Skip to comments.How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs
Posted on 03/24/2010 6:51:18 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
By the beginning of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (a few years after 2000 B.C.E.), the pressure of immigrants on the eastern Delta was so strong that the Egyptian authorities built a series of forts at strategic points to "repel the Asiatics," as the story of Sinuhe tells us.1
More than a century later, however, Egyptian policy toward the Asiatics changed. Instead of trying to prevent them from coming in, the Egyptians cultivated close relations with strong Canaanite city-states on the Mediterranean coast and allowed select Asiatic populations to settle in the eastern Delta. The last of the great pharaohs of the XIIth Dynasty, Amenemhet III (c. 1853-1808 B.C.E.) and Amenemhet IV (c. 1808-1799 B.C.E.), even established a new town for them.
The XIIth Dynasty was followed by the much weaker XIIIth Dynasty. Thousands of immigrants from Syria, Lebanon and Canaan then flooded into the eastern Delta, creating the large Canaanite settlement that would become Avaris (modern Tell el-Daba), the capital of the famous Hyksos. The Hyksos were Canaanites who seized power from the Egyptian pharaohs and ruled all Egypt for more than a hundred years (c. 1638-1530 B.C.E.).
But before this, at the end of the XIIth Dynasty during the reigns of Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IV, Egypt was at the height of its power. A lively trade was conducted with Nubia to the south. Imports from the Levant entered Egypt by land and sea. Gold and precious stones were quarried in the eastern desert. And a large-scale enterprise was regularly conducted to search for turquoise in the high mountains of southern Sinai, at a site today called Serabit el-Khadem.
(Excerpt) Read more at bib-arch.org ...
I've had this one on deck for a couple of weeks, and have been horsing around instead of posting it.
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That's what allowed Sumerian writing to pass from one language to another successfully.
There is substantial evidence claimed to exist to the effect that Sumerians actually created Egyptian hieroglyphs! They also created an hieroglyphic character set for use in China ~ which pedates the Shang dynasty characters.
An earlier form of ideographs was developed in the Kola Peninsula in far Northern Scandinavia/Russia. Given that the Sa'ami languages have clear indications of being far more ancient than the competing Finno-Ughric languages in that area in modern times, several analysts have linked those languages to ancient Sumerian as a cognate, and that small group to ancient Indian languages in the Dravidian group.
To a degree recent archaeological discoveries in Iran have demonstrated a clear link between ancient Mesopotamian cities and Southern India!
Now all of that might seem strange ~ the basis for an ideographic language being laid down in the Arctic, but this was just over 9,000 years ago and that period was warmer than it is now. Rice was domesticated in Northeast Asia during that period, and Korea's classic heating system was devised in Alaska!
Things were going on of which we have only the barest glimpse.
You mean it was warm in the Arctic before modern man. /s/
Thanks for the additional information.
BTW, that bit about rice culture ~ remember, there are two distinct species or "races" of what is called "white rice". One was developed in South Asia, the other in NE Asia ~ at different times!
I think your topic was about how the alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics ~ and there is a case to be made for that.
It could have readily been derived from Sumerian characters once they'd become a base for a syllabry for Semitic languages.
Well, that, or a combination of that and every other theory ever advanced for the Western alphabet.
At the same time there are "other alphabets" developed elsewhere that seem to have been devised without prior development having taken place ~ done by geniuses I suppose.
Yup, I've been watching the reviews on recent analysis that's been done on Middle Eastern alphabets. Someone has figured out how to rank order these things in terms of "time" and "comprehensiveness".
I'm still back there trying to figure out how stories attributed to "Lot" ended up being drawn under rocky outcrops 7,000 years ago in the Kola. I will probably have to bite the bullet and read through some of the less interesting translations of ancient Sumerian stuff about visiting vast glacial fields in the far North. A lot of that stuff is right off the planet I've heard.
This is way cool. Very interesting.
Thank you, FReepers, for yet again adding interesting and valuable information today’s school day!
Excellent find. Thanks.
:’) My pleasure.
:’) You get an A for the day. ;’)