“It has become a historical commonplace that we owe the alphabet to the Greeks. What is not clear is what we really mean by this. If this implies that the Greeks invented the alphabet, this runs counter to all available knowledge of the history of writing… There is no question at all that the Greeks borrowed their signs from contemporary Semitic syllabic systems of writing, most notably from the Phoenicians with whom they had long established contacts. The very names of the signs, no less than their form, are of Semitic origin.”

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