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Before 800-1st centruy BCEBefore 800-1st centruy BCE


Dead languages ||| Anatolia / Languages
Lydian language


Extinct Indo-European language of the western coast of Anatolia, in the lands that in ancient times were known as Lydia. Lydian was in use since before year 800 BCE until the 1st century BCE.
Lydian has many similarities with Hittite, Luwian and Palaic. Yet, Lydian has distinct differences from other Anatolian languages, making classifications difficult.
Our main sources are from excavations at Sardis, the capital of ancient Lydia, the texts date from between the 6th until the 4th centuries BCE.
Lydian used an alphabet developed on the East Greek alphabet, adding elements from other Anatolian alphabets, even having a letter otherwise only found in Etruscan language. The alphabet had 26 letters, of which 8 were vowels. The oldest Lydian texts could be written both ways, from right to left, and from left to right. In later texts, however, only right to left would was used.




By Tore Kjeilen