Lycian was an alphabet
used throughout the Anatolian
area of Asia Minor
from 400 to 300 BCE
. Tracing its lineage directly to the Greek
alphabet, with over 80% of its symbols borrowed, most of the innovation was in the invention of a few new letters to represent nasal vowel
s and consonant
s not present in Greek. The language
written with Lycian is not fully understood (it was not Indo-European
), but bilingual
texts and documentation provide good enough information about its sound systems. It was probably used in parallel or secondary to Hittite cuneiform
, which was far more established.
The alphabet was composed of 29 letters: 6 vowels and 23 consonants. There were no capital letters. Writing nearly aways flowed from left to right, modeling the Greeks. Individual vowels had several different signs with which they could be written, marking distinctions of quality and length within a word. A break-off dialect from main Lycian, marked by dental transformations and absence of certain letters, was also written with Lycian. The letters look like archaic forms of Greek, from which they were derived.