Koji nešifrirani sustav pisanja ima najveći korpus teksta?

Koji nešifrirani sustav pisanja ima najveći korpus teksta?


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Desetci drevnih sustava pisanja još uvijek nisu dešifrirani. Moje pitanje glasi: Koji od njih ima najveći broj poznatih natpisa (i stoga bi mogao biti najpristupačniji za buduće dešifriranje, iako je tako ne dio mog pitanja)?

Na primjer, Phaistosov disk, čiji je natpis u nepoznatom sustavu pisanja, ima ukupno samo 241 simbol, a drugi primjerci tog sustava pisanja nisu poznati.

S druge strane, početkom 19. stoljeća i akadski klinopis i egipatski hijeroglifi, za svaki od kojih su poznate tisuće natpisa koji sadrže milijune žetona, još uvijek su bili dešifrirani (naravno, od tada su oba dešifrirana).


To je vrlo zanimljivo pitanje, a rezultat se ne razvija samo kad se dešifrira tekst, već i kada se pronađu novi natpisi.

Dakle, iako je prije 1973. samo jedna ploča pronađena izvan Krete, rekao bih da je odgovor na vaše pitanje Linearni A: postoji 1427 dokumenata Linearnog A s ukupnim brojem znakova 7362-7396.

Linearni A vjerski je zapis minojske civilizacije. Vjeruje se da je to podrijetlo Linearnog B, najstarijeg pisanog oblika pisanog grčkog jezika, koji se koristio do dolaska abecede. Glavna razlika s Linearnim B je u tome

  • Linearno A nije dešifrirano dok linearno B jest.
  • Ako se Linear A izgovara slično kao Linear B, onda vjerojatno neće biti grčki i zapravo bi mogao biti jezik različitog podrijetla (moguće semitski).

Dajem ovaj odgovor s obzirom na to da je, za razliku od prethodno navedenih Maja, Linear A potpuno dešifriran, dok je Mayino pismo zapravo dešifrirano, iako mnogi natpisi ostaju misterij.

Naravno, morate imati na umu da Linear A može odgovoriti na vaše pitanje samo zato što su mnoga pretraživanja vršena u staroj Grčkoj (isto vrijedi i za Egipat, na primjer), dok bi moglo postojati neko nepoznato pismo ili jedno za koje je bilo samo nekoliko tableta pronađeno, za što bismo ipak mogli pronaći mnogo veći korpus. Svjestan sam da ste pitali za najveće znan korpus teksta, i samo želim reći da biste mogli imati veće šanse dešifrirati tajanstveni skriptni jezik zapravo tražeći više njegovih natpisa, nego što biste imali proučavanjem skripte koja ima najveći korpus teksta.


Vjerojatno su spisi Maja i natpisi najveće tijelo neodređenih spisa s najvećom povijesnom važnošću.

Također, nemojte lakomisleno pretpostaviti da su staroegipatski hijeroglifi dobro razumljivi. Mnogi "prijevodi" hijeroglifa, osobito oni pronađeni u kraljevskim grobnicama, vrlo su nagađani i ne možemo biti sigurni što govore.


Koji nešifrirani sustav pisanja ima najveći korpus teksta? - Povijest

Složenost je vjerojatno najvažnija karakteristika drevnih sustava pisanja s kojom se studenti moraju suočiti. Pitanje složenosti važno je ne samo za razumijevanje samog pisanja, već i za razumijevanje kako su rani sustavi pisanja utjecali na razinu pismenosti u društvu, društveni status onih koji znaju pisati, a u novije vrijeme, dešifriranje tih sustava pisanja.

Čovjek propada, njegov je leš prah,
Svi njegovi rođaci su poginuli:
Ali knjiga ga pamti
Kroz usta recitatora.
Bolja je knjiga nego dobro izgrađena kuća,
Zatim grobne kapele na zapadu
Bolje od čvrste vile,
Nego stela u hramu! 10

Fleksibilnost starih pisanih sustava.

Lingua Franca za međunarodne odnose i trgovinu

Međukulturne interakcije zahtijevaju komunikaciju i stoga su uvijek u određenoj mjeri ovisile o jeziku i pismu. U različitim razdobljima povijesti, pojedinačni jezici dominirali su tim interakcijama, što je činjenica koja je dovela do izraza "lingua franca". 18 Pisanje je, kao medij govornog jezika, odigralo slično važnu, iako možda manje slavljenu ulogu u povijesti ovih interakcija. Iako je verbalna komunikacija očito bila ključna za međukulturnu interakciju među ljudima različitih klasa i razina pismenosti, neke interakcije ne bi mogle biti izvedene s pouzdanjem bez pomoći pisanja. Trgovci su trebali bilježiti posebne pojedinosti o ekonomskim transakcijama Vladini dužnosnici trebali su bilježiti različite elemente ugovora koje su redovnici trebali kopirati i čuvati svete tekstove, a sve su te radnje ovisile o pisanju.

Dešifriranje antičkog spisa

Mnogi sustavi pisanja koji su dominirali svijetom drevnog pisca dotrajali su mnogo prije modernog doba. Drevni jezici su umrli, a kao rezultat toga, napušteni su sustavi pisanja koji su razvijeni za njihovo prenošenje. Jedan od najzanimljivijih aspekata priče o starim sustavima pisanja je način na koji su ti izgubljeni sustavi pisanja oporavljeni. Ključ za razumijevanje ove priče je prepoznavanje značajnog izazova koji ovi sustavi za pisanje predstavljaju potencijalnim dešifriračima.

U mnogim slučajevima dostupnost dvojezičnih ili trojezičnih tekstova koji dešifriratelju pružaju tekst na više pisama i jezika, od kojih su neki poznati, a neki nepoznati, bila je ključna za dešifriranje nepoznatih sustava pisanja. Kamen iz Rosette možda je najpoznatiji primjer. Sadrži natpis koji hvali trinaestogodišnjeg faraona Ptolomeja V, a isti natpis predstavljen je u dvije inačice egipatskog (jedna u hijeroglifima, druga u demotskom, pojednostavljenom obliku pisma) i na grčkom. Posljednji redak grčkog natpisa i ostalih natpisa koji su se pokazali prevodi se ovako: "Ovaj dekret bit će ispisan na steli od tvrdog kamena sa svetim i domaćim i grčkim znakovima i postavljen u svakom od prvih, drugih i hramovi trećeg ranga pored slike vječno živog kralja. " 36 Znanstvenici rijetko imaju takvu sreću, ali oni koji su radili na kamenu iz Rosette znali su iz ove linije da kamen ispunjava obećanje za otkrivanje misterije hijeroglifa zbog navedenog odnosa među tekstovima u natpisu.

Zaključak

Pisanje je noviji razvoj ljudske povijesti. Mnoga izrazito ljudska ponašanja, poput pokopa mrtvih, stvaranja umjetnosti, kontrole i uporabe vatre, a svi su se oni razvili u doba paleolitika, imaju korijene mnogo dublje u ljudskoj povijesti. Poljoprivreda i sjedilački način života, iako su novija zbivanja, još se mogu smjestiti u doba neolitika, nastalo prije nekih deset do dvanaest tisuća godina. Nasuprot tome, najstariji su oblici pisanja mnogo noviji, nastali su prije samo pet tisuća godina u zapadnoj Aziji i Egiptu. Razvoj pisanja u drugim dijelovima svijeta dogodio se još u novije vrijeme. Stoga je pisanje novo ljudsko ponašanje, koje se nedavno pojavilo u evolucijskom smislu.

Biografska bilješka: David Burzillo predaje svjetsku povijest na školi Rivers u Westonu, Massachusetts.

Bilješke

Autor sa zahvalnošću uvažava komentare njegovih kolega Cathy Favreau, Jennie Jacoby, Jack Jarzavek i Ben Leeming.

1 U početku bi studentima trebalo biti jasno da jezik i pisanje nisu isti i da su se razvijali u različitim razdobljima ljudske povijesti. Hijeroglifi i klinasto pismo, o kojima će biti riječi kasnije u članku, sustavi su za pisanje koji se koriste za različite jezike, ali sami po sebi nisu jezici.

2 Iako se ne može reći kada su ljudi započeli neverbalnu komunikaciju, ljudskim je grupama očito bila potrebna ta sposobnost vrlo rano u njihovoj povijesti kako bi lovili i preživjeli u grupnom okruženju. Govor je noviji razvoj. Trenutni dokazi ukazuju na to da su ljudi bili fizički sposobni govoriti prije otprilike pedeset tisuća godina. Pisanje se prvi put koristilo prije otprilike pet tisuća godina.

3 Prema američkim popisima, engleski je jezik koji se govori kod kuće za 81,5 posto od oko pedeset tri milijuna djece školske dobi u zemlji. Za 12,8 posto preostalog, španjolski je primarni jezik koji se govori kod kuće. Ured za popis stanovništva Sjedinjenih Država, "Tablica 2. Upotreba jezika, sposobnost engleskog jezika i jezična izolacija za stanovništvo od 5 do 17 godina prema državi: 2000," Zbirne tablice o uporabi jezika i sposobnosti engleskog jezika: 2000 , http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/phc-t20.html (pristupljeno 25. studenog 2003.).

4 Lingvisti definiraju fonem kao najmanju jedinicu osebujnog zvuka u jeziku. Oni definiraju morfem kao najmanju smislenu govornu jedinicu koja se sastoji od jednog ili više fonema.

5 Iako su znanstvenici priznali poteškoće s pouzdanjem stavljanja vrijednosti na razinu pismenosti u drevnim društvima, nisu nužno smatrali da je složenost drevnih sustava pisanja, sama po sebi, ograničavanje stupnja u kojem bi se pismenost mogla prožeti društvo. Prema Hermanu Vanstiphoutu, "U svakom slučaju, relativna složenost sustava pisanja imaće malo ili nimalo veze s širenjem pismenosti. Japan ima daleko najveći stupanj pismenosti u usporedbi s nekim drugim industrijskim divovima, koji dokazuje da pismenost daleko više ovisi o političkim i društvenim prioritetima jedne nacije nego o zamršenosti pisma "(" Sjećanje i pismenost u drevnoj zapadnoj Aziji ", u Civilizacije antičkog Bliskog istoka, sv. 4, ur. Jack M. Sasson [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1995.], 2188-89). Za raspravu o obuci pisaca vidi treće poglavlje C. B. F. Walkera, Čitanje prošlosti: Klinopis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.) prvo poglavlje Samuela Noah Kramera, Povijest počinje u Sumeru (Garden City: Anchor Doubleday, 1959.) peto poglavlje A. Lea Oppenheima, Drevna Mezopotamija: Portret mrtve civilizacije (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.) i peto poglavlje H. W. F. Saggsa, Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.).

6 Saggs pripovijeda priču o kralju Uru III Shulgiju, koji je naložio svojim pisarima da čitaju njegove pjesme pjevačima kako bi ih mogli izvesti (Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima, 104-105). J. Nicholas Postgate zaključuje da je prije uvođenja abecede "pismenost zasigurno dosegla vrhunac u starobabilonsko doba ... kako po raznolikosti uloga koje je imala, tako i, sumnja se, po broju ljudi koji su znali čitati i pisati" "(Rana Mezopotamija: društvo i gospodarstvo u osvit povijesti [London: Routledge, 1994.], 69). Barry J. Kemp napisao je da je Egipat Starog Kraljevstva bio podijeljen u tri klase: "pismeni ljudi s autoritetom koji potječe od kralja, oni koji su im podređeni (vratari, vojnici, kamenolomi i tako dalje) i nepismeno seljaštvo" ("staro Kraljevstvo, Srednje kraljevstvo i drugo polugodište c. 2686-1552 prije Krista, "in Stari Egipat: društvena povijest, izd. Bruce G. Trigger, Barry J. Kemp, David O'Connor i Alan Lloyd [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.], 81).

7 Mora se napomenuti da su te dokumente napisali sami prepisivači, pa je u njima očito značajna pristranost.

8 Miriam Lichtheim, Staroegipatska književnost, sv. 2 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.), 170.

9 Vidi Kramer, Povijest počinje u Sumeru, 1-16, za materijal o sumerskom pogledu na obrazovanje i pisce.

10 Lichtheim, Staroegipatska književnost, 177. Dodatni primarni izvori o egipatskim pisarima mogu se pronaći u James B. Pritchard, ur., Bliskoistočni tekstovi koji se odnose na Stari zavjet (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969.), 431-34.

11 Način na koji shvaćamo podrijetlo pisanja sličan je načinu na koji se bavimo sličnim pitanjima u vezi s razvojem poljoprivrede. Dostupni dokazi ukazuju na to da je poljoprivreda neovisno izmišljena u najmanje sedam svjetskih regija i da se iz njih proširila. U svakoj od ovih sedam regija pripitomljena je specifična kombinacija životinja i usjeva. Vidi Bruce Smith, Pojava poljoprivrede (New York: Scientific American Library, 1995.). Vidi također C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky i Jeremy Sabloff, Drevne civilizacije: Bliski istok i Mezoamerica (Prospect Heights, Ill .: Waveland Press, 1995.), 60. Što se tiče pisanja, asiriolozi su nastojali podržati ideju o mezopotamskom utjecaju na razvoj egipatskog pisma, s obzirom na dokaze o drugim međukulturnim utjecajima koji su prethodili razvoj pisma u Egiptu. Vidi Henri Frankfort, Rođenje civilizacije na Bliskom istoku (New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1956.), 129-32 Saggs, Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima, 72 i Postgate, Rana Mezopotamija, 56. Lamberg-Karlovsky i Sabloff zauzimaju stav da se "pisanje moglo razviti neovisno na oba područja kao rezultat konvergencije paralelne evolucije" (Drevne civilizacije, 134). Kratak sažetak rasprave o odnosu hijeroglifa i klinastog pisma može se pronaći u Triggeru, Kempu, O'Connoru i Lloydu, Drevni Egipt, 37-38.

12 Povjesničari su općenito smatrali da su sumerski i egipatski razvijeni otprilike u isto vrijeme, pri čemu se sumerskom obično daje neznatna prednost. Nedavna otkrića u Egiptu navela su mnoge da to ponovno razmotre, a neki su egiptolozi sugerirali da su hijeroglifi prethodili klinastom pismu. Posljednjih godina u tisku se mnogo toga pojavilo na tu temu. Pogledajte John Noble Wilford, "Carving of a King could Rewrite History," New York Times, 16. travnja 2002. Elizabeth J. Himelfarb, "Prva abeceda pronađena u Egiptu", Arheologija, Siječanj/veljača 2000., 21. Larkin Mitchell, "Najraniji egipatski glifi", Arheologija, Ožujak/travanj 1999., 28.-29. I Vijay Joshi, "Drevne ploče pokazuju da su Egipćani možda prvi napisali", Bostonski globus, 18. prosinca 1998.

13 Obitelj semitskih jezika ima dvije glavne grane, istočno semitsku i zapadnu semitsku. Akadski se smatra dijelom istočno semitske grane obitelji, koja također uključuje akadske dijalekte babilonskog i asirskog. Zapadno -semitska podružnica uključuje mnogo više jezika, uključujući hebrejski i arapski, s kojima su neki studenti možda upoznati.

14 John King Fairbank, Kina: nova povijest (Cambridge, Mass .: Harvard University Press, 1994.), 42-43.

15 Joshua Fogel o korejskom piše: "Sama činjenica da Korejci, kulturno napredna zemlja na mnogo načina, nisu razvili vlastitu abecedu (hangul) sve do petnaestog stoljeća, znatno više od tisućljeća nakon usvajanja kineskog jezika časno mjesto kineskog pisanog jezika u njihovim životima "(" Sinicki svijet ", u Azija u zapadnoj i svjetskoj povijesti, ur. Ainslee Embree i Carol Gluck [Armonk, N.Y .: M. E. Sharpe, 1997.], 684). Fogel također raspravlja o značaju vjerskih, kulturnih i političkih ideja i institucija koje su došle u svaku od ovih zemalja kao rezultat usvajanja kineskih znakova, veza koje su pomogle ujedinjavanju istočne Azije.

16 Edwin Reischauer opisao je situaciju prije nego što su Japanci poduzeli reformu pisma na ovaj način: "Veliki kulturni napredak u Japanu tijekom ovih stoljeća utoliko je značajniji što je postignut posredstvom potpuno drugačije vrste jezika i izuzetno težak. sustav pisanja "(Japanci [Cambridge, Mass .: Belknap Press, 1977], 47).

17 Osim ovdje navedenih primjera, dostupni su i drugi možda poznatiji primjeri, uključujući posuđivanje feničke abecede od strane Grka. Osim toga, latinica je posuđena od Grka, možda preko Etruščana.

18 Prva upotreba izraza "lingua franca", prema Oxfordski staroengleski rječnik, autor je John Dryden. Ostali navedeni primjeri dolaze iz oba mediteranska konteksta.

19 S obzirom na nedavni publicitet o filmu Mela Gibsona Strast Krista, mnogi studenti mogu znati za postojanje aramejskog jezika. Taj je jezik zamijenio akadski kao lingua franca zapadne Azije, a kasnije je kasnije zamijenjen arapskim.

20 Za kratak pregled tekstova iz Amarne vidi Barbara Ross, "Prepiska u glini", Svijet Aramco, Studeni/prosinac 1999., 30-35.

21 Shlomo, Izre'el, "Amarna pisma iz Kanaana", u Sassonu, Civilizacije antičkog Bliskog istoka., sv. 4, 2412.

22 U Pritchardu su reproducirana četiri slova iz arhiva Mari i dvadeset osam pisama iz prepiske iz Amarne, Drevni bliskoistočni tekstovi koji se odnose na Stari zavjet.

23 Saggs, Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima, 182.

24 vrećice, Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima, 184.

25 Ross, "Prepiska u glini", 31-32.

26 C. W. Ceram, Bogovi, grobovi i učenjaci: Priča o arheologiji (New York: Bantam Books, 1972.). Iako je izvorno napisana 1949., ova je knjiga ponovno izdana i vrlo je dostupna učenicima srednjih škola. Ceram detaljno opisuje dešifriranje klinastog pisma i hijeroglifa.

27 Za Linear B vidi John Chadwick, Dešifriranje linearnog B (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990.) i Andrew Robinson, Čovjek koji je dešifrirao linearno B: Priča o Michaelu Ventrisu (London: Thames i Hudson, 2002.). Za Maya vidi Michaela Coea, Kršenje Maya koda (London: Thames i Hudson, 1999.) i "Trijumf duha: kako je Jurij Knorosov provalio hijeroglifski kod Maja iz dalekog Lenjingrada", Arheologija, Rujan/listopad 1991., 33-44 i David Roberts, "Dešifriranje drevnih Maja",Atlantik, Rujan 1991., 87-100.

28 Vidi Andrew Robinson, Izgubljeni jezici: zagonetka nešifriranih spisa svijeta (New York: McGraw Hill, 2002.). Robinson posvećuje poglavlja trenutnom razmišljanju o nešifriranim skriptama meroitskog, linearnog A, etrurskog, protoelamitskog i Rongoronga.

29 Samuel Noah Kramer, Sumerani: njihova povijest, kultura i karakter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.), 19-26.

30 Vidi Michael Coe, Maja (London: Thames i Hudson, 1999.).

31 Peter Daniels, "Dešifriranje drevnih bliskoistočnih pisama", u Sassonu, Civilizacije antičkog Bliskog istoka, sv. 1, 82.

32 Pozivajući se na Asirce, Daniels izvještava: "Tumačenje Sumerana pokazalo se kao djelo mnogih desetljeća, tijekom kojih je došlo do ozbiljne kontroverze o tome je li riječ o stvarnom jeziku ili kodu koji su asirski svećenici smislili kako bi prikrili sveto misterije "(" Dešifriranje drevnih bliskoistočnih pisama ", 86). Coe navodi slične stavove među majanskim majstorima sredinom dvadesetog stoljeća, poput Richarda Longa i Paula Schellhasa, koji su sumnjali da glifovi Maja predstavljaju jezik (Kršenje Maya koda, 137-44).

33 Maurice Pope, Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju: od egipatskih hijeorglifa do linearne B (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977.), 186.

34 Vidi Papa, Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju, i Coe, Kršenje Maya koda.

35 Vidi Coe, Kršenje Maya koda, 43-44, za lijep sažetak ovog i drugih općih pitanja vezanih za dešifriranje. Vidi i Robinsonov uvod u Izgubljeni jezici, esp. 40-43 i Chadwick, Dešifriranje linearnog B, 41-43.

36 Stephen Quirke i Carol Andrews, Kamen iz Rozete: Faksimilno crtanje s uvodom i prijevodima (London: British Museum Publications, 1988.).

37 Rawlinsonova transkripcija uključivala je veliki rizik, jer je natpis napravljen sa strane stijene na 340 stopa iznad zemlje. George Cameron sa Sveučilišta Michigan proučavao je natpis i od njega napravio kalupe od lateksa 1948. Njegov rad i mnoge fotografije izbliza iz njegove studije mogu se pronaći u Georgeu Cameronu, "Darius Carved History on Ageless Rock", National Geographic, Prosinac 1950., 825-44.

38 Papa, Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju, 162. Dešifriranje Ugaritskog i Linearnog B nije slijedilo ovaj obrazac.

39 Identifikacija pojedinih riječi u nepoznatom sustavu pisanja može biti važan korak u prijevodu jezika koji stoji iza njega, ali ne jamči uvijek da će uslijediti dešifriranje. Etruscan je dobar primjer ove činjenice. Budući da je etuskanska abeceda povezana s grčkom, mogu se čitati etruščanske riječi, uključujući mnoga osobna imena. No, zbog vrsta dostupnih tekstova, uglavnom pogrebnih, i duljine dostupnih tekstova, znanstvenici nisu uspjeli prijeći s te osnovne razine razumijevanja riječi na razumijevanje jezika u cjelini.

40 Papa, Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju, 189.

41 Papa piše o ovoj metodi: "Ali ono što je Linearno B dešifriranje učinilo jedinstvenim i privuklo maštu svijeta bila je apstraktna fonetska mreža koju je inicirao Kober, a uvelike proširio Ventris. Njegov je učinak bio da pobliže definira upotrebu slogovnih znakova nego prije. Umjesto da kažeš 'znak x označava slog 'postalo je moguće reći' znak x označava slog koji dijeli jedan element sa slogom predstavljenim znakom y. ' Dakle, pravila pisanja bila su točnije poznata, a to je nadoknađivalo malenost i nepreciznost ciljnog područja "(Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju, 188).

42 Za primjere pogledajte predložena web mjesta na kraju članka.

43 U barem jednom slučaju, slučaju Mikenaca, postojeći je korpus dokumenata u potpunosti upravni. Budući da će većina učenika vjerojatno povezati Homera i njega Ilijada i Odiseja s Mikenjanima, vjerojatno bi bilo vrijedno podsjetiti studente da Linear B nije bio Homerov Grk, te da Homerova djela nisu primjeri mikenske književnosti.

44 Na primjer, Paul Halsall održava veliki broj izvrsnih web stranica s izvornim dokumentima koji se mogu preuzeti, a koji se odnose na mnoga povijesna razdoblja i teme. Adresa njegovog izvornog udžbenika za antičku povijest je http://www.fordham.edu/halsallcientcient/asbook.html.

45 Vidi Kramer, Povijest počinje u Sumeru, 1-16.

46 Papa jasno daje do znanja da je Thomas Young bio jako ljubomoran na Champolliona te da je oboje bio kritičan prema njegovoj metodi i preuzimao zasluge za njegove ideje (Priča o arheološkom dešifriranju, 66-68, 84). To je ljubomorno zasigurno djelomično posljedica činjenice da je Champollion dobio zasluge za napredak za koji je Young tvrdio, pa je to imalo i osobni aspekt. Ne bi me iznenadilo, međutim, nakon Napoleonovih ratova i anglo-francuskog natjecanja u Aziji, da je dio ljubomore koju je Young osjećao rezultat činjenice da je za dešifriranje odgovoran Francuz, a ne Englez.

Predloženo čitanje

Ceram, C.W. Bogovi, grobovi i učenjaci: Priča o arheologiji. New York: Bantam Books, 1972. Odjeljci o dešifriranju hijeroglifa i klinastog pisma vrlo su dostupni učenicima srednjih škola.

Chadwick, John. Dešifriranje linearnog B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Chadwick, koji je radio s Michaelom Ventrisom, napisao je ovaj kratki prikaz za opće čitatelje.

Chadwick, John. Čitanje prošlosti: Linearno B i srodni skripti. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Svaki svezak u seriji Čitanje prošlosti sadrži otprilike šezdeset stranica pregled teme s izvrsnim opisima i ilustracijama. Za ostale sveske iz ove serije pogledajte Daviesa i Walkera u nastavku.

Coe, Michael. Kršenje Maya koda. London: Thames and Hudson, 1999. Izvrsna povijest dešifriranja majanskog pisma.

Davies, W.V. Čitanje prošlosti: egipatski hijeroglifi. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.

Erman, Adolf ur. Stari Egipćani: izvorna knjiga njihovih spisa. New York:

Harper Torchbooks, 1966. Sadrži neke primarne izvore o obrazovanju u Novom Egiptu.

Friedrich, Johannes. Izumrli jezici. New York: Philosophical Library, 1957. Vrlo čitljiv tretman dešifriranja i drevnih pisama. Ova je knjiga bila u tisku kad je autor čuo za Ventrisov rad, pa je dodan dodatak o Linearnom B.

Oppenheim, A. Leo. Drevna Mezopotamija: Portret mrtve civilizacije. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977. Sadrži dobre dijelove o pisanju i piscima.

Papa, Maurice. Priča o dešifriranju: od egipatskih hijeroglifa do linearne B. New York: Sons Charles Scribner, 1975. Coe ovo naziva "najboljom općom knjigom o dešifriranju".

Postgate, J. Nicholas. Drevna Mezopotamija: društvo i gospodarstvo u osvit povijesti. London: Routledge, 1995. Odjeljak o evoluciji pisanja u Mezopotamiji.

Robinson, Andrew. Izgubljeni jezici: zagonetka nešifriranih spisa svijeta. New York: McGraw Hill, 2002. Robinson je napisao mnogo knjiga o pisanju i jeziku. Objavio je i biografiju Michaela Ventrisa 2002. godine.

Saggs, H.W. F. Civilizacija prije Grčke i Rima. New Haven: Yale, 1989. Poglavlja o pisanju i obrazovanju.

Sasson, Jack izd. Civilizacije antičkog Bliskog istoka. Svezak 1-4. New York: Sinovi Charlesa Scribnera, 1995. Prvi svezak sadrži odjeljak o dešifriranju Petera Daniels -a. Svezak 4 sadrži odjeljak posvećen jeziku, pisanju i književnosti, s prilozima Denise Schmandt-Bessarat, D.O. Edzard, John Huehnegard, Edward Wente i Laurie Pearce. U ovom referentnom radu može se pronaći mnogo vrijednih članaka.

Von Soden, Wolfram. Drevni Orijent: Uvod u proučavanje antičkog Bliskog istoka. Grand Rapids: William B. Erdmans, 1994. Poglavlje o sustavima za pisanje i pisanje.

Walker, CBF. Čitanje prošlosti: Klinopis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.


Oracle kosti i pisanje budućnosti u dinastiji Shang

Kao što je ranije objavljeno u članku o drevnom podrijetlu, kosti proročanstva su vrsta artefakta najpoznatija po svojoj povezanosti s dinastijom Shang u drevnoj Kini (1600.-1046. Pr. Kr.). Budući da su ti artefakti korišteni u svrhu proricanja, kosti su dobile naziv "kosti proročišta". Osim što nam pružaju informacije o vjerovanjima ljudi iz dinastije Shang, kosti proročišta također su značajne jer tvore najranije poznato glavno tijelo drevnog kineskog pisma.

Glavna životinjska kost koja se koristila za stvaranje kostiju proročišta bila je lopatica ili lopatica. Čini se da su volovi preferirani životinjski izbor, jer su arheološki zapisi dali veliku količinu kostiju proročišta izrađenih od lopatice ove životinje. Ipak, pronađene su i kosti proročišta izrađene od lopatica jelena, ovaca i svinja. Što se tiče drugog materijala, korišten je plastron (gotovo ravna donja strana kornjače). Karaps (konveksna gornja školjka kornjače) nije bio prikladan za izradu kostiju proročišta, jer je bilo mnogo teže pisati na njegovoj zakrivljenoj površini.

Natpise iz kostiju proročišta prvi je put otkrio 1899. akademik i starinar Wang Yirong u Pekingu, iako je skupina farmera iz Anyanga otkrila artefakte daleko prije profesora. Tijekom 20. stoljeća pronađeno je na tisuće kostiju proročišta. Različita istraživanja kostiju proročišta pokazala su način na koji se kinesko pismo razvijalo tijekom vremena, bacajući svjetlo na gatačke prakse dinastije Shang.

Proces proricanja budućnosti uz pomoć kostiju proročišta obično bi započeo pitanjem koje je postavio klijent. Ta su pitanja uključivala različite teme, uključujući meteorološka, ​​poljoprivredna i vojna pitanja. Gatač bi zatim upotrijebio oštar alat da upiše pitanje na kost / ljusku, nakon čega bi se u njega izbušila rupa / rupe. Kost proročišta tada bi se stavila pod jaku toplinu dok se ne stvore pukotine. Konačno, te pukotine protumačili su gatari za svoje klijente.


Izvori podataka i metode

Znakovi navedeni u ovom radu upućuju na više autora (Mahadevan, 1977. Parpola, 1986., 1994. Wells, 1998.), CISI (Joshi i Parpola, 1987. Parpola i sur., 2010. Shah i Parpola, 1991.) i skup podataka ICIT -a. Skup podataka na koji se usredotočujemo kuriran je i provjeren na dva načina. Prvo, ručno (pomoću popisa znakova drugih autora i CISI -a), i drugo, korištenjem baze podataka ICIT kao resursa. Svaki znak na predmetnim pečatima pohranjen je u MongoDB bazi podataka. Znakovi na koje smo se usredotočili za simetrične/asimetrične bili su primarno polje koje nam je omogućilo da se usredotočimo na njihov odnos prema drugim znakovima u pečatu i sličnim pečatima. Za svaki pečat pohranjeni su sljedeći atributi: CISI ID, broj znaka, mjesto, drugi znakovi na pečatu, duljina pečata i zastavica koja označava je li riječ o višerednom pečatu. Svaki pečat pohranjen je kao dokument koji ima gore navedena svojstva. Za razliku od tradicionalnih baza podataka, MongoDB baza podataka omogućuje višestruke korelacije s predznakom, a omogućuje i lakšu analizu. Svaka od frekvencija navedenih u ovom radu lako se tabelira postavljanjem upita skupu podataka. Ova postavka baze podataka mogla bi se proširiti u budućnosti za daljnju analizu pečata sa simbolima životinja.


Drevne civilizacije i rano pisanje

Pisanje se neovisno razvijalo u različitim regijama, poput Bliskog istoka, Kine, doline Inda i Srednje Amerike. Sustavi pisanja koji su se pojavili u svakoj od ovih regija različiti su i nisu utjecali jedno na drugo. Najraniji poznati sustav pisanja bio je klinopis u Mezopotamiji, koji datira od 3.100 godina prije Krista.

Zašto je pisanje izmišljeno? Možda se odgovor može pronaći u prvim pisanim porukama. Na većini mjesta gdje se pisanje razvijalo neovisno, najstariji dokumenti koji su ostali su naljepnice i popisi ili imena vladara. Općenito, neki su bili mnogo bogatiji od drugih u društvima koja su proizvodila te dokumente, a moć je bila koncentrirana u rukama malih skupina. Stoga se pretpostavlja da je pisanje izmišljeno jer su članovi ovih skupina morali organizirati distribuciju robe i ljudi kako bi zadržali kontrolu nad obojicom.

U mnogim društvima pisanje je izmišljeno i u druge svrhe. Na primjer, u drevnoj Mezopotamiji ugovori i drugi komercijalni dokumenti, pisma, zakoni, vjerski obredi, pa čak i književna djela. S druge strane, u Srednjoj Americi pisanje je dugo bilo ograničeno na natpise na spomenicima koji se odnose na monarhiju. U tim društvima gdje je pisanje bilo ograničeno na malu dominantnu skupinu, zapravo je bilo vrlo malo ljudi koji su znali čitati i pisati.

Logografsko pisanje

Ovisno o načinu rada, sustavi za pisanje klasificirani su kao logografski, slogovni ili abecedni. Povremeno neki sustavi koriste više od jednog u isto vrijeme. Na primjer, stari Egipćani koristili su sva tri sustava istovremeno. U logografskim sustavima pisanja svaki simbol predstavlja riječ. U mnogim od ovih sustava, gramatički se odrednici dodaju osnovnim simbolima, to su posebni simboli koji ukazuju na semantičke ili gramatičke promjene, poput složenih ili množinskih oblika riječi. Najočitija poteškoća ovog sustava pisanja je ogroman broj simbola potrebnih za izražavanje svake riječi. Kineski sustav pisanja koristi oko 50.000 znakova, iako se ne koriste svi uobičajeno. To objašnjava zašto nije iznenađujuće što je vrlo malo ljudi moglo čitati i pisati u carskoj Kini. Čak je i u moderno doba bilo potrebno nekoliko desetljeća za stvaranje pisaće mašine na kineskom jeziku.

Slogovno pisanje

Složni sustavi pisanja koriste simbole za predstavljanje slogova. Mnogi rani sustavi pisanja bili su silabični: asirski i babilonski klinasto pismo na Bliskom istoku, dva sustava pisma iz pretklasične Grčke, japanski kana i drevno majansko pisanje u Srednjoj Americi.

Babylonian cuneiform is a good example of how syllabic writing was used and developed. It first developed from Sumerian logographic writing, and both were written by imprinting wedge-shaped marks on wet clay tablets. They would put syllabic signs one after the other to form words.

Cuneiform syllabic writing was used for a long time in the ancient Near East, where it was in use between the years 3,100 and 100 BC. It was used to write other languages as well as Akkadian, such as Hittite and Elamite.

Babylonian cuneiform has around 600 symbols, although many of them are used for their different syllabic values.

Alphabetic Writing

Most modern languages use alphabetic writing systems where each symbol represents a basic sound. Spanish and most modern European languages are written with alphabets that come from the Latin alphabet. The great advantage of alphabetical systems is that far fewer symbols need to be learned than in logographic or syllabic systems, as most alphabets feature fewer than 30 characters.

It’s rather ironic, but it’s possible that the invention of the first alphabet was inspired by the ancient Egyptian script, one of the most complex writing systems ever invented. Egyptian hieroglyphs combined logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic symbols. In the middle of the second millennium BC, communities living in the Sinai Peninsula discovered that all of the sounds of their language could be expressed using a small number of alphabetic symbols.

It’s likely that the alphabetic systems descended from the original Sinai script were widely used throughout the Levant until 1150 BC. However, as this type of script was mostly written on perishable materials like parchment and papyrus, very few original materials remain. However, papyrus has been preserved in Egypt due to of the dryness of the desert and the absence of bacteria.

The earliest examples of alphabetic writing, which date from 1450 to 1150 BC, were found at the site of the ancient Canaanite city of Ugarit. A writing system consisting of 30 cuneiform symbols was invented to write in Ugaritic. Ugaritic written documents were engraved on clay tablets that are almost indestructible when baked. However, the few remaining documents suggest that the inhabitants of Ugarit were more accustomed to the usual Semitic alphabetic writing tradition of writing on perishable materials.

A very late, and particularly special, example of a surviving original Semitic parchment is the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls. Dating from about 100 BC to 68 AD, these mysterious religious texts written in Aramaic and Hebrew were found between 1947 and 1956 in clay pots in an Israeli desert cave. It’s easier to trace the evolution of the Levantine alphabets used in Semitic languages like Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic after 1200 BC, as there are a few inscriptions carved in stone.

These alphabetic scripts differ from how modern European alphabetic writing is used in two important respects. Firstly, in Semitic writing texts are normally written right to left, instead of left to right. Secondly, vowel sounds and diphthongs in languages that use Semitic scripts (a, e, i, o, u, o, ai, oo, etc.) are not written, and only consonants are recorded (b, k, d, f, g, etc.).

It seems that the writing of vowel sounds occurred by accident, and it wasn’t some sort of brilliant invention. The Greeks were aware of the Levantine alphabets by having established regular contact with the Phoenicians and other peoples of the region between 950 and 850 BC, when they both, among others, established markets throughout the Mediterranean. Some letters that represent consonants in the Semitic sense sounded like vowels to the Greeks.

The Greeks also took their alphabet to Italy, where it was adapted for use in Etruscan, Latin, and other languages. The Roman Empire helped to spread their alphabet throughout much of Western Europe, although the Greek alphabet was still used in the Eastern Empire. By the time the Western Roman Empire fell in the 5th century, it was already a Christian empire. Writing (in Latin) had become essential in ecclesiastical administration. Both the Latin writing system and Christianity survived the empire that gave birth to them. During the early medieval period, the Latin alphabet was adapted to transcribe various languages, such as Gothic, Old Irish, French and Old English. Meanwhile, in the East, the Greek Orthodox Church expanded to the north, Russia and the Balkans, taking the Greek alphabet with them. It’s said that two Orthodox clerics, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, adapted the Greek alphabet to write Slavic languages. This is why the alphabet currently used in Russia, Bulgaria and other parts of Eastern Europe is called Cyrillic, in honor of St. Cyril. In this way, the Semitic, Greek, and Latin alphabets served as the basis of most of the alphabets currently used in modern Europe, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.


Sadržaj

Human communication was initiated with the origin of speech approximately 500,000 BCE [ potreban je citat ]. Symbols were developed about 30,000 years ago. The imperfection of speech, which nonetheless allowed easier dissemination of ideas and eventually resulted in the creation of new forms of communications, improving both the range at which people could communicate and the longevity of the information. All of those inventions were based on the key concept of the symbol.

The oldest known symbols created for the purpose of communication were cave paintings, a form of rock art, dating to the Upper Paleolithic age. The oldest known cave painting is located within Chauvet Cave, dated to around 30,000 BC. [1] These paintings contained increasing amounts of information: people may have created the first calendar as far back as 15,000 years ago. [2] The connection between drawing and writing is further shown by linguistics: in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece the concepts and words of drawing and writing were one and the same (Egyptian: 's-sh', Greek: 'graphein'). [3]

The next advancement in the history of communications came with the production of petroglyphs, carvings into a rock surface. It took about 20,000 years for homo sapiens to move from the first cave paintings to the first petroglyphs, which are dated to approximately the Neolithic and late Upper Paleolithic boundary, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

It is possible that Homo sapiens (humans) of that time used some other forms of communication, often for mnemonic purposes - specially arranged stones, symbols carved in wood or earth, quipu-like ropes, tattoos, but little other than the most durable carved stones has survived to modern times and we can only speculate about their existence based on our observation of still existing 'hunter-gatherer' cultures such as those of Africa or Oceania. [4]

A pictogram (pictograph) is a symbol representing a concept, object, activity, place or event by illustration. Pictography is a form of proto-writing whereby ideas are transmitted through drawing. Pictographs were the next step in the evolution of communication: the most important difference between petroglyphs and pictograms is that petroglyphs are simply showing an event, but pictograms are telling a story about the event, thus they can for example be ordered chronologically.

Pictograms were used by various ancient cultures all over the world since around 9000 BC, when tokens marked with simple pictures began to be used to label basic farm produce, and become increasingly popular around 6000–5000 BC.

They were the basis of cuneiform [5] and hieroglyphs, and began to develop into logographic writing systems around 5000 BC.

Pictograms, in turn, evolved into ideograms, graphical symbols that represent an idea. Their ancestors, the pictograms, could represent only something resembling their form: therefore a pictogram of a circle could represent a sun, but not concepts like 'heat', 'light', 'day' or 'Great God of the Sun'. Ideograms, on the other hand, could convey more abstract concepts, so that for example an ideogram of

Because some ideas are universal, many different cultures developed similar ideograms. For example, an eye with a tear means 'sadness' in Native American ideograms in California, as it does for the Aztecs, the early Chinese and the Egyptians. [ potreban je citat ]

Early scripts Edit

The oldest-known forms of writing were primarily logographic in nature, based on pictographic and ideographic elements. Most writing systems can be broadly divided into three categories: logographic, syllabic i alphabetic (ili segmental) however, all three may be found in any given writing system in varying proportions, often making it difficult to categorise a system uniquely.

The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic of the late 4000 BC. The first writing system is generally believed to have been invented in pre-historic Sumer and developed by the late 3000's BC into cuneiform. Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the undeciphered Proto-Elamite writing system and Indus Valley script also date to this era, though a few scholars have questioned the Indus Valley script's status as a writing system.

The original Sumerian writing system was derived from a system of clay tokens used to represent commodities. By the end of the 4th millennium BC, this had evolved into a method of keeping accounts, using a round-shaped stylus impressed into soft clay at different angles for recording numbers. This was gradually augmented with pictographic writing using a sharp stylus to indicate what was being counted. Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing was gradually replaced about 2700–2000 BC by writing using a wedge-shaped stylus (hence the term cuneiform), at first only for logograms, but developed to include phonetic elements by the 2800 BC. About 2600 BC cuneiform began to represent syllables of spoken Sumerian language.

Finally, cuneiform writing became a general purpose writing system for logograms, syllables, and numbers. By the 26th century BC, this script had been adapted to another Mesopotamian language, Akkadian, and from there to others such as Hurrian, and Hittite. Scripts similar in appearance to this writing system include those for Ugaritic and Old Persian.

The Chinese script may have originated independently of the Middle Eastern scripts, around the 16th century BC (early Shang Dynasty), out of a late neolithic Chinese system of proto-writing dating back to c. 6000 BC. The pre-Columbian writing systems of the Americas, including Olmec and Mayan, are also generally believed to have had independent origins.

Alphabet Edit

The first pure alphabets (properly, "abjads", mapping single symbols to single phonemes, but not necessarily each phoneme to a symbol) emerged around 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, but by then alphabetic principles had already been incorporated into Egyptian hieroglyphs for a millennium (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets).

By 2700 BC, Egyptian writing had a set of some 22 hieroglyphs to represent syllables that begin with a single consonant of their language, plus a vowel (or no vowel) to be supplied by the native speaker. These glyphs were used as pronunciation guides for logograms, to write grammatical inflections, and, later, to transcribe loan words and foreign names.

However, although seemingly alphabetic in nature, the original Egyptian uniliterals were not a system and were never used by themselves to encode Egyptian speech. In the Middle Bronze Age an apparently "alphabetic" system is thought by some to have been developed in central Egypt around 1700 BC for or by Semitic workers, but we cannot read these early writings and their exact nature remains open to interpretation.

Over the next five centuries this Semitic "alphabet" (really a syllabary like Phoenician writing) seems to have spread north. All subsequent alphabets around the world [ potreban je citat ] with the sole exception of Korean Hangul have either descended from it, or been inspired by one of its descendants.

Scholars agree that there is a relationship between the West-Semitic alphabet and the creation of the Greek alphabet. There is debate between scholars regarding the earliest uses of the Greek alphabet because of the changes that were made to create the Greek alphabet. [6]

The Greek alphabet had the following characteristics:

  1. The Greek lettering we know of today traces back to the eighth century B.C.
  2. Early Greek scripts used the twenty-two West-Semitic letters, and included five supplementary letters.
  3. Early Greek was not uniform in structure, and had many local variations.
  4. The Greek lettering was written using a lapidary style of writing.
  5. Greek was written in a boustrophedon style.

Scholars believe that at one point in time, early Greek scripts were very close to the West-Semitic alphabet. Over time, the changes that were made to the Greek alphabet were introduced as a result of the need for the Greeks to find a better way to express their spoken language in a more accurate way. [6]

Storytelling Edit

Verbal communication is one of the earliest forms of human communication, the oral tradition of storytelling has dated back to various times in history. The development of communication in its oral form can be categorized based on certain historical periods. The complexity of oral communication has always been reflective based on the circumstance of the time period. Verbal communication was never bound to one specific area, instead, it had and continues to be a globally shared tradition of communication. [7] People communicated through song, poems, and chants, as some examples. People would gather in groups and pass down stories, myths, and history. Oral poets from Indo-European regions were known as "weavers of words" for their mastery over the spoken word and ability to tell stories. [8] Nomadic people also had oral traditions that they used to tell stories of the history of their people to pass them on to the next generation.

Nomadic tribes have been the torch bearers of oral storytelling. Nomads of Arabia are one example of the many nomadic tribes that have continued through history to use oral storytelling as a tool to tell their histories and the story of their people. Due to the nature of nomadic life, these individuals were often left without architecture and possessions to call their own, and often left little to no traces of themselves. [9] The richness of the nomadic life and culture is preserved by early Muslim scholars who collect the poems and stories that are handed down from generation to generation. Poems created by these Arabic nomads are passed down by specialists known as sha'ir. These individuals spread the stories and histories of these nomadic tribes, and often in times of war, would strengthen morale within members of given tribes through these stories. [ potreban je citat ]

In its natural form, oral communication was, and has continued to be, one of the best ways for humans to spread their message, history, and traditions to the world. [ potreban je citat ]

Timeline of writing technology Edit

  • 30,000 BC – In ice-age Europe, people mark ivory, bone, and stone with patterns to keep track of time, using a lunar calendar. [10]
  • 14,000 BC – In what is now Mezhirich, Ukraine, the first known artifact with a map on it is made using bone. [10]
  • Prior to 3500 BC – Communication was carried out through paintings of indigenous tribes. – The Sumerians develop cuneiform writing and the Egyptians develop hieroglyphic writing.
  • 16th century BC – The Phoenicians develop an alphabet.
  • 105 – Tsai Lun invents paper.
  • 7th century – Hindu-Malayan empires write legal documents on copper plate scrolls, and write other documents on more perishable media.
  • 751 – Paper is introduced to the Muslim world after the Battle of Talas.
  • 1250 – The quill is used for writing. [10]
  • 1305 – The Chinese develop wooden blockmovable type printing.
  • 1450 – Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with metal movable type.
  • 1844 – Charles Fenerty produces paper from a wood pulp, eliminating rag paper which was in limited supply.
  • 1849 – Associated Press organizes Nova Scotiapony express to carry latest European news for New York newspapers.
  • 1958 – Chester Carlson presents the first photocopier suitable for office use.

The history of telecommunication - the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication - began thousands of years ago with the use of smoke signals and drums in Africa, America and parts of Asia. In the 1790s the first fixed semaphore systems emerged in Europe however it was not until the 1830s that electrical telecommunication systems started to appear.


Which undeciphered writing system has the largest corpus of text? - Povijest

Ancient History relies on disciplines such as Epigraphy, the study of ancient inscribed texts, for evidence of the recorded past. However, these texts, “inscriptions”, are often damaged over the centuries, and illegible parts of the text must be restored by specialists, known as epigraphists. This work presents PYTHIA, the first ancient text restoration model that recovers missing characters from a damaged text input using deep neural networks. Its architecture is carefully designed to handle longterm context information, and deal efficiently with missing or corrupted character and word representations. To train it, we wrote a nontrivial pipeline to convert PHI, the largest digital corpus of ancient Greek inscriptions, to machine actionable text, which we call PHI-ML. On PHI-ML, PYTHIA’s predictions achieve a 30.1% character error rate, compared to the 57.3% of human epigraphists. Moreover, in 73.5% of cases the ground-truth sequence was among the Top-20 hypotheses of PYTHIA, which effectively demonstrates the impact of this assistive method on the field of digital epigraphy, and sets the state-of-the-art in ancient text restoration.

Authors' Notes

Historians rely on different sources to reconstruct the thought, society and history of past civilisations. Many of these sources are text-based – whether written on scrolls or carved into stone, the preserved records of the past help shed light on ancient societies. However, these records of our ancient cultural heritage are often incomplete: due to deliberate destruction, or erosion and fragmentation over time. This is the case for inscriptions: texts written on a durable surface (such as stone, ceramic, metal) by individuals, groups and institutions of the past, and which are the focus of the discipline called epigraphy . Thousands of inscriptions have survived to our day but the majority have suffered damage over the centuries, and parts of the text are illegible or lost (Figure 1). The reconstruction ("restoration") of these documents is complex and time consuming, but necessary for a deeper understanding of civilisations past.

One of the issues with discerning meaning from incomplete fragments of text is that there are often multiple possible solutions. In many word games and puzzles, players guess letters to complete a word or phrase – the more letters that are specified, the more constrained the possible solutions become. But unlike these games, where players have to guess a phrase in isolation, historians restoring a text can estimate the likelihood of different possible solutions based on other context clues in the inscription – such as grammatical and linguistic considerations, layout and shape, textual parallels, and historical context. Now, by using machine learning trained on ancient texts, we’ve built a system that can furnish a more complete and systematically ranked list of possible solutions, which we hope will augment historians’ understanding of a text.

Figure 1: Damaged inscription: a decree of the Athenian Assembly relating to the management of the Acropolis (dating 485/4 BCE). IG I3 4B. (CC BY-SA 3.0, WikiMedia)

Pythia

Pythia – which takes its name from the woman who delivered the god Apollo's oracular responses at the Greek sanctuary of Delphi – is the first ancient text restoration model that recovers missing characters from a damaged text input using deep neural networks. Bringing together the disciplines of ancient history and deep learning, the present work offers a fully automated aid to the text restoration task, providing ancient historians with multiple textual restorations, as well as the confidence level for each hypothesis.

Pythia takes a sequence of damaged text as input, and is trained to predict character sequences comprising hypothesised restorations of ancient Greek inscriptions (texts written in the Greek alphabet dating between the seventh century BCE and the fifth century CE). The architecture works at both the character- and word-level, thereby effectively handling long-term context information, and dealing efficiently with incomplete word representations (Figure 2). This makes it applicable to all disciplines dealing with ancient texts ( philology , papyrology , codicology ) and applies to any language (ancient or modern).

Figure 2: Pythia processing the phrase μηδέν ἄγαν ( Mēdèn ágan ) "nothing in excess," a fabled maxim inscribed on Apollo’s temple in Delphi. The letters "γα" are the characters to be predicted, and are annotated with ‘?’. Since ἄ??ν is not a complete word, its embedding is treated as unknown (‘unk’). The decoder outputs correctly "γα".

Experimental evaluation

To train Pythia, we wrote a non-trivial pipeline to convert the largest digital corpus of ancient Greek inscriptions ( PHI Greek Inscriptions ) to machine actionable text, which we call PHI-ML. As shown in Table 1, Pythia’s predictions on PHI-ML achieve a 30.1% character error rate, compared to the 57.3% of evaluated human ancient historians (specifically, these were PhD students from Oxford). Moreover, in 73.5% of cases the ground-truth sequence was among the Top-20 hypotheses of Pythia, which effectively demonstrates the impact of this assistive method on the field of digital epigraphy, and sets the state-of-the-art in ancient text restoration.

Table 1: Pythia's Predictive performance of on PHI-ML.

The importance of context

To evaluate Pythia’s receptiveness to context information and visualise the attention weights at each decoding step, we experimented with the modified lines of an inscription from the city of Pergamon (in modern-day Turkey)*. In the text of Figure 3, the last word is a Greek personal name ending in -ου. We set ἀπολλοδώρου ("Apollodorou") as the personal name, and hid its first 9 characters. This name was specifically chosen because it already appeared within the input text. Pythia attended to the contextually-relevant parts of the text - specifically, ἀπολλοδώρου. The sequence ἀπολλοδώρ was predicted correctly. As a litmus test, we substituted ἀπολλοδώρου in the input text with another personal name of the same length: ἀρτεμιδώρου ("Artemidorou"). The predicted sequence changed accordingly to ἀρτεμιδώρ, thereby illustrating the importance of context in the prediction process.

Figure 3: Visualisation of the attention weights for the decoding of the first 4 missing characters. To aid visualisation, the weights within the area of the characters to be predicted (‘?’) are in green, and in blue for the rest of the text the magnitude of the weights is represented by the colour intensity. The ground-truth text ἀπολλοδώρ appears in the input text, and Pythia attends to the relevant parts of the sequence.

Future research

The combination of machine learning and epigraphy has the potential to impact meaningfully the study of inscribed texts, and widen the scope of the historian’s work. For this reason, we have open-sourced an online Python notebook, Pythia, and PHI-ML’s processing pipeline at https://github.com/sommerschield/ancient-text-restoration , collaborating with scholars at the University of Oxford . By so doing, we hope to aid future research and inspire further interdisciplinary work.

*Specifically, lines b.8- c.5 of the inscription MDAI(A) 32 (1907) 428, 275.


The Story of India’s Many Scripts

While India’s scripts are ancient, technology and modernity are changing their usage patterns.

Only a few years ago, things did not seem to be going well for India’s various alphabets, often known as the Indic or Brahmic scripts after the historical Iron Age script that is the ancestor of modern South and Southeast Asian writing systems. Digitalization and the widespread proliferation of Roman-alphabet keyboards in India meant that Indian users would often transcribe Indian languages using ad hoc Romanizations on the internet and via text.

Yet today, one can’t follow the Indian Twittersphere or Indian content on social media and the rest of the internet without noticing the recent proliferation of Indic script material, particularly Devanagari (the script used for Hindi, Marathi, and Nepali). Technology and innovation helped this process along, and instead of shrinking the sphere of Indic script usage, they allow Indic scripts to be used more broadly, especially at the popular level. The use of Unicode, and the spread of Indic script transliteration and typing interfaces on Google, and on phones—which is how most Indians access the Internet—have all made it much easier to publish online in Indic scripts. Many phones and computers in India are not specifically designed with Indic script keyboards and instead use the Roman alphabet keyboards common in the West. Transliteration software renders this moot. The increased use of Indic-language scripts has also lead to newer and more artistic fonts for Indian languages.

In short, this is a golden age for Indic language script usage, due to technology and increased literacy. This is despite both the proliferation of English-language education in India, and the shoddy quality of public schools in that country. The very nature of modernity, with its mass communication, advertisements, social platforms, and the spread of information and entertainment to everyone with a smartphone, means that everyone will eventually gain and utilize basic literacy, even if by osmosis and not formal education. And most of this literacy in India will be in local languages. This will be the first time in India’s recorded history that its scripts are being used so widely.

India has a long history of writing. While India has been a literate culture for millennia, it has also greatly valued oral knowledge. The ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, the oldest of which dated to around 1500 BCE were memorized verbatim for at least a thousand years, if not more, before being committed to writing. The oldest writing found in the subcontinent is the as yet undeciphered script of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), which seems to have been somewhat logo-syllabic in nature. The script fell out of use by 1500 BCE.

The Indus Valley Script. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The linguistic landscape of the subcontinent changed dramatically during the 2nd millennium BCE, so that is is impossible to determine if there is a connection between the IVC script and the next clearly attested script in India, the Brahmi script found in the inscriptions of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (ruled 268-232 BCE), especially since they probably represented vastly different, unrelated languages.

The sudden appearance of the Brahmi writing system is one of the great mysteries of writing in India, as there is no evidence of inscriptions beforehand. Another script, the (extinct, childless) Kharosthi of northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan seems to be clearly derived from the imperial Aramaic script used by the Persians who ruled over parts of the Indus Valley for two centuries until the arrival of Alexander the Great. It is unclear if the fully developed Brahmi script was invented by the Mauryan Empire as a result of exposure to Aramaic, but this seems unlikely, particularly since there were advanced states in the Ganges valley and a corpus of Vedic literature dating from before the Mauryan period.

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It is more likely that pre-Mauryan inscriptions may still be discovered, and in fact, some Brahmi inscriptions have been found in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka dating to the 6th century BCE. Is it possible then, that writing spread from the south to the north, countervening the traditional notion that the Indic scripts originate in the Ganges valley? This may quite possibly be the case, especially since the coasts of southern India were more exposed to foreign trade from the Middle East than northern India, and scripts from traders could have been brought to India this way (the same way the Phoenicians brought their script to Greece). This long gestation period and overland route from southern to northern India may explain why the Brahmi script, even if it is vaguely derived from Middle Eastern alphabets, is so different and nativized, especially relative to the more obviously Middle Eastern-inspired Kharosthi.

The Possible Evolution of Brahmi from Middle Eastern Scripts. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Once the Brahmi script was spread throughout India by the subcontinent-wide Mauryan Empire, it was used by the subcontinent’s elites.However, unlike imperial China with its unified central government and bureaucratic exam system, and Christian and Muslim societies that were united by a written scripture, oral culture and regional differences in India led to the Brahmi script differentiating and evolving into different scripts in various regions of India, a phenomenon that was already occurring by the end of the Maruyan period in the 2nd century BCE. This phenomenon—each literary language having a particular and unique script—is not actually that unique to India, as the various languages of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean also evolved their own scripts from a common source.

The increased need for quicker, daily writing, versus use for monumental inscriptions may have led to the predominance of cursive styles that evolved into India’s modern scripts. Various other factors may have been at play, such as the material used for writing: in South India, scripts became more rounded, as a result of writing on palm leaves, while in North India, cloth and birch bark allowed for more angular lines, and indeed the major division amongst Brahmic scripts is between the southern Indian/Southeast Asian scripts and the northern Indian and Tibetan scripts.

The Differentiation of Brahmi Letter Shapes. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Regional linguistic differences also helped Indic writing proliferate into many scripts in both South and Southeast Asia. It became prestigious for every major language to have its own script, though what evolved into today’s Devanagari (which began to emerge by the 7th century CE) script retained a special prestige due to its close association with Sanskrit. It is unclear if the evolution of Indic scripts into new forms would have ever stopped had it not been for the standardization process that is necessary for a print-oriented mass modern society. Relatively recently, for example, Devanagari spawned new, regional variations such as the Gujarati script, indicating that there was no real “final form” in the evolution of letter shapes in Indic writing. This seems to have remained the case, even when Indic-script users were exposed to the more unchanging Roman and Arabic alphabets.

The Evolution of Letter Shapes. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The change in letter forms leading to new scripts was probably so slow, generation by generation, that the process did not necessarily involve conscious change from one script to another, but a slow evolution of differences in letter formation as texts were copied throughout the ages. A similar development occurred in medieval Europe with the Latin script, but the development of the printing press, and Renaissance ideas about how the Latin script ought to look like led to a typographical convergence.

Brahmi and Devanagari found together on a pillar. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The evolution of Brahmi into so many scripts over time in India does however raise the question of what individuals and scribes thought about the changes upon becoming aware—and they were aware, as inscriptions in multiple different Indian scripts have been found together, like Kannada with Devanagari—of the fact that their contemporary writing systems were divergent in separate regions, and were also vastly different from the forms found in inscriptions and ancient documents. While 19th century scribes of Indian scripts were unable to tell the British what was written on ancient pillars from the Mauryan Era (the British deciphered Brahmi in 1837), this inability to read ancient forms of writing does not always seem to be the case. In fact, there have been examples of Mauryan, Gupta, and early Nagari inscriptions found together, with each subsequent script alluding to the content of what was written before it in a predecessor script.

But that fact that this knowledge was lost over time and that Indian scripts differentiated into so many forms does seem to indicate that literacy was not widespread and was limited to pockets of individuals, a trend which probably accelerated due to the eclipse of a pan-Indian literary culture after the 12th century. Before the emergence of a modern, mass culture throughout India, writing styles and scripts were particular to regions, and even castes, with scribes and merchants often utilizing their own scripts, which were usually simpler forms of the more formal monumental alphabets used for official or religious purposes.

However, modern trends such as the emergence of a politically unified, subcontinent-wide state in India, new scholarship, and technology seem to be reversed the differentiation that has characterized Indian scripts for past 2,000 years. The literacy of hundred of millions of people in native scripts makes it unlikely that the shapes of letters used by millions of people everyday for communication will change anytime soon, as that would lead to confusion and a lack of communication. The standardization and use of some scripts for mass print and online have also led to the decline of caste and trade based scripts, as well as many local variations. Many hitherto unwritten modern languages are now written in established scripts, usually the script most prevalent in that particular state of India’s, instead of evolving a new script for the language.

While India’s scripts are ancient, technology and modernity are changing their usage patterns, and are in fact allowing them to thrive as never before in standardized and widely used forms, as more people gain literacy and access to the internet.


Get around [ edit ]

While Corpus Christi is ostensibly laid out in a classic city-block style, the adaptation of that system to the local geography can make navigation a little confusing. Nevertheless, there are several main roads that traverse nearly the entire city, and these can be used to orient yourself if you find yourself lost.

By car [ edit ]

Most visitors and locals travel around Corpus Christi in cars. Most likely, a rental or personal car is the best way for you to see the city.

The main routes one needs to know to get around efficiently in Corpus Christi are I-37, South Padre Island Drive (TX-358), Crosstown Expressway (TX-286), i Ocean Drive/Shoreline Boulevard (Ocean Drive is an extension of Shoreline Blvd. for about seven miles along Corpus Christi Bay).

I-37 brings you into town from the west and ends on Shoreline Drive downtown on the Bayfront.

Shoreline Blvd. is a section of about four miles in downtown Corpus Christi along the bay. It begins in the area of the Art Museum of South Texas and leads south, becoming Ocean Drive. Following Ocean Drive takes one through the most scenic part of the city and to its end at the Naval Air Station and Texas A&M.

South Padre Island Drive does not go to South Padre Island (a frequent mistake made by visitors), but is better thought of as the southern section of Padre Island Drive. It is a section of 358 running from I-37 down the southern side of the city from northwest to southeast and ending on Padre Island at Padre Island National Seashore. Along it is the main shopping and dining area for the city. Locals will invariably refer to South Padre Island Drive as S.P.I.D., with the letters always pronounced separately. Visitors should remember that there will not be signs reading SPID. Instead, many read NAS-CCAD (for Naval Air Station and Corpus Christi Army Depot) or TX-358.

Connecting the northern end of S.P.I.D. to the downtown area near where I-37 ends is the Crosstown Expressway.

The Harbor Bridge takes drivers over the ship channel from downtown to Corpus Christi Beach, a popular destination for tourists.

By public transit [ edit ]

Corpus Christi has a small trolley service (actually buses poorly disguised as trolleys) and a citywide bus service. Both are run by the Corpus Christi Regional Transit Authority, and schedules can be found at their website [11].

There is no Metro, subway, or any other form of a city rail service.

Car rental services can be found at the airport or along S.P.I.D.

Corpus Christi has a marina, for those few lucky enough to travel by water.


Epi-Olmec script

One of the most important Olmec finds was the discovery of an inscribed slab found under the waters of the Acula River near the village of La Mojarra in 1986 in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Dubbed Stela 1 of La Mojarra, this monument was inscribed with 465 glyphs arranged in 21 columns, and the image of a ruler. The writing on it is nothing like any other writing system in Mesoamerica, such as Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, or Aztec, although like the Maya it also used the Long Count.

However, Stela 1 of La Mojarra is not the only example of its writing system. Most of the monuments that bear glyphs in the same (or similar) writing system are also found near the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the thin stretch of land that separates the majority of Mexico from its south-eastern states and from Central America, although none has texts as long as the Stela. The famous Tuxtla Statuette, a hand-length nephrite figurine of an almost comedic man dressed in a duck's outfit, bears a Long Count date of 162 CE as well as non-calendric glyphs. Other famous inscriptions include Stela C of Tres Zapotes, with a Long Count date of 32 BCE, and Stela 1 of Chiapa de Corzo (located in Chiapas, Mexico), with an incomplete date conjectured to be 36 BCE. In the site of Cerro de las Mesas, Veracruz, highly erroded monuments also bear Long Count dates, but from the early Classic period at around 450 CE, as well as a large stone version of the Tuxtla Statuette devoid of any text.

Scholars have given this script many names, epi-Olmec was chosen since it is more common in scientific literature. Some have called this script the "La Mojarra script" after the location where the Stela was found. Another name, also based on a geographical name, is the "Isthmian Script", named after the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. You would find all three names used in publications, and websites. Yet another name is the "Tuxtla Script", named after the Tuxtla Statuette as well as the Tuxtla Mountains near which many of the texts have been found.

Left side image of La Mojarra Stela 1, showing a person identified as "Harvester Mountain Lord". Inscriptions in the Isthmian or Epi-Olmec script on the right side of La Mojarra Stela 1

The Epi-Olmec script turned out to be structurally similar to the Maya. It is logophonetic, meaning that one set of the signs, the phonograms, have phonetic values, while the other glyphs, called logograms, represents morpheme. A morpheme is a word or part of a word that cannot be broken further into smaller units with relevant meaning. For instance, the English word beautiful can be broken down into beauty and -ful, neither of which can be broken down further. Beauty is a morpheme because it is a word. Furthermore, -ful carries the meaning of "a lot of", and can also be used with other words, like bountiful, faithful, and others. Hence it is not a unique derivation of beauty, but a morpheme in its own right.

In a logophonetic system, both logograms and phonograms are used. Frequently logograms make up the root of a word whereas phonograms spell out the prefixes and suffixes that modify the root.

The vowel u ("u" with a line through the middle) is a strange vowel. It is a central high vowel, meaning that it's like the common vowel [i] but the position of the peak of the tongue is halfway between the throat and the teeth. You can check out Phonetics for details on how to pronounce it.

All phonograms in the Epi-Olmec script represent syllables. So we call the set of phonograms the syllabary:

The Epi-Olmec culture was a cultural area in the central region of the present-day Mexican state of Veracruz, concentrated in the Papaloapan River basin, a culture that existed during the Late Formative period, from roughly 300 BCE to roughly 250 CE. Epi-Olmec was a successor culture to the Olmec, hence the prefix "epi-" or "post-". Although Epi-Olmec did not attain the far-reaching achievements of that earlier culture, it did realize, with its sophisticated calendrics and writing system, a level of cultural complexity unknown to the Olmecs.