Writing in Mesopotamia Comparing Cuneiform and the Phoenician Alphabet How they are different Cuneiform • • • • Started in Sumer A writing system Began being used in 3400 B.C Thousands of different symbols based on the shapes and pictures. • Only highly educated scribes could read and write. • Named after the shapes they look like – “wedge shaped” Phoenician • • • • Started in Phoenicia An alphabet Began being used in 1100 B.C 22 different symbols based on sound of language. • Easy to read and write – allowed more people to understand. • Named after the place it was made. How they are the same • Both were created and used in the Fertile Crescent. • Both created to keep track of trade and business. • Both mostly written on clay tablets.