The origin of writing

The origin of writing

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The writing It is probably the most important human invention in history. Thanks to her, the knowledge that our ancestors were acquiring have been transmitted to this day.

And what is writing? It is neither more nor less than a symbol code They convey a meaningful message, which is deciphered by other people later. As a result of the creation of writing, all the sciences have emerged and developed.

We can put the starting point of writing in the so-calledmnemonics. It was a primitive system of annotations with objects to convey a message to their fellow tribesmen, which they interpreted perfectly. Examples of this technique are found in quipu of the incas.

They were knotted strings that helped them keep accounts or remember important dates.

The Iroquois Indians They warned each other of the dangers that threatened them through the use of leather belts that were embroidered with beads of different colors according to what they wanted to communicate to others.

The writing itself has suffered a evolution millennia, which can be divided into three fundamental stages.

First, the way of communicating in writing was simple: the object that wanted to say something was drawn, so that whoever saw it immediately interpreted the value of the message. Is the pictograph, which was not entirely effective, since as many signs were necessary as there were objects, and the impossibility of communicating something abstract that could not be drawn.

A second phase of writing was the ideography, which took the already created pictographs and transformed them into symbols that could express abstract ideas. This was arising naturally out of necessity.

Finally the writing arrived phonetics, where the signs of the object are totally disconnected, and they go on to represent the sounds that are used to refer to it. We have reached the current writing system.

For a message to be complete, both the one who writes it and the one who receives it have to understand it. To do this, the reader performs a decryption function. Throughout history, the messages that our ancestors have left for posterity have been deciphered little by little, both on stones, papyrus or paper. Sometimes this work has not been easy. Egyptian hieroglyphs could not be solved until 1799, when in the Egyptian city of Rosetta they found the famous Rosetta stone, a stela from 196 BC, which contained a decree of Ptolemy V written in Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphic, which was instrumental in understanding the meaning of the indecipherable Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was Champollion, a French archaeologist, who carried out the transcriptions.

The development of writing parallels that of human society. A codified system of signs that is understood by a group of people in a community is the minimum essential for writing as such to exist.

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This activity started in the Middle East, in Mesopotamia, about 5,000 years ago.

Writing arose thanks to a change in the ways of life of civilizations. After the discovery of agriculture, man stopped wandering from one place to another and settled in a territory that he needed to organize. Through property contracts that they captured with a simple spelling began to organize the lands in a lasting way. Society was growing and writing evolved with it. Important events and accounts in general had to be written down in some way to be passed on to others.

The Sumerians built their homes with bricks of clay baked in the sun. Writing already required a medium that was easily recordable, portable and easily archived. It turned out that the material they used for the walls of their houses was perfect for writing when it was still damp. Were made flat and rectangular slats with a suitable size. We can say that Sumerian tablets they were the progenitors of our current role: the first paper in history used for writing.

The Sumerians used this system for 25 centuries. They were followed by the people Babylonian, the assyrians, the eblaites, and little by little the tradition spread.

The first remains of "text"Written that we know correspond to the tablets of Uruk, a Sumerian temple containing inscriptions carried out by priests for the accounting of sacks of grain and head of cattle. These texts, being engraved on clay tablets, did not allow for a very elaborate spelling, but rather wedge-shaped signs. Hence it has been called cuneiform writing, which was made with calamus, the predecessor of inkwell pens. He already possessed a certain degree of abstraction. The Sumerians used about 2,000 symbols to represent objects and actions.

But we cannot fail to mention the drawings captured inside the caves by our most primitive ancestors. They painted with natural colors and used their own hands as tools. Many of them are recognizable to us, such as those of animals or people. Others, very abstract, such as lines, points and various signs, have no meaning for us, but it is clear that for them it transmitted information.

At the beginning of the third millennium BC, the Akkadians occupied the lands of Mesopotamia where the Sumerians used to live. During a millennium they dominated these territories and their language became the most important in the region. It was the Akkadians who took an important step in the history of writing: the creation of a monographic writing system. Each sign would represent a sound from their language. They came from the desert regions of the Arabian peninsula and from the terrain that present-day Syria occupies. The Sumerians and the Akkadians, not geographically distant, had developed totally different cultures.

Thus, the Akkadians were able to create a writing mode to understand and communicate with the Sumerians, turning each sound into a graph.

I study journalism and law, and for both subjects history is essential. It is the basic pillar of our life. As a mother I try to introduce my son to the roots of our origin. I love to tell you stories about how our ancestors lived and interesting anecdotes that pique your curiosity. An exciting world that we will learn together here in Redhistoria.

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