SMC229 JAN 17.doc

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St. Michael's College Courses
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Jessica Wolfe

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SMC229 - January 17 2012 How Did Writing and Reading Happen? - maps - Body language - Weather patterns - the idea of the collective that would benefit from having writing in general, also is based on the idea that literacy would involve a large group of people - So do you have writing before you have readers? But if not many people know how to read, then why would you develop reading at all? - So before you can have writing helping the collective, you have to have writing helping tiny groups of people - Reading = the ability for people to communicate over a distance - Writing can hold its forms even going back to an ancient history - Like the invention of print, writing takes into account a wide group of people - Writing systems are more than just visual artifacts, but visual documents in a way - In order to have writing in use effectively in a culture, the only people who could read and write were trained scribes - over time, there has been a drastic evolution of writing - The origin of writing was at about 33 000 BC in China, with ceramics and geometric motifs Sumerian Timeline - c. 3500 Blau Monument combines images and early writing - c. 3500 sumerians settle in mesopotamia - C.3100 BC early sumerian pictographic scripts on clay - 2900 BC earliest surviivng cylindear seals - 2700 BC formal land sale contracts written in cuneiform - 2600 BC earliest surviving papyrus fragments - 2500 bc, wedge shaped cuneiform (simplificaton) - 1750 law code of hammurabi - Why were they created in warehouses? - Maybe for a labelling system - Writing on tablets.. Problem = heavy, big, permanent, messy, transporting them to different classes, takes a long time to write things down - Inscription on wall of acadians shows what texts were held - when do we see multiple copies? When the demand was higher - Literature was recited and sung as hymns- You need to have people feeling like they want to collect books and want to go to libraries - In thinking about sumerians, it is hard for them to use this language for hundreds of years. How hard it was to use clay tablets but they used it anyways - For most of the early history of writing, it seemed like this magical thing - Sumerians weren’t interested in owning tablets, aside from 2 copies of a myth found, tablets were primarily learned for recording facts Phoenician - phoenician absorbed cuneiform, to become a totally abstract alphabetical system of 22 charac- ters by 1500 BC - When they get burnt they are harder to use China - 1800 BC legend that tsang chieh invents writing - 1500 BC oracle bone writing - 250 BC small seal calligraphy - 105 AD Ts’ai Lun invents paper - 165 AD Confucian classics from 6th C - BC carved in stone - 200 AD official calligraphy - Paper didnt come around until 1st 2nd century AD - The earliest chinese writing is pictographic line cuneiform and chinese continues to be based on an early pictographic system - Calligraphy became a very important medium for people - Chinese writing system very dominant all over asia - Korea used this writing system until that century on 15th century AD - The chinese language originated as a pictographic language and evolved from there, it never be- came an alphabet. Egyptian Civilization - 3200 BC MEenes, first pharoah unites egypt - 3100 bc , earliest egyptian pictographic writing - 2500 bc, great pyramids and sphinx at gizeh - 1500 bc, hieratic scripts - 1300 bc, early book of the dead papyrus scrolls - 400 bc, demotic script - 331 founding of alexandria - 197 bc rosetta stone- 1st century ad, conquered by rome, library library of alexandria destroyed - 394 ad last - Rosetta Stone: napolean soldiers discovered this stone where there are all different kidns of scripts; big rock with inscriptions on it; the fact that greek was present on this tablet is indicative of greek’s conquer of egypt Greek and Roman Civilization - 1000 BC first greek alphabet. Inherited from sumerian cuneiform via Etruscans - 850 bc aramic alphabet, a story of simplification - 8
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