Sunday Links: Origins of Writing

Every Sunday, I try to find ten links that aren’t Wikipedia dealing with a subject that I teach.  This week I tackle the origins of writing, in Cuneiform, Hieroglyphics, the Phoenician alphabet, and Chinese characters.  In many ways, this will be quite difficult, because I have to find three links for each — so there will actually be twelve links in this edition.

Let’s take the task on:  Cuneiform first.

1. Cuneiform at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Unfortunately, the websites to “write like a Babylonian” and “write like an Egyptian” are both broken.  Argh.

2. Ancient Scripts has a Cuneiform Page.

3.  And here’s the Sumerian Language Page, run by

So that’s a good beginning.

Hieroglyphics next.

1. Let’s find an image of the Rosetta Stone, together with an explanation of the translation.  That was easy.

2. Here’s a hieroglyphics translator / creator thingie.

3. and a chart of the core hieroglyphic alphabet.

Chinese characters

1. Here’s an online Chinese dictionary and character geneaology.  It turns out that when studying Chinese characters, you not only need the symbol as currently written, but you need to know something of its history, and how it’s been written through the centuries.  Interesting.

2. At Omniglot, a website devoted to the world’s writing systems, a page on Chinese Characters.  (plus pages on Cuneiform [not very good] and hieroglyphics!)

3. Photos of a Shang Dynasty-era bronze pot, which can be used to talk about early Chinese Characters and the emergence of Chinese metallurgy.

Phoenician Alphabet

1. Behold, a phoenician organization with a page on their alphabet.

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