Ancient Writing: Cuneiform and Hieroglyphs Term Paper by Master Researcher

Ancient Writing: Cuneiform and Hieroglyphs
A look at Mesopotamian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs as the earliest forms of writing.
# 38799 | 788 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper examines Mesopotamian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, the two earliest known types of writing. The paper compares and contrasts these systems of writing in terms of origin, development and usage, and shows how they were distinctly different systems of writing that also had decidedly different historical impacts.

From the Paper:

"It is fascinating to imagine the first time a human being decided to write something, a sale of cattle, the death of a leader, or perhaps astrological wisdom. Commerce, history or prognostication could be the inspiration for human recording of events. It is impossible to know with certainty when, where, and why this happened. It is also impossible to know when primitive record keeping evolved into writing--the preservation in a recorded form of a spoken (phonetic) language--as opposed to merely a mnemonic device. However, "as far as we know this happened around the year 3000 BC [sic] in the city of Uruk in southern Iraq [then known as Sumer]."
"The writing in question is known as cuneiform. According to Steven Roger Fischer "the Sumerians used a stylus possessing a blunt triangular tip that could easily be handled to form cuneiform or wedge-shaped impressions on soft clay in quick succession." The eventually developed a system of approximately 600 glyphs "Capable of expressing everything in the Sumerian language and with it the world's earliest documented literature was impressed onto clay." This writing was not strictly an alphabet (due to the number of glyphs) but the glyphs possessed both ideographic and phonetic value."

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