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Around 1500-1180 BCE

Dead languages / Semitic /

Ugaritic script.
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The Ugaritic alphabet

Ugaritic alphabet
Semitic language belonging to the ancient town of Ugarit (today in Syria), dating to period from the 15th until the 12th centuries BCE.
To Ugaritic belongs one of the richest collections of written material outside Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The texts were usually found on clay tablets. The most important texts belong to the Canaanite mythology, including "Legend of Keret", "Legend of Danel", the "Myth of Baal-Aliyan" and the "Death of Baal".
Ugaritic used a cuneiform script, which was adapted to serve as an alphabet. This makes it different from other cuneiform scripts, which were syllabary. Also, it is commonly assumed that Ugaritic was invented independent of other cuneiform scripts.
In the Ugaritic alphabet there were 30 letters, of which 3 were used for vowels. Ugaritic script was written from left to right, also different from other cuneiform systems. Its use appears to have been quite wide-spread, as Ugaritic texts have been found in areas corresponding to modern northern Israel.
The study of Ugaritic has been important for Old Testament scholars, aiding a better understanding of the ancient Hebrew texts.
Ugaritic may sometimes be referred to as Canaanite, a reflection of the language being used throughout Canaan. Still, there is a distinct language of Canaanite, which was distinctly different from Ugaritic in some respects.

Around Around 1180: Ugarit is brought to an end, probably as a result of looting and destruction by the Sea People.
1929: As Ugarit is discovered by French archaeologists, large selections of texts are also found.

By Tore Kjeilen