Mass Communication History

The history of mass communication is characterized by a set of tools that has influenced and developed the society in different eras. These historic tools and means of communication have continued to exercise their invariable influence upon subsequent generations. However, different social changes in the course of certain generations have also influenced these tools and means of communication. Historically, writing has stood out to be the most consequential means of communication ever invented. Therefore, from an oral culture to a literate mores, this paper is going to focus on certain tools and means of communication that captured my attention after going through some chronological pages at AncientScripts.com

3 a. Writing Systems

At an unprecedented level, humanity deeply relies on writing as linguistics would be inconceivable without its systematic ways of representing units of language through visible or tangible signs. Writing is a unique way of imprinting information to the less impulsive human brain and its structural characteristics are systematically used all over the world. Writing also allowed societies to generate and consolidate a sense of self. Alphabets and writing was a practical ancient invention for agricultural record keeping, religious purposes, and also to reinforce the power of the cream of the crop in a socio-political system.  Papyrus is one of the writing mediums which were most common material in ancient Egypt as it could be recycled and used again quite frequently. Although expensive, primordial papyrus was conveniently durable and was widely used for public documentation, private letter, and for other literary purposes. However, both ancient and modern writing systems have differed geographical, structural, familial, and stylistical precincts to be categorized by types, families, regions, and alphabetical listing. Therefore, a writing system does not basically an indicator of historical civilization.

Origins of Writing

The elucidation on the origin of writing is widely venerated upon myths and divinity since it holds an important role in most ancient societies. Egypt and China are examples of such ancient societies that respectively drawn upon divinity and perspicacity to explicate the origin of writing. Ancient Egyptians credited the discovery of writing to the god Thoth, who they believed could convert speech into material objects while in China, an ancient sagacious named Ts’ang Chieh is believed to have invented writing. Ts’ang Chieh was believed to be the communication tool between the kingdom of gods and ancestors and the realm of humans as verified by the inscriptions on oracle bones which were historically used for divine purposes. From a contemporary view, writing is said to have been invented from China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica due to the evidence from recent discoveries that further refutes the monogenesis theory. The language represented by various writings makes no system superior or inferior to the other as they will be categorized by the language used in a particular society.

Types of Scripts

A writing script is usually classified extensively in various types dependent to the underlying language being represented. Logographic is an example of such writing scripts and it basically uses a vast number of signs sharing the same value to represent each morpheme. They are usually numbered starting with the most frequent sign and their general standard of transliteration is specified under the respective sign types. A Logogram which is a sign, represent a word or impression with one sign and can occasionally be tacit by their pictorial character. Therefore due to this fact, the number of signs could grow to astounding numbers like the Chinese logographic system which contains more than 10,000 signs despite most of them being unexploited in everyday use.

SUMERIAN CLAY TABLETS

The oldest book which I found on the time line is the Sumerian Clay Tablets which is -3500 B.C.E. It was used by the Sumerians who were the earliest inhabitants of Mesopotamia. The Sumerians scratched their words in tablets of clay by using the cuneiform alphabet and since they entirely discarded pictures, they formed a system of V-shaped figures which showed slight connection with the pictures from which they had been developed. By using small strokes, the marks could gradually become ideograms. They used pointed styluses to draw pictograms on the clay tablets in order to generate envelopes and records of business transactions that could last permanently. The hard kilns from which they baked the clay tablets are still available today for scholars to study and interpret. This timeline really shocked me because it was a period when a primitive number system which involved a decimal and sexagesimal base was being used, and it is quite exceptional and beyond imagination to realize that the Sumerians could contemplate an array of artistic ideologies and their typographic implications.

3 b. Republican Motherhood

This is a notion that calls for women education in the principles of democracy, independence, and liberty in order to indoctrinate future generations with these republican values.  This was a significant sign that showed the relevance of women from an intellectual perspective especially since the American Revolution which had a deep effect on the philosophical foundations of the American society. This revolution drastically changed roles of women that later on shaped the inspiration of the republican motherhood in this period. Since it was assumed that a republic can only be defined by the virtue of its citizens, women were essential towards inculcating their children with values favorable to a healthy republic. This period also encouraged the husband-wife relationship which was now more liberal instead of the earlier subservience relationship. Women were also quite effective to the war exertion by fundraising and managing family businesses if their husbands were absent. Women were therefore even more prominent both publicly and politically as a consensus was reached on the view that women devoted to the service of their family and state would as well have a political purpose. The Republican Motherhood notion impacted the society at large to pave the way for a superior function for women in public domain.

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