Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism

Syriac numerals


Recently, I found that some people working with Syriac had little idea of how numerals are written in the language, so I wrote a little PDF manual to describe what is only briefly touched upon in the standard grammars.

The manual covers the various forms of numerals used in Syriac: the alphabetic numerals and the various systems of marking higher alphabetic numerals, Eastern Arabic numerals and Aramaic sign–value numerals.

The PDF can be downloaded from

Author: Gareth Hughes

A priest of the Church of England, who is Chaplain of Hertford College, Oxford, and doing Syriac research at Oxford University.

4 thoughts on “Syriac numerals

  1. Hi Gareth

    I need to write the Syriac symbols for ’23, 7, 31 & 5′ for a feature film (think ‘Da Vinci Code’) that we are making in Cape Town. I would be immensely grateful if you could show me what they would look like,


    Tom Hannam

    • Hi Tom,

      As the article shows, those numbers are written kap-gamal, zai, lamad-alap and he. However, I take it you don’t read Syriac, so I’m not sure how much use Syriac numerals will be to you. Not many people read the language anyway, so I do not see why you would want to use it in a popular medium.


      • Hi Gareth

        Well, you’re quite right, my Syriac IS rather sketchy! However, I have a scene in the movie where an archeologist discovers the numerals and is able to read them. I could just make up any old rubbish, but I hate doing that and would much rather add as much authenticity as possible, even though the script is risible.. My concern is that, if I try to put the characters together myself, a handful of experts such as yourself will scoff and guffaw!


  2. OK, which type of numerals do you want, or, if you’re not sure, which era are they supposed to represent?

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