The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since the 8th century BC. It was derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was in turn the ancestor of numerous other European and Middle Eastern scripts, including Cyrillic and Latin. Apart from its use in writing the Greek language, both in its ancient and its modern forms, the Greek alphabet today also serves as a source of technical symbols and labels in many domains of mathematics, science and other fields.
In its classical and modern form, the alphabet has 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega. Like Latin and Cyrillic, Greek originally had only a single form of each letter; it developed the letter case distinction between upper-case and lower-case forms in parallel with Latin during the modern era.
Isopsephy (//; ἴσος isos meaning "equal" and ψῆφος psephos meaning "pebble") is the Greek word for the practice of adding up the number values of the letters in a word to form a single number. The early Greeks used pebbles arranged in patterns to learn arithmetic and geometry.
Isopsephy is related to Gematria, the same practice using the Hebrew alphabet, and the ancient number systems of many other peoples (for the Arabic alphabet version, see Abjad numerals). A Gematria of Latin-script languages was also popular in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and indeed its legacy remains in numerology and Masonic symbolism today (see arithmancy).