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The Pithecusa cup bears an inscription in an early Euboean form of the Greek alphabet.This forerunner of our modern alphabet was in existence in Greece by about 800 b.c., and there are enough samples from 700- 600 b.c.Unlike Phoenician, early Greek is regarded as the first and oldest 'true' alphabet, in that it includes both consonants and vowels, each defined by a separate symbol.The Phoenician alphabet, dating from around 1050 BC, was itself uniquely successful, in that it was the first widely used script in which a specific sound was represented by one symbol, rather than using complex pictograms.Yet, unless we are actually Greeks or Cypriots, minorities living in parts of Turkey, Italy and Albania, or foreign language scholars or scientists, the Greek alphabet remains a closed code to us today.Today the alphabet is used almost exclusively to write Greek.Pan-European Legacy The very name "alphabet" derives, via Latin, from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet.Christians among us are familiar with the Biblical quotation: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." (Revelations 21:6).
) oldest sample of Greek writing found inscribed on an object.However, at various times in the past it has been used to write such languages as Lydian, Phrygian, Thracian, Gaulish, Hebrew, Arabic, Old Ossetic, Albanian, Turkish, Aromanian, Gagauz, Surguch and Urum.So, why insist today on the significance, the importance of this alphabet of generally indecipherable letters?Mathematicians, scientists and physicists universally use systematic terms and names derived largely from Greek (and Latin).One in ten words in the English language is of Greek origin.
The jewel of the collection is "Nestor's cup" (top photo).