Mysian language

The Mysian language was spoken by Mysians inhabiting Mysia in north-west Anatolia.

Extinct1st century BC
Language codes
ISO 639-3yms

Little is known about the Mysian language. Strabo noted that it was, "in a way, a mixture of the Lydian and Phrygian languages".[1] As such, the Mysian language could be a language of the Anatolian group. However, a passage in Athenaeus suggests that the Mysian language was akin to the barely attested Paeonian language of Paeonia, north of Macedon.


Only one inscription is known that may be in the Mysian language. It has seven lines of about 20 signs each, written from right to left (sinistroverse), but the first two lines are very incomplete. The inscription dates from between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE and was found in 1926 by Christopher William Machell Cox and Archibald Cameron in Üyücek village, 15 km due south of Tavşanlı, in the Tavşanlı district of Kütahya province, near the outskirts of the classical Phrygian territory.[2] The text seems to include Indo-European words.[3][4]

The alphabet used resembles the Old-Phrygian alphabet, but some signs are quite different:[5]

sign  ,     Δ ?  ,     I          ,                
Phrygian equivalent       Λ, Δ  ,     I         O       T      
transcription a b g d e v i k l m n o p r s t u y  
phoneme /a/,
/b/ /g/ /d/ /e/,
/w/ /i/,
/k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /o/,
/p/ /r/ /s/ /t/ /u/,
/j/ /ts/ ?

In the past there has been much confusion concerning the sibilants in the alphabet. Initially it was thought that the   sign represented a sibilant, transcribed as š or z, but since 1969 it is known that it actually denoted a /j/ sound, transcribed as y. The   sign was thought to be a sound not present in the regular Old-Phrygian alphabet and dubbed the "Mysian s", transcribed as ś, but it was in fact the regular s. The   sign was formerly transcribed s, but it is in fact the equivalent of the Phrygian   sign, probably denoting a /z/, /zd/, or /ts/ sound.[6]

It is uncertain whether the inscription renders a text in the Mysian language or if it is simply a Phrygian dialect from the region of Mysia. Brixhe, discussing the existing literature on the inscription, argues that the language is Phrygian.[7] The seventh line can be read as:

[.]lakes braterais patriyioisk[e]

The words "braterais patriyioisk[e]" have been proposed to mean something like "(for)[8] brothers and fathers / relatives":[9]

  • braterais is related to Phrygian βρατερε, Greek φρατήρ, Latin frater, English brother;
  • patriyiois is related to New-Phrygian pat(e)res (πατερης, πατρες: 'parents'), Greek πάτριος ('relative of the father'), Latin pater, English father;
  • and -ke is a Phrygian suffix meaning and, cf. Greek τε and Latin -que, 'and'.[10]

Lakes (or -lakes, a first sign may be missing) is most probably a personal name.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Strabo. "Geography, Book XII, Chapter 8". LacusCurtius.
  2. ^ Cox, C. W. M., and A. Cameron (1932). "A native inscription from the Myso-Phrygian Borderland", Klio 25, 25: 34-49, doi:
  3. ^ Epigraphical database: "Native 'Mysian' inscription". Packard Humanities Institute. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ Woudhuizen, Fred. C. (1993). "Old Phrygian: Some Texts and Relations". The Journal of Indo-European Studies. 21: 1–25.
  5. ^ Brixhe, Claude (2004). "Supplément II Corpus des inscriptions Paléo-Phrygiennes". Kadmos. 43 (1): 1-130: p. 34. Retrieved 2021-07-21. (in French)
  6. ^ Brixhe (2004), pp. 26-29.
  7. ^ Brixhe (2004), pp. 32-42.
  8. ^ The endings -ais and -ois look like datives Plural, but Brixhe (2004), pp. 41-42, argues that they are probably accusatives Plural. Obrador Cursach agrees: Obrador Cursach, Bartomeu (2018). Lexicon of the Phrygian Inscriptions (PDF). Doctoral dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona. p. 159. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  9. ^ Blažek, Václav. “Indo-European kinship terms in *-ə̯2TER.” (2001). In: Grammaticvs: studia linguistica Adolfo Erharto quinque et septuagenario oblata. Šefčík, Ondřej (editor); Vykypěl, Bohumil (editor). Vyd. 1. V Brně: Masarykova univerzita, 2001. p. 24.
  10. ^ Obrador Cursach (2018), pp. 159, 216, 267.
  11. ^ See J. Friedrich (1932), Kleinasiatische Sprachdenkmäler, 140–141.

External linksEdit