From the river valleys where civilivation originated, it soon spread to parts of Europe, especially to the region on and near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. On the eastern shores of the Mediterranean lived the Phoenicians, who early became interested in navigation. By sailing the seas they came in contact with other people of the Mediterranean region.
Among these people were the Greeks, to whom the Phoenicians transmitted the civilization which they had received from the river valleys. The Phoenicians and the Greeks in their inscriptions and writings used very early forms of the alphabet. Its origin is still in doubt, but its development was of great importance because it enabled people to improve their system of writing, and thus pass on information to other groups. It was important also because it enabled these people to keep more complete records.