Emily Blanchard West

Associate Professor of Classics and History



I have worked for several years with William Malandra on creating computer fonts for ancient Iranian languages.  For some reason, these links don't seem to work in every browser;  if you have difficulty, consider switching to another.


Working together over a period of several years, William Malandra and Emily Blanchard West put together a comprehensive suite of Avestan-script and transliteration fonts in the True Type format for the Windows platform. Modeled after some of the beautiful lead typefaces used in the 19th and early 20th centuries in India (differing from the font of Geldner's critical edition), they are closer to the orthography of authoritative manuscripts such as F1. They are an attractive and functional way to render Avestan or transliterated Avestan on the computer.

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Pahlavi presents a special challenge to the fontographer because its enormous body of ligatures creates a nearly limitless character set. In a long-term collaboration, Emily West and William Malandra began to experiment with alternate schemes for duplicating written Pahlavi. We chose to break up the ligatures and represent the script graphically, rather than phonetically. This results in a font that behaves somewhat like a typesetting program, even allowing the user some flexibility as to how he will represent certain letter combinations. Though many of the key assignments might not seem intuitive, or even logical at first, they form a comprehensive whole, and the result is a flexible system for rendering Pahlavi. Complete instructions for use appear below. We have named our primary font "Khusro" after the Sassanian king Khusro I. A second font, Ardashir, is a slightly modified version of Khusro for use in academic citations and footnotes.

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