Ken ([log in to unmask]) wrot:
> Letters may have been gloated over and glorified by the
> priesthood, but it must have been the sailors and
> merchants who needed to standardize and disseminate 'em.
> Aren't the early writings of the Euphrates valley all clay tablets
> recording (yuk) financial transactions?
Mostly, I believe.
The Alphabetic Labyrinth (Johanna Drucker, Thames & Hudson, 1995) says
As the Phoenician alphanet stabilized, the direction of writing
became fixed in a right to left direction, and the sequence and
orientation of the letter took on a permanent form. It was from
this Phoenician form that the major branches of Greek and Aramaic
derives, as well as the less successful old Hebrew and Punic forms.
The book does discuss magical writings, and Pythagoras, but all that is
much too late to have affected the sequence. One can only speculate,
The use of letters for numbers seems to me the most likely; perhaps the
magical/mystical/occult associations of the numbers influenced the
choice of signs and shapes for each letter, though.
A glance at 777 and at some more obscure works reveals nothing obvious
to me at this time.