There are alphabets used among the Persians and Arabs as secret ciphers, which it can scarcely be doubted were original, and ages ago adopted and recognized as the ordinary business mode of communication among mankind. Of these ciphers the Tree Alphabet is the most common. The Philosopher Dioscorides wrote several works on the subject of trees and herbs, and made prominent the secret characters of this alphabet, which became known by his name, and was adopted and used by others.
The characters were distinguishable by the number of branches on either side of the tree; thus, the T H is recognizable from the S. H, notwithstanding each has three limbs on the left hand of the stem or trunk, by the one having six and the other seven branches on the right- hand side. As an example, there are in the illustration nine of the mystic characters and their relative values.The characters in the lower line given in the engraving are the relative value, and known as the Alphabet of Hermes or Mercury.
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