Proto-Sinaitic script

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A specimen of Proto-Sinaitic script containing a phrase which may mean 'to Ba'alat'. The line running from the upper left to lower right may read mt l bclt.

Proto-Sinaitic is a Middle Bronze Age script. It is known only from a few inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula.

Because there are so few Proto-Sinaitic signs, little is known with certainty about the nature of the script. The script co-existed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, so it is likely that it represented true writing, but this is not certain. From the shape of the signs, Proto-Sinaitic may be an alphabet, and the ancestor of the Phoenician alphabet, from which nearly all modern alphabets descend.

There have been two major discoveries of inscriptions of the Proto-Sinaitic script. The first was in the winter of 1904–1905 in Sinai by Hilda and Flinders Petrie, dated to circa 1700–1400 BC. The second find was more recently in 1999 in Middle Egypt by John and Deborah Darnell. This is dated to the 18th century BC.[1]

Possible correspondences between Proto-Sinaitic and Phoenician
Proto-Sinaitic Phoenician Phoen. value Phoen. name Hebrew Greek Brahmi Latin Cyrillic Arabic
Proto-semiticA-01.svg PhoenicianA-01.svg ʼ ʾalp "ox" א Α Brahmi a.svg A А ا
Square-kinship.png PhoenicianB-01.svg b bet "house" ב Β Brahmi b.svg B Б, В ب
Proto-semiticK-01.svg PhoenicianK-01.svg k kaf "palm" כ Κ Brahmi k.svg K К ك
Proto-semiticM-01.svg PhoenicianM-02.svg m mem "water" מ Μ Brahmi m.svg M М م
Proto-semiticO-01.svg PhoenicianO-01.svg ʻ ʿen "eye" ע Ο  ? O О ع
Proto-semiticR-01.svg PhoenicianR-01.svg r roʾš "head" ר Ρ Brahmi r.svg R Р ر

References[change | change source]

  1. Goldwasser, Orly (2010). "How the alphabet was born from hieroglyphs". Biblical Archaeology Review (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society) 36 (1). ISSN 0098-9444. http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=36&Issue=02&ArticleID=06. Retrieved 6 Nov 2011.