Even with advancements in our modern technology, relying on the written word is still the main form of communication today. Our alphabet is simple to understand, but it wasn’t always like that. Our modern alphabet use to be composed of symbols and pictures.
The First Written Language
The first written language was painted on cave walls and are as old as 20 000 BC. The paintings often depicted pictures of animals, people, and events. The closest thing to written words later discovered 17,000 years later by Sumerians.
These natives frequently recorded daily events and rituals using pictograms or simple drawings.
When civilizations became more modern there was a growing need to develop a more effective language to communicate complex conversations.
By 3,100 BC, ancient Egyptians carved or painted hieroglyphics to communicate and express concepts in the form of pictures of symbols.
A symbol of an animal could potentially communicate a source of food while the picture of a man with the sun behind his back would demonstrate old age.
Roman Numerals are still used today and symbolize individual fingers of the hand.
By 1, 600BC, Phoenicians created special symbols to replace spoken words frequently called Phonograms. Phonograms were not just for sounds, but they could also stand for words.
The modern alphabet contains symbols and phonograms. For example: A question mark is represented by?, A dollar sign is represented by $, and percent is represented by a %.
The Phoenicians were the first people to develop the first resemblance to our alphabet. An elaborate set of symbols would represent a spoken language like our very own.
Greeks and Romans Adapt the Language to Suit Their Own Needs
A culture which built their homes close to the sea, they needed to develop a way to communicate with other civilizations and people so they could trade goods.
Around 1, 000 BC, The Greeks would later adopt the alphabetic system of the Phoenician for their own use. They modified the alphabet to suit their own needs by creating different styles of handwriting. The term alphabet comes from the Greek Words Alpha and Beta.
Many years later, the Romans would adapt the alphabet from the Greeks to form the first uppercase alphabet we know of today. Handwriting for the Romans was almost like an elaborate art. They created several handwriting styles for various purposes.
A rigid type of text may be communicate letters and documents of importance. A quicker, less rigid, appearing text was for formal and everyday writing. 100 A.D, the Romans created various texts and books without their own developed style of handwriting and still improved upon it by creating a lower case alphabet and a primitive form of punctuation.
The upcoming years would result in people choosing manuscript preparation and development as their trade. This was a highly respected job back then and was practiced frequently in highly regarded buildings such as monasteries.
The Creation of Books
Books were considered highly valuable and not everyone could afford or obtain a book back then. The Romans took such pride in the creation of these books that they often decorated them with elaborate and colorful designs.
Monks would frequently dedicate their lives to the creation of a book if only to make it easier and more convenient to spread information to a world of awaiting people.
The 15th century would revolutionize the way we write today. A German goldsmith worker would develop metal molds to dip into to be pressed into paper. This is most likely how the typewriter was first invented.