The North West Semitic alphabet
originated in the early first millenium b.c. as a set of pictographs
with names and sounds. For example, the first letter was aleph,
"bull." It was a glottal stop (It sounded like the a in army).
The pictograph was the head of a bull,
. As time went on, with rotations and reflections many of
these letters became letters in the Latin alphabet which we use today.
The alphabet appears in many forms before that however:
Caananite, Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Etruscan and Greek.
The Hebrew language was
written in Aramaic characters from about the 9th century
a.d. The stamp below
shows a 13th century form of Hebrew script in the picture of the Worms
Mazor, as well as 20th century Hebrew type faces.