By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Early Hebrew alphabet had already begun to acquire its distinctive character by the 11th century bce. The first promising attempt at decipherment was made by the German philologist Georg Friedrich Grotefend in 1802, by use of the kings’ names in the Old Persian versions of the trilingual inscriptions, although his later efforts led him…, …the letters of the Arabic alphabet is peculiar to Muslim pious thought. In other cases, new signs were invented—e.g., in the early Greek alphabet and in the Anglo-Saxon adoption of the Latin alphabet. The Latin letters of European civilization, the letters which you see before you, had their origin in the Etruscan alphabet. The process of the reestablishment of the Assyrian empire and its hegemony over a good part of the Middle East began in the 9th century. Because the Runic wen, which was first used to represent the sound 'w' and looked like a p that is narrow and triangular, was easy to confuse with an actual p, the 'w' sound began to be written using a double u. Two scripts are well attested from before the end of the fourth millennium BCE: Mesopotamian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs. They did not retain the three Greek aspirate letters (theta, phi, and chi) in the alphabet because there were no corresponding Latin sounds but did employ them to represent the numbers 100, 1,000, and 50. The Aramaic alphabet, which evolved from the Phoenician in the 7th century BCE, to become the official script of the Persian Empire, appears to be the ancestor of nearly all the modern alphabets of Asia: By at least the 8th century BCE the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language,[16] creating in the process the first "true" alphabet, in which vowels were accorded equal status with consonants. By the end of the 8th century bce, the use of the Aramaic language and alphabet had become very widespread in Assyria itself; by the end of the following century all of Syria and a large part of Mesopotamia had become thoroughly Aramaized. Sometime around 650 BCE the Etruscans seized control of Rome, then little more than a poor settlement of shepherds and small farmers. Numerous Aramaic papyri and ostraca (inscribed pottery fragments) have been found in Egypt; the earliest of these can be dated to c. 515 bce, while the most famous are the Elephantine papyri, containing information of a religious and economic nature about a 5th-century Hebrew military colony in Egypt. The Aramaic alphabet was probably also the prototype of the Brahmi script of India, a script that became the parent of nearly all Indian writings. C, K, and Q in the Roman alphabet could all be used to write both the /k/ and /ɡ/ sounds; the Romans soon modified the letter C to make G, inserted it in seventh place, where Z had been, to maintain the gematria (the numerical sequence of the alphabet). To the west, seeds were sown among the peoples who later constituted the nation of Hellas—the Greeks. It seemed that they also introduced the vault and the arch into Roman architecture. Aramaic inscriptions have been found in northern Arabia, Palestine, Lycia, Cappadocia, Lydia, Cilicia, Assyria, and as far afield as Greece, Afghanistan, and India. He was later assassinated by a Roman aristocrat. The Anglo-Saxons began using Roman letters to write Old English as they converted to Christianity, following Augustine of Canterbury's mission to Britain in the sixth century. J. C. Darnell, F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, Marilyn J. Lundberg, P. Kyle McCarter, and Bruce Zuckermanet, "Two early alphabetic inscriptions from the Wadi el-Hol: new evidence for the origin of the alphabet from the western desert of Egypt." As a result, the Etruscan Army became so effective, the Etruscans eventually gained control over most of Italy. Latin, the most widely used alphabet today,[8] in turn derives from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, themselves derived from Phoenician. There were many years of peace between the Romans and the Etruscans and they even occasionally allied with each other against the Celts. It seems that the exact influence of Etruscan religion and myths on Rome will never be known. In this sense, then the first true alphabet would be the Greek alphabet, which was adapted from the Phoenician alphabet, but not all scholars and linguists think this is enough to strip away the original meaning of an alphabet to one with both vowels and consonants. Over the few centuries after Alexander the Great conquered the Eastern Mediterranean and other areas in the third century BCE, the Romans began to borrow Greek words, so they had to adapt their alphabet again in order to write these words. It is still used, though rarely, in Germany, where it is called Fraktur script. Many Roman nobles would send their sons to schools in Etruscan cities and here they learned Greek and read its literature and philosophy Greek thought and literature enriched Roman culture. Almost as if by prearrangement, all of the alphabetic scripts west of Syria seem to have been derived, directly or indirectly, from the Canaanite alphabet, whereas the hundreds of alphabetic writings of the East apparently have sprung from the offshoots of the Aramaic alphabet. The Roman Senate ordained that the Etruscan oracles and ceremonies be maintained in perpetuity by the state and they were practiced by Roman priests until the Christian era.[16]. The letters of the Greek alphabet are the same as those of the Phoenician alphabet, and both alphabets are arranged in the same order. During this period the city of Rome grew rapidly and it is possible that many Etruscans came to live in the city. [17] The Romans over the course of the centuries took what was essentially an Etruscan religious ceremony and turned it into a gory public sporting event. Letters of the alphabet were assigned numerical values: the straight. Alphabet - Alphabet - Later development of the Latin alphabet: As already mentioned, the original Etruscan alphabet consisted of 26 letters, of which the Romans adopted only 21. The origin of the Etruscan alphabet is an interesting evolution of a language. The oldest extant example of the Early Hebrew ABCs is the 8th–7th-century-bce schoolboy graffito mentioned above. However, the exact origins of the Latin alphabet now used by billions of people are relatively unknown, and very few people are actually aware that the Latin alphabet itself finds its roots in an older form of Greek writing. Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. What was the impact of Augustus' victory over Mark Anthony and Cleopatra on Rome? Derived from the Aramaic alphabet, it came into being in northwest India. The Etruscans resided in ancient Italy in modern Tuscany and northern Lazio. ), Romance (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. The last Etruscan King was expelled because of his tyranny and brutality. [11] So, for example, the hieroglyph per ("house" in Egyptian) was used to write the sound [b] in Semitic, because [b] was the first sound in the Semitic word for "house", bayt. These 22 consonants account for the phonology of Northwest Semitic. All of the names of the letters of the Phoenician alphabet started with consonants, and these consonants were what the letters represented, something called the acrophonic principle. The Etruscans were in many ways the predecessors of the Romans. One after another, the Aramaean states gave way under Assyrian onslaught. In 295 BCE the Roman legions defeated a coalition of Etruscan states at the Battle of Sentium. It was usually written from right to left. In the eastern Greek dialects, which did not have an /h/, eta stood for a vowel, and remains a vowel in modern Greek and all other alphabets derived from the eastern variants: Glagolitic, Cyrillic, Armenian, Gothic (which used both Greek and Roman letters), and perhaps Georgian.

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