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The Coptic Language



Steven Margulies writes: "The Coptic alphabet came about after the Greek conquest of Egypt in the 3rd Century BC and is still in use by the Coptic Church in their religious works. The Coptic language is the last descendant of the ancient Egyptian language, Demotic. The Coptic alphabet is based on the Greek letter form, but has additional letters for sounds used in the Demotic (ancient Egyptian) not found in the Greek, so Coptic appears to be an off-shoot of the two (Demotic and Greek). Military Conquest and transplanted culture/religion (otherwise known as "history" by the respective victors) are the primary drivers behind the demise of most ancient spoken languages and their corresponding scripts. In the case of languages, Greek replaced Demotic (425 BC), and Demotic replaced Heiratic (650 BC). These dates are approximate. Coptic Christianity is synonymous with Alexandria, but several religious debates have created standing rifts among the faithful, and there are two Popes in Alexandria today as a result; Pope Shenouda III is the Coptic Orthodox Pope •Pope Boutros VII is the Greek Orthodox Pope".

Ronald Hilton - 5/12/03


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