Make your own free website on
Lycian language
When the Hittite Empire was dissolved, different small kingdoms and countries took its place on vast lands of Anatolia. In the Western parts of the peninsula Indo-European nations established several small states where the so-called "late Anatolian languages" were spoken. Hittite language turned into Lydian and Carian, Luwian-speaking peoples were called Lycians, Misians, Sydetians.

Cave dwellings in LyciaLycia was a south-western part of the former Hittite region. The terrain of the country was mountainous, and the hills and valleys were fertile. The country was originally called Milyas and inhabited by the Solymi and the Termilae, who were subjugated by the invading Lycians. The Lycians and the Greeks first came into contact before the Trojan War in the 12st century BC, and the remains of Lycian tombs, temples, and theaters show a marked Greek influence. Lycia and Cilicia were the only two countries of Asia Minor that were not conquered in the 6th century BC by Croesus, king of Lydia. In the same century, however, the Lycians were defeated by the Persians under King Cyrus the Great despite heroic resistance. Under the Persians, Lycia remained prosperous and virtually autonomous. Along with the rest of Asia Minor, Lycia was conquered by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in the 4th century BC and incorporated into the Greco-Macedonian Empire.

Lycian language, being the late Luwian, nevertheless developed some new features in its structure. Nasal vowels doubled the number of vowels in the language, and this number was about thrice more than in Luwian which had only 3 vowels. That is why most endings of nouns and verbs have nasal vowels instead of the "vowel + -n". The noun cases remained the same, as well as the verb system (although researchers still argue about a strange -eni ending in the 3rd person plural of verbs). Pronouns also changed slightly, though Lycian declension of pronouns developed all similar features of "new" Anatolian languages, including Lydian.

Still there are quite a few materials about Lycian, its grammar, and its known glossary remains very poor. But Indo-European cognates, which make about 20% in all Anatolian languages, still make Lycians' Indo-European origin inevitable. Some time later we will surely place our Lycian grammar in the Indo-European Grammars section.