Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Egypt and Sumer


Published on

Professor Mindy McAdams's presentation about the ideas of Harold Innis and written communication in two ancient cultures

Published in: Education, Technology

Egypt and Sumer

  1. 1. Egypt and Sumer Presentation by Mindy McAdams MMC 2265 / Week 3.2
  2. 2. The Middle East today
  3. 3. Ancient Sumer, in Mesopotamia
  4. 4. The First Cities <ul><li>Ur – from about 5000 to 300 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Uruk – from about 3400 B.C.E. to ? </li></ul><ul><li>Nippur – from about 3200 B.C.E. to 100 C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Ziggurats were huge temple buildings </li></ul>
  5. 5. Sumer / Mesopotamia
  6. 6. Stylus and Tablet <ul><li>Written signs were pressed into soft clay tablets </li></ul><ul><li>Writing device: A stylus with a wedge-shaped tip </li></ul><ul><li>Content: Records related to accounting, agriculture, trade and taxes </li></ul>
  7. 7. Early Cuneiform Writing
  8. 8. Over time, each sign was simplified to make it easier (and faster) to write with a reed stylus (which was pressed into a soft clay tablet)
  9. 9. Use of Writing Spreads <ul><li>Several nearby cultures (with different spoken languages) adapted cuneiform writing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Akkadian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Babylonian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elamite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hittite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Old Persian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ugaritic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(This did not happen with Egyptian writing) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Akkadian cuneiform included 200 - 400 symbols </li></ul><ul><li>Many of these had multiple pronunciations </li></ul><ul><li>Akkadian was spoken in Mesopotamia from about 2800 B.C.E. to 500 C.E. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Spoken vs. Written <ul><li>Sumerian is the oldest known written human language </li></ul><ul><li>No modern languages have descended from Sumerian </li></ul><ul><li>Cuneiform writing system was later used to write other languages </li></ul><ul><li>Did Egyptian writing evolve from cuneiform? </li></ul><ul><li>Does Chinese writing owe anything to cuneiform? </li></ul>
  12. 12. The End of Cuneiform <ul><li>The use of Aramaic became widespread under the Assyrian Empire </li></ul><ul><li>The Aramaean alphabet gradually replaced cuneiform </li></ul><ul><li>Last known cuneiform inscription was written in 75 C.E. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Ancient Egypt Cairo is 800 miles from Baghdad (Miami is 860 miles from New Orleans)
  14. 14. Abbreviated Egyptian Timeline <ul><li>Pre-Dynastic Period: c. 5000–3100 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Old Kingdom: 2686–2181 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>(Dynasties III–VI, or 3 rd –6 th ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd Dynasty: The first major stone building in the world, the Step Pyramid, was constructed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 th Dynasty: Many large pyramids built, including the Great Pyramid at Giza </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New Kingdom: 1570–1070 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>(Dynasties XVIII–XX, or 18 th –20 th ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upper and Lower Egypt reunified </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. The Decline of Egypt <ul><li>Power of the pharaohs had declined by the 20 th Dynasty (about 1200–1070 B.C.E.) </li></ul><ul><li>Battles with invaders called the Sea Peoples weakened the kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>Ramesses III (died 1151 B.C.E.) was the last significant pharaoh of the New Kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt would never again dominate the region with such wealth and power </li></ul>
  16. 16. End of Ancient Egypt’s Glory <ul><li>Peace ended in Egypt with the Persian invasion of 525 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt repeatedly struggled with invasions from Persia – for almost two centuries </li></ul><ul><li>The last Persian invasion was in 343 B.C.E. – during the reign of the last Egyptian pharaoh </li></ul><ul><li>Alexander the Great arrived in 332 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt would not be ruled by an Egyptian again until 1952 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Writing on Stone (1)
  18. 18. Writing on Stone (2)
  19. 19. Writing on Papyrus Book of the Dead, c. 1300 B.C.E. (Papyrus of Ani: Scroll, 78 feet long)
  20. 20. Papyrus Papyrus is a plant that grew only in the Nile Delta. Young stems were cut into strips and pressed together.
  21. 21. “ After 2000 B.C.E., the central administration employed an army of scribes … literacy was valued as a stepping-stone to prosperity and social rank.” – Innis, p. 24
  22. 22. The Egyptian god Thoth was a scribe and, in some accounts, the inventor of writing.
  23. 23. Hieratic script (above) developed along with hieroglyphic writing in Egypt . Demotic script (right) came later.
  24. 24. Writing Systems: Definitions <ul><li>Pictographic: Each picture represents a word or an idea </li></ul><ul><li>Ideographic: Picture or symbol represents a thing or an idea, NOT a word or a phrase  </li></ul><ul><li>Logographic: Symbol or sign used to represent an entire word   </li></ul><ul><li>Syllabic: Each character or sign represents a voiced syllable   </li></ul><ul><li>Greek root / graphos written </li></ul><ul><li>Greek root / logos word, thought, speech, discourse </li></ul>
  25. 25. Writing Systems: Definitions <ul><li>Syllabic: Each character or sign represents a voiced syllable   </li></ul><ul><li>Phonetic: Based on sounds ( less than a syllable) </li></ul><ul><li>Alphabetic: Characters or letters represent sounds; may be syllabic or phonetic </li></ul><ul><li>Phonetic alphabet: Symbols for phonetic transcription of a language (or languages)  </li></ul>
  26. 26. Bias of Communication <ul><li>Innis says that each medium embodies a bias in terms of the organization and control of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration (survival, perpetuation) over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extension (conquest) in space </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Time = Stone <ul><li>Time-biased media (stone, clay) are durable and heavy </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to move; do not encourage territorial expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Do encourage extension of empire over time (durability) </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate the development of social hierarchies (ancient Egypt) </li></ul><ul><li>Religious dynasties, eternal life, king as deity (conquest of time ) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Space = Papyrus <ul><li>Space-biased media are light and portable </li></ul><ul><li>Can be transported over large distances </li></ul><ul><li>Associated with secular and territorial societies </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate the expansion of empire over space </li></ul><ul><li>Paper is an example: readily transported, but also has a short lifespan </li></ul><ul><li>Military expansion; de-emphasis on religion (conquest of space ) </li></ul>
  29. 29. The longevity of an empire depends on its ability to extend itself over both time and space.
  30. 30. Power Structures <ul><li>How is significant information stored in a society? </li></ul><ul><li>How is it transmitted ? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has access? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has the ability to read and write? </li></ul><ul><li>Does a new medium disrupt the power structure? </li></ul>
  31. 31. Egypt and Sumer Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida