How Literacy Created Civilisation, Part I: In the Beginning Was the Word

This couple from Pompeii were keen to show off their education.
Cuneiform was written by pressing the edge of a reed into clay. Over centuries, the meanings of the marks became more abstract, and subject evolved from grain tax records to the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The quipu ABCs
The prevailing medieval attitude toward reading was roughly similar to that toward computer coding in the 2000s: it was cool and we needed it to do some sophisticated things, but nobody other than a small class of studious nerds needed concern themselves with it.
Evangelical printers churned out editions of Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible faster than the Catholic authorities could burn them.



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Sam Quillen

Sam Quillen


Former linguistics student; current investment bank analyst who sometimes thinks about something other than spreadsheets