A Roman mystery word square

A bigger picture

The Romans created the Latin alphabet by adapting the alphabet of the Etruscans, the most powerful civilisation in Italy prior to the rise of Rome. The Etruscan alphabet was in turn derived from the Greek. As Rome’s power spread, Latin and its alphabet also spread across the empire. In the medieval period when Latin became the language of education, literature and religion, the Latin alphabet began to be used to write the languages derived from Latin such as French, Spanish and Italian and also displaced scripts such as the runic script used for Germanic languages and the Ogam script for Celtic languages.

Greek inscription


An inscription in Greek from a temple dedicated by Alexander the Great in Priene, present-day Turkey.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/d/dedication_by_alexander.aspx

Etruscan inscription


Part of a bronze plaque with an Etruscan inscription which reads right to left.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/collectionimages/AN01484/AN01484623_001_l.jpg

Tombstone of Regina, Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum


Regina, a British woman from Verulamium (St Albans), was married to a man from Syria and died near the Roman fort of Arbeia in the northeast of England. Her tombstone carries inscriptions in Latin and Aramaic, the language used in Syria. Enter Regina tombstone in the search box on the website. Image © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

See more See more: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/arbeia/collections.html

Runic inscription


An Anglo-Saxon finger ring with an inscription in runes.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=88694&partId=1&searchText=runes&images=true&page=1

Ogam script


A standing stone from Ireland with writing in Ogam script along the edges.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/sandstone-memorial-slab-carved-with-ogam-script/LAEDWmIGMoLklA

Kenyan cloth with writing


A kanga cloth from Kenya, with writing in Kiswahili and in English, both using Roman letters.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1402455&partId=1&searchText=kiswahili&images=true&page=1
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A Roman mystery word square