14 November 2011

Finding its tail

Our story starts with the Latin g sound and its translation into an alphabetic symbol c7BC. At that time there appears to be no distinction between the sounds k (hard c) and g. Both sounds were represented by the letter C, which according to the context could be read as C or G (look at the many inscriptions devoted to the Emporer Gaius or Caius along the Appian Way in Rome). The important development comes comes in 312 BC: a new sign was created by the addition of an accent to the lower end of C, converting it to a G.
Here, at Ostia, Italy: some surviving mosaic lettering, from 1/2BC. I found all these accented Cs in the same inscription.