• Greece represented an oral society, whereas, Rome presented a very literate
• It wasn’t that Greece was unaffected by writing.
• Greek history provides record form their transition from an oral to a literate
• Greek sources from the period when writing emerged, which expressed the
significance of the change from oral to written modes.
• The transformation from an oral to a literate society was a major change.
• It has been marked a distinctive shift from, which knowledge was developed,
stored, and was passed on.
• The passage (Plato’s Phaedrus pg. 45) points out in which knowledge and
wisdom were negotiated in oral discourse.
o Product of two or more people applying concepts in a particular context,
rather than derived from a singular, ‘silent’, written perspective.
• One cannot question and reason with a text, the same way they can with one
• Rome and the Roman empire represents origin of the literate society, because of
the many operating concepts and processes of Rome, which were derived from
written, rather than spoken words.
• In many legal proceedings, the influence of writing can be seen in many trained
lawyers who are responsible for defining the exact nature of a dispute within
written laws, which is a literate function.
o Once the dispute was defined the cases where handed over to the jury
(laymen), so they may determine a settlement amongst the claimants,
which is an oral community function.
• The development of contract law shows the Romans’ ability to be able to supplant
oral practices with written ones.
• A contract changes an oral pact into a legal obligation and allows a much more
complex contingent agreement.
o It is a precise written record of an agreed obligation between persons or
other legal entities,
• Literate inventions allowed for an orderly and vast expansion of the Roman
• Innis points out that the writing portability of written media pretty much gave the
Roman Empire space bias, a tendency to extend itself over a larger and larger
• This allowed Romans to maintain control of the lands and people.
• The crucial exercise of administrative power in the Roman Empire was the
formation of their abstract laws, to apply uniformly in many particular situations,
which were written down on a portable medium, such as a parchment, which
makes it easier for them to be able to bring it anywhere, and be able to consult in
any location. • The development of the literal society in the western civilization reflected on an
attempt to replace many spoken poetic, emotive, language with a clear, ordered
unambiguous, logical, written prose.
• This cases for an emergency of new ideas and concepts.
o For example, the writings of Cicero and other Stoic philosophers
explained many ideas that are not very fundamental to our modern
o This includes the notions of a world state, natural law, and justice, and
universal citizenship, as did many libraries, which were scattered
throughout the Roman Empi