The Greek alphabet is a writing system consisting of 24 letters (7 vowels and 17 consonants) and dates back to the 9th century BC; comes from the Phoenician alphabet, in which each sign was associated with a single sound
. In turn, the same signs of the Phoenician alphabet would result from a simplification of some Egyptian hieroglyphics which, for the principle of acrophony, lost their initial meaning, leaving each sign only the phonetic value.

ancient greek text
ancient greek text

The Greek alphabet

The Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet

letter names:

Alfa
Beta
Gamma
Delta
Epsilon
zeta
Eta
Teta
Iota
Kappa
Lambda
Mu
Nu
Xi
Omicron
Pi
Ro
Sigma
Tau
Ipsilon
Fi
Chi
Psi
Omega

curiosità sull’alfabeto antico

In origine l’alfabeto possedeva altri segni alfabetici,poi scomparsi o usati per altro tipo di notazione grafica,quali:

F (digamma)—> Ϝ in uppercase and ϝ in lowercase. This letter was used only in the archaic phase of the Greek language, later it will only function numeral. In the classical Greek numeral system it represents 6. It read like a waw, or a “v”. For example, the Greek word anax originally had a digamma–> Ϝanax (read “vanacs”) in turn of Mycenaean origin Wa-na-ka. The letter was widespread in Mycenaean, in the Greek of Laconia, Boeotia and Cyprus and in other regions, absent instead in Ionic, Attic and Eastern Doric.

Ϙ (Qoppa) archaic letter of the Greek alphabet of Phoenician origin, which competed with kappa in the transcription of the phoneme “k”. Later, the kappa prevailed and qoppa was relegated only to indicate the number 90 graphically, it is traced back to the Phoenician letter qof. Present in the archaic Greek of Thera, in the eastern alphabet of Corinth and in the western alphabet of Beozia, the qoppa disappears into the Ionic alphabet except as a numerical sign. Although we will no longer see it in later Greek alphabets, from the evolution of the western ones of Magna Greece, it will evolve through the Etruscan in the Latin Q.

San (San)—> Ϻ uppercase e ϻ lowercase. Lettera arcaica con valore fonetico di “s”,ma cadde in disuso a favore della sigma. L’ultima attestazione risale al VI secolo a.C. Usata soprattutto nel dialetto cipriota per trascrivere la consonante “ts”.

Ϡ (Sampi)—> Ϡ uppercase e ϡ lowercase.Archaic letter fallen into disuse already in the classical period,the numeral value of which was 900. Indicate the sound “s” plus the sound “p”.

J (Jod) Of Phoenician origin from which the iota also derives, the sound was the semi-consonant sound (for the pronunciation see the Italian yesterday).

ϛ (Stigma) Used from the Hellenistic era to indicate the number 6, it is a graphic modification of the digamma and indicated the sound st.


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