May 4, 2016

2520 GREECE (Mount Athos) - Initial Letter Omega from the Greek Alphabet

Greek or Hellenic is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to the southern Balkans, the Aegean Islands, parts of Anatolia and the South Caucasus, southern Italy, Albania and Cyprus. It has the longest documented history of any single clearly-defined Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts, the Greek alphabet has been used since the 8th century BC, and was the first alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants.

Greek was originally written predominantly from right to left, then a writing style with alternating right-to-left and left-to-right lines (called boustrophedon, literally "ox-turning", after the manner of an ox ploughing a field) was common, until in the classical period the left-to-right writing direction became the norm. In its classical and modern forms, the alphabet has 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega. Like Latin and other alphabetic scripts, Greek originally had only a single form of each letter, without a distinction between uppercase and lowercase.

The Greek language holds an important place in the histories of Europe, the more loosely defined Western world, and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes works of monumental importance and influence for the future Western canon. Greek was also the language in which many of the foundational texts of Western philosophy were composed; the  New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek. It would eventually become the official parlance of the  Byzantine Empire and develop into Medieval Greek.

Located in Greek Macedonia, Mount Athos, official named Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, is home to 20  stauropegial Eastern Orthodox monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value.

The largest monastery on Mount Athos is Esphigmenou, dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. The current monastery dates back to the 10th century, while tradition holds that the site had been used as a monastery since as early as the 5th century. Its library houses 372 manuscripts, of which 75 are parchment, some bearing iconographic decoration. Famous among these is the Minologion. The library also holds a collection of roughly 2,000 printed books, while 6,000 more are housed in another part of the monastery, on the second floor of the northern wing.

The maxicard, depicting the initial letter Omega in a manuscript in the library of Esphigmenou Monastery, is one of the 24 issued in 2011 under the name The Greek Alphabet.

History of the Greek language -
Greek language - Wikipedia
Greek alphabet - Wikipedia
Mount Athos - Wikipedia
Esphigmenou - Wikipedia

Sender: Milda Kriukaite (direct swap)
Sent from Piraeus (Attica / Greece), on 05.02.2015

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