Who Invented The Alphabet?

Would you believe turquoise miners in the Sinai desert, a part of Egypt, 6000 years ago?

In an article in the January-February 2020 Smithsonian magazine, by Lydia Wilson, she tells of a find by a pair of Egyptologists over a hundred years ago that proposed this. In the mine and a nearby temple they found strange signs, some similar to hieroglyphs, grouped like words.

The couple recognized the signs as an alphabet, but it would take ten years to decipher them and locate their origin. The key was a small, redstone sphynx with an inscription written on it. Finally deciphered, it turned out to read ‘Beloved of Ba’alat’, a Caananite goddess.

The creators took the first letter of the name of the glyph. For example, they saw a picture of an ox, which they called ‘alpha’ and so the letter ‘a’. Also ‘bet’ for house became ‘b’. And so we have ‘alphabet’. As the Caananites’ communities grew and spread around around the Mediterranean Sea, the language spread with them.

According to current day Egyptologist Orly Goldwasser, the temple complex contained detailed lists of the people who worked there on various expeditions. According to her theory (people are still studying this), about 1200 B.C., when the Egyptian, Hittite, and Mycenaean Empires collapsed, due to droughts, invasions, and internal upheavals, the use of the Caananites’ alphabet spread.

Variations of this alphabet, known as Phoenician, the Greek word for the Caananite region, spread from Turkey to Spain, and evolved into our present day alphabet.


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