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.