21 May 2007

Manic Monday - Graphic

MANIC MONDAY


Mo of It's A Blog Eat Blog World has declared "Graphic" to be the word of the week.

As it happens, pertaining to, or expressed by writing: graphic symbols, written, inscribed, or drawn fits right in with something out of the ordinary that I am reading: A Is For Ox by Lyn Davies, a short history of the western alphabet, starting with its earliest roots, Sumerian cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs etc.

It sounds dull as dirt but is actually a fascinating history of our alphabet and the changes in the graphics made through the centuries by - Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, medieval scribes - until the early printers in Italy arrive at the form we know today.

Each letter's history is illustrated on a double page, showing and explaining the evolution it went through with time and country influences. If you have an interest in language, it is a joy to read.

3400-3100: Inscription on Mesopotamian tokens overlap with pictography



2600:
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Scribes employed in Egypt.

2400: In India, engraved seals identify the writer.


Cuneiform

2200: Date of oldest existing document written on papyrus.
1500:



Phoenician Script
Phoenician alphabet.

775: Greeks develop a phonetic alphabet, written from left to right.



The Rosetta Stone is a slab of black basalt dating from 196 BC. Its inscription (a royal decree praising Egypt's king Ptolemy V) was written on the stone three times: once in hieroglyphic, once in demotic, and once in Greek. Jean Francois Champollion, a French Egyptologist, was able to compare the three languages and decifer Egyptian hieroglyphics, thus unlocking a window into the past. Since then, most everything that remains of the Egyptians' ancient writings have been translated by new generations of Egyptologists. The stone now resides in the British Museum, in London.






24 comments:

tegdirb92 said...

wow, that's very interesting, and I learned a lot too :) Happy Monday!

Steve said...

You always come up with the coolest stuff.

Crazy Working Mom said...

So smart! That's an awesome idea! :)

Mine's up now. Thanks for dropping by.

Comedy + said...

Another history lessen. Great graphics.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh mo is going to love this one! you should get the site of the day from him!! ha ha ha...

smiles, bee

Villager said...

I enjoy it when MM brings new information and learning. Great post. Thanx for taking time to do the research and even more for sharing it with us.

peace, Villager

Travis said...

Fascinating. Last summer I watched a documentary on History Channel about the Rosetta Stone and how it was deciphered. Very interesting stuff.

Gattina said...

I love the egyptian hieroglyphes and brought back some papirus with them. I also have a little silver hanger with my name in egyptian hieroglyphes.

Shaz said...

This is excellent. I loved all those facts, very interesting. Happy Manic Monday x x

Jamie said...

Anyone who would like a translation in hieroglyphics can get it here Translator

Rebecca said...

Awesome!

Matt-Man said...

Dull my ass. I have always found the history of language development fascinating. This may be TMI but when I was a kid, when I went to the bathroom I used to read the dictionary and especially the etymologies of the words. Is that wrong?

Mags said...

Very interesting!

Happy MM.

Jamie said...

Matt Man,

Get the book. It is truly fascinating if you have a love of language and the development of communication.

Mz Jackson said...

I love this post! I've always found this subject to be so interesting. I've been wanting to post a photo of Sequoyah's Cherokee alphabet in my sidebar for a long time and I think I may do that right now.

Mz Jackson said...

It's actually called a syllabary, sorry about that!

Claire said...

Mo is going to love this, i agree. I also love all things hieroglyphic thats why i have one as a tattoo.
Egypt is on my list of places to visit before i lose what marbles i have left :D

NOLADawn said...

Very cool!

Desert Songbird said...

Fascinating post. Word Nerd that I am, I really appreciated this one!

Danielle said...

This post of yourn was far from being as dull as dirt. I will definitely look for that book. I adore history especially that of early civilizations. Does it mention the Mayan language which also consisted of pictographs?

Great Manic Monday post, my friend.

Be well and enjoy the day.

This Eclectic Life said...

I'm not part of the Manic Monday, but I like to see what folks put together. Somewhere I have the hieroglyph stamp set my boys had when they went through their "Egyptian phase" as children. As always, you put together a fascinating post.

Marilyn said...

That was very cool.

Linda said...

Very interesting post today, Jamie. It's so amazing how much the alphabet and language has changed over the centuries. Rather mind-boggling at times!

Lizza said...

I think ancient civilization is fascinating! Thanks for writing about this, Jamie. Very interesting read.