This History Lesson is about the Phoenicians who lived on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea from 1550 BC to 300 BC.
They were trading people using galleys to sail from port to port selling their wares. At first they traded mostly with the Greeks, but in time they became known from Greece to Rome. They sold wood, slaves, glass and a powder called Tyrian purple on which they had a monopoly. This precious powder was a purple dye made from sea snails and used, amongst other things, for royal clothing. The dye was greatly prized in olden days because the colour did not fade easily but became brighter with weathering and sunlight.
Which reminds me; I once put a red shirt amongst white washings in the washing machine and never heard the end of it. Some people have no sense of humour! But I digress.
The Phoenicians were the first people to make extensive use of the alphabet which are the ancestor of the alphabet we use today.
The story of how the alphabet was created is quite fascinating.
Have you ever been fascinated?
I was fascinated with a big needle when I was a baby … it’s a protection against many diseases. But I digress again.
As I was saying before I interrupted myself. The alphabet was created by a Phoenician teacher called Abacus one evening whilst he was in his garden waiting for his wife to come home from the pub. He looked up at the clear sky and admired the number of stars sparkling brightly.
He hummed in his head “Twinkle twinkle little star …” and as he was humming the song an owl flew past and dropped his load on the teacher’s head.
Abacus cried “AAAAAAH !!!!” and as he wiped his head and face with a nearby white dress hanging on the washing line the tune was still humming through his head and it developed into “A … B C … D E F … Geee!”
He quickly got out his indelible ink pen from his pocket and wrote on the dress the whole alphabet to the tune of “Twinkle twinkle little star” before he could forget it. That's also why both songs have the same tune.
When his wife got home she made him spell words like “Aaaah!!! Ouch !!! Ayeee !!! Stop … you’re hurting me!” using her rolling pin as a writing instrument.
And that’s how we got to have the alphabet as we know it today. Remember that next time a bird leaves a souvenir on your head.
Which reminds me of another song about birds ...
“Why do birds … suddenly appear … every time … you are near!!!”
It’s because you have seeds in your hair.