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Module 1.docx

Communication, Culture and Technology
Course Code
Rhonda Mc Ewen

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Media in Ancient Empires 10/10/2011 6:07:00 PM
From Stone to Papyrus
Egyptian civilization showed a shift from monarchy to democracy organization
and the basis of communication also showed a changed from stone to
Papyrus sheets dated from the first dynasty and inscribed dated from the fifth
o 2680-2540 B.C. or 2750-2625 B.C.
Papyrus Technology
Writing medium was extremely light
Made from plant Cyperus papyrus
o Restricted to the Nile delta
o Manufactured into writing material near the marshes where it was
How was it made?
o The stems are cut into suitable lengths and the green rind stripped off
o Cut into thick strips and laid parallel to each other, overlapped on
absorbent cloth
o Similar layer is laid above and across them and the whole was covered
by another cloth
o Hammered by a mallet for two hours and the sheets are welded into
single mass that was pressed and dried
o Fastened to eachother to make rolls
Brushes made from Funcus maritimus which was used for writing
o Lengths ranged from 6 to 16 inches
o Diameters ranged from 1/16 to 1/10 of inches
Thought Gained Lightness
Writing on stone was characterized by straightness or circularity of line,
rectangularity of form and an upright position, whereas writing on papyrus
permitted cursive forms suited to rapid writing
“By escaping from the heavy medium of stone” tough gained lightness
The Organization of Scribes
Writing had been restricted to governmental, fiscal, magical, and religious
With the growth of papyrus writing and reading grew as well and became
more efficient
Scribes and officials

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o Charged with the collection and administration of revenues, rents and
o Peasants became members of civil service and prepared accounts
o 2000 B.C.
Central administration employed an army scribes, literacy was
valued as wealth and social (rank)
Becomes restricted as a privilege profession
Effects of Writing and Equality
New Religions
Writing spread after the democratic revolution
Ra worship
o Purely political
o The god of the Nile
o Good being slain for the salvation of men
o The ancestral king and model for his son Horus
o The magician
o Codes of law
o Ruled when Osiris was conquering the world
Magic and Writing
Osiris was served by Troth as vizier, sacred scribe, and administrator
Troth became the inventor of magic writings
Osiris became the center of a popular and priestly literature to instruct people
in the divine rights and duties
Religion and magic became independent
Redistribution of Power
The king’s devotion created a great wave of faith among people
o Ritual made him appoint a proxy to act as prophet
o The worship of Ra and celestial gods was limited to priests and
o A cult supplied the needs of living images in statues in the temples
Effects of Change
Invaded with the sword and the bow and long-range weapons
o Egyptian were dependent on battle axe and dagger

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Syrian Semitic people under the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings captured and
held Egypt from 1660 to 1580 B.C.
Cultural Resistance
Conquerors adopted hieroglyphic writing and Egyptian customs
Complexity enabled to resist and expel the invaders
1580 B.C. Nile Valley was liberated
1478 B.C. Thutmose III gave a blow to Hyksos’ power
New Theban Kingdom was established (1580-1345 B.C.)
Priests, Property, and Power
o New Kingdoms, the Pharaohs at Thebes resumed their sovereign
rights, taken possession of the goods of the temples
o Monarchical centralization was accompanied by religious centralization
o Success of war in imperial expansion
o Priests became established in territorial property and assumed
increasing influences
Magic and Medicine
o Thoth god of magic
o Regarded as potent in the resistance malicious spirits
o 2200 B.C. Surgery had advance
The City- States of Sumer
Measure time and to predict the floods of the Nile became the basis of power
Sumer was a land of small city states in which the chief priest of the temple
was the direct representative of the god
Suggested that writing was invested in Sumer to keep tallies of mathematics
Clay and Cuneiform
Clay was found in Babylonia and Assyria was used for making brick and as a
medium in writing
Clay was kneaded into biscuits or tablets and it was important to write in
speed and accuracy
Economy of effort demanded a reduction in the number of strokes and
pictorial writing disappeared
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