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Old Italic alphabet

Old Italic refers to a number of related historical alphabets used on the Italian peninsula which were used for some non-Indo-European languages (Etruscan and probably North Picene ), various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch (Faliscan and members of the Sabellian group, including Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene ), and a separate Indo-European branch (Messapic). The alphabets derive from Euboean Greek used at Ischia and Cumae in the bay of Naples in the eighth century BC. Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian, North Picene, and South Picene all derive from an Etruscan form of the alphabet.

The Unicode standard includes support for the Etruscan alphabet (your browser may or may not display the characters properly, if at all):


Letter Translit. Name
𐌀 a a
𐌁 b be
𐌂 c ke
𐌃 d de
𐌄 e e
𐌅 v ve
𐌆 z ze
𐌇 h he
𐌈 b the
𐌉 i i
𐌊 k ka
𐌋 l el
𐌌 m em
𐌍 n en
𐌎 š esh
𐌏 o o
𐌐 p pe
𐌑 ś she
𐌒 q ku
𐌓 r er
𐌔 s es
𐌕 t te
𐌖 u u
𐌗 x eks
𐌘 ph phe
𐌙 ch khe
𐌚 f ef
𐌛 ř ers
𐌜 che
𐌝 ii
𐌞 uu
𐌠 I 1
𐌡 V 5
𐌢 X 10
𐌣 D 50


The Etruscan alphabet

It is not clear whether the process of adaptation from the Greek alphabet took place in Italy from the first colony of Greeks, the city of Cumae, or in Greece/Asia Minor. The Etruscan was mostly written from left to right. It was in any case a Western Greek alphabet. In the alphabets of the West, X had the sound value [ks], Psi stood for [k_h]; in Etruscan: X = [s], Psi = [k_j] or [k_X] (Rix 202-209). Is this supposed to be Psi or Chi? An additional sign, 8, was present in both Lydian and Etruscan (Jensen 513) Its origin is disputed; it may be an altered B or H or an ex novo creation (Rix 202). Its sound value was /f/ and it replaced the Etruscan FH.

The Oscan alphabet

Image:Oscanalphabet.png


External link

  • Old Italic Unicode http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U10300.pdf
  • The Etruscan alphabet http://www.omniglot.com/writing/etruscan.htm



Last updated: 02-08-2005 13:47:24
Last updated: 05-01-2005 16:38:59