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Extra History: Season 16

The History of Writing 2016 - 2017

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  • 2016-06-04T15:00:00Z on YouTube
  • 10 mins
  • 17 mins (2 episodes)
  • United States
  • English
  • Animation, Documentary, History
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The History of Writing

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2 episodes

16x01 The History of Writing - Where the Story Begins

  • Season Premiere

    2016-06-04T15:00:00Z — 7 mins

How did the ancient civilization of Sumer first develop the concept of the written word? It all began with simple warehouse tallies in the temples, but as the scribes sought more simple ways to record information, those tallies gradually evolved from pictograms into cuneiform text which could be used to convey complex, abstract, or even lyrical ideas.

Where did the alphabet come from? How did it develop, and why? The writing systems first developed in Sumer provided a basis for the written word, but their system of characters also inspired a shift to single phoneme systems where each letter represents a distinct sound.

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