I am currently working on a paper that deals with a Psalm from the Septuagint known as the Violet fragment - LXX, Psalm 77.The particular verses i am interested in, are written in Greek uncials, however translated in Arabic, using the same Greek script( so technically it consists a phonetic transcription- translation of the text).

What i want to do is transcribe and transliterate both Greek and Arabic text. Which transcription method is considered more suitable and easy to use when transcribing Greek from that period? Also, when it comes to dealing with the translated in Arabic text written in Greek, shall i transcribe, or transliterate the text?

  • 2
    Transcription focus on the sounds, while transliteration focus on the letters. We don't know for sure how ancient languages actually sounded like; we can only make an educated guess based on available evidence. You have the ancient text; my vote is for transliteration, in order to preserve the information you already have.
    – Locoluis
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 22:01
  • @Locoluis, indeed the transliteration assists in the text's perservance.However, do you think it would be helpful if i gave it a try to transcribe (in romanized letters) the arabic script in greek letters in order to simulate the Arabic pronounciation of the 8th -10nth century? Keep in mind that there is no indication of diacritics in the translated arabic script.
    – Laggy
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 22:10
  • 1
    You ought to settle on a standard Latin-alphabet equivalence set for Arabic-alphabet characters, since readers unfamiliar with Arabic letters will not easily recognize them (and certainly won't hear them). Probably that's not necessary for Koine Greek; anybody reading a paper on the Septuagint is likely to know the Greek alphabet, at least.
    – jlawler
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Since all of the text is written entirely in the Greek alphabet, a direct and straightforward transliteration is possible. There is a widely-accepted standard for Greek transliteration based on the methods the Romans used, which is the most common way for Ancient and Koine Greek names to be Romanized nowadays.

Eta and omega are transcribed with macra: ē, ō
Gamma before a velar is transcribed with an n (e.g: angelos, "angel")
Rough breathing is transcribed with an h
All other letters are transcribed in the "obvious" way based on their ancient pronunciation:
A B G D E Z Ē Th I K L M N X O P R S T Y Ph Ch Ps Ō

Some authors use c for kappa, kh for chi, ks for xi, or u for hypsilon, but readers will recognize any of these variants without difficulty (and none of them cause ambiguity).

Any variant or archaic Greek letters should be mentioned specifically. Using ś for san, w for digamma, and q for qoppa is common, for example, but I would be very confused finding any of those in a transcription without them being explained.

  • Would Beta Code be appropriate for this kind of use, given that is used in ancient greek texts, or shall i just use Homeric/Classic IPA?
    – Laggy
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 11:17
  • @Laggy Depends on your audience. Beta code can be more faithful to the original but is also harder to read.
    – Draconis
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 15:48
  • it s supposed to me Master Thesis material, so what method is considered more appropriate?
    – Laggy
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 19:45
  • @Laggy I would use Roman transcription as mentioned above.
    – Draconis
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 23:50

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