Phoenician Alphabet


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Phoenician Alphabet

 

a writing system used by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, as well as the ancient Hebrews and Moabites. Records written in the alphabet date from the second half of the second millennium B.C to the fourth century A.D.

The Phoenician alphabet, together with the Ugaritic and South Semitic (Thamudene, Safaitic, Lihyanite, and ancient South Arabic) alphabets, apparently derives from the ancient Canaanite syllabic or consonantal pictographic writing. Versions resembling the original Canaanite writing system are represented in pseudo-hieroglyphic writing from Byblos and in inscriptions from the Sinai and Palestine dating from the first half of the second millennium B.C; the Lycian, Lydian, and Carian alphabets of Asia Minor appear to be derived from the Canaanite system as well. The Phoenician alphabet used 22 graphemes, as opposed to the probable 29 or 30 of the parent system.

Almost all phonetic writing systems can be traced back to the Phoenician alphabet. The Samaritan and Aramaic systems derived from the Phoenician; Aramaic, in turn, is an ancestor of the Hebrew, Nabataean, Arabic, and other alphabets of Southwest Asia. Georgian and Armenian are indirect descendants of Aramaic, and the Sogdian, Uighur, and Mongolian alphabets also derive from the Aramaic system. The early, unattested versions of the Phoenician alphabet were the source for the Phrygian and Greek writing systems and their derivatives, which include Latin, Cyrillic, and many others. They were also the source for Brahmi writing and its derivatives—the writing systems of India, Southeast Asia, and Tibet.

REFERENCES

Tainy drevnikh pis’men. Compiled, edited, and with a preface by I. M. D’iakonov. Moscow, 1976.
Dunand, M. Byblia grammata. Beirut, 1945.
Driver, G. R. Semitic Writing From Pictograph to Alphabet. London, 1954.
Gelb, I. J. The Study of Writing, 2nd ed. Chicago, 1963.
Jensen, H. Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1969.
References in periodicals archive ?
Michele Assaf Kamel's works appear to be influenced by the Phoenician alphabet.
The Israelites adopt a variation of the Phoenician alphabet and eventually begin writing.
Perhaps one of the most precious items at the national museum is the sarcophagus of Ahiram, upon which the Phoenician alphabet is engraved.
For example, the Phoenician script was descended from, and inspired by, Egyptian writing (the Phoenician alphabet was itself inspired in part by the proto-Canaanite script, itself descended from the Egyptian system).
The secret of the Phoenician alphabet was eventually unlocked by a French priest, Barthelemy, in 1758, when he managed to decypher a bilingual Greek-Phoenician inscription.
Beginning in the West with the Phoenician alphabet some 3,500 years ago, it has caught on nicely, and there are few places where you'll find people with absolutely no access to paper and pencil or pen or marker.
Have your students try using the Phoenician alphabet to write their names and messages.
Roman letters were derived from the Phoenician alphabet and took their geometric elements of straight lines and curves from the many Roman monuments inscribed all across Europe.
and Belgium will discuss topics ranging from Tyre's Phoenician temple, to the diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet, Tyre's eight civilizations, Phoenician coins, which were among the first currencies in the world, the city's famous purple dye, Biblical passages relating to Tyre, Phoenician women and Phoenician wine.
After living abroad for more than 20 years, Romanos Iliya rekindled an appreciation of her Lebanese heritage by creating sculptures based on the Phoenician alphabet.
Use of an alphabet containing fewer consonant letters than the number of phonemes in the borrowing language can be illustrated by the Phoenician alphabet of 22 letters serving the Early Aramaic dialects of the 9th-7th century B.
An early pioneer in modern Arabic script design, Akl created a font based on the Phoenician alphabet in the 1950s.