The Meroïtic alphabet was derived from ancient Egyptian
writing sometime during the 4th century BC in around 315 BC.
A cursive form developed in 185 BC and the alphabet was used
until about 440 AD. The alphabet was deciphered by the British
Egyptologist Francis Llewellyn Griffith in 1909.
The hieroglyphic form of the alphabet was written in vertical columns
from top to bottom and from right to left, while the cursive form was
generally written in horizontal lines running from right to left.
Used to write:
Meroïtic, an extinct language that was spoken in the Nile valley
and northern Sudan until about the 4th century AD, after which time
it was gradually replaced with Nubian. Linguists are unsure about
how Meroïtic is related to other languages and have therefore been
unable to make any sense of the Meroïtic inscriptions.
Text from Lost Languages by Andrew Robinson and regularized by Ian James