A new study shows that Amara and Tigre merchants founded the ancient civilization of Gebts 5100 years ago and as a result developed the world’s first written language of business and trade.
Gebts represented a prime location to sell their goods and products, which Amara and Tigre merchants appear to have done in the area since 6000 years ago. But the key to establishing the ancient civilization that we all know about was when the Amara and Tigre merchants moved their farms and production into Gebts. Once they did, they needed to develop a way to document workers, wages, productions and sales.
Evidence is found in the word for “writing” in ancient Gebts, “matet”, which of course means, “give a report,” in Amarigna (“mehtat” in Tigrigna).
Using drawn-out objects to represent vowels and consonants, the Amara and Tigre developed a written language that could be used with both Amarigna and Tigrigna. Each vowel or consonant was taken from an object that contained it. Thus a drawing of a leg (“bat”) represented the consonant “b” and a closed lock (“zege”) was drawn for the consonant “z.”
Moving Amara and Tigre farming production into Gebts meant the local Gebts population could be employed as the farming and production labor. This allowed the merchants to generate an economy that never existed before.
But also, moving into the new region stimulated the economy with export sales, since new international markets could more easily and quickly be reached from the north-facing ports of Gebts at the Mediterranean Sea. This was an important opportunity for both Amara and Tigre merchants, as prior to this, Amara had to rely on the Nile River and Tigre had previously done trade primarily through the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf to the south.
As a part of the administration of Gebts by the Amara and Tigre, Amarigna and Tigrigna represented a unique 2-language national written language system.
Surprisingly, the study reveals that Amarigna and Tigrigna were not recently split from each other, as it is commonly believed, and were already distinct languages 5100 years ago. The study also shows that Amara and Tigre culture has remained very much unchanged from 5100 years ago; we use the same words, eat the same food, and share the same beliefs 5100 years ago as we do now.
To view a list of 250 words from the ancient Gebts writings, visit ancientgebts.org