Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


edited by: M. Betrò - D. Salvoldi (translation revised by Melanie Rockenhaus)

  • Introduction
  • Ancient Writing Systems
  • Further information


(end 1st cent.-11th cent. A.D., language of the Coptic orthodox church liturgy)


The final phase of the Egyptian language was replaced starting from the second half of the 7th Century by Arabic. It used to be divided into five major dialects, the most important were Sahidic in Upper Egypt and Boharic in Lower Egypt. The language phases before Coptic had many dialects as well, but their differences are unknown and unmarked on texts. Coptic is now bound to the Christians of Egypt (6% according to the Government, up to over 20% according to the Copts; probably 15%), even though the orthodox liturgy today uses Bohairic Coptic mixed with Greek and mostly Arabic.

Ancient Writing Systems

  1. Coptic

Further information

  1. Bibliography