SMC229H1 Lecture Notes - Hieratic, Aramaic Language, Body Language

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18 Apr 2012
SMC229 - January 17 2012
How Did Writing and Reading Happen?
-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
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-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 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
-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
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