Greco-Iberian alphabet

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A Greco-Iberian alphabet
Lead plaque from la Serreta (Alcoi).

The Greco-Iberian alphabet is a direct adaptation of an Ionic variant of a Greek alphabet to the specifics of the Iberian language, thus this script is an alphabet and lacks the distinctive characteristic of the rest of paleohispanic scripts that present signs with syllabic value, for the occlusives and signs with monophonemic value for the rest of consonants and vowels.

The inscriptions that use the Greco-Iberian alphabet had been found mainly in Alicante and Murcia and the direction of the writing is left to right. The number of known Greco-Iberian inscriptions is small: fewer than two dozen ceramic inscriptions and a dozen lead plaques, among them the lead plaque from La Serreta (Alcoy, Alicante) and the lead plaque from El Cigarralejo (Mula, Murcia). The archaeological context of the Greco-Iberian inscriptions seems to concentrate in the 4th century BC, but the paleographic characteristics of the model indicate that the adaptation may date from the 5th century BC.

The Greco-Iberian alphabet contains 16 signs identical to the Greek signs, except for the sign corresponding to the second rhotic consonant: five vowels, only one nasal sign, one lateral, two sibilants, two rhotic, three voiced occlusives (labial, dental and velar), but only two voiceless occlusives (dental and velar). To represent the second rhotic they add an additional stroke to rho, they choose eta instead of epsilon to represent e and they choose sampi as the second sibilant.

See also

Bibliography

  • Gómez-Moreno, Manuel (1922): «De Epigrafia ibérica: el plomo de Alcoy», Revista de filología española 9, pp. 341–366.
  • Hoz, Javier de (1987): «La escritura greco-ibérica», Veleia 2–3, pp. 285–298.
  • Hoz, Javier de (1998): «Epigrafía griega de occidente y escritura greco-ibérica», Los griegos en España, pp. 180–196.
  • Rodríguez Ramos, Jesús (2005): «Introducció a l’estudi de les inscripcions ibèriques», Revista de la Fundació Privada Catalana per l’Arqueologia ibèrica, 1, pp. 13–144.
  • Untermann, Jürgen (1990): Monumenta Linguarum Hispanicarum. III Die iberischen Inschriften aus Spanien, Wiesbaden.
  • Velaza, Javier (1996): Epigrafía y lengua ibéricas, Barcelona.

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