The Info List - Cypriot Syllabary

--- Advertisement ---

The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age Cyprus, from about the 11th to the 4th centuries BCE, when it was replaced by the Greek alphabet. A pioneer of that change was king Evagoras of Salamis. It is descended from the Cypro-Minoan syllabary, in turn a variant or derivative of Linear A. Most texts using the script are in the Arcadocypriot dialect of Greek, but also one bilingual (Greek and Eteocypriot) inscription was found in Amathus.


1 Origin 2 Structure

2.1 Differences between Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
and Linear B 2.2 Paleography

3 Decipherment

3.1 Enkomi 3.2 Idalium 3.3 Recent discoveries 3.4 Future prospects

4 Unicode 5 See also 6 References 7 Bibliography 8 External links

Origin[edit] It has been established that the Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
is derived from the Linear A
Linear A
script and, most probably, the Minoan writing system. The most obvious change is the disappearance of ideograms, which were frequent and represented a significant part of Linear A. The earliest inscriptions are found on clay tablets. Parallel to the evolution of cuneiform, the signs soon became simple patterns of lines. There is some evidence of a Semitic influence due to trade, but this pattern seemed to have evolved as the result of habitual use.[1] Structure[edit] The structure of the Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
is very similar to that of Linear B. This is due to their common origin and underlying language (albeit different dialects).[1] The Cypriot script contains 56 signs.[2] Each sign generally stands for a syllable in the spoken language: e.g. ka, ke, ki, ko, ku etc. Hence, it is classified as a syllabic writing system.[3] Because each sign stands for an open syllable (CV) rather than a closed one (CVC), the Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
is also an 'open' syllabary.[2]

-a -e -i -o -u

𐠀 𐠁 𐠂 𐠃 𐠄

w- 𐠲 𐠳 𐠴 𐠵

z- 𐠼


j- 𐠅


k-, g-, kh- 𐠊 𐠋 𐠌 𐠍 𐠎

l- 𐠏 𐠐 𐠑 𐠒 𐠓

m- 𐠔 𐠕 𐠖 𐠗 𐠘

n- 𐠙 𐠚 𐠛 𐠜 𐠝

ks- 𐠷 𐠸

p-, b-, ph- 𐠞 𐠟 𐠠 𐠡 𐠢

r- 𐠣 𐠤 𐠥 𐠦 𐠧

s- 𐠨 𐠩 𐠪 𐠫 𐠬

t-, d-, th- 𐠭 𐠮 𐠯 𐠰 𐠱

To see the glyphs above, you must have a compatible font installed, and your web browser must support Unicode
characters in the U+10800–U+1083F range. Differences between Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
and Linear B[edit] The main difference between the two lies not in the structure of the syllabary but the use of the symbols. Final consonants in the Cypriot syllabary are marked by a final, silent e. For example, final consonants, n, s and r are noted by using ne, re and se. Groups of consonants are created using extra vowels. Diphthongs, such as ae, au, eu and ei, are spelled out completely. In addition, nasal stops which occur before another consonant are omitted completely.[1] Compare Linear B
Linear B
𐀀𐀵𐀫𐀦 (a-to-ro-qo) to Cypriot 𐠀𐠰𐠦𐠡𐠩 (a-to-ro-po-se), both forms of standard ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) "human". One other minor difference involves the representation of the manner of articulation. In the Linear B
Linear B
script, liquid sounds /l/ and /r/ are covered by one series, while there are separate series for the dentals /d/ and /t/. In the Cypriot syllabary, /d/ and /t/ are combined, whereas /l/ and /r/ are distinct.[3] Paleography[edit] There are minor differences in the forms of the signs used in different sites.[1] However, the syllabary can be subdivided into two different subtypes based on area: the “Common” and the South-Western or “Paphian”.[3] However, no detailed analysis between the two exists. Decipherment[edit] The script was deciphered in the 19th century by George Smith due to a Phoenician-Cypriot bilingual inscription found at Idalium. Egyptologist Samuel Birch
Samuel Birch
(1872), the numismatist Johannes Brandis (1873), the philologists Moritz Schmidt, Wilhelm Deecke, Justus Siegismund (1874) and the dialectologist H. L. Ahrens (1876) also contributed to decipherment.[4] About 1000 inscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
have been found throughout many different regions. However, these inscriptions vary greatly in length and credibility.[3] Most inscriptions found are dated to be around the 6th century. There are no inscriptions known to be before the 8th century. Most of the tablets found are from funerary monuments and contained no useful information but name of the deceased. A few dedicatory inscriptions were also found but of very little contribution to decipherment. The most important tablets are mainly found in Enkomi
and Paphos. Enkomi[edit] The earliest dated inscription from Cyprus
was discovered at Enkomi
in 1955. It was a part of a thick clay tablet with only three lines of writing. Although some of the writing was distinctly different from any other Greek writing systems, epigraphers immediately saw a resemblance. Because the date of the fragment was found to be around 1500 BCE, considerably earlier than Linear B, linguists determined that the Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
was derived from Linear A
Linear A
and not Linear B. Several other fragments of clay tablets were also found in Enkomi. They date to a later period, around the late 13th or 12th century BCE. The script found on these tablets has considerably evolved and the signs have become simple patterns of lines. Linguists named this new script as Cypro-Minoan syllabary.[1] Idalium[edit] Idalium
was an ancient city in Cyprus, in modern Dali, Nicosia District. The city was founded on the copper trade in the 3rd millennium BCE. Its name in the 8th century BCE was "Ed-di-al" as it appears on the Sargon Stele of 707 BCE. From this area, archeologists found many of the later Cypriot syllabic scripts. In fact, Idalium held the most significant contribution to the decipherment of Cypriot syllabary – the Tablet of Idalium. It is a large bronze tablet with long inscriptions on both sides.[1] The Tablet of Idalium
is dated to about 480–470 BCE. Excluding a few features in morphology and vocabulary, the text is a complete and well understood document. It details a contract made by the king Stasicyprus and the city of Idalium
with the physician Onasilus and his brothers.[3] As payment for the physicians' care for wounded warriors during a Persian siege of the city, the king promises them certain plots of land. This agreement is put under the protection of the goddess Athena.[3] Recent discoveries[edit] Recent discoveries include a small vase dating back to the beginning of 5th century and a broken marble fragment in Paphian (Paphos) script. The vase is inscribed on two sides, providing two lists of personal names with Greek formations. The broken marble fragment describes a fragment of an oath. This inscription often mentions King Nicocles, the last king of Paphos
and includes some important words and expressions.[3] Future prospects[edit] The number of discoveries of new inscriptions has increased, but, unfortunately, most of the new discoveries have been short or bear only a few signs. One example includes a small clay ball.[1] Unicode[edit] Main articles: Cypriot Syllabary
( Unicode
block) and Aegean Numbers ( Unicode
block) The Cypriot syllabary
Cypriot syllabary
was added to the Unicode
Standard in April, 2003 with the release of version 4.0. The Unicode
block for Cypriot is U+10800–U+1083F. The Unicode
block for the related Aegean Numbers is U+10100–U+1013F.

Cypriot Syllabary[1][2] Official Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+1080x 𐠀 𐠁 𐠂 𐠃 𐠄 𐠅


𐠊 𐠋 𐠌 𐠍 𐠎 𐠏

U+1081x 𐠐 𐠑 𐠒 𐠓 𐠔 𐠕 𐠖 𐠗 𐠘 𐠙 𐠚 𐠛 𐠜 𐠝 𐠞 𐠟

U+1082x 𐠠 𐠡 𐠢 𐠣 𐠤 𐠥 𐠦 𐠧 𐠨 𐠩 𐠪 𐠫 𐠬 𐠭 𐠮 𐠯

U+1083x 𐠰 𐠱 𐠲 𐠳 𐠴 𐠵

𐠷 𐠸




1.^ As of Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Aegean Numbers[1][2] Official Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+1010x 𐄀 𐄁 𐄂

𐄇 𐄈 𐄉 𐄊 𐄋 𐄌 𐄍 𐄎 𐄏

U+1011x 𐄐 𐄑 𐄒 𐄓 𐄔 𐄕 𐄖 𐄗 𐄘 𐄙 𐄚 𐄛 𐄜 𐄝 𐄞 𐄟

U+1012x 𐄠 𐄡 𐄢 𐄣 𐄤 𐄥 𐄦 𐄧 𐄨 𐄩 𐄪 𐄫 𐄬 𐄭 𐄮 𐄯

U+1013x 𐄰 𐄱 𐄲 𐄳

𐄷 𐄸 𐄹 𐄺 𐄻 𐄼 𐄽 𐄾 𐄿


1.^ As of Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also[edit]

Pre-Greek substrate


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cypriot inscriptions.

^ a b c d e f g Chadwick, John (1987). Linear B
Linear B
and related Scripts. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.  ^ a b Robinson, Andrew (2002). Lost Languages. New York City: BCA.  ^ a b c d e f g Mitford, T. B.; Masson, Olivier Masson (1982). Boardman, John; Hammond, N. G. L., eds. The Expansion of the Greek World, Eighth to Sixth Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521234474.005.  ^ Cypro-Syllabic script Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa


Steele, Philippa M. Syllabic writing in Cyprus
and its context. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

External links[edit]

Omniglot.com – Cypriot syllabary Ancientscripts.com – Cypriot www.palaeolexicon.com – Word study tool of ancient languages (includes Cypriot syllabic dictionary)

v t e

Cyprus articles



Alasiya Eteocypriot

Cypro-Minoan syllabary Cypriot syllabary


Neo-Assyrian Empire Ten city-kingdoms Achaemenid Persian Empire Ionian Revolt Ptolemaic dynasty Hellenistic civilization Kitos War Roman Cyprus


Byzantine Cyprus Arab Empire Crusades Kingdom Venetian rule


Ottoman rule Cyprus
Convention British Cyprus Post-1878 overview Enosis Taksim Intercommunal violence Akrotiri and Dhekelia Turkish invasion Refugees Cyprus
dispute Cyprus
Missile Crisis Annan Plan EU accession


Cities, towns and villages Climate Districts Earthquakes Lakes Mountains Rivers Wildlife


Constitution Cyprus

Northern Cyprus UN resolutions

Elections Foreign relations Human rights

LGBT rights

Police Political parties Military Governors Chief Justice


Agriculture Banks Energy Stock Exchange Telecommunications Tourism Trade unions Transport 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis


Languages Education Health Name Poverty Public holidays Religion


Art Cinema Cuisine Literature Media Music Sport


Greek Cypriots

diaspora Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots
left in Northern Cyprus

Turkish Cypriots

Linobambaki diaspora Settlers from Turkey

Armenian Cypriots Maronite Cypriots


Anthem Coat of arms Flag

Outline Index

Category Portal

v t e

Types of writing systems


History of writing Grapheme


Writing systems

undeciphered inventors constructed

Languages by writing system / by first written accounts






Arabic Pitman shorthand Hebrew

Ashuri Cursive Rashi Solitreo

Tifinagh Manichaean Nabataean Old North Arabian Pahlavi Pegon Phoenician


Proto-Sinaitic Psalter Punic Samaritan South Arabian

Zabur Musnad

Sogdian Syriac

ʾEsṭrangēlā Serṭā Maḏnḥāyā

Teeline Shorthand Ugaritic




Asamiya (Ôxômiya) Bānglā Bhaikshuki Bhujinmol Brāhmī Devanāgarī Dogri Gujarati Gupta Gurmukhī Kaithi Kalinga Khojki Khotanese Khudawadi Laṇḍā Lepcha Limbu Mahajani Meitei Mayek Modi Multani Nāgarī Nandinagari Odia 'Phags-pa Newar Ranjana Sharada Saurashtra Siddhaṃ Soyombo Sylheti Nagari Takri Tibetan

Uchen Umê

Tirhuta Tocharian Zanabazar Square Zhang-Zhung

Drusha Marchen Marchung Pungs-chen Pungs-chung


Ahom Balinese Batak Baybayin Bhattiprolu Buhid Burmese Chakma Cham Grantha Goykanadi Hanunó'o Javanese Kadamba Kannada Karen Kawi Khmer Kulitan Lanna Lao Leke Lontara Malayalam Maldivian

Dhives Akuru Eveyla Akuru Thaana

Mon Old Makassarese Old Sundanese Pallava Pyu Rejang Rencong Sinhala Sundanese Tagbanwa Tai Le Tai Tham Tai Viet Tamil Telugu Thai Tigalari Vatteluttu

Kolezhuthu Malayanma



Boyd's syllabic shorthand Canadian syllabics

Blackfoot Déné syllabics

Fox I Ge'ez Gunjala Gondi Japanese Braille Jenticha Kayah Li Kharosthi Mandombe Masaram Gondi Meroitic Miao Mwangwego Sorang Sompeng Pahawh Hmong Thomas Natural Shorthand



Abkhaz Adlam Armenian Avestan Avoiuli Bassa Vah Borama Carian Caucasian Albanian Coorgi–Cox alphabet Coptic Cyrillic Deseret Duployan shorthand

Chinook writing

Early Cyrillic Eclectic shorthand Elbasan Etruscan Evenki Fox II Fraser Gabelsberger shorthand Garay Georgian

Asomtavruli Nuskhuri Mkhedruli

Glagolitic Gothic Gregg shorthand Greek Greco-Iberian alphabet Hangul Hanifi IPA Kaddare Latin

Beneventan Blackletter Carolingian minuscule Fraktur Gaelic Insular Kurrent Merovingian Sigla Sütterlin Tironian notes Visigothic

Luo Lycian Lydian Manchu Mandaic Medefaidrin Molodtsov Mongolian Mru Neo-Tifinagh New Tai Lue N'Ko Ogham Oirat Ol Chiki Old Hungarian Old Italic Old Permic Orkhon Old Uyghur Osage Osmanya Pau Cin Hau Runic

Anglo-Saxon Cipher Dalecarlian Elder Futhark Younger Futhark Gothic Marcomannic Medieval Staveless

Sidetic Shavian Somali Tifinagh Vagindra Visible Speech Vithkuqi Wancho Zaghawa


Braille Maritime flags Morse code New York Point Semaphore line Flag semaphore Moon type


Adinkra Aztec Blissymbol Dongba Ersu Shaba Emoji IConji Isotype Kaidā Míkmaq Mixtec New Epoch Notation Painting Nsibidi Ojibwe Hieroglyphs Siglas poveiras Testerian Yerkish Zapotec


Chinese family of scripts

Chinese Characters

Simplified Traditional Oracle bone script Bronze Script Seal Script

large small bird-worm

Hanja Idu Kanji Chữ nôm Zhuang


Jurchen Khitan large script Sui Tangut


Akkadian Assyrian Elamite Hittite Luwian Sumerian

Other logo-syllabic

Anatolian Bagam Cretan Isthmian Maya Proto-Elamite Yi (Classical)


Demotic Hieratic Hieroglyphs


Hindu-Arabic Abjad Attic (Greek) Muisca Roman



Celtiberian Northeastern Iberian Southeastern Iberian Khom


Espanca Pahawh Hmong Khitan small script Southwest Paleohispanic Zhuyin fuhao


ASLwrite SignWriting si5s Stokoe Notation


Afaka Bamum Bété Byblos Cherokee Cypriot Cypro-Minoan Ditema tsa Dinoko Eskayan Geba Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics Iban Japanese

Hiragana Katakana Man'yōgana Hentaigana Sogana Jindai moji

Kikakui Kpelle Linear B Linear Elamite Lisu Loma Nüshu Nwagu Aneke script Old Persian Cuneiform Vai Woleai Yi (Modern) Yugtun

v t e



1829 braille International uniformity ASCII braille Unicode
braille patterns


French-ordered scripts (see for more)

Albanian Amharic Arabic Armenian Azerbaijani Belarusian Bharati

(Hindi  / Marathi  / Nepali) Bengali Punjabi Sinhalese Tamil Urdu etc.

Bulgarian Burmese Cambodian Cantonese Catalan Chinese (Mandarin, mainland) Czech Dutch Dzongkha (Bhutanese) English (Unified English) Esperanto Estonian Faroese French Georgian German Ghanaian Greek Guarani Hawaiian Hebrew Hungarian Icelandic Inuktitut (reassigned vowels) Iñupiaq IPA Irish Italian Kazakh Kyrgyz Latvian Lithuanian Maltese Mongolian Māori Navajo Nigerian Northern Sami Persian Philippine Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Samoan Scandinavian Slovak South African Spanish Tatar Taiwanese Mandarin (largely reassigned) Thai & Lao (Japanese vowels) Tibetan Turkish Ukrainian Vietnamese Welsh Yugoslav

Reordered scripts

Algerian Braille

Frequency-based scripts

American Braille

Independent scripts

Japanese Korean Two-Cell Chinese

Eight-dot scripts

Luxembourgish Kanji Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8)

Symbols in braille

music Canadian currency marks Computer Braille
Code Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8/GS6) International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA) Nemeth braille code


e-book Braille
embosser Braille
translator Braille
watch Mountbatten Brailler Optical braille recognition Perforation Perkins Brailler Refreshable braille display Slate and stylus Braigo


Louis Braille Charles Barbier Valentin Haüy Thakur Vishva Narain Singh Sabriye Tenberken William Bell Wait


Institute of America Braille
Without Borders Japan Braille
Library National Braille
Association Blindness organizations Schools for the blind American Printing House for the Blind

Other tactile alphabets

Decapoint Moon type New York Point Night writing Vibratese

Related topics

Accessible publishing Braille
literacy RoboBraille

v t e

Electronic writing systems

Emoticons Emoji iConji Leet Unicode

v t e

Internet slang
Internet slang

3arabizi Alay (Indonesia) Denglisch Doge Fingilish (Persian) Greeklish Gyaru-moji (Japan) Jejemon (Philippines) Leet
("1337") Lolspeak / LOLspeak / Kitteh Martian language (Chinese) Miguxês (Portuguese) Padonkaffsky jargon
Padonkaffsky jargon
(Russian) Translit Volapuk

See also English internet slang (at Wiktionary) SMS language

v t e

Greek language

Origin and genealogy

Proto-Greek Pre-Greek substrate Graeco-Armenian Graeco-Aryan Graeco-Phrygian Hellenic languages


Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
(c. 1600–1100 BC) Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
(c. 800–300 BC) Koine Greek
Koine Greek
(c. 300 BC–AD 330) Medieval Greek
Medieval Greek
(c. 330–1453) Modern Greek
Modern Greek
(since 1453)



Aeolic Arcadocypriot Attic and Ionic Doric Homeric Locrian Pamphylian Macedonian


Jewish Koine Greek




Cretan Cypriot Demotic Himariote Italiot

Greco/Calabrian Griko/Apulian

Katharevousa Maniot Mariupolitan Pontic Tsakonian Yevanic


Ancient (accent/teaching) Koine Standard Modern


Ancient (tables) Koine Greek
Koine Greek
grammar Standard Modern

Writing systems

Cypriot syllabary Linear B Greek alphabet

History Archaic forms Attic numerals Greek numerals Orthography Diacritics Braille Cyrillization and Romanization



Ancient Byzantine Modern

Promotion and study

Hellenic Foundation for Culture Center for the Greek Language


Exonyms Morphemes in English Terms of endearment Place names Proverbs Greek