The Lycian alphabet

Lycian    Lycian alphabet

Lycian was an Anatolian language spoken in what is now the Antalya region of Turkey up to about the 3rd Century BC, when the Lycians adopted Greek as their languages. Lycian is thought to have developed from Luwian, a language spoken in Asia Minor before the arrival of the Hittites (c. 18th century BC), and was related to Lydian.
The Lycian alphabet was adapted from an archaic version of the Doric Greek alphabet. Only a few of the Lycian letters were original inventions, or possibly borrowed from other alphabets. Around 180 inscriptions in Lycian dating from the fifth and fourth centuries BC have been found. As current knowledge of the language, particularly its grammar, is quite limited, not all the inscriptions have been fully deciphered.

Notable features

  • Type of writing system: alphabet
  • Writing direction: left to right in horizontal lines
  • Number of letters: 29 (23 consonants and 6 vowels)
  • Some letters have several variant forms
  • A colon-like symbol was generally used to separate words.

Lycian alphabet

Lycian alphabet
Note: the pronunciation of some of the letters is uncertain.

Sample text in Lycian

Sample text in Lycian


ebẽñnẽ prñnawu mẽn. e prñnawatẽ hanadaza hrppi ladi ehbi setideime. 

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