Alphabetic script used for writing the Irish and Pictish (see Picts) languages on stone monuments, mostly circa AD 400–600. In its simplest form, it consists of four sets of strokes, or notches, each set containing five letters composed of from one to five strokes, thus creating 20 letters. A fifth set of five symbols, called forfeda (“extra letters”), was probably a later development. Most inscriptions are short and consist only of names. Of the more than 400 inscriptions known, about 330 are from Ireland.
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