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Carian
Quick Facts
TypeC&V Alphabet
GenealogyProto-Sinaitic
LocationWest Asia > Anatolia
Time800 BCE to 300 BCE
DirectionLeft to Right

The Carian script was one of the many Greek-derived scripts of Anatolia of the first millenium BCE. It was used to write the Carian language, which was belonged to the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European family, and was related to Hittite, Luwian, Lycian, and Lydian.

Unlike other Anatolian scripts that are relatively well-understood, Carian remained fairly obscure as not all letters have been deciphered and given phonetic value. This is mostly due to the fact that while many letters outwardly appear similar to their Greek counterparts, they are in fact quite different. There is a total of 45 letters, but only slightly more than half of the signs have reasonably well-established readings as listed in the following table.

Some of the undeciphered or unsecurely deciphered letters are:

One interest note about Carian is that a substantial amount of texts was found in Egypt. Apparently during the reign of either the pharaoh Psammetichus I or II, many Carians were employed as mercernaries for the Egyptian military and left Carian inscriptions at places such as Thebes, Abu Simbel, and Saqqara. Many of these inscriptions mention Egyptian personal and geographical names, and likewise many Egyptian hieroglyphs contain Carian names. Comparison of these texts have led to advances in the decipherment of Carian. However, the script remains large deciphered and much work will still need to be done in the future.

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