Re: Ancient History of Writing

Subject: Re: Ancient History of Writing
From: Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 06:52:39 -0700

A few more facts (from an Ancient History class)

The art of writing (and reading) was so prized that when ancient
Sumerian rulers erected victory monuments, they would carve a tribute
("I, Hammurabi the Munificent, have slain these foes, and laid waste to
these lands, and brought forth this tribute..."), followed by "...and, I
can read!"

Writing was controlled by a small group (priest/scribes) with tightly
controlled access. Archaeologists call this phenomenon "guild literacy."

When competing, even simpler alphabets came along, the scribes responded
by making their cuneiform even more complex--thus enhancing their job
security. (Think: "Lawyers" or "Authors of Context-Sensitive Help")

I couldn't make it up...

--mailto:mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com
--Mark Dempsey
--Technical Publications
--Objective Systems Integrators
--100 Blue Ravine Rd. Folsom, CA 95630
--916.353.2400 extension 4777

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