The Meroitic script is an alphabetic script, used to write the Meroitic language of the Kingdom of Meroรซ in Sudan. It was developed in the Napatan Period (about 700โ€“300 BCE) and it first appeared in the 2nd century BCE. Its use was described by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c. 50 BCE). Here are the most important facts about this alphabet:

  • The Meroitic script is basically an alphabet of 23 symbols used from the II century BC till the V century AC in Nubia and Northern Sudan.
  • It has two varieties: hieroglyphic (known from inscriptions on monuments, comes from The Egyptian hieroglyphic writing) and Cursive (from demotic writing).
  • The hieroglyphic symbols were written in columns, from top to bottom, from right to left. The more common cursive form was written from right to left, from top to bottom.
  • The alphabet was decoded at the beginning of the XX century by Francis Llewellyn Griffith; however, most symbols and meanings still remain unclear
  • 4 vowels + 14 consonants + 5 syllables
  • Apparently, the Meroitic script was also utilized for writing the Old Nubian language (the ancestor of Meroitic written mostly in Coptic or modified Greek)
  • In late 2008 the first complete royal dedication was found, which may help confirm or refute some of the current hypotheses.
  • The longest inscription found is currently kept in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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