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Ancient Writing Systems Of Africa

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    Posted: 11 Apr 2017 at 13:49
See http://www.ancient-origins.net/history/z-alphabet-origins-and-most-ancient-written-languages-007873 for a good article on ancient writing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2017 at 15:50
Your User Name is somewhat ironic, in that the ancient capital of Ethiopia was Aksum, which remains a most holy place in Christian Orthodox Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has had for many centuries a writing system called Geez, which is similar in some ways to the Sudanese, and which is still in use in modern day as the standard writing system of Ethiopia.
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The Writing of the Somali Language: A Great Landmark in Our Revolutionary History
By Wasaaradda Warfaafinta iyo Hanuuninta Dadweynaha

pages 1-3:

An important point which is often lost sight of is that the ancient Somalis had evolved their own script systems which existed for a considerable period in their history. Convincing historical evidence in this respect is the numerous inscriptions and rockpaintings on cave-walls, on granite rocks, old coins etc., that are found to this day in various parts of the country. Some important sites where ancient inscriptions on cave-walls exist are reported as follows:

1. Godka Xararka in Las Anod District.
2. Qubiyaaley in Las Anod District.
3. Hilayo in Las Khoray District.
4. Karin Heeggane in Las Khoray District.
5. Dhalanle in Las Khoray District.

The most noteworthy of these inscriptions are undoub- edly those found on the mysterious «Taalo Tiiriyaad». These are huge stone mounds which are dotted about in northeastern Somalia and are a veritable archaeological riddle, since it is hard to tell when and for what purpose they were constructed. Noteworthy Taalo sites are in places such as:

1. Baar Madhere in Beledweyne District.
2. Xabaalo Ambiyad in Alula District.
3. Harti Yimid in Las Anod District.

Yet, these strange edifices must have had a definite purpose. Local opinion holds that they used to serve as altars or as sorts of religious monuments in the era when nature-worship was practised in the Land; still others consider that the Taalos mark ancient graveyards in which were buried important personages — chieftains, rulers, etc. together with their personal effects. In any case, these mute sentinels could, no doubt, tell much about the country's cultural and historical past and give us a glimpse into the life-story of by-gone ages. Although it is difficult to determine what caused the ancient Somalian system of writing to disappear altogether and how long it flourished, etc., there is no doubt that the encroachment of foreign cultures had greatly contributed to its final decline and disappearance. An interesting point, however, is that this script system was apparently based on vowel sound, not a Word-Picture writing as in ancient Egypt. As generations succeeded one another and people acquired better technical and scientific knowledge there were constant reforms and improvements called forth by the new social conditions of the age. This process might have been repeated over and over again in subsequent periods in the history of the land, until the very old forms of Somalian script finally died out and were completely forgotten by later generations.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2015 at 21:51
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The alphabet is not "western" is Latin. Romans copied to Greeks and Greeks copied to Phoenicians so, in the end is not western. The alphabet and writing systems shown in this section are clearly influenced by Latin alphabet, and appeared with the first contacts with the West and certainly were not invented in sub-Saharan Africa either. Symbolic systems aren't necessarily writing systems, and symbols are part of the human specie anywhere you go.
There are few writing systems invented independently from the alphabet of Semitic origins. The ancient Sumerian, and probably Egyptian and Chinese seem to have an independent origin in the Old World, while in the Americas, Mayan was the single writing system native to the New World.


Hello Pinguin.

While I'll agree some of the character writings used in a different systematic matter are simply psymbols, there  are characters and lexicons posted in the OP that are clearly alphabets. Many researchers have concluded these African characters like the Tifnagh and esoteric Iksri are writing systems. 

The Mayan writing system seems to be highly rooted on symbol iconography ,however it is considered a form of writing. If Mayan way of iconography can be seen as alphabet ,so can some of these other African alphabets. Hell the Egyptian hieroglyphs have 3000 letters but are still considered writing. 


Edited by AksumVanguard - 14 Feb 2015 at 21:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2014 at 17:39

I am very disappointed in some naysayers saying ancient African writing never existed,especially  when I have given ample information on why these ancient writing languages go back further before colonial or alien contact with Arabic and European cultures.
tsk tsk.Given how when I was here you used to always show up in threads pertaining to Africans or people of African descent,all of sudden you are disinterested. Why? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2013 at 09:56
Yes, if Jilgom finds any evidence to his claims... let me know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cachibatches Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2013 at 08:34
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:

Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?

About Bassa I simply don't know, only further researches will answer the question.


Fair enough.

If you do find some sort of evidences, please post them.

Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Nov 2013 at 12:13
Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:

Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?

About Bassa I simply don't know, only further researches will answer the question.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote cachibatches Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 12:17
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 11:50
Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.
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Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:


I know of Nsibidi and am very interested.

The thing I never quite get about Bassa, Vai, Mande, and this Nigerian script that I have never heard of, is if they indeed are ancient, then where indeed are the examples of their use in ancient times?

I know that the Greeks wrote because I have read Herodotus. I know that the Romans wrote because I have read Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. I know that the Egyptians wrote because, though they did not do history in the same sense, I have read the Book of the Dead.

Where are the interesting works illuminating West African history? It is not that I am saying that it is impossible that these scripts existed, only that I find it perplexing that no one has produced large varieties of work.

If inscriptions were on ancient grave sights, could you post them for us? Could you give me some credible links where I can go find them?

Thanks.



Absolutely. I couldn't agree more with you. The classic of Mali, the Sundiata, for instance, was transmitted orally by griots of the region, and was preserved that way during centuries. Now, if writing were widespread in Western Subsaharan Africa why to preserve literature by memorizing?
Anyways, let's wait for the evidence, that our expert will certainly provide us.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 11:24
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Bassa script was found to be used from Bassa descendants of both West Indies and Brazil. .


Sorry, but that's not evidence of an ancient origins. Slave trade was active in certain places of the West Indies and Brazil up to the end of the 19th century, so the transporting of tradition could have happened in recent times. And that's not what it meant by "ancient". Please, could you show us your evidence of antiquity?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cachibatches Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 10:21
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Quote
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.


Are your patronizing me? Hilarious.

And again, I'm not trying to splat all these script as simply Africans, because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.

Here we're talking about a small group of Hausas and pre-colonial Bassas.

However, people were trading goods for thousands of years (pottery found in Mali dating 9400BC <source>), they might have been in contact with Amazigh script or early form of it or other derivates of it.

I must underline I'm not talking about nsibidi and southeastern Nigeria (it has a completely different structure), I'm referring to that Nigerien script and bassa vah.


I know of Nsibidi and am very interested.

The thing I never quite get about Bassa, Vai, Mande, and this Nigerian script that I have never heard of, is if they indeed are ancient, then where indeed are the examples of their use in ancient times?

I know that the Greeks wrote because I have read Herodotus. I know that the Romans wrote because I have read Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. I know that the Egyptians wrote because, though they did not do history in the same sense, I have read the Book of the Dead.

Where are the interesting works illuminating West African history? It is not that I am saying that it is impossible that these scripts existed, only that I find it perplexing that no one has produced large varieties of work.

If inscriptions were on ancient grave sights, could you post them for us? Could you give me some credible links where I can go find them?

Thanks.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 07:25
Bassa script was found to be used from Bassa descendants of both West Indies and Brazil. So I exclude the Latin influence, writiers were not confined only to a specific place.

In early times speakers of Kru languages (Bassa is a Kru language) were living in northern regions too, as Burkina Faso <source>

Maybe they were more in contact with dynamic trading regions, and a group of them were influenced.

So, why only a little group of speaker of Kru languages knew Vah (it means "to throw a sign")?

I think it was characterizing of only that group (Bassa) and tribalism saved it, alternatively it would be disappeared.

Liberia now is restoring and the hope is that in the future there will be the possibility to investigate in such questions.

Edited by Jilgom - 05 Nov 2013 at 07:29
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The first traces of Nsibidi are found in southeastern Nigeria

Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths <source>

Quote
The stone monoliths of Alok Ikom bear a form of writing and a complex system of codified information. Although they seem to share the same general features, each stone, like the human finger print, is unique from every other stone in its design and execution.

The geometric images on the monoliths suggest that their makers possessed more than a basic knowledge of mathematics, not only because they are geometric, but also because of the obvious implication that there were computations and numbers on the layout of the stones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2013 at 11:33
OK. Show your evidence of the ancient origins of Nigerian and Bassa scripts. That would be something interesting to see. I hope the references are reliable, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2013 at 10:26
Quote
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.


Are your patronizing me? Hilarious.

And again, I'm not trying to splat all these script as simply Africans, because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.

Here we're talking about a small group of Hausas and pre-colonial Bassas.

However, people were trading goods for thousands of years (pottery found in Mali dating 9400BC <source>), they might have been in contact with Amazigh script or early form of it or other derivates of it.

I must underline I'm not talking about nsibidi and southeastern Nigeria (it has a completely different structure), I'm referring to that Nigerien script and bassa vah.

Edited by Jilgom - 04 Nov 2013 at 10:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 12:32
Well, I can agree more than those chiefs that sold people are as guilty of that inhuman trade like the Europeans that bought them. Besides, you haven't get my point at all. I know the cultures of Africa, both Northern Africans and Subsaharans. And obviously, unlike in the African countries of the Mediterranean Sea and the North East part of Africa, like Egypt and Ethiopia, writing was not widespread in the south and West South, and at least was not introduced in very ancient times but during the middle ages and modern times.
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.



Edited by pinguin - 03 Nov 2013 at 12:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 12:16
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


First, claiming that every slave read and write is simply a fantasy


Every slave?
You are assuming SSAfricans are all the same, when only a part of the slave population was Bassa or southeastern Nigerian and knew their respective script. Did you see the gravestone or you are blind to it?

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


...given the fact that even in the 80s most of Subsaharan Africans were analphabets. How to expect that ancient tribal peoples knew writing is amazing.


Again, we are not ALL THE SAME! Only Bassa and southeastern Nigerians (Igbo and other people) knew writing (and that group of Nigeriens and Horners).

We Sub Saharan people don't are all the same, for example do you know I'm not carrying a bone in the middle of the nose now? And the same was for my great-grandfather.

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


And, in second place, it is quite pathetic that certain Africans are proud of theirs slaves, when African slave-traders sold innocent people like cargo to foreign lands, just for profits, in exchange of rum, textiles and rifles.

Yes, come to me (knowing personally people whose compatriots were kidnapped in old times) saying the "all Africans were sold" misinformation. This can be good for you, but it's not the reality and I'll don't discuss here the matter (kidnapping people with short swords and spears is really easy with the help of a gun, and since they are not even human you are only haunting a beast).

However, this was for a part (not everyone) of Igbos, for Bassa I'm not informed about their old structure (you don't simply turn the road and find a person from Sierra Leone).

Yorubas can be proud to have orisha worshippers in South America and Sierra Leoneans to have reconstructed a part of their heritage.

If you want to know how nowadays are viewed those chiefs that sold their war prisoners, well, they are viewed as "enemies of Africa", "allies of the Colonialists", and "inherently not Africans".

The matter is different for Swahili people of the coast (their culture is maintained strong), where having a slave ancestor is not so honorable.



Edited by Jilgom - 03 Nov 2013 at 12:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 11:09
I quit the thread. First, claiming that every slave read and write is simply a fantasy, given the fact that even in the 80s most of Subsaharan Africans were analphabets. How to expect that ancient tribal peoples knew writing is amazing. And, in second place, it is quite pathetic that certain Africans are proud of theirs slaves, when African slave-traders sold innocent people like cargo to foreign lands, just for profits, in exchange of rum, textiles and rifles.

If in further posts there is evidence of ancient writing, supported by dates and reliable sources, I'll came back to congratulate. Otherwise, this thread bored me, given the fact it sounds just as propaganda.


Edited by pinguin - 03 Nov 2013 at 11:17
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Jilgom

1. I have been here for more than a year, and I can clearly say that pinguin is NOT racist. I do not see why you believe he is.
2. CALM DOWN! This forum is not meant for people yell at each other and label each other racists simply because they disagree.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:33
Do I need to rememeber you that


even a Igbo slave or Bassa slave were literate

?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:31
Ah, and maybe you'll try to say me even nsibidi come from a contact with other people.

The first traces of nsibidi writing are found in south-eastern Nigeria

Alok Ikom Stone Monolith



Edited by Jilgom - 03 Nov 2013 at 07:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:24
I would really like to investigate about Bassa Vah and that Niger script, but you, with your lack of info about them, the people of equatorial Africa and the people of Sahelian Africa (nsibidi is linked to Congo, so we can't argue about that)

added with

your presumption to neglect the existence of a pre-colonial work made from Bassa and Hausa, without even know 1 bit of info more than what is written here

=

you are clearly racist
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If you don't like Africa, simply don't follow this thread. I made it only for who find the page through Google

Unfortunately for you i know Ethiopians and Amazighs in a non-American ambianent, and they consider themself Aricans.

Romans built Rome, but Vikings that built huts were Eruopeans too.


If you are ignorant about pre-colonial Africa this is not the right forum to add info about it, too many racists.

Edited by Jilgom - 03 Nov 2013 at 07:33
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I'm not African American or Afrocentric, and I don't try to claim half the world, since I'm African and I know the history of my country.


What I hate are racists

Edited by Jilgom - 03 Nov 2013 at 01:20
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No, I choose the only pic of pre-colonial Calabar now avaible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 09:19
What I can perceive is yours Afrocentrism. And I do know Berbers like Amazigh are Afroasiatic peoples, related to Arabs, and not black Africans. I know as well that Ethiopians have been influenced from Afroasiatic peoples since early civilizations. And obviously, "calabar" architecture above is British LOL.
Whatever. Believe what you want. Subsaharan Africa is not precisely my favorite historical region of the world, and you can invent anything that please you.




Edited by pinguin - 02 Nov 2013 at 09:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jilgom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 06:04
Pre-Aksumite ruins of Qohaito, in the modern day Debub region of Eritrea. Qohaito's ruins have yet to be excavated...

Rock art near the town appears to indicate habitation in the area since the fifth millennium BC, while the town is known to have survived to the sixth century AD

Eritreans and Ethipians use the Ge'ez script.




Edited by Jilgom - 02 Nov 2013 at 06:06
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Calabar boat



Calabar architecture

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