Grave stone with Seiritas characters in honour to a dead person.
The modern manner of writing is based on the Phoenicians characters. From the Punic and Phoenician alphabet are based the ones used by the Hebrews, Greeks, Italics, Iberians, Germans, Slaves, Arabs, Liberians and Indians. The abundance of alphabets derived from the antic hieroglyphic Egyptian characters must not induce us to think it was the only and most remote source of alphabetic signs. Probably the oldest is the cuneiform one, which has also ideographic roots. See a sample below:
The following table shows some particular signs with their interpretation en French. In English, from top to end, they mean: ear, well, message, dog.
And now, I translate some ideograms with different modes, depending from where the person who wrote them is. On the table below, they are translated in French. From top to end they mean, in English: head, hand, swallow and barley.
The first signs appeared on the stone, and then people
leaved the stone ahead because it lacks manoeuvrability. They wrote with a
paintbrush or engrave with a chisel. Looking for something more handy, the
Babylonians began to use clay, a lot softer than stone and, when becoming dry,
it acquires necessary the necessary consistence to be conserved. Babylonians
used cuneiform characters, engraving them with a metallic burin. Egyptians
preferred wood boards, on which they wrote with ink. Ink was already known in
their times. To write, they used document tubes duly prepared. Wood is lighter
and more malleable than stone and clay. But the Egyptians were not quite
satisfied with it, and they invented the papyrus, which they made with a palm
looking plant called the same name. This plant can reach a height of 3 meters.
The oldest papyrus found was written in
A detail from the book of the death. Funeral Egyptian text on papyrus