History of the alphabet
The history of writing goes back many millions of years. The first is from prehistory when dinosaurs still existed.
At that time, it was written on stone. The human beings of that time, they took something that served to hit to a hard stick that was the one that left marked its writing.
The primitive man, resorted to the most diverse signs of expression, both oral and gestures, or material, such as knots, and finally drawings.
These drawings are what are known as cave paintings. Most of these, unfortunately, have not been able to find the meaning given their long life.
The origin of the scriptures did not occur synchronously in time.
Civilizations in which Scripture Was Developed
It was located between the Neolithic revolution and the urban revolution, where we know 5 civilizations in which the writing was developed:
- Mesopotamia: 5000 years ago, it was cuneiform.
- Egypt: 4500 years ago and was hieroglyphic.
- The Indus Valley: 4,000 years ago. Hieroglyphic writing.
- Asia: 3000 years ago. It was ideographic.
- Mesoamerican: 1500 years ago.
The scriptures have been the necessary companion in a profound change of society, the emergence of writing is linked to the emergence of social division.
That is why the first manuscripts appeared in the temples, where the priestly class was located.
The priests were responsible for accounting and administration of taxes, using a clay tablet, where the number had more weight than the letter.
These tablets assume the origin of the cuneiform manuscripts and the oldest ones were found in the temple of Uruk.
Without the manuscripts, the priests would not have been able to establish their privileged situation and their organizing role of the people. With this type of writing, social divisions are formalized, due to their sanctioning and normative function.
The oldest writing system can originate in the Mesopotamian era (3500 BC), and by the end of the fourth millennium BC. C.
The first forms of writing were logographic in nature, based on pictographic and ideographic elements.
However, in the middle of the third millennium a. C., the Sumerians had developed a syllabic annex, reflecting the phonology and the syntax of the spoken Sumerian language.
The first proper writing was the cuneiform, appeared towards 3000 a. C.
It was so named because it was written on clay plates with stilettos that had a wedge shape.
At the outset, these manuscripts were similar to the iconography of the Egyptians, the famous hieroglyphs, but over time the symbols were synthesized, becoming abstract symbols.
The invention of parchment in the West is also important. Parchment has been used since 1500 BC.
Its name comes from Pergamon, a Greek city. In this city is where a material of great quality was produced to make scrolls.
It was used steadily for many years. But it was not until 200 BCE that the parchment began to replace the Egyptian papyrus.