It is generally agreed that the Greek letter San developed from the Phoenician Tṣadē, but I'm not sure I see the graphical similarity. The Phoenician form enter image description here does bear some resemblance to the Greek form enter image description here and even to the more common Greek form enter image description here, but the resemblance doesn't seem that great to me, and there is evidence to suggest that the Greek alphabet was developed at a time when Tṣadē was drawn more like a Y, as shown on the Izbet Ṣartah abecedary:

enter image description here

How did the shape evolve?

  • 1
    Why do you call it "tṣade" instead of ṣade (or ṣadhe)?
    – Draconis
    Jul 10, 2020 at 22:38
  • There's evidence to suggest its sound was [tsʼ]. See google.com/books/edition/The_Semitic_Languages/…, pg. 69.
    – user17584
    Jul 10, 2020 at 22:52
  • 2
    Sure, but the usual way of indicating the phoneme in Semitic studies, at least in my experience, is just plain ṣ.
    – Draconis
    Jul 10, 2020 at 23:03
  • FWIW, the modern Hebrew form of the letter is צ medially or initially and ץ finally. Those do sort of look like a Y. Jul 11, 2020 at 11:41
  • When do you think the Greek alphabet developed?
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 12, 2020 at 0:20


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