other Celts in the British islands.
- noun An inscription consisting of such characters.
- noun The system of writing which consisted of such characters.
- noun See the quotation.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun A particular kind of writing practiced by the ancient Irish, and found in inscriptions on stones, metals, etc.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- proper noun Alternative form of
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
It's fair to say that no sample of written Pictish that we can read has survived, although as we still can't decipher the symbol stones satisfactorily we can't say whether the symbols, and/or the ogham inscriptions that also haven't been deciphered, represent a form of written Pictish, perhaps a limited sub-set of the language used for particular purposes.
Even if an ogham rosetta could be discovered, they would still have to try and translate the text back into oral pictish, difficult unless it is accepted that the way to understand it is via p-celtic patterns.
The increasing simplification traceable from the Egyptian epigraphic hieroglyphs to the Greek and Roman alphabets and the anticipation of modern stenography and telegraphic code in the cuneiform inscriptions (Semitic) and the virgular quinquecostate ogham writing (Celtic).
Surprisingly easy to navigate despite a seeming rush and jumble of information, it introduces guests to a myriad of stone circles, ogham stones, wedge tombs, passage tombs, and stone rows primarily from Western Europe.
This embraces a beautiful and perfect round tower, a singularly interesting ruined church commonly called the cathedral, the ruins of a second church beside a holy well, a primitive oratory, a couple of ogham inscribed pillar stones,
(Woden's last words to Balder are famous); the riding round the pyre; the eulogium; the piling of the barrow, which sometimes took whole days, as the size of many existing grass mounds assure us; the funeral feast, where an immense vat of ale or mead is drunk in honor of the dead; the epitaph, like an ogham, set up on a stone over the barrow.
They might even refer to the ogham wands on which the first words of their tasks and the opening lines of poems were cut; and it is likely that, being new to these things, they would talk of them to a youngster, and, thinking that his wits could be no better than their own, they might have explained to him how ogham was written.
This embraces a beautiful and perfect round tower, a singularly interesting ruined church commonly called the cathedral, the ruins of a second church beside a holy well, a primitive oratory, a couple of ogham inscribed pillar stones, &c., &c.
In the exercise of this they made use of wands of yew, upon which they wrote in a secret character called ogham.
It was eventually superseded by the Roman letters which were introduced by the Church and must have been propagated with all the prestige of the new religion behind them; but isolated ogham inscriptions exist on grave stones erected as late as the year