Greek Alphabet Letters and Symbols

Below you will find a list of the Greek Alphabet, Letters and Symbols:

Here is the History of the Greek Alphabet:

Trade with the Phoenicians Led to the Greek Alphabet: While the history of the Ancient Greek civilization dominates our textbooks, novels, and movies – there were civilizations that predated the Ancient Greeks who had an impact on how the Ancient Greek culture formed. Among these prior civilizations were the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Dorians. The Minoans first rose to prominence on Crete, were taken over by the Mycenaeans who ruled for centuries in the area, and were then pushed out by the Dorians.

A combination of factors including the Dorian invasion made the Mycenaeans migrate out of the Greek mainland. This major migration gave way to the development what we know as Ancient Greece. However the settlers who established their roots in Greece and built Athens and other Ancient Greek points borrowed ideas and culture from prior civilizations. One of these items passed down among the civilizations was the Greek alphabet.

The Mycenaeans and the Phoenicians

The Mycenaeans were known for their war-like demeanor, which expanded their empire through brute conquests of surrounding settlements. Additionally, they were also known for their business prowess. The Mycenaeans were strong traders and set up commerce systems with traders to the east of Greece, specifically the areas that are now Syria and Egypt. Along with products, knowledge was transferred between the settlements.

The Phoenicians were one of the settlements the Mycenaeans traded with. The Phoenician empire was headquartered in the city of Tyre, which at the time was located on what was the coast of Syria, but is now modern-day Lebanon. The Phoenicians sent back with the Mycenaeans a language and notation system that evolved into the Greek alphabet.

The Phoenician Alphabet

The Mycenaean started to fall around 1200 BC and by 1100 BC most of the Mycenaeans had migrated out of Greece. During this time of transition, a new language system was slowly implemented. Around 750 BC the Greeks started to adopt the language system from the Phoenicians. This alphabet was different from what the Minoans used, which was referred to as Linear Script A, and from what the Mycenaeans used which was Linear Script B.

The Ancient Greek language did draw on the Mycenaean Linear B but the notation system used to record Ancient Greek was derived from the Phoenician alphabet. While some letters and word forms varied from region to region, the Phoenician system became the dominant alphabet throughout the Mediterranean. The Greek alphabet was a successor to the Phoenician system, most notably with a change in certain letter values to represent vowels. Greek however wasn’t written system to be derived from the Phoenician alphabet. Latin and Cyrillic also have roots attached to the Phoenician Greek alphabet.