Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources

Old Nubian

- 8th-15th cent A.D.

edited by: Daniele Salvoldi     DOI: 10.25429/     (translation revised by Melanie Rockenhaus)
Last update: 11/2023

  • Introduction
  • Further information

Old Nubian parchment fragment from Qasr Ibrim with iluminated image of a bishop (London, British Museum EA82963)

Old Nubian, the language of the Christian kingdom of Makuria/Dotawo, was written with the characters of Coptic (itself derived from Greek oncial, plus a few signs taken from Egyptian Demotic), to which some signs borrowed from Meroitic cursive had been added. The Old Nubian alphabet thus used Greek, Coptic and Meroitic characters in a new synthesis.


The texts in Old Nubian are mostly religious, but some administrative and economic documents have also been preserved.

Go to the online resources.

Online resources