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Originally, the Greek alphabet was written from right to left, but a form of writing called boustrophedon later developed.

In boustrophedon, lines of text alternated direction: One line would run from right to left, then the next line would run from left to right, then the next line from right to left again, and so on in zigzag fashion down the page.

Gradually, this system died out and all lines were written from left to right. Boustrophedon was generally seen just in Greek writing, but some early examples of Etruscan and Latin writing also use it, so it's not completely unheard-of for Latin-alphabet text to be written right to left.

In boustrophedon, the shape of a letter on a right-to-left line was the mirror image of its shape on a left-to-right line, enabling the reader to tell easily the direction of a given line of text.


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