A history of writing

a history of writing

Digital history - official Site

Cyril and his elder brother Methodius already have a distinguished reputation as theologians and linguists when the byzantine emperor sends them as missionaries, in 863, to the Slavs of Moravia. The brothers are Greek but they know the Slavonic language spoken in their native region of Salonika. In Moravia they conduct church services in Slavonic. Naturally they wish to write down this liturgy, together with their own Slavonic translation of parts of the bible. But there is no Slavonic script. Like ulfilas before them with Gothic, the brothers need to devise a new alphabet for their purpose.

History, project - official Site

It is adapted for practical use, in slightly different ways, by two Florentine friends - poggio bracciolini and Niccolò niccoli. For purposes of handwriting a version of the italic script eventually becomes the norm in most western societies. The reason is partly accidental. Flowing letters are easily engraved, as can be seen in the captions of any engraving. The natural movement of the burin through the metal is in elegant curves, ending in elongated points. A nib, filled with ink, can easily make the same flowing marks on paper. As writing becomes a necessary accomplishment for the middle classes, a new profession is created - that of the writing master. The magic of writing is encapsulated in an achievement of the Cherokee indians of north America. In the early 19th century, recognizing the advantage that writing brings to the white Americans, they resolve to acquire the same benefit for their own people. They analyze the spoken sounds of the Cherokee language and decide that it consists of eighty-six identifiable syllables. A symbol is selected for each belbin syllable - by adapting letters in the English alphabet, and perhaps also by borrowing from fragments of Greek and Hebrew in the books distributed by missionaries.

It is known as 'black letter because of the almost oppressive weight of dark ink on each densely packed page. This medieval style derives partly from an aesthetic impulse (there is drama in dark pen strokes and in the angular ends left by a broad nib but it is above all a matter of economy. Books are much in demand, particularly with the growth of universities. If the letters in a word and the words in a sentence are squashed more closely together, less pages are used and the book is cheaper. Italian scholars of the 14th and 15th century, followers of Petrarch in their reverence for classical culture, search through libraries for ancient texts. Copying out their discoveries, they aspire also to an authentic script. They find their models in beautifully written manuscripts which they take to be roman but which are in fact biography Carolingian. The error is a fortunate one. The script devised for Charlemagne's monastic workshops in the 8th century is a model of clarity and elegance.

a history of writing

Center - official Site

Twelve months or more later, in October 781, Charlemagne commissions from a scribe, by the name of Godesalc, a manuscript of the gospels. Godesalc completes his magnificent book for the emperor in April 783. The godesalc evangelistary, as it is now called, is the first book in which the script known as Carolingian minuscule appears. The text uses conventional capitals, but the dedication is in these lower-case letters. It is probably not too fanciful to see the influence of Alcuin, recently arrived at court, in Godesalc's experiment with presentation this new script. In the later Middle Ages, the clarity of the carolingian script becomes lost. A much darker and denser style evolves in northern Europe from the 11th barbing century.

Writing is not much needed by the nomads of Arabia, but when it becomes urgently required for the qur'an (to record accurately the words of God in the 7th century ad the nabataean example is to hand. Through Islam and the spread of Arabic, it becomes one of the world's standard scripts. It is a striking fact that the letters which we take for granted today, in printed books, derive for the most part from handwriting in the last centuries of the roman empire. Indeed the script in fragments of Latin messages, written by members of the roman garrison at Hadrian's Wall in about100, is visibly related to the letters taught in western European languages in the 20th century. When Christian monks in western Europe write out their holy texts, they do so in Latin on parchment - in the relatively new form of the codex. The script they use is that of the roman empire, but there are many regional variations. In780 the emperor Charlemagne meets Alcuin, a distinguished scholar from York, and invites him to direct his palace school at Aachen.

Colonial Williamsburg - official Site

a history of writing

National Museum of American

Of the english various early civilizations of central America, the maya make the greatest use of writing. In their ceremonial centres they set up numerous columns, or stelae, engraved with hieroglyphs. But they are not the inventors of writing in America. Credit for this should possibly go back as far as the. Certainly there is some evidence that they are the first in the region to devise a calendar, in which writing of some sort is almost essential.

Zapotecs, preceding the maya, have left the earliest surviving inscriptions, dating from about the 2nd century. The first mayan stele to be securely dated is erected at tikal in the equivalent of the year ad 292. A stele, or inscribed column, is set up at Tema in northwest Arabia. Dating from the 5th century bc, its inscription is the earliest known example of the writing which evolves a millennium later into the Arabic script. The script is developed from the 1st century bc by the nabataeans, a people speaking a semitic language whose stronghold at Petra, on a main caravan route, brings them prosperity and the need for records.

Officials from far-flung places, often unable to speak each other's language, have been able to communicate fluently in writing. The most significant development in the history of writing, since the first development of a script in about 3200 bc, is the move from a pictographic or syllabic system (characteristic of Sumerian, ancient Egyptian and Chinese) to a phonetic one, based on recording the spoken. This change has one enormous potential. It can liberate writing from the status of an arcane skill, requiring years of study to learn large numbers of characters. It makes possible the ideal of a literate community. The first tentative steps in this direction are taken in the second millennium bc in the trading communities.


Ulfilas is the first man known to have undertaken an extraordinarily difficult intellectual task - writing down, from scratch, a language which is as yet purely oral. He even devises a new alphabet to capture accurately the sounds of spoken Gothic, using a total of twenty-seven letters adapted from examples in the Greek and Roman alphabets. God's work is Ulfilas' purpose. He needs the alphabet for his translation of the bible from Greek into the language of the goths. It is not known how much he completes, but large sections of the gospels and the Epistles survive in his version - dating from several years before. Jerome begins work on his Latin text.

History - official Site

Usually the centre of each seal is occupied by a realistic depiction of an animal, with above it a short line of formal symbols. The lack of longer inscriptions or texts suggests that this script is probably limited to trading and accountancy purposes, with the signs establishing quantities and ownership of a commodity. The last of the early civilizations to develop writing is China, in about 1600. But China outdoes the others in devising a system which has evolved, as a working script, from that day to this. Chinese database characters are profoundly ill-suited to such labour-saving innovations as printing, typewriting or word-processing. Yet they with have survived. They have even provided the script for an entirely different language, japanese. The, non-phonetic Chinese script has been a crucial binding agent in China's vast empire.

a history of writing

The second civilization to develop writing, shortly after the sumerians, is Egypt. The Egyptian characters are much more directly pictorial in kind than the sumerian, but the system of suggesting objects and concepts is similar. The Egyptian characters are called hieroglyphs by the Greeks in about 500 bc, because by that time this form of writing is reserved for holy texts; hieros and glypho mean 'sacred' and 'engrave' in Greek. Because of the importance of hieroglyphic inscriptions in temples and tombs, much of the creation of these beautiful characters is by painters, sculptors in relief and craftsmen modelling in plaster. But with the introduction of papyrus, the Egyptian script is also the business of scribes. As in the other great early civilizations, the bureaucrats of the Indus valley have the benefit of writing to help them in their administration. The Indus script, which has not yet been deciphered, is known from thousands of seals, carved in steatite or soapstone.

with small images used as words, literally depicting the thing in question. But pictograms of this kind are limited. Some physical objects are too difficult to depict. And many words are concepts rather than objects. There are several ways in which early writing evolves beyond the pictorial stage. One is by combining pictures to suggest a concept. Another is by a form of pun, in which a pictorial version of one object is modified to suggest another quite different object which sounds the same when spoken.

A strikingly original take on the recent history of composition, remixing Composition is an important work for the future of writing instruction in a digital age. Share, discover in a free daily email today's famous history and birthdays, enjoy the famous daily, cuneiform in Mesopotamia: from 3100. In about 3200 bc temple officials. Sumer develop a reliable and lasting method of keeping track of the animals and other goods which are the temple's wealth. On lumps of wet clay the scribes draw a simpified picture of the item in question. They then make a similar mark in the clay for the number long counted and recorded. When allowed to bake hard in the sun, the clay tablet becomes a permanent document.

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Jason Palmeris Remixing Composition: a history of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy challenges the longheld notion that the study and practice of composition has historically focused on words alone. Palmeri revisits many of the classic texts of composition theory from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, closely examining how past compositionists responded to new media. He reveals that long before the rise of personal computers and the graphic web, compositionists employed analog multimedia technologies in the teaching of composition. Palmeri discovers these early scholars business anticipated many of our current interests in composing with visual, audio, and video texts. Using the concept of the remix, palmeri outlines practical pedagogical suggestions for how writing teachers can build upon this heritage with digital activities, assignments, and curricula that meet the needs of contemporary students. He details a pluralist vision of composition pedagogy that explains the ways that writing teachers can synthesize expressivist, cognitive, and social-epistemic approaches. Palmeri reveals an expansive history of now forgotten multimodal approaches to composing moving images and sounds and demonstrates how current compositionists can productively remix these past pedagogies to address the challenges and possibilities of the contemporary digital era.


A history of writing
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