Shard of pottery with abecedary on it. May have been an exercise for a student.
This is one of the Byblos inscriptions and one of the first monumental alphabetic inscriptions from the Iron Age. It commemorates the king for rebuilding a temple.
Old Hebrew abecedary on wall
Phoenician inscription that marks the building of the sarcophagus for King Ahiram. Writing doesn't have political function yet.
Ties king to land. Creates nationalism by declaring the king's conquests.
Jar with Greek alphabetic inscriptions. Letters stand very close to Phoenician alphabetic letters.
Royal inscription in Aramaic writing that combines territory, language, and kingship to create national identity.
Phoenician royal inscription that links language, dynasty, and land. Combines territorial, national, and political power.
During the 2nd millennium BCE, scribes were mainly using the cuneiform writing system. However, at the same time, we have several alphabetic inscriptions, demonstrating that both cuneiform and alphabetic writing were known and used in the Levant. Proto-Canaanite inscriptions already demonstrate the existence of attempts to work out alphabetic writing alongside cuneiform traditions in the Levant ca 2000-1200 BC.
Believed to represent the Minoan language of Crete before the Mycenaean Greek invasion of Crete
Discovered in the later remains of Bronze Age Crete, from period after Mycenaean invasion ca 1450
becomes distinct national script and language
Adopted by Assyrian Empire and Persian Empire
Levantine states of Phoenicia, Aram-Demascus, Moab, Israel, and Judah are developing distinct alphabetic scripts as part of their effort to create national identities.