Does "Michael Jackson" come before "Nick Cave"?
The principles of alphabetical order, known in Antiquity, were later forgotten and were rediscovered in the Middle Ages. Miethaner-Vent explains that the first step was grouping together all the words beginning with the same letter. Next came organization to the second letter, which was not always the second letter of the word but rather the vowel of the first syllable. Words whose initial syllable was pronounced in the same way were grouped together. It is this arrangement which is found in the Affatim Glossary (ninth century) and described by Daly: "[the order] is determined by the first letter and by the first vowel following the first letter of each word, regardless of what other letters may intervene. It results, for example, that words beginning in fla- and fra- may precede words beginning in fa-, and that 144 glosses intervene between affatim and affecta."
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