See the refutation of I.J. Gelb’s thesis in David Diringer, The Alphabet (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968; 3rd edition), p. 166.


I made a similar argument at symposia on the Greek alphabet at Cornell University in 1979 and at the Institut Française in Athens in 1995. The Athens symposium, organized by the Greek Font Society, were published as Greek Letters from Tablets to Pixels, ed. Michael S. Macrakis (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1996).


Lillian Jeffrey, The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), p. 82.


J.N. Coldstream, Geometric Greece (London: Ernest Benn, 1977), pp. 68, 289.


The script of the Aramaic-Akkadian bilingual inscription from Tell Fahariyeh, Syria, which is usually dated to the third quarter of the ninth century B.C., contains some of the apparently archaic features noted in the early Greek scripts (see A. Abbou-Assaf, P. Bordreuil, and A.R. Millard, La Statue de Tell Fekherye et son inscription bilingue assyro-araméenne, Études assyriologiques 7 [Paris: Editions recherches sur les civilisations, 1982]). My guess is that the Aramaic text is the work of a scribe who was deliberately archaizing in emulation of what for him was already an ancient script.


Joseph Naveh, “Some Semitic Epigraphical Considerations on the Antiquity of the Greek Alphabet,” American Journal of Archaeology 77 (1973), pp. 1–8.


Robert R. Stieglitz argues for a 14th-century B.C. date in “The Letters of Kadmos: Mythology, Archaeology, and Eteocretan” (Pepragmena tou d’Diethnous Krtologikou Synedriou (Hrakleio, 29 Augoustou–3 Septembriou 1976) [Athens, 1981]); and Martin Bernal sets the limits between 1750 and 1400 B.C. (Cadmeian Letters [Winona Lakes, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1990]).