Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


- end 1st century - 11th century AD

edited by: M. Betrò - D. Salvoldi     DOI: 10.25429/   (translation by Melanie Rockenhaus)
Last update: 1/2022

  • Introduction
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Fresco with Coptic and Greek inscriptions, 1232; Altar of the Four Livings, Church of St. Anthony the Great, Orthodox Coptic monastery of Mar Antonios, Arabian Desert, Egypt.

The 1st century AD Christian Egyptians began translating the sacred texts of their new religion into Coptic, even if they preferred to avoid the use of Demotic, the writing script of pagan Egypt. They therefore used 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, seven signs copied from Demotic (for the transcription of phonemes found in Egyptian but not in Greek) and a monogram.

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