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Lycian alphabet

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Script type
Time period
500-330 BC
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesLycian language
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
Carian, Lydian, Phrygian
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Lyci (202), ​Lycian
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
The Decree of Pixodaros in the Lycian script

The Lycian alphabet was used to write the Lycian language of the Asia Minor region of Lycia. It was an extension of the Greek alphabet, with half a dozen additional letters for sounds not found in Greek. It was largely similar to the Lydian and the Phrygian alphabets.

The alphabet[edit]

The Lycian alphabet[1][2] contains letters for 29 sounds. Some sounds are represented by more than one symbol, which is considered one "letter". There are six vowel letters, one for each of the four oral vowels of Lycian, and separate letters for two of the four nasal vowels. Nine of the Lycian letters do not appear to derive from the Greek alphabet.

The Lycian alphabet
Lycian letter Transliteration IPA Notes
𐊀 a [a]
𐊂 b [β]
𐊄 g [ɣ]
𐊅 d [ð]
𐊆 i [i], [ĩ]
𐊇 w [w]
𐊈 z [t͡s]
𐊛 h [h]
𐊉 θ [θ]
𐊊 j or y [j]
𐊋 k [kʲ] [ɡʲ] after nasals
𐊍 l [l] and [l̩]~[əl]
𐊎 m [m]
𐊏 n [n]
𐊒 u [u], [ũ]
𐊓 p [p] [b] after nasals
𐊔 κ or c [k]? [kʲ]? [h(e)]
𐊕 r [r] and [r̩]~[ər]
𐊖 s [s]
𐊗 t [t] [d] after nasals. ñt is [d] as in 𐊑𐊗𐊁𐊎𐊒𐊜𐊍𐊆𐊅𐊀 / Ñtemuχlida for Greek Δημοκλείδης / Dēmokleídēs.[3]
𐊁 e [e]
𐊙 ã [ã] 𐊍𐊒𐊖𐊙𐊗𐊕𐊀 / Lusãtra for Greek Λύσανδρος / Lúsandros.[4]
𐊚 [ẽ]
𐊐 [m̩], [əm], [m.] originally perhaps syllabic [m], later coda [m]
𐊑 ñ [n̩], [ən], [n.] originally perhaps syllabic [n], later coda [n]
𐊘 τ [tʷ]? [t͡ʃ]?
𐊌 q [k] [ɡ] after nasals
𐊃 β [k]? [kʷ]? voiced after nasals
𐊜 χ [q] [ɢ] after nasals


Lycian uses the following number symbols: I (vertical stroke) = 1, < ("less than" sign) (or, rarely, L or C or V or Y) = 5, O (circle) = 10; a horizontal stroke — is one half;[5] a symbol somewhat like our letter H may mean 100.[6]

The number 128½ would therefore be expressed as HOO<III—.


The Lycian alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in April, 2008 with the release of version 5.1. It is encoded in Plane 1 (Supplementary Multilingual Plane).

The Unicode block for Lycian is U+10280–U+1029F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1028x 𐊀 𐊁 𐊂 𐊃 𐊄 𐊅 𐊆 𐊇 𐊈 𐊉 𐊊 𐊋 𐊌 𐊍 𐊎 𐊏
U+1029x 𐊐 𐊑 𐊒 𐊓 𐊔 𐊕 𐊖 𐊗 𐊘 𐊙 𐊚 𐊛 𐊜
  1. ^ As of Unicode version 15.1
  2. ^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adiego (2007) page 764.
  2. ^ Bryce (1986) pages 56-57.
  3. ^ Bryce, T. R. (January 1986). "The Pronunciation of Delta in Greek and Lycian". Classical Philology. 81 (1): 56–58. doi:10.1086/366958. JSTOR 269877. S2CID 162200292. First page displayable no charge.
  4. ^ Bryce (1986) page 58.
  5. ^ Laroche, Emmanuel (1979). "L'inscription lycienne". Fouilles de Xanthos. VI: 51–128: 100–101.
  6. ^ Melchert, H. Craig. "The Trilingual Inscription of the Létôon. Lycian Version" (PDF). Achemenet. Retrieved 2021-03-04.


  • Adiego, I. J. (2007). "Greek and Lycian". In Christidis, A. F.; Arapopoulou, Maria; Chriti, Maria (eds.). A History of Ancient Greek From the Beginning to Late Antiquity. Chris Markham (trans.). Cambridge University press. ISBN 978-0-521-83307-3.. Translator Chris Markham.
  • Bryce, Trevor R. (1986). The Lycians - Volume I: The Lycians in Literary and Epigraphic Sources. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 87-7289-023-1.
  • Roger D. Woodard, 2007, The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor.

External links[edit]