1st millennium BC
The 1st millennium BC is the period of time between from the year 1000 BC to 1 BC. It encompasses the Iron Age in the Old World and sees the transition from the Ancient Near East to classical antiquity. World population doubled over the course of the millennium, from about 100 million to about 200–250 million; the Neo-Assyrian Empire dominates the Near East in the early centuries of the millennium, supplanted by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century. Ancient Egypt is in decline, falls to the Achaemenids in 525 BC. In Greece, Classical Antiquity begins with the colonization of Magna Graecia and peaks with the conquest of the Achaemenids and the subsequent flourishing of Hellenistic civilization; the Roman Republic supplants the Etruscans and the Carthaginians. The close of the millennium sees the rise of the Roman Empire; the early Celts dominate Central Europe. In East Africa, the Nubian Empire and Aksum arise. In South Asia, the Vedic civilization blends into the Maurya Empire; the Scythians dominate Central Asia.
In China, the Spring and Autumn period sees the rise of Confucianism. Towards the close of the millennium, the Han Dynasty extends Chinese power towards Central Asia, where it borders on Indo-Greek and Iranian states. Japan is in the Yayoi period; the Maya civilization rises in Mesoamerica. The first millennium BC is the formative period of the classical world religions, with the development of early Judaism Zoroastrianism in the Near East, Vedic religion and Vedanta and Buddhism in India. Early literature develops in Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Chinese; the term Axial Age, coined by Karl Jaspers, is intended to express the crucial importance of the period of c. the 8th to 2nd centuries BC in world history. World population more than doubled over the course of the millennium, from about an estimated 50–100 million to an estimated 170–300 million. Close to 90% of world population at the end of the first millennium BC lived in the Iron Age civilizations of the Old World; the population of the Americas was below 20 million, concentrated in Mesoamerica.
The population of Oceania was less than one million people. 10th century BC Near East: Neo-Assyrian Empire Near East: Shoshenq I invades Canaan Aegean: Helladic period ends 9th century BC Egypt: 872 BC: Nile floods the Temple of Luxor Egypt: 836 BC: Civil war in Egypt North Africa: 814 BC: Carthage founded China: 841 BCndash. Greece: Archaic Greece, Greek alphabet Greece: Homer 776 BC: Greece: First Olympiad 753 BC: Europe: foundation of Rome 7th century BC 671 BC: Assyrian conquest of Egypt Near East: 631 BC: Death of Ashurbanipal, decline of the Assyrian Empire 6th century BC Egypt: 592 BC: Psamtik II sacks Napata Sudan: Aspelta moves the Kushite capital to Meroe Near East: 539 BC: Achaemenid conquest of Babylon under Cyrus the Great South Asia: Śramaṇa movement and "second urbanisation" South Asia: Early Buddhism Europe: 509 BC: Roman Republic 5th century BC China: 479 BC: death of Confucius China: 476 BC: Warring States period China: 486 BC: Grand Canal construction begins Near East: Second Temple Judaism, redaction of the Hebrew Bible Greece: beginning of the classical period.
Greece: Greco-Persian Wars Greece: 440 BC: Herodotus' Histories Greece: 431 BC: Peloponnesian War Oceania: Austronesian expansion reaches Western Polynesia 4th century BC Greece: 395 BC: Corinthian War Egypt: 343 BC: Achaemenid conquest Greece/Asia/Egypt: 330s BC: conquests of Alexander the Great, end of the Achaemenid Empire, Macedonian Empire, beginning of the Hellenistic period South Asia: Mauryan Empire 3rd century BC China: Qin Unified China China: 206 BC: Han Dynasty South Asia: 261 BC: Kalinga war Rome: Roman expansion in Italy Rome/Carthage: Punic Wars 264 BC: First Punic War 218 BC Second Punic War 2nd century BC Rome/Carthage: 149 BC Third Punic War, Roman province of Africa Rome/Greece: 146 BC Battle of Corinth, beginning of the Roman era South Asia: 185 BC: Fall of the Maurya Empire China: Confucianism became the state ideology of China 1st century BC China: 91 BC: Records of the Grand Historian finished Rome/Europe: 58-50 BC Gallic Wars Rome: 32/30 BC: Final War of the Roman Republic Rome/Egypt: 31 BC: Roman conquest of Egypt Rome/Europe/West Asia/Africa: 27 BC: Roman Empire Some of the central figures of the Axial Age are legendary or semi-legendary, with no contemporary written records available RulersChina: Dynasties in Chinese history, List of Chinese monarchs Egypt: Third Intermediate Period of Egypt Carthage: List of monarchs of Carthage Assyrian Empire: List of Assyrian kings Babylonia: Neo-Babylonian_dynasty Canaan / Biblical Levant: Kings of Israel and Judah Achaemenid Persia: List of monarchs of Persia Kingdom of Kush: List of monarchs of Kush Classical Greece: Monarchs: List of kings of Sparta, Thirty Tyrants Athenian democracy: Pericles Macedon: List of ancient Macedonians, Argead dynasty Hellenistic period: Ptolemaic Dynasty, Antigonid dynasty, Hasmonean dynasty Rome: kings of Rome, List of Roman consuls Parthian Empire: List of Parthian kings India: List of Indian monarchsReligion, p
The Mesha Stele known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele set up around 840 BCE by King Mesha of Moab. Mesha tells how Chemosh, the god of Moab, had been angry with his people and had allowed them to be subjugated to Israel, but at length Chemosh returned and assisted Mesha to throw off the yoke of Israel and restore the lands of Moab. Mesha describes his many building projects; some say it is written in the Phoenician alphabet, but others say it is written in the Old Hebrew script, related. The stone was discovered intact by Frederick Augustus Klein, an Anglican missionary, at the site of ancient Dibon, in August 1868. Klein was led to it by a local Bedouin. At that time, amateur explorers and archaeologists were scouring the Levant for evidence proving the Bible's historicity. News of the finding set off a race between France and Germany to acquire the piece. A "squeeze" had been obtained by a local Arab on behalf of Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, an archaeologist based in the French consulate in Jerusalem.
The next year, the Stele was smashed into several fragments by the Bani Hamida tribe. Clermont-Ganneau managed to acquire the fragments and piece them together thanks to the impression made before the Stele's destruction; the Mesha stele, the longest Iron Age inscription found in the region, constitutes the major evidence for the Moabite language, is a "corner-stone of Semitic epigraphy," and history. The stele, whose story parallels, with some differences, an episode in the Bible's Books of Kings, provides invaluable information on the Moabite language and the political relationship between Moab and Israel at one moment in the 9th century BCE, it is the most extensive inscription recovered that refers to the kingdom of Israel. It is one of four known contemporary inscriptions containing the name of Israel, the others being the Merneptah Stele, the Tel Dan Stele, the Kurkh Monolith, its authenticity has been disputed over the years, some biblical minimalists suggest the text was not historical, but a biblical allegory, but the stele is regarded as genuine and historical by the vast majority of biblical archaeologists today.
The stele is on display in France at the Louvre museum and Jordan has demanded its return. The stele is a smoothed block of basalt one meter tall, 60 cm wide and 60 cm thick, bearing a surviving inscription of 34 lines. On 8 February 1870, George Grove of the Palestine Exploration Fund announced the find of the stele in a letter to The Times, attributing the discovery to Charles Warren. On 17 February 1870, the 24-year-old Clermont-Ganneau published the first detailed announcement of the stele in the Revue de l’Instruction Publique; this was followed a month by a letter from Frederick Augustus Klein published in the Pall Mall Gazette, describing his discovery of the stele in August 1868: In November 1869 the stele was broken by the local Bedouin tribe after the Ottoman government became involved in the ownership dispute. The previous year the Bani Hamida had been defeated by an expedition to Balqa led by Reşid Pasha, the Wali of Damascus. Knowing that a demand to give up the stone to the German Consulate had been ordered by the Ottomans, finding that the ruler of Salt was about to put pressure upon them, they heated the stele in a bonfire, threw cold water upon it and broke it to pieces with boulders.
A "squeeze" of the full stele had been obtained just prior to its destruction. Ginsberg's translation of the official report, "Ueber die Auffindung der Moabitischen Inschrift," stated that Ganneau sent an Arab named Yacoub Caravacca to obtain the squeeze as he "did not want to venture to undertake the costly journey" himself. Caravacca was injured by the local Bedouin while obtaining the squeeze, one of his two accompanying horsemen protected the squeeze by tearing it still damp from the stone in seven fragments before escaping. Pieces of the original stele containing most of the inscription, 613 letters out of about a thousand, were recovered and pieced together. Of the existing stele fragments, the top right fragment contains 150 letters, the bottom right fragment contains 358 letters, the middle-right contains 38, the rest of the fragments contain 67 letters; the remainder of the stele was reconstructed by Ganneau from the squeeze obtained by Caravacca. The text describes: How Moab was oppressed by Omri King of Israel and his son as the result of the anger of the god Chemosh Mesha's victories over Omri's son and the men of Gad at Ataroth and Jehaz.
There is no authoritative full edition of the Moabite inscription. The translation used here is that published by James King, based on translations by M. Ganneau and Dr. Ginsberg. Line numbers added to the published version have been removed. I am son of Chemosh-gad, king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, I have reigned after my father, and I have built this sanctuary for Chemosh in Karchah, a sanctuary of
Jordan the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel and Palestine to the west; the Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a small coastline to the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe; the capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic and cultural centre. What is now Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic period. Three stable kingdoms emerged there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon and Edom. Rulers include the Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire. After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned by Britain and France; the Emirate of Transjordan was established in 1921 by the Hashemite Emir, Abdullah I, the emirate became a British protectorate.
In 1946, Jordan became an independent state known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, but was renamed in 1949 to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan after the country captured the West Bank during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and annexed it until it was lost to Israel in 1967. Jordan renounced its claim to the territory in 1988, became one of two Arab states to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Jordan is the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation; the sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy, but the king holds wide executive and legislative powers. Jordan is a small, semi-arid landlocked country with an area of 89,342 km2 and a population numbering 10 million, making it the 11th-most populous Arab country. Sunni Islam, practiced by around 95% of the population, is the dominant religion in Jordan and coexists with an indigenous Christian minority. Jordan has been referred to as an "oasis of stability" in a turbulent region, it has been unscathed by the violence that swept the region following the Arab Spring in 2010.
From as early as 1948, Jordan has accepted refugees from multiple neighbouring countries in conflict. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinian and 1.4 million Syrian refugees are present in Jordan as of a 2015 census. The kingdom is a refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution by ISIL. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure. Jordan is classified as a country of "high human development" with an "upper middle income" economy; the Jordanian economy, one of the smallest economies in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based upon a skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination attracting medical tourism due to its well developed health sector. Nonetheless, a lack of natural resources, large flow of refugees and regional turmoil have hampered economic growth. Jordan takes its name from the Jordan River. While several theories for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, it is most plausible that it derives from the Semitic word Yarad, meaning "the descender", reflecting the river's declivity.
Much of the area that makes up modern Jordan was called Transjordan, meaning "across the Jordan", used to denote the lands east of the river. The Old Testament refers to the area as "the other side of the Jordan". Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as corresponding to the Semitic Yarden. Jund Al-Urdunn was a military district around the river in the early Islamic era. During the Crusades in the beginning of the second millennium, a lordship was established in the area under the name of Oultrejordain; the oldest evidence of hominid habitation in Jordan dates back at least 200,000 years. Jordan is rich in Paleolithic remains due to its location within the Levant where expansions of hominids out of Africa converged. Past lakeshore environments attracted different hominids, several remains of tools have been found from this period; the world's oldest evidence of bread-making was found in a 14,500 years old Natufian site in Jordan's northeastern desert. The transition from hunter-gatherer to establishing populous agricultural villages occurred during the Neolithic period.'Ain Ghazal, one such village located in today's eastern Amman, is one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East.
Dozens of plaster statues of the human form dating to 7250 BC were uncovered there and they are among the oldest found. Other than the usual Chalcolithic villages such as Tulaylet Ghassul in the Jordan Valley, a series of circular stone enclosures in the eastern basalt desert−whose purpose remains uncertain–have baffled archaeologists. Fortified towns and urban centers first emerged in the southern Levant early on in the Bronze Age. Wadi Feynan became a regional center for copper extraction, exploited on a large-scale to produce bronze. Trade and movement of people in the Middle East peaked and refining civilizations. Villages in Transjordan expanded in areas with reliable water resources and agricultural land. Ancient Egyptians controlled both banks of the Jordan River. During the Iron Age after the withdrawal of the Egyptians, Transjordan was home to Ammon and Moab, they spoke Semitic languages of the Canaanite group, an
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous tract of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea; the existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archaeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of Israel. The Moabite capital was Dibon. According to the Hebrew Bible, Moab was in conflict with its Israelite neighbours to the west; the etymology of the word Moab is uncertain. The earliest gloss is found in the Koine Greek Septuagint which explains the name, in obvious allusion to the account of Moab's parentage, as ἐκ τοῦ πατρός μου. Other etymologies which have been proposed regard it as a corruption of "seed of a father", or as a participial form from "to desire", thus connoting "the desirable". Rashi explains the word Mo'ab to mean "from the father", since ab in Hebrew and Arabic and the rest of the Semitic languages means "father", he writes that as a result of the immodesty of Moab's name, God did not command the Jews to refrain from inflicting pain upon the Moabites in the manner in which he did with regard to the Ammonites.
Fritz Hommel regards Moab as an abbreviation of Immo-ab = "his mother is his father". According to Genesis 19:30–38, the ancestor of the Moabites was Lot by incest with his eldest daughter, she and her sister, having lost their fiancés and their mother in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, decided to continue their father's line through intercourse with their father. The elder conceived Moab; the younger daughter did the same and conceived a son named Ben-Ammi, who became ancestor to the Ammonites. According to the Book of Jasher, Moab had four sons—Ed, Mayon and Kanvil—and his wife, whose name is not given, is from Canaan. Moab occupied a plateau about 910 metres above the level of the Mediterranean, or 1,300 metres above the Dead Sea, rising from north to south, it was bounded on the southern section of the Jordan River. The northern boundary varied, but is represented by a line drawn some miles above the northern extremity of the Dead Sea. In Ezekiel 25:9 the boundaries are given as being marked by Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, Kiriathaim.
That these limits were not fixed, however, is plain from the lists of cities given in Isaiah 15–16 and Jeremiah 48, where Heshbon and Jazer are mentioned to the north of Beth-jeshimoth. The principal rivers of Moab mentioned in the Bible are the Arnon, the Dimon or Dibon, the Nimrim; the limestone hills which form the treeless plateau are steep but fertile. In the spring they are covered with grass and the table-land itself produces grain. In the north are a number of long, deep ravines, Mount Nebo, famous as the scene of the death of Moses; the rainfall is plentiful and the climate, despite the hot summer, is cooler than the area west of the Jordan river, snow falling in winter and in spring. The plateau is dotted with hundreds of dolmens and stone circles, contains many ruined villages of the Roman and Byzantine periods; the land is now occupied chiefly by Bedouin. The territory occupied by Moab at the period of its greatest extent, before the invasion of the Amorites, divided itself into three distinct and independent portions: the enclosed corner or canton south of the Arnon.
The country of Moab was the source of numerous natural resources, including limestone and balsam from the Dead Sea region. The Moabites occupied a vital place along the King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Like the Edomites and Ammonites, trade along this route gave them considerable revenue. Despite a scarcity of archaeological evidence, the existence of Moab prior to the rise of the Israelite state has been deduced from a colossal statue erected at Luxor by pharaoh Ramesses II, in the 13th century BCE, which lists Mu'ab among a series of nations conquered during a campaign. Early modern travellers in the region included Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles, Louis Félicien de Saulcy. According to the biblical account and Ammon were born to Lot and Lot's elder and younger daughters in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the Bible refers to both the Moabites and Ammonites as Lot's sons, born of incest with his daughters.
The Moabites first inhabited the rich highlands at the eastern side of the chasm of the Dead Sea, extending as far north as the mountain of Gilead, from which country they expelled the Emim, the original inhabitants, but they themselves were afterward driven southward by warlike tribes of Amorites, who had crossed the river Jordan. These Amorites, described in the Bible as being ruled by King Sihon, confined the Moabites to the country south of the river Arnon, which formed their northern boundary. God renewed his covenant with the Israelites at Moab before the Israelites entered the "promised land". Moses died there, he was
Biblical Hebrew called classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew, a Canaanite Semitic language spoken by the Israelites in the area known as Israel west of the Jordan River and east of the Mediterranean Sea. The term "Hebrew" was not used for the language in the Bible, referred to as שפת כנען or יהודית, but the name was used in Greek and Mishnaic Hebrew texts, it is less mutually intelligible with modern Hebrew. Hebrew is attested epigraphically from about the 10th century BCE, spoken Hebrew persisted through and beyond the Second Temple period, which ended in the siege of Jerusalem, it developed into Mishnaic Hebrew, spoken up until the fifth century CE. Biblical Hebrew as recorded in the Hebrew Bible reflects various stages of the Hebrew language in its consonantal skeleton, as well as a vocalic system, added in the Middle Ages by the Masoretes. There is some evidence of regional dialectal variation, including differences between Biblical Hebrew as spoken in the northern Kingdom of Israel and in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
The consonantal text was transmitted in manuscript form, underwent redaction in the Second Temple period, but its earliest portions can be dated to the late 8th to early 7th centuries BCE. Biblical Hebrew has been written with a number of different writing systems; the Hebrews adopted the Phoenician alphabet around the 12th century BCE, which developed into the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. This was retained by the Samaritans. However, the Aramaic alphabet displaced the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet for the Jews, it became the source for the modern Hebrew alphabet. All of these scripts were lacking letters to represent all of the sounds of Biblical Hebrew, though these sounds are reflected in Greek and Latin transcriptions/translations of the time; these scripts only indicated consonants, but certain letters, known by the Latin term matres lectionis, became used to mark vowels. In the Middle Ages, various systems of diacritics were developed to mark the vowels in Hebrew manuscripts. Biblical Hebrew possessed a series of "emphatic" consonants whose precise articulation is disputed ejective or pharyngealized.
Earlier Biblical Hebrew possessed three consonants which did not have their own letters in the writing system, but over time they merged with other consonants. The stop consonants developed fricative allophones under the influence of Aramaic, these sounds became marginally phonemic; the pharyngeal and glottal consonants underwent weakening in some regional dialects, as reflected in the modern Samaritan Hebrew reading tradition. The vowel system of Biblical Hebrew changed over time and is reflected differently in the ancient Greek and Latin transcriptions, medieval vocalization systems, modern reading traditions. Biblical Hebrew had a typical Semitic morphology with nonconcatenative morphology, arranging Semitic roots into patterns to form words. Biblical Hebrew distinguished three numbers. Verbs were marked for voice and mood, had two conjugations which may have indicated aspect and/or tense; the tense or aspect of verbs was influenced by the conjugation ו, in the so-called waw-consecutive construction.
Default word order was verb–subject–object, verbs inflected for the number and person of their subject. Pronominal suffixes could be appended to verbs or nouns, nouns had special construct states for use in possessive constructions; the earliest written sources refer to Biblical Hebrew by the name of the land in which it was spoken: שפת כנען'the language of Canaan'. The Hebrew Bible shows that the language was called יהודית'Judaean, Judahite'. In the Hellenistic period Greek writings use the names Hebraios, Hebraïsti, in Mishnaic Hebrew we find עברית'Hebrew' and לשון עברית'Hebrew language'; the origin of this term is obscure. Jews began referring to Hebrew as לשון הקדש "the Holy Tongue" in Mishnaic Hebrew; the term Classical Hebrew may include all pre-medieval dialects of Hebrew, including Mishnaic Hebrew, or it may be limited to Hebrew contemporaneous with the Hebrew Bible. The term Biblical Hebrew refers to pre-Mishnaic dialects; the term'Biblical Hebrew' may or may not include extra-biblical texts, such as inscriptions, also includes vocalization traditions for the Hebrew Bible's consonantal text, most the early medieval Tiberian vocalization.
The archeological record for the prehistory of Biblical Hebrew is far more complete than the record of Biblical Hebrew itself. Early Northwest Semitic materials are attested from the end of the Bronze Age; the Northwest Semitic languages, including Hebrew, differentiated noticeably during the Iron Age, although in its earliest stages Biblical Hebrew was not differentiated from Ugaritic and the Canaanite of the Amarna letters. Hebrew developed during the latter half of the second millennium BCE between the Jordan and the
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in being a reliable form of information storage and transfer; the processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting; the general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies. Any particular system can have attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters represent speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a syllable or mora.
In a logography, each character represents morpheme, or other semantic units. Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing. Alphabets use a set of 20-to-35 symbols to express a language, whereas syllabaries can have 80-to-100, logographies can have several hundreds of symbols. Most systems will have an ordering of its symbol elements so that groups of them can be coded into larger clusters like words or acronyms, giving rise to many more possibilities in meanings than the symbols can convey by themselves. Systems will enable the stringing together of these smaller groupings in order to enable a full expression of the language; the reading step expressed orally. A special set of symbols known as punctuation is used to aid in structure and organization of many writing systems and can be used to help capture nuances and variations in the message's meaning that are communicated verbally by cues in timing, accent, inflection or intonation.
A writing system will typically have a method for formatting recorded messages that follows the spoken version's rules like its grammar and syntax so that the reader will have the meaning of the intended message preserved. Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms and other mnemonic symbols. Proto-writing lacked the ability to express a full range of thoughts and ideas; the invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic Era of the late 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner, not prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable. Soon after, writing provided a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of publishing, it provided the medium for an early form of mass communication; the creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is called romanization.
Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one spoken language. In contrast, visual representations such as drawings and non-verbal items on maps, such as contour lines, are not language-related; some symbols on information signs, such as the symbols for male and female, are not language related, but can grow to become part of language if they are used in conjunction with other language elements. Some other symbols, such as numerals and the ampersand, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems; every human community possesses language, which many regard as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However, the development of writing systems, the process by which they have supplanted traditional oral systems of communication, have been sporadic and slow. Once established, writing systems change more than their spoken counterparts.
Thus they preserve features and expressions which are no longer current in the spoken language. One of the great benefits of writing systems is that they can preserve a permanent record of information expressed in a language. All writing systems require: at least one set of defined base elements or symbols, individually termed signs and collectively called a script. In the examination of individual scripts, the study of writing systems has developed along independent lines. Thus, the terminology employed differs somewhat from field to field; the generic term text refers to an instance of writte