Champollion's achievement in deciphering the Rosetta Stone unlocked the secret of the ancient Egyptian writing system and allowed the world to finally read into Egyptian history.
Towards the 2nd century CE, Christianity started to displace some of the traditional Egyptian cults. Christianized Egyptians developed the Coptic alphabet an offshoot of the Greek uncial alphabet , the final stage in the development of the Egyptian language, employed to represent their language.
Examples of the full letter Coptic alphabet are recorded as early as the 2nd century CE. Its use not only reflects the expansion of Christianity in Egypt but it also represents a major cultural breakup: Coptic was the first alphabetic script used in the Egyptian language. Eventually, Egyptian hieroglyphs were replaced by the Coptic script. Only a few signs from the demotic script survived in the Coptic alphabet. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
Learn More. Enjoy the Famous Daily The first writing Writing has its origins in the strip of fertile land stretching from the Nile up into the area often referred to as the Fertile Crescent. This name was given, in the early 20th century, to the inverted U-shape of territory that stretches up the east Mediterranean coast and then curves east through northern Syria and down the Euphrates and the Tigris to the Persian Gulf.
The first known writing derives from the lower reaches of the two greatest rivers in this extended region, the Nile and the Tigris. So the two civilizations separately responsible for this totally transforming human development are the Egyptian and the Sumerian in what is now Iraq.
It has been conventional to give priority, by a short margin, to Sumer — dating the Sumerian script to about BC and the Egyptian version a century or so later. These fragments have been carbon-dated to between and BC. Meanwhile the dating of the earliest cuneiform tablets from Sumeria has been pushed further back, also to around BC. So any claim to priority by either side is at present too speculative to carry conviction. Evolution of a script Most early writing systems begin with small images used as words, literally depicting the thing in question.
But pictograms of this kind are limited. Some physical objects are too difficult to depict. And many words are concepts rather than objects. There are several ways in which early writing evolves beyond the pictorial stage. One is by combining pictures to suggest a concept. Another is by a form of pun, in which a pictorial version of one object is modified to suggest another quite different object which sounds the same when spoken.
An example of both developments could begin with a simple symbol representing a roof - a shallow inverted V. This would be a valid character to mean 'house'.
If one places under this roof a similar symbol for a woman, the resulting character could well stand for some such idea as 'home' or 'family'. In fact, in Chinese, a woman under a roof is one of the characters which can be used to mean 'peace'.
Some of the symbols represented sounds, like our letters, and other's represented entire words. More about Hieroglyphics Hieroglyphics was different from how we write in many ways: It could be written in almost any direction; left to right, right to left, or top to bottom.
The reader would figure out which way to read it by the direction of the symbols. They didn't use any punctuation. One of the goals in writing hieroglyphics was that the writing would look like art and be beautiful to look at. A single picture symbol could stand for a whole word, called an ideogram, or a sound, called a phonogram.
For example, a picture of an eye could mean the word "eye" or the letter "I". Scribes Since writing in hieroglyphics was so complicated, it took years of education and practice to be able to do it. The people who trained to write were called scribes. They would start training at a very young age of six or seven.
In Ancient Egypt, the people who wrote hieroglyphs were called scribes. Sumerian writing was a mixed system which used conventional symbols, some of which depicted objects and other meant sounds. The Egyptians developed this same system but added logograms symbols representing words and ideograms to their script. In this way they introduced the use of vowels in the alphabet. Are the woman and sheep even related at all? It is not possible to prove the connection of hieroglyphs to the cuneiform characters used by the Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia.
Determinatives were also used at the end of words to indicate the end of a word, as the Egyptians did not place spaces between words or sentences. Little by little this writing, also known as Proto-Canaanite, spread and later it was used by the Phoenicians. In order to understand this writing, you need to know around a minimum of characters but the total amount of ideograms is much higher. The collection of letters was called an alphabet and the writing systems that use signs of this kind acrophonic were named alphabetic systems. The English polymath and scholar Thomas Young CE came to believe that the symbols represented words and that hieroglyphics were closely related to demotic and later Coptic scripts.
By reading one after the other as phonograms the drawing of the head and that of the mouth, it was possible to obtain the name of "Luka" "Luke". The English polymath and scholar Thomas Young CE came to believe that the symbols represented words and that hieroglyphics were closely related to demotic and later Coptic scripts. When Mycenaean people conquered Crete, they adopted the Linear A to write in their own language, the ancient Greek. The invention of writing happened in an independent way in different parts of the world and it followed the same fundamental steps. Third, the signs also served as representatives of words that shared consonants in the same order.