The history of writing – from cave paintings to abbreviations
Because September 6th is The International Book Reading Day, we present a short history of writing.
Those who like this activity don’t need a specific day to celebrate the subject of their passion. Reading is easy, you just have to want to do it, but can we see beyond those printed words?
A book has been written, corrected, maybe paragraphs or entire pages have been modified, and behind it is a lot of work. Behind the creation of a book is imagination. It follows writing, the physical fact without which the information cannot be transmitted further. But how did writing actually arise? What is its story?
Writing has not always existed and no one has ever been born educated. In fact, it’s an extraordinary evolution, from cave paintings, from simple symbols to a multitude of alphabets, with more complex letters. The first ways of transmitting information date back somewhere in the Stone Age, when cavemen have made various drawings on the walls.
The actual writing started with the pictograms, not the ones we know today in the IT field, but the symbols that the Sumerians used originally for information in agriculture or astronomy. They were a relatively developed civilization, and the first library dates from somewhere in 3200 BC, containing clay tiles.
Somewhere around 3000 BC there were both cuneiform and hieroglyphic writings. Like alphabets, the cuneiform and the linear phoenician were used. It is supposed that the second was the basis for subsequent alphabets – Latin, Arab, Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew.
The Phoenicians wrote on limestone or papyrus sheets, horizontally, from right to left. The Greek alphabet has many similarities to the Phoenician one: the order of the letters, the form of the vowels and the letters in general. The Latin alphabet follows, being less difficult than the Greek one. This one has a smaller number of consonants.
Until the 5th century AD, the writing was done in uppercases. Then, small letters have appeared. From Chinese silk, papyruses and parchments, from the 3rd century AD, writing began to be done on paper.
Modern writing instruments
In the year 800 AD Gothic writing appeared, and the writing tools were also diversified. From the cane calamus, goose feathers, bone or metal pen, to the lead pencil and irons pens, writing instruments had a fast evolution.
People have always sought to simplify writing, thus appearing the printing press. This way has begun the revolution of knowing and spreading information much easier. With the advance of technology, people began to split written information in public and secret. Working methods, recipes or war tactics, nothing should have left the area without approval.
That’s why different security methods have appeared, from invisible ink to fiber paper, the evolution being fast and competitive. But the writing remained the basis for the transmission of information, regardless of its support and instrument.