Writing Systems and Alphabets 3200 BCE – 860 CE

Writing Systems and Alphabets

This timeline gives a chronological listing of writing systems and alphabets

3200 BCE (around)
Cuneiform Writing
Invented by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia (Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria)
Shapes that represent words
Read from left to right
3200 BCE (around)
Hieroglyphs
invented by the Egyptians in Egypt
Pictograms that represent words and sounds
Read from left to right
3100 BCE (around)
Proto-Elamite Script
Invented in Elam (Iran) by the Mesopotamians
A system of signs that archeologists have been unable to decipher
3000 BCE (around)
Indus Script
invented by the Indus people in the Indus Valley (north-west India, Pakistan)
A system of symbols that are thought to represent words but have not been deciphered
2800 BCE (around)
Linear-Elamite Script
Developed from the Proto-Elamite Script in Elam (Iran)
A system of signs that linguists have been unable to decipher
2200 BCE (around)
Elamite Cuneiform Script
Developed from the Linear-Elamite Script in Elam (Iran)
A system of signs that represent sounds and syllables
2000 BCE (around)
Anatolian Hieroglyphs
Developed in Anatolia (Turkey) to write the Luwian language
A system of around 500 signs that represent words and syllables
Read from left to right
1750 BCE (around)
Proto-Sinaitic Alphabet
Discovered in Sinai, Egypt and Canaan (Syria, Jordan, Israel)
The first alphabet made up of 30 signs that represent sounds
1400 BCE (around)
Chinese Writing
invented during the Shang Dynasty in China
A system of characters that represent words, phrases and ideas
Read from top to bottom and right to left
1200 BCE (around)
Phoenician Alphabet
Developed from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet by the Phoenicians in the East Mediterranean
A system of 22 signs that represent consonants
Read from right to left
850 BCE (around)
Greek Alphabet
The Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet
A system of 24 letters that represent vowels and consonants
Read from left to right
650 BCE (around)
Roman Alphabet
The Romans adapted the Greek alphabet
26 letters represent vowels and consonants
Read from left to right
300 BCE (around)
Mayan Writing
Invented by the Mayans in Mexico
A system of signs that represent syllables and ideas
Pairs of columns read from left to right, top to bottom
250 BCE (around)
Brahmi Script
Developed in southern India
A system that uses signs for consonants and markings for vowels
Read from left to right
150 CE (around)
Runes
Invented by the Scandinavians
A system of 24 characters made of straight lines that represent sounds
Read from right to left
200 CE (around)
Arabic Alphabet
Developed from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet
A system of 28 letters
Read from right to left
400 CE (around)
Japanese Script
The Japanese adapted Chinese writing
A system of signs that represent syllables
Read from top to bottom and right to left
860 CE (around)
Slavic Script
Bulgarians adapted the Greek alphabet
A system of signs that represent letters
Read from left to right

 

Published May 07, 2020 @ 12.48 pm – Updated – May 12, 2020 @ 10:57 am

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Writing Systems and Alphabets 3200 BCE – 860 CE. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/writing-systems-and-alphabets. Last accessed [date]

 

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