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16-Dec-2019 11:10

Hence an hour contains 60 minutes and 3600 seconds, and the circle is divided into 360 degrees.We reckon 20 silver units to 26 THE GREEK ALPHABET. The heavy Assyrian talent passed by land to the Phoenicians, and by them was carried by sea to either side of the i^gean — to Rhodes and Ionia on the east, and to Boeotia on the west. The formation of this seventh century Greek alpha- bet, which must have required such a lengthened period to effect, has now to be investigated. As regards the direction of the writing, the forms, powers, and number of the letters, the Abu Simbel records exhibit all the characteristic fea- tures which distinguish the Greek from the Phoenician alphabet. John's 8^f instead of one or two trifling variations of form, material changes have aff'ected nearly half the letters of the alphabet, not to speak of the evolution of the vowels, a process which has already been completed in five cases, and partially in a sixth. These " Phoenician letters " were also called the *' Cadmean letters," having been introduced, according to a Greek legend, which is repeatedly quoted by Herodotus, by Cadmus the Tyrian when he sailed for Greece in search of Europa.^ It is plain that Cadmus and Europa are merely eponymic names, Cadmus meaning in Semitic speech ^ ** the man of the East," while Europa is the damsel who per- sonifies "the West." The Phoenician mariners who brought merchandise to the shores of Greece were the " men of the East," just as the Danes of Dublin were the "Ostmen," and to the English of the 14th century the Liibeck merchants were the " Easterlings," who have ' Europe, as a geographical term, not improbably designated at first merely the plain of Thebes, just as the word 'Asia' originally denoted only the plain of Ephesus, and 'Africa' the plain of Carthage. left in our language an abiding memorial of their trade in the " sterling " or " easterling '' currency which still remains our monetary standard. This general belief is implied by the very name borne by the ancient Greek letters, (jyo Lvi KTJLa ypafifia Ta.The Lydian silver standard, which was the stater of 170 grains, was transmitted to Chalcis and Eretria, cities which, prior to the 7th century, were the most important trading communities of Greece, and had active commercial relations with the opposite Asiatic coasts.

The formation of this Abu Simbel alphabet, it may confidently be concluded, must have been a prolonged process ; and the two or three centuries which have sometimes been thought to be sufficient may fairly be extended, on a reasonable computation, to four or even five. They prove that at the close of the 7th century b.c.

and of alphabetic writing, had finally retired from the coasts of Hellas.^ The Cadmean legend affirms that the Greeks obtained the alphabet directly from the mariners of Tyre.

There is however an argument, not without weight, which seems to indicate that they acquired it, possibly at a still earlier period, through some Aramean channel.

The inscriptions at Abu Simbel afford a fixed starting point from which the inquiry into the early history of the Greek alphabet may be conducted.

The Greek tradition affirmed that it was from the Phoenician colony in Boeotia that the alphabet was obtained. 2$ carry off the surplus population, and to obtain the raw materials for their manufactures, the Phoenicians established trading posts and colonies in Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete, which were presently extended to Thera and Melos, afterwards to Samothrace, Imbros, Lemnos, and Thasos, and lastly to Chalcis, Thebes and Corinth.The existence of an early settlement of the Phoenicians at Thebes is borne out, not only by the ' That the neighbouring island of Melos was also occupied by a very ancient Phoenician colony we learn from Thucydides, v. They got copper from Cyprus, and gold from Thasos, and they obtained their dye for the Tyrian purple chiefly from the coasts of Hellas, and more especially from the straits of Euboea, where the shell-fish which yielded it was found in the greatest abundance.

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