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The Phrygian alphabet is the script used in the earliest Phrygian texts.
It dates back to the 8th century BCE and was used until the fourth century BCE ("Old-Phrygian" inscriptions), after which it was replaced by the common Greek alphabet ("New-Phrygian" inscriptions, 1st to 3rd century CE). The Phrygian alphabet was derived from the Phoenician alphabet and is almost identical to the early West Greek alphabets.
The alphabet consists of 19 letters – 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and 14 consonants (b, g, d, v, z, y, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t). A variant of the Phrygian alphabet was used in the inscriptions of the Mysian dialect. Words are often separated by spaces or by three or four vertically spaced points. It is usually written from left to right ("dextroverse"), but about one-sixth of the inscriptions was written from right to left ("sinistroverse"). In multi-line inscriptions there is usually a spelling of boustrophedon (a few dozen inscriptions).
The nineteen characters of the Old-Phrygian alphabet are:
|Writing direction||Transcription||Phoneme||New-Phrygian |
|Δ, Λ||Λ, Δ||d||/d/||Δ|
|Ε,||,||e||/e/, /eː/||Ε, Η|
|Ι||Ι||i||/i/, /iː/||Ι, ΕΙ|
|Κ, , , 𐊜,||, , 𐊜||k, , , 𐊜,||/k/||Κ|
|Ο||Ο||o||/o/, /oː/||Ο, Ω|
|, , ,||,||s||/s/||Σ|
|u||/u/, /uː/||ΟΥ, O|
|, Φ, ,||, Φ, ,||/z/ (/zd/?)||Ζ|
- Obrador Cursach, Bartomeu (2018). Lexicon of the Phrygian Inscriptions (PDF). Doctoral dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona. pp. 31–50. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
- Claude Brixhe (2008), 'Phrygian', in: Roger D. Woodard (ed.), The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor (Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press), pp. 69-80: p. 73: "a little less than one-third" was written from right to left. On the contrary, Obrador Cursach (2018), p. 35, implies that the majority was sinistroverse: according to him only a small minority ("66 out of 395" Old-Phrygian inscriptions) were "dextroverse". However, his comprehensive catalogue of inscriptions in the same book, pp. 349-420, shows that in fact 84 out of ca. 550 Old-Phrygian inscriptions listed) are marked "←", and therefore the minority is "sinistroverse" (reading from right to left), so Brixhe is right. Apparently on p. 35 Obrador Cursach has inadvertently interchanged the words "dextroverse" and "sinistroverse".
- Obrador Cursach (2018), p. 35.
- Phonetic system in the Phrygian language (in Russian)
- Obrador Cursach (2018), p. 34.
- Obrador Cursach (2018), p. 55-58.
- Media related to Phrygian alphabet at Wikimedia Commons