The beginnings of writing
We will discover together the beginnings of writing in the history of civilization : where it originated from, in what form, and how it evolved.
Prehistoric man 40,000 years ago began using engravings and paintings to depict his environment. This cannot be recognized as writing, because these representations lack meaning and appear to be representations of a bygone era.
Definition of the term Writing
To fully appreciate a concept, you have to be able to define it, which is all the more important when the concept is as fundamental as writing.
Larousse offers us a definition of what writing is:
“Representation of speech and thought by conventional graphic signs. (Invented around 3200 BC, writing marks the beginning of human history. The cradle of writing oscillates between Mesopotamia [cuneiform writing] and the Indus valley [hieroglyphics of Mohenjo-Daro] , depending on archaeological discoveries.) “
We can therefore summarize that writing is a graphic system of thought that can be affixed to a writing medium and deciphered by its peers.
So in order to be able to affirm that symbols are called writing, we must be able to determine their meaning, to decipher them. If this is not able to be done, the meaning remains vague and open to interpretation.
Early forms of writing
The first forms of writing appeared 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the form of pictograms and hieroglyphs, which we now understand thanks to archaeological research.
In Mesopotamia we saw the first ideograms appear by the grouping of several pictograms.
This was practiced using pointed reeds (calames), the first pen in history.
The earliest uses of writing were for business transactions, property identification and administrative purposes.