- History and Description
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The earliest documents written in Greek date from the 8th century BC (inscriptions from Athens and from Phera). All its letters were practically the same as in Phoenician, later letters j, c, x, w, y were added. Its type and set of symbols are very close to the Old Phrygian alphabet, and even now linguists doubt about which alphabet was invented the first. The alphabet had several significant advances comparing to the Semitic consonant prototype: first of all, special symbols denoting vowels appeared in Greek, which did not exist in Semitic - this was rather important for the progress of the Indo-European civilization.
In the Classical period of the Greek history the script was used in two varieties: Western Greek and Eastern Greek. They differed in the way of writing a few symbols. The Eastern alphabet later developed into classical Greek and Byzantine, later on its basis Cyrillic, Gothic and Coptic alphabets were worked out, as well as the Armenian and the Georgian scripts. As for the Western variety, it led to the creation of Italic, Etruscan, Roman and, as some scientists think, also the Germanic Runic scripts.
The classical alphabet in Greece consisted of 27 letters and was written from the left to the right. Later special symbols which were used only for mathematic figures - koppa, stigma, sampi - became extinct. In Doric, Arcadian and some other Greek dialects another symbol was used for the sound [w] which Attic and Ionian dialects had dropped before. This symbol was called digamma and was written as F. The New Greek alphabet nowadays uses 24 letters.
Languages which used the script:
Hellenic (Ancient Greek and New Greek),
and many nations of ancient Europe, Africa and Asia since the Hellenism
epoch and till today.
- Alphabets (genealogical chart)
- From Proto-Semitic to Greek
- New Greek Alphabet
- From Pictograms to Alphabet
Apo palaiou oi anqrwpoi makron
cronon episteuon, oti oi qeoi pantacou pareisin, tou twn anqrwpwn biou
metecousi kai tois men ton olbon epitiqeasi, tois de ou, bion kai qanaton
dwra twn qewn enomizon. Tois qeois pantoia qhria equon, wsper ippous kai
Oi men Acaioi tous qeous anqrwpous enomizon, oi de barbaroi, wsper oi Skuqai, hliwi kai anemwi equon. Oi men prwtoi tous qeous malista eqerapeuon kai tois qeois bwmous kai iera idruon, oi de pollakis oute bwmous, oute news kateskeuazon.
Usteron oi Aqhnaioi Aqhnhsi ta twn qewn iera kala eicon. Polloi xenoi ekastou eniautou Aqhnaze hkon kai tous news eqaumazon. Ote Aqhnhqen oikade hkon, tois oikeiois qaumasia erga ta twn Aqhnaiwn elegon.
Apo palaiou oi anthrópoi makron chronon
episteuon, oti oi theoi pantachou pareisin, tou tón anthrópón
biou metechousi kai tois men ton olbon epititheasi, tois de ou, bion kai
thanaton dóra tón theón enomizon. Tois theois pantoia
théria ethuon, ósper ippous kai taurous.
Oi men Achaioi tous theous anthrópous enomizon, oi de barbaroi, ósper oi Skuthai, éliói kai anemói equon. Oi men prótoi tous theous malista etherapeuon kai tois qeois bómous kai iera idruon, oi de pollakis oute bómous, oute neós kateskeuadzon.
Usteron oi Athénaioi Athénési ta tón theón iera kala eichon. Polloi ksenoi ekastou eniautou Athénadze ékon kai tous neós ethaumadzon. Ote Athénéthen oikade ékon, tois oikeiois thaumasia erga ta tón Athénaión elegon.
Since ancient times people believed for
a long time that gods are everywhere, that they take part in the people's
life and to some do grant happiness, to some don't; they thought life and
death are gods' gifts. To these gods they sacrificed many things, such
as horses and bulls.
Achaeans believed that gods are people, but barbarians, such as Scythians, worshipped the sun and the wind. The first respected the gods very much and built sanctuaries and temples for them, the second didn't construct either sanctuaries or temples.
Later the citizens in Athens had many beautiful sacral places for the gods. Many guests came to Athens every year and wondered at the temples. When they came back home from Athens they told their families about the wonders of Athenians.