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Brahmi - The Time

The Brahmi script is found in the large parts of the Indian sub-continent by the 5th century BC. Brahmi always had many variations. The origin of the writing system dates further back in time. The great Indian king Ashoka inscribed the laws based on the teaching of Lord Buddha onto monumental columns using variants of this script only.

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Brahmi - Theories of its Origin

There are several theories on to the origin of this writing system. Some trace it to a West Semitic origin, as letters like the symbol for a is similar to the Semitic letter 'alif'. Also, dha, tha, la, and ra all appear quite close to their Semitic counterparts.

The second theory links it to the Southern Semitic origin. It does not seem to have many takers, though.
The third theory traces Brahmi to the Indus Valley Script, although it is difficult to get any textual evidence in support between the Harappan period at around 1900 BC and the first Brahmi inscriptions dating to 500 BC. Brahmi and its sister writing system, Kharosthi, are quite different from Semitic scripts, all of which make the history very confusing.
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Brahmi -The Nature

Brahmi is a "syllabic script", where each character carries a consonant followed by the internal vowel "a", much like Old Persian. But a different vowel with extra strokes are attached to the character for the longer variety of 'a'. The combinations of consonants, called the clusters, are formed with ligatures. eg (K+ya)

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Brahmi - Mother of Deva-nagari

The Brahmi script is the ancestor of almost all Indian writing systems, including the Devanāgarī. In addition, it has given birth to many other Asian scripts, such as Burmese, Thai, and Tibetan. Thus, the Brahmi script was the Indian equivalent of the Greek script which had given rise to many different writing systems.

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