Other Ancient Languages Links
A study of the early history of writing reveals that cuneiform was the first
form of man's attempt to put thoughts and speech into written form. Best known
for their huge ziggurats, the city-states of Sumer, Ur, Babylon, and the kingdom
of Akkad, provide some of the earliest cuneiform known to us today.
This site provides a large amount of information about Akkadian, Assyrian,
and Babylonian cuneiform. It contains histories of both political and linguistic
development, sample texts, grammar, transcriptions, and references to other
Akkadian sites. Here you will see the first known writings of ancient man.
Ancient Egypt, whose pyramids and tombs of the pharaohs still fascinate us to
this day, provides the next stage in the development of writing. The development of
Hieroglyphs, color pictographs which can stand for words, whole ideas, or just letters,
was nearly lost for eternity following the fall of Egypt to Rome. Thanks to the discovery
of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 by soldiers under Napoleon, and the efforts of Jean-Francois
Champollion to translate them, modern man is now able to read these myserious symbols and
examine life under the pharaohs.
Founded by four egyptologists at the University of Leuven in Belgium,
this site provides a good look at the hieroglyphic language of Ancient Egypt.
Especially noteworthy about this site is a series of online lessons they
provide on how to read Hieroglyphs, as well as a good bibliography of books
to learn more about Hieroglyphics.
Although this site is essentially a primer to Egypt and its culture, of
special note is the beautiful color pictures it provides for each of the common
hieroglyphs. It also shows the phonetic letters that each one stood for,
allowing visitors to determine how one's name would be spelled in Hieroglyphs.
The site also contains a java-based map that shows the famous cities of Egypt
in relation to each other, with info about each of them.
The trading culture of the Phoenicians arose in the eastern Mediterranean. They
provide the next step in the development of writing. Instead of using pictographs to
represent whole words or ideas as the Mesopotamian cultures and the Egyptians did, the
Phoenicians simplified their writing into 22 different signs to represent the sounds of
their speech. These signs could then be written out to spell the words of the Phoenician
language. Their alphabet is especially significant since it would be passed on to the
Greeks, who passed it on to the Romans, who then passed it on to the non-Asian, non-Arabic
cultures of the world, where its evolved form is still used today.
This website provides an excellent collection of information about the
Phoenicians. Various subjects include art, music, literature, politics,
language, religion, and history. Especially noteworthy are the charts showing
the evolution of the ancient Phoenician alphabet into both modern Hebrew and the familiar
Latin alphabet used by Europe and the Americas today. It also provides many interesting
facts about the accomplishments of the ancient Phoenicians.