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Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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6 Ancient writing

You have already studied two examples of Greek writing from the ancient world: a fourth-century BCE inscription set up in the name of Alexander the Great; and some fifth-century BCE Athenian ostraka, containing the names of the politicians Cimon and Themistocles.

There are clear differences between the writing on these artefacts and Greek from a printed book, or indeed the letters on this site. Two features immediately stand out:

  • the use of capital letters
  • the absence of spaces to mark the division between words.

This section takes a closer look at these two features. Later sessions of this course will present examples of two other important aspects of Greek writing before the end of the fifth-century BCE:

  • the direction of writing
  • the variety of Greek scripts.