Origins of the Latin Alphabet

 

Early in their history the Romans learned a system of writing from the Etruscans , a civilization that dominated northern Italy during Rome's early history.  The first example of the new Latin alphabet has been dated to the 7th century BC. The letters in the earliest form of Latin were A, B, C, D, E, F, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, and X.

Since most of these first twenty letters resemble the form of early Greek letters, it is believed that the Etruscans borrowed their system of writing from the Greeks at Cumae in southern Italy.  The Etruscans used the same letters as the Greeks with some modifications since their language had some different sounds. 

The Romans also made changes to the alphabet over the centuries.  Here is a table with the Latin Alphabet in the classical form.  The notes give a short history of the letters.


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