Kharoshthi (in linguistically correct Unicode
, Kharos.t.hʙ), is an ancient script of the Indian subcontinent
. It is similar to Brahmi
and was used extensively in the northwestern portion of India, probably the older of the two scripts. Kharoshthi is thought to have been first used in the fourth or perhaps fifth century BCE
. It was abandoned in ancient times, leaving no modern scripts from which it was derived, unlike Brahmi (from which came the Burmese
, and other scripts).
Kharoshthi is an alphasyllabary, or an abugida. It was written from right to left in a cursive fashion. The most prominent period in which it was used was the second and third centuries CE, mostly in Uzbekistan. It was used to write the Middle Indo-Aryan language Gandhari.
The origins of Kharoshthi can clearly be traced to Aramaic. Because the area in which Kharoshthi was developed was under control of the Achaemenian Empire, in which Aramaic was the lingua franca, this makes both historic and logical sense.
Information sourced from Daniels, Peter T. Bright, William. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.