In the one case they employed for the sibilant--for which the Phoenician alphabet furnished two signs, the fourteenth ( --"id:/\/\") for --"id:sh" and the eighteenth (--"id:E") for --"id:s" --not the latter, which was in sound the more suitable, but the former; and such was in earlier times the mode of writing in the eastern islands, in Corinth and Corcyra, and among the Italian Achaeans. In the other case they substituted for the sign of --"id:i" the simple stroke --"id:I", which was by far the more usual, and at no very late date became at least so far general that the broken --"id:iota S" everywhere disappeared, although individual communities retained the --"id:s" in the form --"id:/\/\" alongside of the --"I".--III. Of later date is the substitution of --"id:\/" for --"id:/\" (--"id:lambda") which might readily be confounded with --"id:GAMMA gamma". This we meet with in Athens and Boeotia, while Corinth and the communities dependent on Corinth attained the same object by giving to the --"id:gamma" the semicircular form --"id:C" instead of the hook-shape.--IV. The forms for --"id:p" --"id:P (with broken-loop)" and --"id:r" --"id:P", likewise very liable to be confounded, were distinguished by transforming the latter into --"id:R"; which more recent form was not used by the Greeks of Asia Minor, the Cretans, the Italian Achaeans, and a few other districts, but on the other hand greatly preponderated both in Greece proper and in Magna Graecia and Sicily. Still the older form of the --"id:r" --"id:P" did not so early and so completely disappear there as the older form of the --"id:l"; this alteration therefore beyond doubt is to be placed later.--V. The differentiating of the long and short -e and the long and short -o remained in the earlier times confined to the Greeks of Asia Minor and of the islands of the Aegean Sea.
All these technical improvements are of a like nature and from a historical point of view of like value, in so far as each of them arose at a definite time and at a definite place and thereafter took its own mode of diffusion and found its special development. The excellent investigation of Kirchhoff (-Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets-), which has thrown a clear light on the previously so obscure history of the Hellenic alphabet, and has also furnished essential data for the earliest relations between the Hellenes and Italians--establishing, in particular, incontrovertibly the previously uncertain home of the Etruscan alphabet--is affected by a certain one-sidedness in so far as it lays proportionally too great stress on a single one of these proposals. If systems are here to be distinguished at all, we may not divide the alphabets into two classes according to the value of the --"id:X" as --"id:zeta" or as --"id:chi", but we shall have to distinguish the alphabet of 23 from that of 25 or 26 letters, and perhaps further in this latter case to distinguish the Ionic of Asia Minor, from which the later common alphabet proceeded, from the common Greek of earlier times. In dealing, however, with the different proposals for the modification of the alphabet the several districts followed an essentially eclectic course, so that one was received here and another there; and it is just in this respect that the history of the Greek alphabet is so instructive, because it shows how particular groups of the Greek lands exchanged improvements in handicraft and art, while others exhibited no such reciprocity. As to Italy in particular we have already called attention to the remarkable contrast between the Achaean agricultural towns and the Chalcidic and Doric colonies of a more mercantile character (x. Iono-Dorian Towns); in the former the primitive forms were throughout retained, in the latter the improved forms were adopted, even those which coming from different quarters were somewhat inconsistent, such as the --"id:C" --"id:gamma" alongside of the --"id:\/" --"id:l". The Italian alphabets proceed, as Kirchhoff has shown, wholly from the alphabet of the Italian Greeks and in fact from the Chalcidico-Doric; but that the Etruscans and Latins received their alphabet not the one from the other but both directly from the Greeks, is placed beyond doubt especially by the different form of the --"id:r". For, while of the four modifications of the alphabet above described which concern the Italian Greeks (the fifth was confined to Asia Minor) the first three were already carried out before the alphabet passed to the Etruscans and Latins, the differentiation of --"id:p" and --"id:r" had not yet taken place when it came to Etruria, but on the other hand had at least begun when the Latins received it; for which reason the Etruscans do not at all know the form -"id:R" for -"id:r", whereas among the Faliscans and the Latins, with the single exception of the Dressel vase (xiv. Note 14 ), the younger form is met with exclusively.
12. I. XIII. Etrusco-Attic And Latino-Sicilian Commerce
13. That the Etruscans always were without the koppa, seems not doubtful; for not only is no sure trace of it to be met with elsewhere, but it is wanting in the model alphabet of the Galassi vase. The attempt to show its presence in the syllabarium of the latter is at any rate mistaken, for the syllabarium can and does only take notice of the Etruscan letters that were afterwards in common use, and to these the koppa notoriously did not belong; moreover the sign placed at the close cannot well from its position have any other value than that of the -f, which was in fact the last letter in the Etruscan alphabet, and which could not be omitted in a syllabarium exhibiting the variations of that alphabet from its model. It is certainly surprising that the koppa should be absent from the Greek alphabet that came to Etruria, when it otherwise so long maintained its place in the Chalcidico-Doric ; but this may well have been a local peculiarity of the town whose alphabet first reached Etruria. Caprice and accident have at all times had a share in determining whether a sign becoming superfluous shall be retained or dropped from the alphabet; thus the Attic alphabet lost the eighteenth Phoenician sign, but retained the others which had disappeared from the -u.