Phoenician — 1050 BC, Lebanon

Phoenician "s"

Phoenician descended from Proto-Sinaitic and is the ancestor of the writing systems used by the vast majority of people today.  Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew are its children and grandchildren, with its influence spreading as far as the Pacific Ocean.

There is a saying that “history is written by the winners”, but the writing systems that enabled history was developed by accountants (e.g. in Sumeria) and spread by trade.  The Phoenicians, also called Canaanites, went far and wide from their ancestral home in present-day Lebanon via their sea trading routes, spreading their writing system as they went.  The Phoenicians traded with and colonized essentially all of the North African coast (except for Egypt), Malta, Sardinia, Sicily, and up through Eastern Spain.  They even traded for tin with Britain, and there are accounts in Ireland of a Phoenician colony there.

The Phoenician script made its appearance around 1050 BC.  Phoenicia proper (modern Lebanon) was conquered by the Persians in 539 BC, but the North African colonies hung on until they lost the last of the three Punic wars with Rome in 146 BC.

Links: Wikipedia, Ancient Scripts, Omniglot

About ducky

I'm a computer programmer professionally, currently working on mapping applications. I have been interested non-professionally for a long time in the effect on society on advances in communications technology -- things like writing, vowels, spaces between words, paper, etc.
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