The history of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letter forms in the 9th–8th centuries BC during early Archaic Greece and continues to the present day. The Greek alphabet was developed during the Iron Age, centuries after the loss of Linear B, the syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek until the Late Bronze Age collapse and Greek Dark Age. This article concentrates on the development of the alphabet before the modern codification of the standard Greek alphabet.
The Phoenician alphabet was consistently explicit only about consonants, though even by the 9th century BC it had developed matres lectionis to indicate some, mostly final, vowels. This arrangement is much less suitable for Greek than for Semitic languages, and these matres lectionis, as well as several Phoenician letters which represented consonants not present in Greek, were adapted according to the acrophonic principle to represent Greek vowels consistently, if not unambiguously.
The Greek alphabet was developed by a Greek with first-hand experience of contemporary Phoenician script. After it was established in the Greek mainland, it was exported eastwards to Phrygia, where a similar script was devised. It was also exported westwards with Euboean or West Greek traders, where the Etruscans adapted the Greek alphabet to their own language, which eventually led to the Latin alphabet.