the Dawn of Writing

The old man began to feel the need to translate their ideas through signs and paintings

It is so important the discovery of writing in the mankind that history has been divided according to the presence or absence of scripture.

Nowadays, everyone writes as well as he can, and it has happened since ancient times, so we must consider that a human being who made magnificent paintings on the walls of their caves also was able to impress on them their first testimonies, their first symbols (tectiforms characters) as instruments of communication.

Already existed transcription systems or visual information (I think we should call them writing) in contemporary megalithic time contemporaneus to the first cave paintings, (cave arts). Not only on the walls, also performed on little portable objects, of limited dimensions, i.e. human portable objects, on tools (pieces of flat stone), etc. (movable art), besides graves and dolmen, in the Atlantic-Mediterranean area, known as signs of iberian characters. Dated prior to 4.000 b.C. They are not recognized as scriptures because they have not been decrypted but there are some studies in areas of the contemporary Europe to these (e.g. France) which shows that there are repeated signs until a number of twenty.

Neanderthal scripture. We do not know exactly whether the Neanderthals were capable of making art and did not use it or have simply disappeared because of employment of perishable materials or other reasons.

We then see, that it has been created a definition between history and prehistory in terms of, whether or not decrypted and recognizable writing appears. All they associated to Homo Sapiens.

As for the first representations in: the caves, tools, sheets, etc, we must consider that Homo Sapiens as a complex being needs to be expressed in concrete terms. H.S. has a psychic ability of abstraction to express inner emotions and experiences; responding to fear and trying to manage the natural strength for the benefit of their own survival: hunting magic or fertility, social aggregation, healing practices in addition to the animal pictures in hunting scenarios, etc.

Pictographic tablet  Mesopotamia Sumerian 3300 B.C. Map of Mesopotamia from the third millennium B.C.


Within Prehistory-History Timeline; writing can be divided into two groups: alphabetical and non-alphabetical.


Non-alphabetical. As deciphered writings there are two main junctions; the oldest would be:

* Sumerian-Akkadian, Sumerian 3,300 BC. Mesopotamian cuneiform. And with this the contemporary;

* Egyptian; Egyptian hieroglyphics. Contemporary in appearance with the former. Both they were well known and used in the ancient Near East, (called Near East to the lands of Western Asia located at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa), and areas bordering the Mediterranean.

* Hittite and Cretan, Asia Minor (Turkey), northern Syria and Crete; Entries are recorded on the uses of stone from left to right and right to left. Here we incise that Crete had three writing systems during the Bronze Age, 3000-1500 BC the British archaeologist Arthur John Evans, discoverer of the Palace of Knossos, appointed; with the letters A and B, and the Cretan palaces writing or hieroglyphic, the hieroglyphs are quite different from the Egyptians, found in the Phaistos Disk and Arkalokhori Axe, other than calling them as Linear B. Linear A, concrete the island of Crete but possibly imported turdetanas Mediterranean areas by Phoenicians or Greeks and perhaps before the Indo-European type Linear B 1,600 BC These systems as the two above, Sumerian-Akkadian and Egyptian were ideographic based images whose signs have phonetic value. The first linear A still undeciphered.

Example of Egyptian hieroglyphs Hittite-Cretan


Alphabetic. The alphabet that we use today was born in Syria around 2000 b.C. It testifies to the efforts of people from this area to get a new tool of graphic expression, simpler than hieroglyphs or cuneiform characters. In general we can say that there never was separation of consonants and vowels until the time of the Phoenicians. Middle Eastern traders sought an alternative abbreviated system for the simplest transactions and begins a change in the practical concept of writing to a consonant side.

This Phoenician alphabet does not arise spontaneously, and after several studies, it have been able to establish a series of steps until we know the alphabet.

* First Central-Mediterranean signs from the seventh millennium b.C. turdetanas and areas (Huelva) room - third millennium b.C. possibly original proto-state cities, round calcolítics societies, such as Millares in Almeria, etc. (See tools with writing signs with Iberian character of 4000 -. 3000 b.C. in the local archaeological museum of Huelva, prehistory area source Ana Maria Vazquez).

* Protosinaíticas scriptures, dated about 1500 b.C. and made with alphabetic writing.

* Tablets of Ras-Shamra (Ugarit) dated about 1500 b.C. The Canaanites,(ancient Phoenicians) only used a syllabary of thirty signs.

* Pseudo hieroglyphic inscriptions of Byblos, where next to year 1000 b.C. already they used the signs of the Phoenician writing known, similar to the Aegean and Huelva ot the tjird and fourth millennia b.C.

After the discoveries of Ras Shamra tablets and Byblos, it sufficiently confirmed the attribution of the invention of the alphabet to the Phoenicians.

The Phoenician adopted the signs ot the Egyptian alphabet in a hieratic manner, (hieratic writing system is mixed (ideographic and consonant) and had a period of use from mids third millennium b.C. to 400 a.D. The direction of writing was at first vertically from top to bottom starting with the right, then horizontally from right to left, which it was set different branches.; Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Etruscan, Iberian, originating turdetana and Latin letters used in the West today. The latter being accepted Hispania Ulterior under the influence of Rome. While subsequent Gothic influences knew ulfilana, they did not prosper like the Arabs.

Phoenician Alphabet


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