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Babylonian/Ancient Mesopotamian Studies - Essay Example

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Blavatsky (2003), in an impassioned discourse on civilizations, asked: How can there be civilizations without literature in some form, without annals or chronicles? (p. 54) She argued that those crude societies that refused the knowledge of writing are credited with barbarism…
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Babylonian/Ancient Mesopotamian Studies
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Babylonian/Ancient Mesopotamian Studies

Download file to see previous pages... He stressed that “writing is among the greatest invention in human history, perhaps the greatest invention, since it made history possible.” (p. 21)
The above observations are faulty, at best, if not outright ignorant because they are not true. The fact is that, not every civilization relied on the written word. There were sophisticated societies to have emerged, expanded and thrived for hundreds of years, without any form of writing. The thesis of this paper is summed up by Rousseau who declared:
Since God is so good, as to reveal his mind to man, why should there be any occasion for an interpreter? I can never conceive, that what every man is obliged to know, is confined to books, and that he who can neither come at those books, not at people that understand them, shall be punished for involuntary ignorance. For ever books! What madness. (p. 79)
Spanning the west of the South American Andes, a large empire was built by the Incas in the middle of thirteenth century. Their form of government and their society was sophisticated characterized by a vast bureaucracy, strong administration, crafts, advanced engineering and communication. Out of all the Incan achievements, it is surprising to know that they do not have any form of writing. What they have was a system of accounting based on knotted strings called quipo. The simplest quipo has a main cord of colored cotton or sometimes wool, from which knotted cords are suspended with knots formed into cluster at some distance from each other: each cluster has a number of knots from 1 to 9, and a cluster of, say, 4 followed by one of 2 and one of 8 knots represents 428. (Struik 1987, p. 16)
The Incans have also created their highly sophisticated calendars, which is another vital tool for any complex society that had to coordinate the activities of thousands or millions of people to ensure they paid their taxes on time. What the quipo and the calendars reveal is that, writing is not required in order ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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