The History and Power of Writing by Henri-Jean Martin

By Henri-Jean Martin

Cultural historical past on a grand scale, this immensely readable book—the summation of a long time of research through one of many world's nice students of the book—is the tale of writing from its very beginnings to its fresh changes via technology.Traversing 4 millennia, Martin bargains a chronicle of writing as a cultural process, a method of verbal exchange, and a historical past of applied sciences. He indicates how the written notice originated, the way it unfold, and the way it figured within the evolution of civilization. utilizing as his middle the function of printing in making the written frame of mind dominant, Martin examines the interactions of people and cultures to provide new kinds of "writing" within the many senses of authorship, language rendition, and script.Martin seems at how a lot the improvement of writing owed to functional necessity, and what sort of to spiritual and social platforms of symbols. He describes the precursors to writing and divulges their position in early civilization as mnemonic units in carrier of the spoken be aware. The tenacity of the oral culture performs an incredibly very important half during this tale, Martin notes, or even as overdue because the eighteenth century trained participants have been knowledgeable in classical rhetoric and most popular to depend upon the humanities of reminiscence. eventually, Martin discusses the adjustments to writing wrought by means of the digital revolution, delivering precious insights into the impact those new applied sciences have had on kids born into the pc age.

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It was not the Greek world that was preparing the future but the Middle East, in the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean. Nearly everywhere from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean and from Anatolia to the Sinai Peninsula the Semites who made up the base of the population had created city-states that struggled to resist invaders and were subject to rival imperialisms. Other Semites, however, had built the city of Ugarit (not far from the current Latakia) near the mouth of the Orontes River.

This imported writing was insufficient to give the Hittites a cultural personality. c. they were using a hieroglyphic system for seals and inscriptions that seems totally their own creation. The system initially served to note the names and titles of deities and important figures, often along with a representation of those same figures. It later included phonetic elements as well, and its unmistakable characters were scattered on commemorative monuments and the walls of temples over the fairly vast area of the expansion of Hittite power.

Thus the images, inscriptions, and portraits to be seen painted or carved on the temples and the tombs were not representations or remembrances of disappeared realities but living realities that profited the gods and the dead. Keys to survival, they had no need to be looked at or read in order to be animated with their own existence. By the same token we can understand why so many reliefs, statues, and inscriptions were damaged. Destroying the effigy or the name of a dead enemy was an effective way to kill a second time, eliminate him definitively, and take from him all power to do harm.

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