The Attic Greek Akrophonic Numerals
The ancient Greeks were the first people to invent alphabetic numerals about 850 BC. This system of numeration is called Attic because it was widely used by the Athenian Greeks in the province of Attica. It is also known as Herodianic because of the Greek historian Herodotus who wrote "... the Greek people were taught their letters from the Phoenicians and adopted them with some alterations for their own speech. They refer to their letters as Phoenician-things [phoinikeia] because the Phoenicians introduced them"
(Histories written circa 450 BC).
The numerals are called "acrophonic" ( akro meaning "topmost" and phone meaning "voice") because the initial sound of each letter-numeral had the same initial sound of the first letter of the Greek word that stood for the number in question. The letter-numeral for "5" in the top table is the old Attic Greek symbol for pi (P).
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