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The Egyptian theory actually subdivides into three separate theories, according to whether the Egyptian hieroglyphic, the hieratic, or the demotic script is regarded as the true parent of alphabetic writing.Similarly, the idea that cuneiform was the precursor of the alphabet may also be subdivided into those singling out Sumerian, Babylonian, or Assyrian cuneiform.Moreover, the North Semitic languages, based as they are on a consonantal root (i.e., a system in which the vowels serve mainly to indicate grammatical or similar changes), were clearly suitable for the creation of a consonantal alphabet.The inventor or inventors of the alphabet were, no doubt, influenced by Egyptian writing—perhaps also by other scripts.

Egyptian writing, cuneiform, Cretan, hieroglyphic Hittite, the Cypriot syllabary, and other scripts have all been called prototypes of the alphabet.

To the west, seeds were sown among the peoples who later constituted the nation of Hellas—the Greeks.

As a result, an alphabet developed with four main branches: (1) the so-called Canaanite, or main branch, subdivided into Early Hebrew and Phoenician varieties; (2) the Aramaic branch; (3) the South Semitic, or Sabaean, branch; and (4) the Greek alphabet, which became the progenitor of the Western alphabets, including the Etruscan and the Latin.

In Syria and Palestine, the geographical centre of the Fertile Crescent, three nations—Israel, Phoenicia, and Aram—played an increasingly important political role.

To the south of the Fertile Crescent, the Sabaeans, a South Arabian people (also Semites, though South Semites), attained a position of wealth and importance as commercial intermediaries between the East and the Mediterranean.

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