The History of the Written Word

Timeline created by brady01
In History
  • 3,500 BCE

    Cuneiform

    Cuneiform
    Cuneiform is a system of writing created by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Cuneiform is created by using a stylus made out of reed to push wedge shapes into a soft clay tablet to form shapes called pictographs. These clay tablets were then left out in the sun to dry to become permanent. Almost all of the main cultures in Mesopotamia used this form of writing. It was forgotten about sometime around 100 B.C.E. for the alphabetic script.
  • 3,300 BCE

    Egyptian Hieroglyphs

    Egyptian Hieroglyphs
    Egyptian Hieroglyphs are made up of series of hand drawn symbols. These Hieroglyphs were not used for everyday writing, though. The Hieroglyphs were mainly used by priests, because they were considered "the words of God." The Egyptian Hieroglyphs were forgotten about around 400 C.E., and then rediscovered in the 1820s by Jean-Francois Champillion. He, with the help of the Rosetta Stone, deciphered the Hieroglyphs so that we can understand their meanings.
  • 2,150 BCE

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is written

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is written
    The Epic of Gilgamesh was written around 2150 B.C.E. by the Sumerians. It was written in their form of writing, cuneiform. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story of a tyrant king that turns into a friendly and well known king. This happens with the help of Enkidu, a wild man brought to the civil world. He is Gilgamesh's other half and they soon become best friends. At the end of the story Enkidu dies, so Gilgamesh goes looking for immortality only to find wisdom on life. This is a well known story.
  • 1,400 BCE

    Ugaritic Alphabet

    Ugaritic Alphabet
    The Ugaritic Alphabet contains 30 different letters and is a type of cuneiform. It was a type of abjad writing, where the writing is made of consonants, and the reader is supposed to fill in the vowels as reading. This alphabet was formed for the Ugaritic language, a Northwest Semitic language that no longer exists. There were also a few other languages and cultures that had items written with the Ugaritic Alphabet.
  • 1,100 BCE

    Phoenician Alphabet

    Phoenician Alphabet
    This is the oldest alphabet that we know of. This alphabet has 22 letters and was used by the people of Phoenicia who speak a Northern Semitic language. This alphabet was born from the Egyptian Hieroglyphs and soon became one of the most used writing systems. One type of alphabet that came from the Phoenician Alphabet was the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.
  • 1,000 BCE

    The Death of Ahiram and Inscription of the Phoenician Alphabet

    The Death of Ahiram and Inscription of the Phoenician Alphabet
    Ahiram was the Phoenician king of Byblos. On Ahiram's tomb the Phoenician Alphabet is carved. These carvings on his tomb are the earliest known example of the Phoenician Alphabet.
  • -800 BCE

    Greek Alphabet

    Greek Alphabet
    Since its invention, the Greek Alphabet has been used to this day. This alphabet came from the Phoenician Alphabet. Also, this alphabet is the ancestor of Latin. The Greek Alphabet is made up of 24 characters.
  • -700 BCE

    Latin Alphabet

    The Latin Alphabet was used by the Ancient Roman civilization. This alphabet is made from a variation of the Greek Alphabet, which came from the Phoenician Alphabet. The alphabet was used to write the Latin language, which is now mostly dead. As the Latin alphabet and language spread it became more popular. Most of the world used Latin at some point.
  • -630 BCE

    The Library of Ashurbanipal

    The Library of Ashurbanipal
    This ancient library was named after King Ashurbanipal, the last king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The Library of Ashurbanipal is made up of many pieces of broken clay tablet and full clay tablets that have writing from the 7th century B.C.E. Unfortunately, it has been damaged too badly to be repaired or for most of the text to make sense. Luckily, the Epic of Gilgamesh was found in this library and is mostly intact, so scholars were able to piece it together to form what we read today.
  • -196 BCE

    Rosetta Stone

    Rosetta Stone
    This famous stone contains three different languages. It contains Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Demotic Script, and Ancient Greek. We now are able to understand Egyptian Hieroglyphs since all the languages tell the same story. The stone is made out of black granodiorite
  • 200

    Elder Futhark

    Elder Futhark
    This 24 character alphabet was used by German tribes from the 2nd to the 8th century C.E. and is the oldest known runic alphabet. Elder Futhark is usually carved on tools, jewelry, weapons, stones, etc. After the 8th century when Elder Futhark was no longer in use, it soon became forgotten about. It was then rediscovered in 1865 and re deciphered so we can now understand it again.
  • Jan 1, 700

    Younger Futhark

    Younger Futhark
    Younger Futhark is similar to Elder Futhark. Elder Futhark was adopted and modified by the Scandinavians between the 7th and the 9th centuries, where they turned it into their own Younger Futhark. The Scandinavians reduced the alphabet down to only 16 characters. This alphabet was thought to be used around the time of the Vikings.
  • Jan 1, 900

    Anglo-Saxon Futhorc

    Anglo-Saxon Futhorc
    Anglo-Saxon Futhorc was used in England from around the 5th century C.E. to the 9th century C.E. when it was replaced by Old English Latin Alphabets. Anglo-Saxon Futhorc was created from the Elder Futhark Alphabet.
  • Jan 1, 1000

    Old English Latin Alphabet

    Old English Latin Alphabet
    The Old English Latin Alphabet was the alphabet that replaced Anglo-Saxon Futhorc. The Old English Latin Alphabet consisted of 24 characters and was put to use to write Old English. A total of twenty characters in this alphabet were taken straight from the Latin Alphabet, then two more of them were from Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the last two were letters that were changed from the Latin Alphabet.
  • Jan 1, 1200

    Devanagari

    Devanagari
    Devanagari is the alphabet used for most Asian countries. This alphabet is used to write some of the languages including Hindi, Napali, Pali, Konkani, Bodo, Sindhi, etc. This alphabet is in use in over 120 countries. Devanagari is also used to write in Sanskrit. It is one of the most highly used alphabets in the world.
  • Jan 1, 1400

    The Invention of the Printing Press

    The Invention of the Printing Press
    The printing press was an invention that made it easier to create multiple books, posters, newspapers, etc. very quickly. The user would place blocks soaked in ink and then press them down with much pressure, with help from the machine, to apply the ink to paper. The invention of this machine enabled many people that couldn't afford books able to, seeing as how books were now more abundant and no longer hand written. It also gave many people the opportunity to learn how to read.
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Hangul

    Hangul
    This alphabet was created during the Joseon Dynasty in the 15th century C.E. It has been used in Korea ever since its creation and is the official alphabet in North and South Korea.
  • The World's Literacy Rate

    12%
  • The World's Literacy Rate

    21%
  • The World's Literacy Rate

    86.3%
  • The World's Literacy Rate

    99%
  • The World's Literacy Rate

    100%
  • The Year 3000

    I believe that by the year 3000 C.E., the entire world will have one written language that most people can write and speak. I would think that the amount of people that can use this language would be around 60-75%. I think that this language will have been around for about 100-200 years, but people are just catching on to it because it will take a while for something brand new, and most likely complicated, to become known and learned by everybody in the world
  • The Year 3100

    I think that by the year 3100, nearly the entire world will know this new language. I believe that the literacy rate of this language will become around 95-100% at this time. The amount of people that at least know parts of the language will become 100%, and that schools or any learning facility will be required to teach this language. I believe that this language could help solve some world issues and also help to bring the world together with no conflicts.