History of The Greek Alphabet

The history of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letter forms and continues to the present day. This article concentrates on the early period, before the codification of the now-standard Greek alphabet.

The Phoenician alphabet was strictly speaking an abjad that was consistently explicit only about consonants, though even by the 9th century BC it had developed matres lectionis to indicate some, mostly final, vowels. This arrangement is much less suitable for Greek than for Semitic languages, and these matres lectionis, as well as several Phoenician letters which represented consonants not present in Greek, were adapted to represent vowels consistently, if not unambiguously.

The Greek alphabet was developed by a Greek with first-hand experience of contemporary Phoenician script and, almost as quickly as it was established in the Greek mainland was rapidly re-exported, eastwards to Phrygia, where a similar script was devised, and westwards with Euboean or West Greek traders, where the Etruscans adapted the Greek alphabet to their own language.

Read more about History Of The Greek AlphabetChronology of Adoption, Restructuring of The Phoenician Abjad, Epichoric Alphabets, Additional Letters, Standardization – The Ionic Alphabet, Later Developments, The Names of The Letters, Greek Numerals, Diffusion

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