Thursday, 8 September 2016
-Poul Anderson, "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 229-331 AT p. 251.
"...when the Greeks became literate again after their Dark Age it would be by borrowing the ancestral alphabet from the Phoenicians. The Romans would get it from the Greeks and then pass their version down to Western civilization..."
-SM Stirling, Against The Tide of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter One, p. 8.
post-Arabic numerals. We are comparing four fictitious timelines here, two by Anderson and one each by de Camp and Stirling.
The Phoenicians invented the alphabet in which each written letter represents a sound, not an image, idea or entire word. Apparently:
Roman letters developed from Greek which developed from Phoenician;
some words can be transliterated from Greek into English, e.g., the letters iota, delta, epsilon and alpha correspond to i, d, e and a, "idea."
By writing about time travel to ancient periods, Anderson and Stirling engage with issues like the evolution of language.