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Joe Schulz asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

How did the Greeks come to adopt the Phoenician Alphabet?

I know there are differences but the Greek alphabet is based on the Phoenician one.

My question is as said: How did it get to Greece?

Update:

lol. Michael, that is a very interesting way of putting it.

But I'm pretty sure the Greeks didn't have a writing system at the time. So they wouldn't need to see the Phoenician one as better. (all the Greek writing died out about 300 years prior to the adoption of Phoenician.)

And the Greeks added vowels. Actually making the Phoenician writing system better.

But I knew that, not how it got there, so thanks you all for that knowledge.

5 Answers

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    Marcus Aurelius Josephus!

    I swear! Can you ask anything simple!?

    This Greek alphabet thing is seriously convoluted.

    AND "experts" are still arguing over different theories.

    It is NOT a cut and dry subject!

    The Greeks had writing BEFORE Homer AND before the Trojan War, just like their Babylonian and Egyptian neighbors.

    It wasn't pretty but it WAS writing.

    Okay 2100–1900 BC.

    Linear A ....... is one of two linear scripts used in ancient Crete before Mycenaean Greek Linear B. In Minoan times, before the Mycenaean Greek dominion, Linear A was the official script for the palaces and cults and Cretan Hieroglyphs were mainly used on seals.

    In 1952, Michael Ventris discovered that Linear B was being used to write the early form of Greek now known as Mycenaean.

    BUT .... we have failed to discover the language of Linear A.

    Are you catching the drift yet?

    These people had writing, they had alphabets, but we are not sure what language they were actually speaking.

    Linear A seems to have been used as a complete syllabary around 1900–1800 BC, although several signs appear as mason marks earlier.

    It is possible that the Trojan Linear A scripts discovered by Heinrich Schliemann and one inscription from central Crete, as well as a few similar potters' marks from Lahun, Egypt, (12th dynasty) come from an earlier period, 2100–1900 BC, which is the period of the construction of the first palaces.

    Okay, there is your FIRST connection .... In Minoan times Linear A script was used in ancient Crete before Mycenaean Greek Linear B.

    It was the SAME script found in TROY and CRETE

    Now ... Linear B is a script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, 15th century BC.

    Many of the signs are identical or similar to Linear A signs; however, Linear A, encoded the unknown Minoan language.

    Some places used A and other places used B.

    Linear B was found in Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae.

    Then ..... the Greek Dark Ages happened, and it provides no evidence of the use of writing. 1200 BC–800 BC

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Dark_Ages

    After 400 yrs of whatever was going on at this time, it was just easier to take a familiar alphabetic style and adapt it.

    Probably very much like the Spanish did in the Philippines with the language Tagalog.

    Linear A

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_A

    Linear B

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_B

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Phonecians were traders, so they sailed to Greece to sell some of their cool purple dye in exchange for salted fish or goat cheese or olive oil or something. They started talking to each other, and one of the Phonecian guys started to write things down. A Greek guy saw it, and he said, "That's cool. How would you spell ...?" Since the Phonecian couldn't write the Greek words (because his alphabet didn't have all the sounds), the Greek guy invented his own alphabet based on the Phonecian one, but changed some of the symbols to represent other sounds. He also decided to call the first two symbols "alpha" and "beta".

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not sure anyone can answer that with any certainty, but it is likely to have come as a byproduct of trade. The Phoenecians, unlike the Greeks, were voracious in their sea-going activities and established strong trading links with much of the Mediterranean. No doubt the Greeks would have noticed the traders writing was superior to their own and adopted it, probably somewhat slowly.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Phoenicians were extremely well-traveled, as sailors and merchants, and were able to carry various aspects of their culture to parts of the Mediterranean. However, the alphabet was successful largely because of its phonetic simplicity: one symbol represented a sound. It was easy to learn and easily adaptable to various languages.

    See below:

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They could not spell properly.

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