The Latin script was developed from the Greek
alphabet, and is the root for many modern languages today. The
alphabet we use today is identical to the Roman one except for the
letters J, U and W. For writing, they initially used papyrus
but changed over to scrolls once parchment (treated animal skin)
The Romans had a highly organised postal system, the cursus
publicus, for state use. It used a network of couriers, ships and
staging posts to deliver messages between the centre and governors
of various localities. It also acted as a news service by notifying
all parts of the empire about important happenings. Hence the Roman
postal system was instrumental in the smooth running of affairs over
the vast Roman empire.
The Romans also used pigeons to send messages, and in some
instances swallows were used for the same purpose. The system was
borrowed from the Sumerians who developed it in 2000 BCE.
For quick communication in times of war, the Romans used
telegraph services, borrowed from the Greeks and later developed
upon. Their basic semaphore system was the same as that of the Greeks
but the Romans improved upon it by greatly augmenting its range.
Messenger posts were placed about a mile apart forming chains of
messengers who would transmit the message from one post to the next,
increasing the distance across which messages could be sent
infinitely. The Romans also replaced the torches and lanterns used
by the Greeks with mirrors that flashed messages by reflecting the
The Roman system of messaging was the most efficient one until
the development of the mechanical telegraph in the eighteenth
century. It is similar to the modern system of semaphore which uses
flags instead of torches to relay messages.