The Written Word
By N.S. Gill, About.com Guide
The Development of Early Writing
Writing developed in different parts of the world using different systems. For most it is possible to see a connection between the writing and some kind of pictorial representation of objects. While there may have been contact between remote parts of Eurasia, that seems highly unlikely in connection with the New World variant.
- Ancient Inscriptions
- Start of the Alphabet
- 'Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization'
Genres of Literature
Early writing was often associated with religious worship and frequently poetic. Over time changes in the performance of compositions, like the development of instruments to use as accompaniments, led to different styles of poetry. Dramatic performances matured and led to such things as tragedy, comedy, and even satire. Here are some of the main genres of literature from the ancient world.
Although much ancient literature has been lost, we have quite a sample of the material of the ancient world, especially that of the Greeks and Romans. Most of the literature, especially the early writing, is poetic in form.
- Odyssey Study Guide
- The Life and Work of Homer
- Early Greek Poets Timeline
- Greek Writers Timeline
- Roman Writers
- Roman Theater
- Classical Writers Directory
- The First Named Author
- Etexts of Literature in English Translation
This reed whose name gave us the word paper was grown in Egypt and used there as a writing material. Scribes used a stylus and ink to record words that we can still see today thanks to arid conditions where the papyrus was disposed of.
- Pictures of the Oxyrrhynchus Papyri
- Typographical Tips on Reading the Oxyrrhynchus Papyri
- Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus
- Epigraphy and Papyrology
- Ancient Egyptian Scribes
Monuments made of some kind of enduring material that weathers the elements well -- like stone -- show what was significant. Today we have gravestones to honor our beloved family members. So did some of the ancients. Kings might have their accomplishments inscribed on pillars. Lawmakers might have their legislation inscribed, too, so there could be no dispute.
- Ancient Inscriptions
- Roman Architecture and Monuments
- The Great Pyramid
- Ashoka and the Pillars of Ashoka
Latin is only one of the many ancient languages, but it is particularly useful for studying ancient Mediterranean history and is commonly studied. Often references in ancient history makes more sense if you have a little Latin.
This is a very superficial look at the per-historic and early languages of especially the Mediterranean world and how they are thought to have spread.
- Proto-Indo-European Languages
- Formation of Indo-European Languages From Proto-Indo-European
- Comparative Method
- Nostratic Hypothesis