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Lecture 4

CS100 Lecture 4: Civilization Without Writing

4 Pages

Communication Studies
Course Code
Jade Miller

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Week 4 (January 29 , 2018) Civilization without Writing The Incas and the Quipu (complex) Marcia Ascher and Robert Ascher Telegraph uses transmission on/off signal to send messages Syntax o Complex o Cuneiform uses complex syntax o Example of poem written with incorrect syntax intentionally (words in order) Quipu is very much the same way more complex (where the strings fall means something) Incan, Sumerian, Egyptian scribes (Ascher reading describes these) o Inca scribe (1300s-1600s AD) o Sumerian clay scribe (2700-1700 BC) o Egyptian papyrus scribe (2700-1700 BC) Whenever there is conqueror or an emerged empire, you have to have a system of writing that emerges Bureaucracy o The more records there are, and the more bureaucracy has experience with them, the more power to the state clear that they are saying bureaucracy enables power (writing enables power you need to rule an empire) o Whenever an empire comes about, a new writing system must come about Why? The idea of bureaucracy there is more to keep track of Quipu vs Writing o Color hundreds (quipu) vs none (Sumer) or two (black and red in Egypt) o No instruments, just fingers and string vs a stylus You just look when reading, you dont use the sense of touch (exception of Braille) o Both need learned skill, quipu skill more sensitive (more training to learn it) o Tactile vs sighted reading o Quipu not linear 3D Being conquered doesnt mean they are less Origins of Writing Andrew Robinson writing is amongst the greatest inventions in human history, perhaps the greatest invention since it made history possible Propaganda king of the world o Get message and information out there no broken telephone Immortality/history focus of Robinson o Everyone dies twice o Many people who have not died their second death (we still have their history in writing, not forgotten yet) Record-keeping Agreements on record o Want to be able to prove statements in writing
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