Most of the Great Civilizations that provided the springboard for the early development of the West had sophisticated writing systems. The Mesopotamians used a wedge shaped writing known as Cuneiform, the Egyptians preferred Hieroglyphics, the Minoans made use of the Linear A script (the later Myceneans opted for the Linear B form).
Hieroglyphics, a pictograph type writing system would morph over time into hieratic (used by the priests) and demotic (popular script). Hieroglyph, demotic and Greek are all found on the famous Rosetta Stone that was discovered in 1799.
Writing conveyed ideas, laws and immortalized the knowledge of a civilization. It also provided an important framework for the implementation of trade deals.
The Phoenician alphabet probably had the biggest impact on the early development of writing in the west. It is the oldest verified consonantal alphabet (or abajd) and is derived from Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Both the Paleo-Hebrew and Greek Alphabets developed from the Phoenician script.