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Old Italic refers to several now extinct alphabet systems used on the Italian Peninsula in ancient times for various Indo-European languages (predominantly Italic) and non-Indo-European (e.g. Etruscan) languages. The alphabets derive from the Euboean Greek Cumaean alphabet, used at Ischiamarker and Cumaemarker in the Bay of Naplesmarker in the eighth century BC.

Various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch (Faliscan and members of the Sebellian group, including Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene, and other Indo-European branches such as Venetic and Messapic) originally used the alphabet. Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian, North Picene, and South Picene all derive from an Etruscan form of the alphabet.

The Germanic runic alphabet was most likely derived from one of these alphabets in about the 2nd century.

Etruscan alphabet

It is not clear whether the process of adaptation from the Greek alphabet took place in Italymarker from the first colony of Greeks, the city of Cumaemarker, or in Greecemarker/Asia Minormarker. It was in any case a Western Greek alphabet. In the alphabets of the West, X had the , Ψ stood for ; in Etruscan: X = , Ψ = or (Rix 202-209).

The earliest Etruscan abecedarium, the Marsiliana d'Albegna (near Grossetomarker) tablet which dates to c. 700 BC, lists 26 letters corresponding to contemporary forms of the Greek alphabet which retained san and qoppa but which had not yet developed omega.


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