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The Classical Greek language was used thoroughly throughout the Hellenistic period, when Greek culture was spread as far as India. The language later evolved to Koine (Common or Hellenistic), Medieval (Byzantine) and Modern Greek. Medieval Greek was the official language of (particularly the late) Byzantine Empire. The New Testament of the Bible was mostly written in Greek, more specifically in Koine.
The Greek alphabet was based on the Phoenician alphabet and, in turn, influenced the Latin alphabet, used in English today. The word alphabet is derived from the first two Greek letters.
1 Defunct Greek letters
2 The names omicron and omega signify the length of the sound - (o micron = short o, o mega = long o)
3 The first iota is used as vowel. The second is only used as consonant
4 The first sigma is used in the middle of a word. The second is only used at the end of a word
The Greek alphabet has influenced various writing systems, such as:
- The Gothic alphabet, which was used to translate the Bible and spread Christianity among the Goths
- The Glagolitic alphabet, the earliest Slavic alphabet, originally used for Old Church Slavonic
- The Cyrillic alphabet, which replaced Glagolitic and currently has national status as the writing system for 12 sovereign states
- Possibly the Armenian alphabet, modeled on Greek with Syriac and Pahlavi influences
- The Georgian alphabet, mostly modeled on or alongside Armenian
Additionally, Classical Greek letters are frequently used in scientific and mathematical notation. Greek roots, sometimes alongside Latin, are also often used to coin words in other languages (especially English). A prominent example is the word "alphabet" itself, derived from the letters "alpha" and "beta", the first two letters of the Greek alphabet.