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Spelling of Greek names


It is very difficult to define a consistent and practical rule of spelling in text that includes both Greek and Roman proper names.

The traditional letter-to-letter transliteration of ancient Greek names is the one used by Latin writers, which is as follows:
Greek(upper)ΑΒΓΔΕΖΗΘΙΚΛΜΝΞΟΠΡΣΤΥΦΧΨΩ
Greek(lower)αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψω
LatinABGDEZĒTHICLMNXOPRSTYPHCHPSŌ

As well as simple transliteration, Latin writers also regularly changed Greek names to make them look more like familiar Latin names; for instance, by changing the usual ending of men's names from -OS into -US.

Greek personal names are always presented here in their latinised form, but preserving the digraph "EI", the masculine ending "-ŌN" and the feminine ending "-Ē". This means that to change the names as presented into pseudo-Greek, the following conversions have to be made, from Latin to Greek: AE=AI, C=K, OE=OI, U=OU, Y=U, -ER=-ROS, -UM=-ON, and -US=-OS.  Thus "Thucydides" (Θουκυδιδης) would become "Thoukudides" in pseudo-Greek.

The latinised spelling of personal names is used consistently throughout this site, even if a name traditionally appears in a different form in English. For instance, "Philippus" is usually written as "Philip" in English. The only exception is that the familiar English form is used for kings called Ptolemy and for some well-known Greek writers (shown here with the latinised spelling in brackets): Aristotle (Aristoteles), Homer (Homerus), Plato (Platon), Plutarch (Plutarchus) and Strabo (Strabon).

The same rule is followed for place names, but well-known cities(eg. Athens, Corinth) and countries(eg. Egypt)are presented in their familiar English form. The names of many Greek cities end in -EIA, and in Latin this ending can appear as either -EA or -IA; so "Herakleia" becomes "Heraclea" in Latin, but "Seleukeia" becomes "Seleucia". The original-EIA has been retained in most place names here.


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