What happened to Beth Mardutho? (And why won’t Syriac appear in my browser?) 9

Does anyone know what happened to the Beth Mardutho site? It used to be at http://www.bethmardutho.org/ and is now simply showing “forbidden.”

For those who do not know this site it is the site for The Syriac Institute, established by George Kiraz. You can read about it in an old ANE list message here. It was a great resource, although I had not visited it in quite some time.

I realized it was down today because I realized that Syriac was not appearing properly in my browser (Firefox, OS X 10.5.5). It is probably just a matter of fonts (you can check Syriac compatibility here, for example) but it was disappointing to find the Beth Mardutho site down. Anyone know what is up?

UPDATE: You can download Meltho, the suite of Syriac fonts, from Brill here, but it dates from 2001 and I think there must be newer versions. Also, I still cannot view Syriac in any browser, even with these fonts installed…)


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9 thoughts on “What happened to Beth Mardutho? (And why won’t Syriac appear in my browser?)

  • nahed sarvy

    Have you found a solution? I also have the same browser and system and it’s also not displaying for me. Broken from Wikipedia to test pages, all fonts.

  • Gareth Hughes

    There is a known bug in Firefox in certain builds for contextual shaping in Syriac. I have heard that this is fixed in Firefox 3, but haven’t thoroughly tested it across different platforms. The problem is not with the fonts themselves, but with the lack of support in viewing software for the Syriac tables. The Beth Mardutho site should be up in a few weeks.

  • Kaonohi

    Quick reiteration and elaboration in laymen’s terms…I’m referring specifically to Neo-Assyrian but the same applies to Syriac.

    Unicode rendering under OS X happens natively when an application uses the built-in OS X technology (AAT/ATSUI – which requires specific font tables to be present). OpenType fonts require Uniscribe (under Windows) or some other methodology to deal with the information in the font concerning the correct layout. Mellel does this, but Microsoft and Adobe use different subsets fo the same information. This is why virtually no OpenType fonts (for uncommon foreign writing systems) work in Microsoft products and only specific ones work in some Adobe products.

    The presence of only OpenType tables (and not the OS X required tables) is why Safari and Firefox won’t display Assyrian/Syriac correctly.

    Apple applications, most open-source applications and a growing number of third party applications can handle the AAT/ATSUI information provided in some fonts.

    Although there is no publicly available AAT font, I do have some in the works. They are remnants from a pre-OS X system that was never converted completely. Recent interest may change that. If you’re interested, I’d like to hear from you. (dkai@xenotypetech.com)