About Palaeolexicon

About Palaeolexicon

Palaeolexicon is a tool for the study of ancient languages. Its name derives from the Greek words palaeo meaning 'old' and lexicon meaning 'dictionary'. If you're interested of the ancient world and its languages, then this is a site for you. It is a place for people who love historical linguistics and ancient history.


Palaeolexicon started as a project in December 2008 and its aim was to provide a searchable index of Mycenaean Greek glosses. During the early development stages, it was decided that Phrygian should be docked in as well. Then languages of the greater Balkan and Anatolia area followed.

Language support

The Palaeolexicon database contains public and partial dictionaries that in turn contain thousands of words. The difference between a public and partial dictionary, is that a public dictionary is available for browsing, while a partial dictionary will return results corresponding the search criteria of a user.

Palaeolexicon has currently the following public dictionaries:
  • Avestan
  • Cappadocian Greek
  • Carian
  • Cypriot Syllabic Script
  • Early Proto-Albanian
  • Eteocypriot
  • Etruscan
  • Hattic
  • Hittite
  • Hurrian
  • Linear B
  • C. Luwian
  • Lycian
  • Lydian
  • Old Norse
  • Palaic
  • Phrygian
  • Pre-Celtic
  • Pre-Greek toponyms
  • Proto-Altaic
  • Proto-Indo-European
  • Proto-Kartvelian
  • Proto-Semitic
  • Proto-Turkic
  • Safaitic
  • Thracian
  • Tocharian A
  • Tocharian B
  • Urartian

The partial dictionaries include the following languages:
  • Aeolic Greek
  • Ancient Macedonian
  • Arcado-Cypriot Greek
  • Armenian
  • Attic Greek
  • Basque/Euskara
  • Doric Greek
  • Greek
  • Ionic Greek
  • Latin
  • Lemnian
  • Mitanni
  • Old Persian
  • Ossetian (Iron)
  • Pr.Indo-Iranian
  • Proto-Anatolian
  • Proto-Celtic
  • Proto-Italic
  • Proto-Tungus
  • Proto-Uralic
  • Sanskrit



Palaeolexicon is project based on the voluntary work of various individuals. Every single resource that keeps this project up and running is based on the goodwill of those individuals.


All material on Palaeolexicon is intended to reflect the current academic views. There are no folk etymologies or outdated views. If such detected they are being removed or corrected immediately. The project's reputation is highly depended on its reliability. Our intention is to make you feel confident that the content your are viewing while browsing this site is reliable. If you see something that is not fitting to the site profile we describe, please do not hesitate to send us a correction. We are taking into great consideration the user feedback, but for content changes we do require sources and the reliability of those sources will be checked.

However, we are aware of that there is room for improvement. In the early stages of the project, not enough effort was put on adding references. Newer entries like the Hattic dictionary have each word sourced, while older ones may lack of reference material. That's something we're working on and it is our intention to provide you with the most up to date data out there.

International phonetic alphabet (IPA)

The internationall phonetic alphabet (IPA) is available whereever possible. However, since we're mostly dealing with languages that have no living native speakers, there is no way to be sure about how words were pronounced. Even for ancient Greek that has living descendants, it is impossible to know exactly how it sounded. For example, Erasmian pronounciation might be almost correct for Homeric Greek, but it does definetely not reflect people's pronounciation in Alexander the great's time. To make a long story short: The phonetic reprecentation of the words is relative.

The Heuristics AI

This version of Palaeolexicon comes with a new Heuristics AI, an experimental tool that will quickly help you find cognates across languages. You can read more about it here.