The Earliest-Known Writing System From Which A Recorded Language Developed Ancient Greek Writing – 3 Important Writing Styles

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Ancient Greek Writing – 3 Important Writing Styles

In its earliest days of writing, Mycenaean Greek was written using a syllabary. However, for about 2700 years, Greek has been written using alphabets. As with other writing systems, over time, different types of writing developed. Just as modern English has many variations from cursive to letters and capitals to lowercase, Ancient Greek also had many variations.

The three main differences were the original Greek alphabet (capital letters), the Uncial alphabet and the Greek minuscule alphabet (small letters).

Greek Initial Letters – Typing with “Caps Lock” On

This is the easiest alphabet to learn. The most common place to use letters was to carve them into monuments. To facilitate the carving process, the letters tend to have less curvature. They were also large, similar to what we call capital letters today. In fact, many of them are used as capital letters in Latin texts in which English is written.

Here is an example of an ancient Greek text:

Α, Β, Γ, Δ, Ε, Ζ, Η, Θ, Ι, Κ, Λ, Μ, Ν, Ξ, Ο, Π, Ρ, Σ, Τ, Υ, Φ, Χ, Ψ, Ω

First letters were written without spaces or punctuation marks. The burden of distinguishing between words and sentences may fall on the reader. A good example of this type of writing can be found on the Rosetta Stone.

Then Uncial Script – Top Page with Another Type

Uncial writing appeared at the beginning of the first millennium AD It was very similar to large writing. All letters were capitalized and there were no spaces between words when he wrote.

This style was often used for writing on parchment and vellum. This is an important text to study for those interested in Greek as the vast majority of Greek literature comes from this period including the early Christian writings.

Greek Minuscule Script – Good Things Come in Small Packages

Somewhere in the last two thousand years, the Greek alphabet became less common. A writing system called minuscule (similar to small letters) was developed. Some works are written in minuscule. Others were mixing old capital letters (majuscules) with lowercase letters. Where two types of writing appeared together, minuscule was always common. As with English, proper nouns and the first word of a paragraph are written. However, in ancient Greek, the first word of any sentence was not capitalized (unless it was a proper noun or the beginning of a clause as described above).

Here are the letters in minuscule script:

α, β, γ, δ, ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, μ, ν, ξ, ο, π, ρ, σ, τ, υ, φ, χ, ψ, ω

Just as the uppercase letters have survived as the uppercase letters of Modern Greek, the minuscule script exists as the lowercase letters of Modern Greek. A student of Modern Greek learns the majuscule and minuscule letters in order to be able to read and write the language.

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