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Writing in Mesopotamia
Comparing Cuneiform and the
Phoenician Alphabet
How they are different
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”
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
• Named after the place it was
How they are the same
• Both were created and used in the Fertile
• Both created to keep track of trade and
• Both mostly written on clay tablets.