AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO || Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu/ Julia Bolton Holloway 2012
 

THE ALPHABET 

 



  Karen Graffeo, June 2011, Alphabet School, 'English Cemetery, Florence

ulian of Norwich, twice over in her Showing of Love, speaks of theology as an .A.B.C., as God's Alphabet. Dom Jean Leclerq tells us that anchorites and anchoresses earned their keep teaching children their A.B.C. and Latin.

Take away the alphabet and the Bible and what would we have left of western culture? Neither are European, yet Europe is culturally shaped by them, deriving from them its mode of communication across time and space, also its religion and its history, then spreading these wherever Europe has conquered or settled, in Africa, Asia, Australasia, the Americas.
 

Evolution of the Alphabet

From http://www.wam.umd.edu/~rfradkin/latin.html
 

Professoressa Maria Giulia Amadasi, Universit degli Studi di Roma 'La Sapienza', showed the following alphabet (the order of the letters reversed, boustrophedon), written on the side of a child's wax tablet, on which he was learning, with a stylus, his letters.
 

        Y  T     SRQ    PO    NMLKJIHGFEDCBA

 
 

The names of our letters, in Hebrew, Arabic and Greek, are the same, despite many centuries, despite diverse languages, in a shared technology:

|| Aleph, Alef, Alpha || Beth, Ba, Beta || Gimel, Geem, Gamma
|| Daleth, Dal, Delta || Zayin, Zai, Zeta || Teth, Thal, Theta
|| Kaph, Kaf, Kappa || Lamed, Lam, Lamda || Mem, Meem, Mu
|| Nun, Nun, Nu || Rhesh, Ra, Rho || Sin, Seen, Sigma
|| Tau, Toa, Tau ||
Their names are pictographic and polyvalent: aleph being ox and one; beth, tent/house and 2; gimel , camel and 3; daleth, door and 4; he, whistle and 5; vau , nail and 6; zayin, weapon and 7; kheth , fence and 8; teth, twisting and 9; yod, hand and 10; kaph, palm and 20; lamed , ox-goad and 30; mem, water and 40; nun , fish and 50; samech , support and 60; ayin, eye and 70; pe/phe , mouth and 80; tzadi, hook and 90; qoph , coif and 100; resh, head and 200; sin/shin, tooth and 300; tau, cross and 400. We, as the three Peoples of the Book, are one family in this ancient technology of alphabet and mathematics. What difference is there between a clay cylinder incised with cuneiform symbols and a floppy disk? Torah, Gospel, Koran are books that communicate across space and time, in a past, present, future Internet.


However, Fioretta Mazzei wisely reminds us not to despise those who are illiterate
:

Ricerca la sagezza anche di un analfabeta,
Non sola la scuola a dare cultura/

Learn wisdom from one who is illiterate

It isn't just the school that gives culture.

Fai attenzione alle persone e alla natura:
E` molto pi importante che leggere un libro.


Paying attention to people and nature

Is far more important than reading a book.

Along with postcards I sometimes give alphabet and number cards, to Rom children, knowing they are under-stimulated, lacking schooling, lacking toys, needing something to chase away boredom, while sitting begging with their mothers in the streets, an alphabet/number game which could be of use later in their lives.

On one side:

A B C D E F G

H I J K L M

N O P Q R S T

U V W X Y Z

On the other:

1 . 6 ......
2 .. 7 .......
3 ... 8 ........
4 .... 9 .........
5 ..... 10 ..........

You, too, can copy these, six to a page at a time, double-sided, printing them and cutting them, to give to children, any children. But especially children in need of them. Gypsy men tell me of reading the Bible. But, with tears in their eyes, of their difficulty in believing in God because of the treatment they receive in the world. I have seen them turned away from Christ's altar.

At the end of our conference on the City and the Book in Florence in 2001 we visited Fiesole, from which Troy was founded by Dardanus, and from which Rome was founded by Aeneas, and from which Florence was founded by Julius Caesar, seeing there Etruscan inscriptions resembling Viking runes, for these, too, are Phoenician in origin. The ' Dream of the Rood ' was first inscribed in Anglo-Saxon runes on a stone cross beyond Hadrian's Wall in Ruthwell, Scotland, then in Roman letters on parchment in a manuscript left by a pilgrim at Vercelli, Italy. Geoffrey Chaucer, who visited Florence in the fourteenth century, tells us in the Canterbury Tales of the pagan Anglo-Saxon King Alla of Northumberland using a Celtic Bible, 'A Britoun book, written with Evaungiles', combining that tale with Constance's voyage also to Islam ('Man of Law's Tale', II.B.666).

Recently, the Venetic alphabet used on tablets found in Slovenia has been thought to be representing proto-Slovenian phonetically (http://www.thezaurus.com/sloveniana/venetic_script1.htm), but scholars dispute the claim:

aaaa
                                                                    Alphabet tablet Es 25(LLV) Museo Nazionale Atestino
 

First Wulfila, then Cyril and Methodius, invented quasi-new alphabets for translating the Bible into Gothic, into Slavic. Fyodor Dosteivsky, writing The Idiot in Florence in the nineteenth century, describes his princely hero come home to Russia from Switzerland, writing the signature in Cyrillic of the fourteenth-century abbot Paphnutius, whose name mirror-reflects that of the Desert Father in the Egyptian Thebaid.

Our alphabet reached India, reached Malaya, stopping short at China. Today, in the streets of Florence, in the San Lorenzo market, Chinese immigrants will paint for you in exquisite pictographic calligraphy, worthy of a Laurentian Library manuscript, our Roman Alphabet as they learn it, where A can be a pagoda, B, bamboo, C, a crustacean:

This is what we should teach our children, the wonders of the alphabet, how it had also been a number system, how it came into being amongst Semitic peoples, then propagated itself along trade routes, how our alphabet organizes for us our libraries, our filing systems, our computers, and how it reflects Creation's alphabets, the atomic chart of elements, http://chemiplus.net/, the biological codes of DNA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dna, and this from Google: Everything is Miscellaneous:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2159021324062223592&q=type%3Agoogle+engEDU
Above all how the alphabet is of one family, of humanity.

Where we fear strange-seeming scripts we may resort to Holocausts, but not when we appreciate the history of this gift, this tool, this heritage. Our library in Florence, the Biblioteca e Bottega Fioretta Mazzei, begins with the alphabet, then the Bible, the Gospel, the Koran, in their original languages, then much else, and ends with the children's shelf at their level, with tiny Hebrew Psalters, always their favourite books in the library, and the alphabet.

We must teach for the world's future the world's past, and these lessons should be at the lowest level for the youngest children at the age when learning is most rapid and most important.

I taught Nursery School for many years and would type their stories, then have them paint the pictures for these books we wrote together, their books. I've also had them paint their wooden alphabet blocks and print them to see how the letters mirror-reflect each other, coming out going in the opposite direction. St Jerome speaks of teaching girl babies to read and write by giving them ivory tablets inscribed with the letters of the alphabet so they could feel them as well as see them. Projects like 'Operation Head Start' in America insisting on keeping young Black children in the slums away from books, saying they needed first to work on their socializing skills, but in fact enforcing their illiteracy by these means more subtlely though similarly as during slavery. Women, for centuries, in the Church had taught young boys and girls their alphabets in Dame Schools.

Dame Julian of Norwich was likely such a teacher and she speaks in her text of God's Alphabet.

In the Hebrew Bible, God creates the world 'in number,weight and measure'. The Hebrew alphabet is as well a numerical system, numbers being letters, letters, numbers, as well as objects, such as hand 'yod, palm, 'kaph'. I give these small squares of paper, printed on each side, to gypsy children and parents in Florence.

1 . 6 ......
2 .. 7 .......
3 ... 8 ........
4 .... 9 .........
5 ..... 10 ..........


 

A B C D E F G

H I J K L M

N O P Q R S T

UV W X Y Z
 


 

 

Aa     Bb      Cc     Dd     Ee     Ff     Gg

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Hh     Ii        Jj      Kk     Ll     Mm    Nn

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Oo     Pp     Qq      Rr      Ss     Tt

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Uu     Vv     Ww    Xx     Yy      Zz

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________



Anau  Nume  Nome  Name:
______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Prenume Cognome Surname:

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

And here we hear Roma reciting the Alphabet

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance little children learned to read from horn books with the Alphabet and the Lord's Prayer. Madame Montesorri gave slum children letters cut in sandpaper using red for vowels, blue for consonants. I am teaching a gypsy mother how to read so she can teach her children how to read. Among the sheets of paper I have given her is this, the Lord's Prayer in Italian, for she speaks three languages, Rom, Romanian and Italian:

+ Padre Nostro,

che sei nei cieli

sia sanctificato il tuo nome,

venga il tuo regno,

sia fatta la tua volont

come in cielo cos in terra.

Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano,

e rimetti a noi i nostri debiti

come noi li rimettiamo ai nostri debitori,

e non ci indurre in tentazione

ma liberaci dal male. Amen

Alleluia +

And here is her copying of it:


 

Once we had Hedera and her baby and a young priest from Kerala in India to dinner with us. Between them they discovered that in their languages they shared the same Indo-European word for 'bread'.

And now, because this alphabetization is not just for writing out by hand but also for computing, even for writing books like Romany, here is the ABC for the computer keyboard:


ABC
SUL COMPUTER KEYBOARD:


!  "    $  %  &  /  (  )  =  ?  ^
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  ' 

Q  W  E  R  T  Y  U  I  O P +
q  w  e  r  t  y  u  i  o  p    *

A  S  D  F  G  H  J  K  L     
a  s  d  f  g  h  j  k  l       @  #
 
<  Z  X  C  V  B  N  M  ;  :  _
>  z      b  n   m  ,  . 

 

Tocca, usando le due mani, le lettere del suo nome e il suo cognome, iniziando con i capitali, poi le lettere piccole:
Touch, using the fingers of both hands, the letters for your name and surname, beginning each with a capital, then the lower letters:

 

 

Q  W  E  R  T  Y  U  I  O P +
 w   e     y     o p    *

A  S  D  F  G  H  J  K  L     
a         k  l        @  #
 
<  Z  X  C  V  B  N  M  ;  :  _
>      b  n   m  ,  . 




 

Julian of Norwich, twice over in her text, speaks of theology as an alphabet, as an .A.B.C. She likely taught the Alphabet and Latin to boys and girls, who then became monks and nuns. Until Archbishop Arundel's draconian prohibition against women teaching, especially theology. From which time, instead, she had to accept charity from those who willed her and her maids money for their survival in St Julian's anchorhold in Norwich. In our era of computer information technology this .A.B.C. needs sharing with all.


See and hear Haitian Wyclef Jean on illiteracy as modern-day slavery:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8890863.stm
and another programme on literacy training with donkey-cart libraries in Ethiopia:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7777560.stm


We are affiliated with Linda and Michael Falter who make
exquisite Hebrew manuscript facsimiles.
One of them is the
Kennicott Bible with the Rabbi David Kimhi commentary.
Adam Easton owned a Kimhi manuscript.

 Manuscript
              Leaves from Facsimile Editions


 


JULIAN OF NORWICH, HER SHOWING OF LOVE AND ITS CONTEXTS
1997-2008 JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY  || JULIAN OF NORWICH || SHOWING OF LOVE || HER TEXTS || HER SELF || ABOUT HER TEXTS || BEFORE JULIAN || HER CONTEMPORARIES || AFTER JULIAN || JULIAN IN OUR TIME ||  ST BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN  ||  BIBLE AND WOMEN || EQUALLY IN GOD'S IMAGE  || MIRROR OF SAINTS || BENEDICTINISM|| THE CLOISTER || ITS SCRIPTORIUM || AMHERST MANUSCRIPT || PRAYER|| CATALOGUE AND PORTFOLIO (HANDCRAFTS, BOOKS ) || BOOK REVIEWS || BIBLIOGRAPHY ||

 



AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO || Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu/ Julia Bolton Holloway 2012