The word symbol is derived from the Greek word symbolon and is a graphic sign for a concept or an object. Symbols date back to cave engravings by prehistoric man--the oldest signs found by archaeologists are of fire, water, earth, sun, and wind. The development of sign structures can be seen in elaborate Egyptian hieroglyphics from around 4000 B.C., while the Greeks later devised a set of symbols in 1000 B.C., including the famous Star of David. Despite the use of alphabets and languages since 2000 B.C., symbols have continued to develop and evolve in every culture.
The book looks at the meanings of over 700 of the most commonly recognized signs. The introduction discusses the development and history of symbols and how they are used. The symbols are grouped into categories including ancient cultures (Egypt and the Middle East), early cultures (astrology, magic, runes), politics (the swastika and the peace sign), and science (including symbols for elements and mathematical symbols). Each symbol is accompanied by accessible text that discusses its evolution and meaning(s).
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About the Author
Sandra Forty, after graduating from London University with a history degree, worked as a career magazine journalist in London before becoming a book editor and author. She has written a number of books on art and architecture, including The Pre-Raphaelites and World of Art. Her interests include horticulture, art, architecture, and natural history.