ZeldaBlog

Hellenophones of the Deep (Minor Spoilers)

January 23rd, 2007 at 9:05 pm by Jack

(Editor’s Note: This is a crossposting of an article I wrote at the Desert Colossus. My intent in posting it here is to expose the issue to a wider audience. Oh, and there’s minor name spoilers ahead, I suppose, so for safety’s sake it behind the cut it goes. Oh, and I please ignorance if this issue has been resolved elsewhere.)

That said, let’s continue…

As part of a little photographic expedition I’ve been conducting in Twilight Princess, I present to you this interesting little mystery—what is written above the entrance to Lakebed Temple? So far in Hyrule, we’ve seen two scripts: TP and TWW. Here’s another one to throw in the mix: Greek.

Ignoring for a moment the enormous contradiction of an “Earthling” alphabet in this game, let’s figure out what this means. No real Hellenophone myself, I really can’t make out everything on the following screenshot:

(Note: two more versions of this image can be found at the original post at TDC, one negative-ized, and the other grayscaled.)

This is what I’ve figured out on my own:

ΗΓΨΝ?Ν
ΝΒΒΧΓΒΝ
?ΗΓ
?ΗΓ ΒΝΜ
ΛΚΛ?ΗΓ?

The only coherent part I have is ΒΝΜ, which means (transliterating the Greek to Roman alphabets) “VNM”. So, yeah, this won’t be easy.

Anyways, I’m calling on any classics studies or Hellenes to help fill in the blanks (the question marks) and make sense of this mystery, and figure out if this odd little presence of the Greek Alphabet in Hyrule is just a something intended to stump us, or holds a greater secret.

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43 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “Hellenophones of the Deep (Minor Spoilers)”

    Comments

    Hmm, language seems to have an interesting role in TP.

    The closest thing i could find for the last 4 ?s is lowercase Delta - δ

    I really have no idea, just a quick comparison.

    Woah. Greek. They confuse us so much with just Hylian, why throw Greek in there? Why use Greek anyway? As far as I know, Hyrule is in a totally different time paradox than our time (speaking as if it existed, of course). Maybe this is the updated version of “Zoran”, and they just decided to use Greek? Or is it some stupid easter egg? Grr. I hate easter eggs.

    I think those question marks might be Thetas. And, aside of the Eta, I don’t see any vowels. Perhaps it’s a cryptogram or an acronym?

    Also, I took a trip to the Lakebed Temple to try and get a better view for myself, but I don’t see the inscription you’re talking about. Care to share exactly where this gem is hiding?

    Jack, I can provide some help as to the missing letters.

    If you’ll look at the Wikipedia article on the Greek Language, take a look at Unicode value U+03D1 (ϑ). That’s an alternate character for theta, and that would easily fit the middle character of the last word.

    Similarly, U+03D0 (ϐ) is a script beta that could be used for several characters (missing character in first word, last character of last word, possibly the first character in lines three and four).

    It also looks like there’s a script sigma (U+03C2, ς) in between the two words on line four, thus making it all one word.

    Unfortunately, it’s still all Greek to me, so I cannot help you, ya know, read it…

    Oh my *NAVIng* gosh! My Roman Shark Zora race exists in the game… but why in greek? lol Just kidding. That is interesting. I did have a greek alphabet page, but my parents switched us from AOL to FireFox.

    Theres also some Hyilian writing on the arches around the doorway in the Temple of Time, maybe someone could check that out?

    I noticed writing on the Stone of Time in the Sacred Groove, the one where u get the Master Sword at. I couldn’t make it out, but it could either be Hylian or Greek. Hey Jack, on your site, in the oddities page, I checked out that thing in the Kakariko Malo Mart, but I couldn’t make it out. It looks like a Deku Nut to me, what do you think it is?

    I tried to translate the writing around the door of time, but it would take too long since I have the Wii Version. I’d have to reverse each letter and reverse the whole paragraph. By the way, there’s also writing on the door of time itself before the guards open it in the present version of the ToT. That might be worth checking out to.

    Jario, do you mean outside the door in the grove, or outside the door in the Temple? Also, the writing on the door says “Time Door” (or “Door Time”, I forget).

    That’s really weird. Why would Greek writing be in Zelda?

    The Greek above the temple entrance has absolutely no meaning. They are just random Greek letters, and any vowels are missing in there except for an occasional H which means “e” in our script.

    The Hylian inscription on the Master Sword’s pedestal reads, big surprise, as follows: MASTER SWORD

    The Hylian inscription on the temple ruins’ door that disappears after you’ve solved the stone statue puzzle is none the better: STONE STATUE

    There we have it, Nintendo decided to fool us Hylian explorers a great deal… :S

    wow,I come to the article and the whole mysteries over already 0_o .oh well,thats what I get for resting my eyes,eh? its still strange that they used greek.but then,its not unlike nintendo to throw something ridiculously random into a game.

    BTW jack,when you first meet zelda theres an open book in her room.any chance you know what that says? I believe ive said this before,but I cant tell scribles from hylian…and now greek! wonderful.

    Yeah, this is just a bunch of Greek letters thrown in there to look pretty. I took a course in ancient Greek recently and while the words are different, their spellings still follow normal vowel rules in that you NEED VOWELS. It was already mentioned that the only vowel present is eta (assuming that everything is sighted correctly), so it’s just random letters, no special meaning.

    Halan said:

    Yeah, this is just a bunch of Greek letters thrown in there to look pretty. I took a course in ancient Greek recently and while the words are different, their spellings still follow normal vowel rules in that you NEED VOWELS. It was already mentioned that the only vowel present is eta (assuming that everything is sighted correctly), so it’s just random letters, no special meaning.

    Case closed. Nintendo got lazy, threw in some Greek gibberish and sold it.

    Halan said:

    Yeah, this is just a bunch of Greek letters thrown in there to look pretty. I took a course in ancient Greek recently and while the words are different, their spellings still follow normal vowel rules in that you NEED VOWELS. It was already mentioned that the only vowel present is eta (assuming that everything is sighted correctly), so it’s just random letters, no special meaning.

    Either that or it’s Ooccoo for “Ha! Fooled you!”

    I think my uncle can read Greek Ill ask him

    Well being a Greek I can tell you that its just some random letters with no meaning at all. Ιmagine sth like ” agsfgvre” in English

    Also I think in the last line, the missing letters are probably ‘Theta’ [ Θ ] and ‘Delta’ [Δ] but again there are no real words(either ancient or modern Greek)

    Cool, we have a Greek among us. No offense if it sounds offending. We should find other writing just to keep this post alive.

    Jack said:

    Jario, do you mean outside the door in the grove, or outside the door in the Temple? Also, the writing on the door says “Time Door” (or “Door Time”, I forget).

    I’m not talking about the Time Door, I’m talking about the Door of Time that blocks the way to the second room in the present version before you play the game with the guards.

    Ah, he means the grove. That mini-game took forever to beat without a walkthrough, and then my cat restarted it AFTER I left the Sacred Grove.

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    Ah, he means the grove. That mini-game took forever to beat without a walkthrough, and then my cat restarted it AFTER I left the Sacred Grove.

    wow,that must have been nice,I can just see that happening to me too :) .its funny,I got past that puzzle really quick the first time but the second I had to restart some three times.I didnt feel like digging out/through my guide book either.

    so is there more greek in the game besides this or is it just the tipical writing? i would still really like to know what that book says :? .

    Jumanji Shishioh said:
    and then my cat restarted it AFTER I left the Sacred Grove.

    my cats used to always step on the 64 reset button…i had to put a basket over it when i played it

    Sesshorochikuramaru said:

    Jumanji Shishioh said:
    and then my cat restarted it AFTER I left the Sacred Grove.

    my cats used to always step on the 64 reset button…i had to put a basket over it when i played it

    ehhh…forgot about that -_- .

    anyways,does anybody think there could be some meaning to the letters ^_^ ?

    The power went out one time when I was playing WW, right while link was going bellooowww the sea, aye?
    It took me forever to get past that ToT statue thingy. My controller is super-sensitive (gamecube) which is good on some games, but not good on this.

    Hey, what if the Greek letters were changed to Roman? Maybe if we change them into Roman letters, maybe we can figure something out. Who here can translate Greek to Roman?

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    Hey, what if the Greek letters were changed to Roman? Maybe if we change them into Roman letters, maybe we can figure something out. Who here can translate Greek to Roman?

    The problem of vowels that plague this script would plague a Roman transliteration just as well.

    Hmm, I won’t be beat, not just yet. Is there any Hylian Words that look like these Greek writing? If there isn’t, I’m beat.

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    Hmm, I won’t be beat, not just yet. Is there any Hylian Words that look like these Greek writing? If there isn’t, I’m beat.

    You should already give it up, those Greek letters have no meaning whatsoever, as I and several others have said.

    Btw though, I just checked that thing in my version of TP (European), and was surprised to see that with me there’s no Greek but Hylian letters above the Lakebed Temple entrance!

    Could anybody else confirm that in the US version there are Greek letters? Because in the European version it clearly is normal TP Hylian, for some reason…

    Jumbie said:

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    Hmm, I won’t be beat, not just yet. Is there any Hylian Words that look like these Greek writing? If there isn’t, I’m beat.

    You should already give it up, those Greek letters have no meaning whatsoever, as I and several others have said.

    Btw though, I just checked that thing in my version of TP (European), and was surprised to see that with me there’s no Greek but Hylian letters above the Lakebed Temple entrance!

    Could anybody else confirm that in the US version there are Greek letters? Because in the European version it clearly is normal TP Hylian, for some reason…

    TAKE PICTURES OF THE BLOODY THING AND POST THEM SO JACK CAN TRANSLITERATE THEM!

    Speaking of which… do you have the PAL GC or the PAL Wii version?

    Mebbie it’s a replacement code for hylean,
    You know, like i = e, w = s, whatever…
    Or it’s just gibberish and it’s there to look cool.

    Dark Mime Gogo said:

    TAKE PICTURES OF THE BLOODY THING AND POST THEM SO JACK CAN TRANSLITERATE THEM!

    Speaking of which… do you have the PAL GC or the PAL Wii version?

    I did just send a pic of it to Jack, so chances are that you might get to see it over at Desert Colossus soon, but I was able to transliterate it myself, and it’s nothing more than the whole Hylian alphabet in proper order.

    And the PAL Wii version it is.

    Wyoming said:

    Mebbie it’s a replacement code for hylean,
    You know, like i = e, w = s, whatever…
    Or it’s just gibberish and it’s there to look cool.

    The latter is true, as it’s the Hylian alphabet, whereas with the Greek it was several letters repeated. So the two scripts don’t replace each other’s characters, also because the Greek has a gap in the middle line which isn’t there in the Hylian.

    Heh? OK, if you mean like a Rosetta stone, that’s not what I’m talking about, just so you know.

    Oh, now I get it. Sorry. (Blond moment.) But ever think it may say something different between the two copies of the game? I’m just trying to be helpful.

    i can read it,but i’m too addicted to my twilight princess :P

    Wyoming said:

    Heh? OK, if you mean like a Rosetta stone, that’s not what I’m talking about, just so you know.

    What is a Rosetta stone. I HAVE heard of it before, but I forgot. Ok, I admit it, I’m beat, you guys win. I’ll check that out on my game later, to see if I can find it.

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    Wyoming said:

    Heh? OK, if you mean like a Rosetta stone, that’s not what I’m talking about, just so you know.

    What is a Rosetta stone. I HAVE heard of it before, but I forgot. Ok, I admit it, I’m beat, you guys win. I’ll check that out on my game later, to see if I can find it.

    i’ll look it up… lets see

    a black basalt stone found in 1799 that bears an inscription in hieroglyphics, demotic characters, and Greek and is celebrated for having given the first clue to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics

    Head over to the Desert Collosus this mystery has been solved, in the European version, instead of Greek it is English, thats right it is the English alphabet.

    Interesting stuff.

    Bboy94 said:

    Head over to the Desert Collosus this mystery has been solved, in the European version, instead of Greek it is English, thats right it is the English alphabet.

    what does it say then?

    Robert-UK said:

    Theres also some Hyilian writing on the arches around the doorway in the Temple of Time, maybe someone could check that out?

    If you’re referring to the two large blocks of writing in the past version of the grove, it says:

    Sanctuary
    Master Sword
    Copy Rod
    Stone Statue

    It repeats these four lines a bunch of times. It’s just a clue of what you’re supposed to do after the Temple of Time, I guess.

    Thoul said:
    It repeats these four lines a bunch of times. It’s just a clue of what you’re supposed to do after the Temple of Time, I guess.

    I wonder,do the people who put the hylian in the games actually expect people to translate the letters while they play? you know,use them like you would signs? I think if thats thier intention then they should make it easier to translate :P .for example,they could put maybe a library in the game and have a book or place inside that shows the hylian language.then when you come across hylian you could go to the library and translate it.putting a picture box in the game would make doing so alot easier.

    or they could make it on the order of FF X(2) where you have to collect al bhed primers inorder to understand the al bhed.ofcoarse I always miss the primers when I play but maybe they could make it like the golden bugs…you know,something where you CANT utterly miss them :( .

    Yeah, they could have certainly made it easier. I did find a sort of “rosetta stone” for the Hylian alphabet in the Temple of Time, on the wall behind the first crystal switch. It has all the letters, but not in order. It goes something like:
    MNOPQABCDEF
    GHIJKLRSTUV
    Still, definitely not easy. Something like the Book of Mudora would have been nice.

    yeah,that would work too….I supose it would actually work better than putting a whole library in a game :\ . a library would still be cool,though I think nintendos a little too secretive to actually give us a building full of information :D .

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