Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


edited by: Giulia Torri (translation revised by Melanie Rockenhaus)

  • Introduction
  • Ancient Writing Systems

The Lydian language was spoken from eighth to second century BC in the area of Turkey near the river Hermos (Gediz). The Kingdom flourished from seventh to sixth century BC when it was governed by the kings Gyges and Croesus, mentioned in the Greek literary tradition. It was conquered by Cyrus of Persia in 546, which ended its period of independence.

The capital of this state was Sardis from which most of the inscriptions come. These are mainly funerary inscriptions and coin legends. There are also some short decrees and some texts of uncertain character. A brief bilingual inscription in Aramaic and Lydian allowed researchers to outline the grammar of the language that, however, still remains practically undeciphered. If the grammatical structure is now largely understood, the lexicon and the meaning of words remain almost completely unknown

Lydian is an Indo-European language and belongs to the group of Anatolian languages. Its relations with the other languages of this family, however, cannot at present be determined with certainty.


Ancient Writing Systems