Lesson 1: The Phoenicians and the Beginnings of the Alphabet

"Aleph," the first letter in the Phoenician alphabet
Photo caption

"Aleph" is the first letter in the Phoenician alphabet, and corresponds to our "A".
Phoenician type font courtesy of S. George Khalaf, A Bequest Unearthed, Phoenicia

Courtesy of the Internet Public Library.

This first lesson of the curriculum unit, The Alphabet is Historic, will be about the Phoenicians, who invented the alphabet inherited by the Greeks, Romans, and eventually, us.

Guiding Questions

Who were the Phoenicians and where did they live?

When and why did they invent the alphabet?

What did their alphabet look like?

Can we see some early forms of our own letters in this very old alphabet?

Learning Objectives

Describe the Phoenicians as a trading people who lived long ago on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Understand that the Phoenicians invented the first form of our alphabet.

Say why the alphabet was important for the Phoenicians.

Compare some of the Phoenician letters to our letters.

Write a short paragraph (with the teacher or alone) on a topic related to learning or using the Phoenician alphabet.