Cypriot syllabary

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.

Cypriot syllabic inscription 600-500BC
LanguagesArcadocypriot Greek, Eteocypriot
Time period
11th–4th centuries BCE
Parent systems
ISO 15924Cprt, 403
Unicode alias
Idalion tablet
Line drawing rendering, bronze Idalion Tablet, 5th century BC, Idalion, Cyprus.


It has been established that the Cypriot syllabary is derived from the 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 no evidence of a Semitic influence due to trade, but this pattern seemed to have evolved as the result of habitual use.[1]


The structure of the 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 is also an 'open' syllabary.[2]

-a -e -i -o -u
𐠀 𐠁 𐠂 𐠃 𐠄
w- 𐠲 𐠳 𐠴 𐠵
z- 𐠼 𐠿
j- 𐠅 𐠈
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 and Linear B

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 consonants that occur before another consonant are omitted completely.[1]

Compare Linear B 𐀀𐀵𐀫𐀦 (a-to-ro-qo, reconstructed as *[án.tʰroː.pos]) to Cypriot 𐠀𐠰𐠦𐠡𐠩 (a-to-ro-po-se), both forms related to Attic Greek: ἄνθρωπος (ánthrōpos) "human".

One other minor difference involves the representation of the manner of articulation. In the 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]


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.


The script was deciphered in the 19th century by George Smith due to a Phoenician-Cypriot bilingual inscription found at Idalium. Egyptologist 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 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 merely name 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.


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. 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 was derived from 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 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

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

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]


The 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 𐠈 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 𐠼 𐠿
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
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 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Chadwick, John (1987). Linear B and related Scripts. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Andrew (2002). Lost Languages. New York City: BCA.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Cypro-Syllabic script Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa


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

External links

Aegean Numbers (Unicode block)

Aegean Numbers is a Unicode block containing punctuation, number, and unit characters for Linear A, Linear B, and the Cypriot syllabary.


CPRT may refer to:

Cancer Prevention Research Trust

Cypriot syllabary, ISO 15924 code

Council of Ministers (Cyprus)

The Council of Ministers is the executive branch of the Cypriot government, consisting of ministers. The council is chaired by the President of Cyprus and the ministers head executive departments of the government. The President and his ministers administer the government and the various public services.


Cypriot (in older sources often "Cypriote") refers to someone or something of, from, or related to the country of Cyprus, including:

A person from Cyprus, or of Cypriot descent; this includes Armenian Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Maronite Cypriots, and Turkish Cypriots

Greek, Cypriot dialect (disambiguation), the dialect being spoken by Cypriots

Cypriot syllabary, the ancient syllabic writing system of Cyprus, in use 1100–300 BCE

Cypriot cuisine

Cypriot Syllabary (Unicode block)

Cypriot Syllabary is the Unicode block encoding the Cypriot syllabary, a writing system for Greek used in Cyprus from the 9th-3rd centuries BCE.

Cypro-Minoan syllabary

The Cypro-Minoan syllabary (CM) is an undeciphered syllabary used on the island of Cyprus during the late Bronze Age (ca. 1550–1050 BC). The term "Cypro-Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans in 1909 based on its visual similarity to Linear A on Minoan Crete, from which CM is thought to be derived. Approximately 250 objects—such as clay balls, cylinders, and tablets and votive stands—which bear Cypro-Minoan inscriptions, have been found. Discoveries have been made at various sites around Cyprus, as well as in the ancient city of Ugarit on the Syrian coast.


In philology, decipherment is the discovery of the meaning of texts written in ancient or obscure languages or scripts. Decipherment in cryptography refers to decryption. The term is used sardonically in everyday language to describe attempts to read poor handwriting. In genetics, decipherment is the successful attempt to understand DNA, which is viewed metaphorically as a text containing word-like units. Throughout science the term decipherment is synonymous with the understanding of biological and chemical phenomena.

Eteocypriot language

Eteocypriot was a pre-Indo-European language spoken in Iron Age Cyprus. The name means "true" or "original Cypriot" parallel to Eteocretan, both of which names are used by modern scholarship to mean the pre-Greek languages of those places. Eteocypriot was written in the Cypriot syllabary, a syllabic script derived from Linear A (via the Cypro-Minoan variant Linear C). The language was under pressure from Arcadocypriot Greek from about the 10th century BC and finally became extinct in about the 4th century BC.

The language is as yet unknown except for a small vocabulary attested in bilingual inscriptions. Such topics as syntax and possible inflection or agglutination remain a mystery. Partial translations depend to a large extent on the language or language group assumed by the translator, but there is no consistency. It is conjectured by some linguists to be related to the Etruscan and Lemnian languages, and by others to be Northwest Semitic. Those who do not advocate any of those theories often adopt the default of an unknown pre-Greek language. Due to the small number of texts found, there is currently much unproven speculation.

Evagoras I

Evagoras or Euagoras (Ancient/Modern Greek: Εὐαγόρας) was the king of Salamis (411–374 BC) in Cyprus, known especially from the work of Isocrates, who presents him as a model ruler.

The spelling "Evagoras" reflects the Latin transliteration of the name, and it comprises one of the rather rare cases that the Greek prefix εὐ- was rendered as ev- (instead of eu-) in Latin, which fact also results in "Evagoras" being closer to modern Greek pronunciation.

Greek language

Greek (Modern Greek: ελληνικά elliniká) is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

The Greek language holds an important place in the history of the Western world and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works in the Western canon such as the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. Greek is also the language in which many of the foundational texts in science, especially astronomy, mathematics and logic and Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, are composed; the New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek. Together with the Latin texts and traditions of the Roman world, the study of the Greek texts and society of antiquity constitutes the discipline of Classics.

During antiquity, Greek was a widely spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world, West Asia and many places beyond. It would eventually become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire and develop into Medieval Greek. In its modern form, Greek is the official language in two countries, Greece and Cyprus, a recognised minority language in seven other countries, and is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. The language is spoken by at least 13.2 million people today in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania, Turkey, and the Greek diaspora.

Greek roots are often used to coin new words for other languages; Greek and Latin are the predominant sources of international scientific vocabulary.

Idalion Tablet

The Idalion Tablet is a 5th-century BCE bronze tablet from Idalium (Greek: Ιδάλιον), Cyprus. It is kept in the Cabinet des médailles, Paris.

It is of exceptional importance for the history of the Cypriot kingdoms.

It is engraved on both sides with a long inscription recording a contract entered into by 'the king and the city' and gives a reward to a family of physicians who provided free health services for the casualties when the city was besieged by the Persians and the Kitionites in 478-470 BC. It tells us about the political system and socio-economic conditions during the war. The joint decision by the king and citizens shows the democratic nature of the city, similar to Greek models. It also tells of the most ancient social welfare system known.

It was kept in the ancient official depository of the temple of Athena on the western acropolis of Idalion where it was discovered in 1850 by a farmer from the village of Dali.

The script of the tablet is in the Cypriot syllabary and the inscription itself is in Greek.

Jason (given name)

Jason is a common given name for a male. It comes from Greek Ἰάσων (Iásōn), meaning "healer", from the verb ἰάομαι (iáomai), "heal", "cure", cognate with Ἰασώ, Iasō, the goddess of healing and ἰατρός, iatros, "healer", "physician". Forms of related words have been attested in Greek from as far back as Mycenaen (in Linear B) and Arcadocypriot (in the Cypriot syllabary) Greek: 𐀂𐀊𐀳, i-ja-te and i-ja-te-ra-ne, respectively, both regarded as standing for inflected forms of ἰατήρ, "healer".The name was borne in Greek mythology by Jason, the great Thessalian hero who led the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece.

The name is also found in the New Testament, as the house of a man named Jason was used as a refuge by Paul and Silas.Its adoption in the United Kingdom peaked during the 1970s, when it was among the top 20 male names, but it had fallen out of the top 100 by 2003.Jason is the most common spelling; however, there are many variant spellings such as Jaison, Jayson, and Jacyn. Jay and Jace are the common diminutives.

A feminine name that sounds similar is Jacin, derived from the Portuguese-Spanish name Jacinta or the Anglicized version Jacinda, meaning Hyacinth.

Languages of Cyprus

The official languages of the Republic of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. In Northern Cyprus, Turkish was made the only official language by the 1983 constitution. The everyday spoken language (vernacular) of the majority of the population is Cypriot Greek, and that of Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish. For official purposes, the standard languages (Standard Modern Greek and Standard Turkish) are used.

Three "religious groups" are recognised by the constitution; two have their own language: Armenian (the language of Armenian Cypriots) and Cypriot Arabic (the language of Maronite Cypriots). Sometimes Kurbetcha, the language of the Kurbet, the Cypriot Roma, is included alongside the other two in literature, but it is not officially recognised in any capacity.The 2011 census of the Republic recorded 679,883 native speakers of Greek, 34,814 of English, 24,270 of Romanian, 20,984 of Russian and 18,388 of Bulgarian of a total of 840,407. Following the 1974 Turkish invasion, Cyprus was effectively divided into two linguistically near-homogeneous areas: the Turkish-speaking north and the Greek-speaking south; only 1,405 speakers of Turkish reside in territory controlled by the Republic.

The languages of Cyprus have historically exerted influence on one another; Cypriot Greek and Cypriot Turkish borrowed heavily from each other, and Cypriot Greek has helped shape Cypriot Arabic's phonology.

Linear B Ideograms

Linear B Ideograms is a Unicode block containing ideographic characters for writing Mycenaean Greek. Several Linear B ideographs double as syllabic letters, and are encoded in the Linear B Syllabary block.

Linear B Syllabary

Linear B Syllabary is a Unicode block containing characters for the syllabic writing of Mycenaean Greek.

List of banks in Cyprus

This is a list of the banks that are currently incorporated in Cyprus as of 23 November 2015.

Public holidays in Cyprus

New Year's Day – 1 January

Epiphany – 6 January

Clean Monday – date variable

Greek Independence Day – 25 March

Cyprus National Day – 1 April

Good Friday – date variable

Holy Saturday – date variable

Easter Sunday – date variable

Easter Monday – date variable

Easter Tuesday – date variable

Labour Day – 1 May

Pentecost Monday – date variable

Dormition of the Theotokos – 15 August

Cyprus Independence Day – 1 October

Greek National Day – 28 October

Christmas Eve – 24 December

Christmas Day – 25 December

Boxing Day – 26 December

Trade unions in Cyprus

Trade unions in Cyprus include:

ETYK ETYK (Ενωση Τραπεζικών Υπαλλήλων Κύπρου - Kıbrıs Bankacılar Sendikası - Cyprus Bank Employees Union)

ΠΕΟ PEO (Παγκύπρια Εργατική Ομοσπονδία - Tüm Kıbrıs İşçi Federasyonu- Pancyprian Labour Federation)

ΣΕΚ SEK (Συνομοσπονδία Εργαζομένων Κύπρου - Kıbrıs İşçi Konfederasyonu - Cyprus Workers Confederation)

ΔΕΟΚ DEOK (Δημοκρατική Εργατική Ομοσπονδία Κύπρου - Kıbrıs Demokratik İşçiler Federasyonu- Cyprus Democratic Labour Federation)

ΠΑΣΥΔΥ PASYDY (Παγκύπρια Συντεχνία Δημοσίων Υπαλλήλων - Tüm Kıbrıs Kamu Kurumu Çalışanları Federayonu- Pancyprian Public Sector Workers Federation)

ΠΟΕΔ POED (Παγκύπρια Οργάνωση Ελλήνων Δασκάλων - Tüm Kıbrıs Yunan Öğretmenler Sendikası- Pancyprian Greek Teachers Association)

ΟΕΛΜΕΚ OELMEK (Οργάνωση Ελλήνων Λειτουργών Μέσης Εκπαίδευσης Κύπρου - Kıbrıs Yunan Orta öğretim Öğretmenleri Sendikası- Cyprus Secondary Education Greek Teachers Association)

ΟΛΤΕΚ OLTEK (Οργάνωση Λειτουργών Τεχνικής Εκπαίδευσης Κύπρου - Kıbrıs Yunan Mesleki Eğitim Öğretmenleri Sendikası- Cyprus Vocational Education Greek Teachers Association)

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