Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Writing on the Wall

Writing - the symbolic representation of spoken language - and it's development represents a massive step forward in the intellectual evolution of humans. The development of writing occurred independently in five different areas : Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India and Mesoamerica.

The Rosetta stone was a stone slab of Ptolemy V bearing inscription in hieroglyphic Egyptian, demotic Egyptian and Greek.

Cuneiform - A writing technique widely used in Middle East between 2500 - 330 BC. scribes used symbol build from wedged shaped impressions in clay or carved into stone.

Message from a temple(3100- 2900 BC)
The script is kind of a proto-cuneiform. The tablet describes
either grain distributed to or by the temple. Thousands of tablets
such as this have been unearthed in Uruk in Mesopotamia.

Formal writing in Egypt retained the use of pictorial symbols - hieroglyphs - for more than 3000 years. Earlier scripts were logo graphic, meaning that each symbol represented an entire word or idea.

A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs.

Modern Chinese writing remain logo graphic using around 12,000 symbols, that allow written communication between the many different dialects of Chinese.

The first alphabet writing with each sign representing a consonant but with no vowel appeared in
2nd millennium BC in Egypt. Alphabet became important in 1000 - 700 BC in Hebrew, Aramic and Phoenician. The Phoenicians used separate symbol for vowels influencing Greek and Latin writing.

The earliest surviving American writing is of 600 BC on Zapotec monuments in Mexico. later inscription on Maya monuments record conflict between city-states.

Zapotec Calendar 

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