Greek letter combinations

We thought it might be helpful to provide information on how Greek combines letters and have prepared the following chart that reflects possible and impossible combinations of letters in standard Greek words.  The qualification ‘standard’ is important, as exceptions to these rules are not uncommon. Exceptions may be caused by: 1) abbreviations in documentary papyri; 2) letters used as numerals, both in texts and documents; 3) scribal errors; 4) Greek names  ‘imported’ from other languages, such as Egyptian, Latin, Hebrew (for example, biblical names often combine letters in ways Greek would not and Egyptian names are very common in documentary papyri, see our last blog post); 5) magical words in spells and incantations

1=possible; 0=does not occur.  For each cell, the first letter of the combination is determined by the row and the second by the column.  Thus, the top row represents all the combinations that begin with α.  Please note that word divisions do not matter.  The combination ξξ would not occur within a word, for example, but is marked as possible because it can occur at the end of one word and the beginning of the next.

Theresa Chresand, Rachael Cullick, Marco Perale, Ryan Seaberg


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