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Ancient Semitic Scripts

Ancient Semitic Scripts

This page contains a collection of fonts related to the history of the Hebrew writing. Starting with the Proto-Canaanite continuing with Phoenician/Canaanite, Paleo-Hebrew, Aramaic, early Hebrew Square Script - all the way to the modern Hebrew letter forms. Wherever possible, pictures of the documents  used for font creation are included.

        The History of the Hebrew Alphabet (Hebrew Presentation) 

Latest Release: 0.06-1 21-Mar-2010 ( Download or view sample )

Release Notes:

  1. ProtoCanaanite, Phoenician, all Paleo-Hebrew and Aramaic-Early-Br-Rkb  fonts now have the glyphs assigned to both the Hebrew Unicode  range (0590-05FF) and the  Phoenician code range (10900-1091F)
  2. Aramaic-VIIBCE and Aramaic-Imperial-Yeb fonts now have the glyphs assigned to both the Hebrew Unicode range (0590-05FF) and the Aramaic Imperial Unicode range (10840-1085F)
  3. The Hebrew-Samaritan font now has the glyphs assigned to both the Hebrew Unicode range (0590-05FF) and the Samaritan code range (0800-083F)
  4. Font "Makabi-YG" added. This is a "modernized" version of the "Hebrew Square Isaiah" font
  5. Oblique, Bold and Bold-Oblique weights added to "Keter YG" font
  6. The algorithms of vowel and cantillation marks positioning in the fonts "Keter Aram Tsova" and "Keter YG" were rewritten and should now  correctly position the marks.
  7. Corrections to "Hebrew Sofer Stam Ashkenaz" font
  • All the fonts in the binary tarballs are in open type  .ttf format. The source tarball includes FontForge source font database files of the fonts.
  • The "About the fonts" PDF documents are Hebrew only. Hopefully this will change in the future.
About the fonts
  • View Documentation (Hebrew only for now) .

Specifications and standards:

Unicode Hebrew(0590-05FF)
Unicode Phoenician(10900-1091F)
Unicode Imperial Aramaic(10840-1085F)
Unicode Samaritan(0800-083F)
Unicode Alphabetic Presentation Forms (FB00-FB4F)
Unicode Basic Latin (0020-007F)
Unicode Currency (20A0-20CF) 
Microsoft Hebrew OpenType Recommendations

Mailing Lists:

The ancient scripts subproject will  use the Culmus project mailing list


I'd like to thank:
  • George Williams for his  FontForge , the ultimate tool for font design.
  • Maxim Yorsh who was kind enough to host this pages in the Culmus project
  • Israel Gidali from IBM Israel. His innocent question about existance of proper Paleo-Hebrew font trigered my interst.
  • Ada Yardeni for her "Book of Hebrew Script" which was a further stimulus for my hobby.


The entire package of fonts is distributed under the terms of GNU General Public License version 2. The fonts contain parts created by various entities, see the LICENSE file inside the tarball or among the accompanying documentation files.

Many fonts in the package include numeric and punctuation glyphs from the culmus project YehudaCLM font family. Yehuda font family is copyright 2004 by Maxim Iorsh
( and Distributed under the terms of GNU General Public License version 2 ( All rights reserved.

The Keter-Aram-Tsova and Keter-YG fonts implement partialy the Hebrew OpenType Layout logic copyright (c) 2003 & 2007, Ralph Hancock & John Hudson. This layout logic for Biblical Hebrew is open source software under the MIT License; for details  contact copyright holders at <>.

As a special exception, if you create a document which use this fonts, and embed this fonts or unaltered portions of this fonts into the document, this fonts do not by themself cause the resulting document to be covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not however invalidate any other reasons why the document might be
covered by the GNU General Public License. If you modify this fonts, you may extend this exception to your version of the fonts, but you are not obligated to do so. If you do not wish to do so, delete this exception statement from your version.


For all questions regarding the ancient semitic fonts in this subproject contact Yoram Gnat (יורם גנת).