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The Invention Of Writing In World Civilizations By Either Focusing On Mesopotamia And Egypt

990 words - 4 pages

The invention of writing was the beginning of information revolution in which it allows ideas and news to be conveyed in a distant place easily without having to heavily reliant on the messenger’s memory. The invention is valuable and crucial in ancient world civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Egypt as the writing systems recorded information such as the amount of agricultural crops as well as information relating to religion and government correspondingly. As a matter of fact, scientists had used writing as one of the “markers” of civilization. Hence, the main aim of this paper is to explain further on the writing invention focusing on ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt which their writing systems have different formations, structures, style of writing and so forth.  

Egypt is called the “cradle of civilizations”, with the beginning of our alphabet, papyrus the Sphinx and the Rosetta Stone. By the late period of Ancient Egypt history, the Ancient Egyptians developed and used three different types of writing; hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic. Hieroglyphic is the basic foundation of the other two forms of writing where the ancient Egyptians believed that it was invented by the god Thoth and called their hieroglyphic script as "mdwt ntr", the god's words (Ager, 1998). Besides that, the word hieroglyph comes from the Greek hieros (sacred) and the Greek glypho (inscriptions). As the name implies, the hieroglyphic script was mainly used for formal inscriptions on the temple walls or public monuments but in spite of this, it was also used in furniture, jewellery, papyrus and so forth. Hieroglyphic writing is usually depicted in the form of pictorial representing sounds as well as ideas and actions and was used from the end of Pre-history until 396 A.D. For the most part, the illustrations are natural or man-made objects, oftenymbolically colour-painted. For instance, the ground plan of a simple house might portray the word for "house” and this is what we called an ideograms while on the other hand, to represent the sounds, phonogram is used; sign-words for concepts that cannot be conveyed by a simple picture which is best represented by the “rebus principle” (Parsons, no year).

Hieroglyphic script could be written in horizontal lines running from right to left or left to right and it also can be written in vertical columns running from top to bottom. In addition to this, there are no punctuation marks or spaces to indicate the divisions between words plus the arrangement of the glyph was solely based on the artistic considerations (Ager, 1998). Besides that, hieroglyphic script could be either carved in hard surface or written in ink where over time, it became more confined to religious texts on temples and monuments or to official royal decrees. Upon seeing these temple and other religious inscriptions, the Greeks called the script hiera grammata", the sacred letters," or ta hieroglyphica", the sacred carved letters (Parsons, no year).

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