The supposed Phoenician origin of the Greek alphabet is over!

A  sensational speech about the Greek language and its authentic Greek writing (alphabet) which does not come from the Phoenicians and the non-existent “Indo-Europeans” ,  a theory that calls for it to be removed from school books ,  was given at the Academy of Athens by its outgoing President, Akadimaikos Antonios Kounadis on January 14, 2019 AD , closing his annual term there.

The following  text of his speech was first published on the website of the ” Estia” newspaper.


Speech by the former president of the Academy of Athens, Antonio Kounadis

delivered at the Academy of Athens on January 14, 2019.


   “The  opinion put forward in the 18th century, that the Greek language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages , as well  as the opinion that the Greek alphabet is of Phoenician-Semitic origin, have been the subject of intense debates and disputes that continue to this day. Two issues, which should not leave any Greek indifferent, since the  most important asset of our cultural heritage, the Greek language ,  spoken and written, inextricably linked to the identity, continuity, survival and perspective of Hellenism , is a matter all of us.

Of course also the speaker, due to my long-term involvement with Education and my related article, with which I formalized the  harmful legislative interventions in our language, with the pseudo-labeled characterization as Educational Reforms .

Given that these two topics are interdisciplinary in nature and in fact the subject of many different sciences, my attempt in this case is  to present authentic opinions of linguists, archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, paleontologists , so that more light can be shed on these two complicated and even dark topics, based on the latest findings and developments in  human archaeogenetics (aDNA) and population genetics . Developments, which overturned or even confirmed previous assumptions.


  In  Plato’s Cratylus  , which is a dialogue about the correctness of names with interlocutors Hermogenes, the philosopher-mathematician Cratylus (founder of a philosophical school in the 5th century BC) and Socrates, the  beginnings of Comparative Linguistics can be found  in what it concerns names of barbarians (i.e. foreigners) and the comparative method (as it concerns the dialects of Greek, e.g. Aeolian, Doric, Ionic, Attic, etc.), as well as  the beginnings of Etymology for how the correct nomenclature is determined (naming) of words (names), nature or law . According to natural definition (according to Cratylos), there is an  agreement between a name (word) and its etymological conceptual content  (i.e. between signifier and signified), while according to the legal definition of names (words) naming is conventional  Greek language is preeminently conceptual or semantic, i.e. there is a causal relationship between nouns-words and their etymological meaning .

According to  Plato  (Kratylus, 435-436) ” he who believes in names, believes in things” . First,  Dionysius of Halicarnassus  (1st century BC) in his work “On the Composition of Names”  considers Plato to be the founder of Etymology,  writing: “The super-etymology discourse was first introduced by Plato in multiple men and allothi, indeed in the Cratylus.” . Regarding the value of the semantic property of names,  Aristotle  points out: “Reason, if it does not state, will not do its own work.” (The Art of Rhetoric C. 2149), then he does not exclude the Greek with the phrase: ” To Hellenizes is the right name .” (Art of rhetoric C. 4.1407).


 German philosopher-physicist Wenner Heisenberg  (Nobel Prize 1932) had declared: ” 

The term in the ancient Greek language was my most important intellectual exercise. In this language there is the most complete correspondence between the word and the conceptual content . If the first alphabet (more precisely, a writing system) is Semitic-Phoenician and if the Phoenicians (a branch of the Semitic race that distinguished itself in shipping and trade) took it from the Hebrews and transmitted it to the Greeks, it has become the subject of many discussions and disputes. Related topics for investigation are when the Phoenician immigrants settled in Phoenicia and which are the oldest inscriptions or written texts of the Phoenician culture.

HERODOTUS: “it seems to me…” Regarding the existing opinion about the origin of the Greek alphabet from the “Phoenician letters”, that is, from the Phoenician essentially “Syllabary”, it is worth noting that the “Phoenicians based this opinion mainly on the well-known 

 saying of Herodotus: “The Phoenicians … brought in teachers Greeks and words and letters did not exist before Greeks, as I believe…” . That is, Herodotus formulates this with reservation (as I do), referring vaguely to letters and not to the letters of a specific scripture.

DIODORUS SIKELIOTIS: “the Phoenicians took it from others”

  However, the historian  Diodorus the Sicilian  (E 74) does not agree with Herodotus’ opinion (E 74), who clarifies that  the so-called “Phoenician letters” are not an invention of the Phoenicians but an adaptation of other letters, that is, of the Hellenic-Cretan ones, stating  :  They are not found from the beginning, but the types of the letters are only shifted ,…”.


Let it be noted that the Phoenicians, as seen from various historical sources, settled in Phoenicia (today’s Lebanon and partly Syria) mixed with the native Canaanites between 1,200 and 1,100 BC.  Written texts or inscriptions about the Phoenician culture have not been found until today.

THERE WAS GREEK SCRIPTURE DURING THE TRONIC WAR (1,200 BC)  Based on historical data, inscriptions and many references to (known) texts of ancient Greek authors, it has been accepted by the international scientific community that  

the Greek (alphabetic) writing probably existed before the time of the Trojan War . (We do not mean Linear A or B or certainly the most ancient Cretan hieroglyphic writing through ideograms.) However, the Greek (alphabetic) writing seems to have existed before the times of Homer, based on historical sources. E.g. in the Iliad (describing the Trojan War),  

Homer , referring to Bellerephon, writes ” 

signs that you have written on a canvas with a tymophothora many “. (Letter of Proitus to his father-in-law, Iovatis. G 169.) Also, according to the philosopher and  

historian Porphyry  (3rd AD century), Homer wrote the Iliad “not at all, not continuously, because they are contiguous, but” he  

wrote me every rhapsody  , and being shown in the midst of the cities of food, he disappeared…” (Dictionary of Souda or Suida).   Mistriotis mentions that  

Apollodorus  (180-110 BC) tells us that  

Oiax, during the Trojan War, wrote the news of the death of his brother, Palamedes, on a rudder , which the sea waves carried to his father Nafplion. Of interest is the Scientific Communication of the Greek researchers Tavros 

Papamarinopoulos  and his collaborators, which I presented at the Public Session of the Academy (19/10/2017) entitled “Astronomical Dates of the End of the Trojan War and the Return of Odysseus” (Prak tics of the Academy , vol. 92 A, 2017). The Announcement concludes that  

the end of the Trojan War dates back to 1200 BC.  This date indicates the existence of a writing during the time of the Trojan War, in view of what was extrapolated by Homer about Bellerephon and by Mistriotis – Apollodorus for what they mention about Oiacas. 

If there really was writing before 1200 BC, the claims that the Greeks allegedly took the writing system (Syllabary) from the Phoenicians are shaken, lacking in credibility . Of course, this question remains open in the absence of evidence, because the existing evidence is not enough.


LINE 1left from a vase at Akrotiri Thiras – right from Zakros Palace, Arch. Museum of Sitia

According to  Sir Arthur Evans  “the writing of Crete is the mother of the Phoenician” , while according to  René Dussault  “the Phoenicians had received the alphabet from the Greeks,  who had formed it from the Cretan-Mycenaean script “. (See also Georgiev, Problems of the Minoan Language, Sofia 1953.)


  The Phoenician is not an alphabet, but a “Syllabary”, without vowels, with 22 consonants and without the consonants X, F, P of the Greek alphabet . But also according to the  Irvain University Center TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae), the  Cretan historian Dosiades  (who wrote the local history of Crete) mentions that  the alphabet was found by the Cretans .


   Plutarch   (Problems 737)  considers naive the opinion that the letter “alpha” is Phoenician from “Aleph” which was called the boon  (considered the first of the necessary). According to the Great Etymological Dictionary, the letter “alpha” comes  from the verb alfo  (= to find), because “it was found first of all the other elements.”


Each city-state or region in the archaic Greek world had its own alphabet, (with slight variations from those of other cities.)  The current Greek alphabet is the Ionic, with 24 letters, which prevailed from 403 BC. on Lord Euclid . The Corinthian also has 24 letters, the Cretan 21, the Miletus 24, the Chalcidic 25, from which the current Latin came, after adaptation by the inhabitants of Latin Italy, (who, it seems, received it from Greeks of Kimi.)

From the Greek alphabet also came the Etruscan, the Cyrillic, the ancient Phrygian, the Lycian alphabet, the Lydian, the Armenian, the Coptic, the Gothic,  etc.


  There are many sources for the  beginnings of Greek writing  , among which:

1) The sign of the Dispelion of Kastoria brought to light in 1993 by professor G. Hourmouziadis, which archaeologists both from the “Democritos” Research Center and the external ones dated to 5250 BC. 

Sign plate signature of Dispilio Kastoria, Macedonia 5,250 BC.(left a copy of the sign – right some of its letters and symbols)

2) “The Ostrakos in the Hermitage of Iura of the Sporades”, which was found by the archaeologist Adam Samson with a Greek inscription of 5500 BC, in which the letters A Y D are clearly visible 
 without any inscriptions, their phonetic value being known.

Writing on a shell of 5,500 BC, Cave of Cyclops, Iura SporadesGreek letters A, Y, D are visible

3) “The Ὄstrakos in the Pilikata area of ​​Ithaca”

 dating to 2700 BC. , on which there are engraved symbolic figures similar to those of Linear Scriptures A and B.

Writing on a shell of 2,700 BC. in Pelikata, Ithaca – Cross Museum of Ithaca


In this case, it is reasonable to ask  how it is possible for thousands of Homeric verses to be preserved and transmitted over many centuries unchanged with amazing precision . This is why  Mistriotis  in his work “History of the Homeric Epics” (Sakellariu Prints, Athens 1903, edition 2) mentions: ” The polymorphism and instability in the expansion and contraction of vowels cannot be attributed to the lack of writing .” ».

Professor  Gilbert Heigt  states that  a poem like the Iliad could not have been handed down without writing  (The Classical Tradition, MIET ed.), while the famous writer  Horst Blank (Papadima ed., p. 148) affirms that: ” Today a great part of philologists close to the hypothesis that the compilation of the Homeric Epics had already made the written consolidation of the text necessary… the rhapsodists carried with them their written manuscript copy . Also, the  French Hellenist Jacqueline De Romiguy  categorically states: ” Homer and writing coexist .”. (Why Greece, Ed. To “Asty”, p. 28.) The dactylic hexameter in the Homeric Epics is based on prosody (long and short vowels, double consonants, diphthongs, etc.). The opinion that the Phoenicians borrowed some consonants and immediately the Greeks wrote the Epis spelled, has no strong arguments , as the Dictionary Souda or Suida states (see Phoenician city).


   The reference of the  American historian/philosopher, editor of the world history of culture ,  William Durant, is also characteristic:  ” The Phoenicians were not the inventors of the alphabet, they only circulated it from place to place. They took it from the Cretans and transported it to Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and other cities of the Mediterranean. There were the “gyrologists” and not the inventors of the alphabet .”

The  archaeologist-epigraphist Apostolos Arvanitopoulos  had declared: ” The alphabet was invented and implemented by the Ancient Greeks … and they gifted it to the lost humanity as its common property.” There are several testimonies with texts of ancient historians and writers (after the time of Homer), which support that  there was a written Greek language (a variety of Grammika B’) around 1200 BC, i.e. before the Phoenician-Semitic Syllabary . However, evidence (eg inscriptions) for the existence of Greek writing dating back to this period does not exist.


For this  language of incomparable perfection that we ourselves have abused, while for foreign Greekists and linguists it is an object of admiration and study , the statement of the  distinguished Greek professor at the University of Oxford, Gilbert Murray, is characteristic : “[…]  a thought can be expressed with ease and grace in Greek, while it becomes difficult and heavy in Latin, English, French, German. Greek is the most perfect language, because it expresses the thoughts of the most perfect people .”

The distinguished  Hellenist and linguist Spanish professor FR Adrados , a foreign partner of the Academy of Athens, has repeatedly stated that  Western European languages ​​are Semi-Hellenic or Crypto-Hellenic .


It is also worth noting that  Aristophanes of Byzantium  (2nd century BC)  is considered the first to refine and apply tones and spirits .


“On the “disc of Phaistos” dating before 1200 BC.  (which was found in Crete and has not been deciphered until today)  the letters B G L Y are clearly “printed” .


Michael  Ventris  and  John Chadwick  argued for the first time that  the “baked clay tablets, from the second millennium BC, found at Pylos, Knossos, Mycenae and other places, contained Greek writings that came from the ancient Mycenaean Kingdoms”” .

The Mycenaeans , as  FR Adrados  recently pointed out (following others),  were Greek, written with the help of an ancient syllabic script that was subsequently forgotten .


Also, in his speech at the Academy of Athens (March 8-10, 2013), the distinguished Austrian linguist and Mycenologist  Osvald Panagl  mentioned that:  The above tablets (of Knossos, Pylos, Mycenae) were written in a primitive variant of ancient Greek, 500 years earlier of the linguistic idiom of the Homeric Epics. Consequently, their date goes back to around 1300 BC.


The Archaeologist M. Kosmopoulos in Iklaina Messinia with Linear B of 1450 BC.

Recently in  Iklaina of Messinia  (14 km from Pylos) the archaeologist  Michael Kosmopoulos , a professor at the University of Missouri in the USA (responsible for excavations since 1998 in this area), found “among rubble and garbage”  the oldest clay tablet to date Linear B dated between 1450 and 1400 BC. , as he informed me in his relevant letter.


Winemaker Dipylos Kerameikos of 740 BC. with the letters:”THE CURRENT ORCHESTRA ALWAYS PLAYS TODE KAN MIN…”which according to Babiniotis means “1. Which of the musicians dances more lightly than all 2a. this (the vessel, the wine-cup) belongs to him and if you [see him, wish him every happiness] 2b. let him take it (the vessel)”National Archaeological Museum

However, the  oldest alphabetic inscription , engraved on a clay vessel, in ” Oinochoi of Dipylus ” is from the 8th BC. aἰ.: ” THE CURRENT ORCHESTRA ALWAYS PLAYS THIS FOR TEN MINUTES “. However, in view of the above, this inscription should not be the oldest. Taking into account that to date less than 5% of the Greek Secretariat has been known, it is reasonable to expect that in the future new findings will be brought to light by the archaeological hoe.


  According to the linguist professor at Charles Sturt University in Australia  George Kanarakis  (and other researchers), based on historical comparative linguistics,  “the Greek language does not belong to any of the language groups of the Indo-European family and is therefore classified as an isolated language within the context of its homolingualism.”  The term  Indo-Europeans was introduced in 1813 by the British linguist, physician and physicist Thomas Young  (1779-1829).

The top international linguist – Hellenist  FR Adrados  in his announcement at the Academy of Athens said that  the Minoans  “whom we do not know how to define with precision, but they were not Indo-Europeans – the people who wrote the “Phaeisto disc” were not Europeans ”, neither they where they wrote the Mycenaean script.”


The prevailing opinion, contrary to that of Sir Arthur Evans (according to which Libyans and Egyptians immigrated to Crete developing the Minoan civilization), is that  the Minoans do not belong to the linguistically Indo-European populations that settled Europe in the Neolithic era . However, the research team of  Georgios Stamatogiannopoulos , Professor of Genetics and Genetic Medicine at G. Washington University , in collaboration with Greek and foreign scientists of various specialties,  isolated αDNA (ancient DNA) from Minoan remains 4,300 years old  and determined the polymorphisms of the mitochondrion, the who  they have the characteristics of European culture . Extremely interesting is a recent publication by him and his collaborators entitled ” Population Genetics and the Theory of the Alleged Extinction of the Greeks of the Peloponnese during the Middle Ages ” that I announced at the Academy of Athens (27/4/2017), which proves that the Population Genetics can clarify important issues of origin and history of the Human population.


The distinguished German linguist  Franz Bopp  (editor of the Comparative Grammar in 1857) has argued that  Sanskrit is based on Greek, and not the other way around .

CONCLUSIONS  Based on the above, we can reach the following conclusions:1.  

Plato laid the foundations of the Etymology of the Greek language , which is 

 preeminently semantic  (conceptual), that is, there is a causal relationship between words and their etymological meaning.2. Research through  

aDNA  showed that there were expansions of population groups from the Russian steppes both to the West (toward Central and Western Europe) and to the East of Europe, through the Asian steppes. 

A genetic signature of migrations to Greece has not been confirmed until today , however, if such exists, according to the top linguist J. Mallory, it will be very small in relation to the  

indigenous population settled in Greece at the time.3.  

The term Indo-Europeans is purely linguistic and does not imply any racial type of person. The existence of an Indo-European race is strongly disputed  by leading specialist scientists, based on recent genetic data. 

It is time for the old Indo-European case to be removed from the textbooks .4. The inclusion of Proto-Greek in the Indo-European common language is not disputed, however,  

the mother-language of this common language remains unknown . However, as previously discussed,  

Proto-Greek seems to be superior to the other languages  ​​(including Sanskrit), however the question of the time of its appearance in the Greek space remains open (according to Dr. I. Lazaridis).5. In the Greek area, and specifically  

in Crete, the first writing system with ideograms  (hieroglyphs) appears 5,000 years ago,  

followed approximately 4,000 years ago by Linear A’  (which has not yet been deciphered),  

which is succeeded before 3,500 years (15th BC) the Linear B script  (including vowels), which was deciphered as Greek by the British architect M. Ventris. According to the famous linguist – Mycenologist 

 Osvald Panagl, the tablets of Knossos and Mycenae date from around 1300 BC, of ​​Pylos around 1200 BC, while the distinguished archaeologist 

 M. Kosmopoulos discovered in Iklaina (14 km from Pylos) the oldest to date clay tablet of Linear B, dated around 1450-1400 BC .6. In the Middle East and specifically  

in the former Phenicia it appears around 1150 BC. the so-called Phoenician-Semitic writing system, which is not an alphabet but a syllabary without vowels, with 22 consonants,  (which do not include the Greek consonants  

X, F, Ψ .)  

If there was writing during the time of the Trojan War (i.e. before 1200 BC), the hypothesis that the Greeks took the writing system (Syllabary) from the Phoenicians is shaky, lacking credibility .7.  

The first alphabet in the world is the Greek, from the 8th BC. aἰ Originally it had 27 letters, from 403 BC. 24 letters, after removing the digamma, Kopa and sabi . However, there are serious indications based on historical sources (Homeric Epistles, Mistriotis, etc.) and archaeological findings, that  

the Greek alphabet is much more ancient, possibly dating back to the years of the Trojan War  (Mistriotis, Apollodorus, etc.), it is much more  

likely that Homeric Epics to have been handed down in writing  (Mistriotis, J. Highget, H. Blanc, Jacqueline De Romiguy).

  In view of the above, it is necessary to continue the interdisciplinary research, whose conclusions of the different sciences should converge, especially towards those of  Archaeogenetics and Population Genetics , due to their rapid evolutions. The Greek language, a phenomenon of continuity and radiation, continues to be an object of admiration and study by leading linguists, Hellenists and intellectuals. According to the world-renowned Hellenist and professor of linguistics  FR Adrados, Greek has left its indelible stamp on all the Western European languages ​​that are considered semi-Hellenic or crypto-Hellenic , and according to the famous Hellenist professor at the University of Oxford  Gilbert Murray, Greek is the most perfect language of the world . Indeed,  the Greek language, written and spoken, is an achievement of the human spirit of unsurpassed perfection . Posted by 

Nikolas Chart








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