Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs, and Pictographs

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Writing is perhaps humanity's greatest invention. Without it there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. The Story of Writing is the first book to demystify writing for the general reader. In a succinct and absorbing text, Andrew Robinson explains the interconnection between sound, symbol and script, and goes on to discuss each of the major writing systems in turn, from cuneiform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to alphabets and the scripts of China and Japan today. He explores "proto-writing,"...
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Overview

Writing is perhaps humanity's greatest invention. Without it there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. The Story of Writing is the first book to demystify writing for the general reader. In a succinct and absorbing text, Andrew Robinson explains the interconnection between sound, symbol and script, and goes on to discuss each of the major writing systems in turn, from cuneiform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to alphabets and the scripts of China and Japan today. He explores "proto-writing," including Ice Age symbols, tallies and Amerindian pictograms, and surveys the astonishing multiplicity of alphabets - not only Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Arabic and Indian scripts, but also the Cherokee "alphabet" and the writing of runes. Full coverage is given to the story of decipherment, and how the words of past ages have been brought back to life through the efforts of Champollion, Ventris and others. And in a provocative chapter devoted to as yet undeciphered scripts, Andrew Robinson challenges the reader: can the code of the Indus script, Cretan Linear A, the Phaistos Disc or Easter Island ever be broken? Armchair decipherers who read this book will be well placed to make discoveries that herald the next breakthrough.

Writing is mankind's greatest invention--without it there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. The Story of Writing is the first book to successfully demystify writing systems for a lay audience. With its clear visual presentation and authoritative text, this is both a book to read for pleasure and an invaluable sourcebook on all the world's major writing systems. Illustrations, many in color.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500016657
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 7.95 (w) x 10.29 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 7
I How Writing Works 18
Ch. 1 Reading the Rosetta Stone 20
Ch. 2 Sound, Symbol and Script 36
Ch. 3 Proto-Writing 52
II Extinct Writing 68
Ch. 4 Cuneiform 70
Ch. 5 Egyptian Hieroglyphs 92
Ch. 6 Linear B 108
Ch. 7 Mayan Glyphs 120
Ch. 8 Undeciphered Scripts 144
III Living Writing 156
Ch. 9 The First Alphabet 158
Ch. 10 New Alphabets From Old 168
Ch. 11 Chinese Writing 182
Ch. 12 Japanese Writing 198
Ch. 13 From Hieroglyphs to Alphabets - and Back? 210
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