Questions tagged [writing]

Questions related to the means of human communication using signs and symbols representing language or emotions, which can be preserved physically or electronically.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3
votes
2answers
291 views

Did Romans keep tax records of individuals in Palestine around Jesus' lifetime?

This question in Christianity.SE asks how would Jesus write his name in civil records. This answer denies (based on the lack of positive evidence) that Jesus ever wrote his name in a civil record. ...
56
votes
15answers
12k views

Are there any important biographies of nobodies?

Biographies usually cover interesting people who said and did notable things. I'm curious about lives notable just for their contexts: the stories of unremarkable people in historically remarkable ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the history of the check mark / tick mark?

Wikipedia has an interesting article on the meaning of the check mark "✓" in different cultures. In the English-speaking world, "✓" generally has a positive connotation — "yes, OK, correct, ...
9
votes
3answers
593 views

What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

Xenophon of Athens created a large amount of written material even by today's standards. Did he create this work knowing it would be read by future generations, or was it for his own satisfaction? I ...
7
votes
1answer
499 views

Where and when has Thucydides been studied?

Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens, of which he was a contemporary and participating general, is studied still today in war academies and by political scientists ...
34
votes
1answer
8k views

Why did the Republic of China retract its simplified Chinese characters?

The image below shows part of the list of simplified Chinese characters introduced by the Republic of China Department of Education in 1935. They were retracted in 1936, so China continued to use ...
0
votes
0answers
101 views

Had Andrade read the work of Vasconcelos?

José Vasconcelos published The Cosmic Race in 1925. In his view Mexico could construct a new, better race from the diverse origins of its people. Oswald de Andrade published his Anthropophagic ...
4
votes
0answers
393 views

Are there recommended practices for writing about oppressed peoples?

This question is about responsible historiography. History as written by winners tends to devalue and misrepresent the experiences of subordinate groups (see Textbooks: Zinn People’s History; Labour: ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

Where can I find an explanation of the variations in style of Egyptian hieroglyphs?

I've seen that Egyptian hieroglyphs are not always written or drawn identically. Long time ago I made a trip in Egypt and saw, in the Valley of the Kings, a tomb with hieroglyphs on the walls that ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

The origin of symbols used for transferring information over large distances [closed]

The information about the origin of writing systems is a bit difficult to piece together, to find when the first accounts of "writing used to transfer information over large distances". For example, ...
10
votes
1answer
530 views

Were the earliest Egyptian hieroglyphs ever discovered really found in Qustul in Ancient Nubia?

In a comment posted on an answer to the question, 'Does modern scholarship accept an Ethiopian origin for Egyptian hieroglyphs?', the user that posted the question wrote: "The oldest kingdom in ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does modern scholarship accept an Ethiopian or Nubian origin for Egyptian hieroglyphs?

Diodorus Siculus made the claim that the Hieroglyphs were actually an Ethiopian script, which was held sacred by the Egyptians and was learned and transmitted only within the priestly families of ...
5
votes
0answers
327 views

French Revolutionary figure who thought apes could oversee black slaves?

I'm operating off of fuzzy memory for this question but I know I have encountered this bizarre (and offensive: fair warning) historical figure who I am inquiring about here before in my previous ...
6
votes
2answers
161 views

What was the medium for Marcus Aurelius's Meditations?

I imagine Romans using papyrus and quills on a still table, allowing time for the ink to dry, which may not be possible in a battlefield. I once saw a documentary which depicts him walking off in ...
110
votes
5answers
17k views

Did China ever consider a phonetic writing system?

I was surprised to learn the following about the Japanese and Korean languages: Japanese used a lot of Chinese characters in their language and had no phonetic system, until around the year 800 when ...
8
votes
1answer
569 views

Parchment and papyrus costs in Roman Empire

How much do we know of the costs of parchment and papyrus in Roman Empire? I'm especially interested in their cost ratio. So far I found some accounts for the other ends of the antiquity: in 301 a ...
5
votes
1answer
256 views

What does this Rx glyph mean in what looks like Latin?

What does this glyph (red) mean? Also, what usage was there for it and the other glyph that looks like a colon (blue)?
5
votes
1answer
147 views

What was the first scientific article to give a recognisably “modern” citation to another article?

It's easy to find online citation indices; however they typically only cover recent articles, e.g. Scopus has coverage since 2004. Indeed citation indices in paper form seem to have been introduced in ...
11
votes
1answer
385 views

Was there self-censorship in private correspondence in the early 19th Century?

I've been reading collections of letters and journals (generally relating to the Napoleonic Wars) published in the first half of the 19th century. Often these contain words that have been partially ...
0
votes
2answers
268 views

Are there no written records of Sanskrit before Rigveda?

Rigveda is considered the oldest written record of Sanskrit. It has Sanskrit in a very developed form. I wonder if there are any records of Sanskrit before Rigveda which show the language being used ...
9
votes
4answers
888 views

What was different about the “right” (recto) side of papyrus sheets compared to the other side?

Usually only one side of papyrus sheets was used to write on in classic antiquity. What is the difference between the two sides of a sheet, and why would you write on "recto" only?
115
votes
2answers
13k views

How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

If we take hieroglyphic writings like the Egyptian one, an Egyptologist knows that this hieroglyph must be interpreted as Nefertiti. Or we can see in the following Sumerian cuneiform script that ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Why did Thomas Larkin write his biographical sketches?

Thomas Larkin, wealthy merchant of Monterey, California in the 1840s, was the consul of the United States. He was also a secret agent for President Buchanan who sent to Washington 78 microbiographies ...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the silver object on the desk and what is 'Elizabeth I' doing with it?

Hollywood movies have never been known for their historical accuracy, which is often sacrificed in the pursuit of entertainment, and the plot & script of the 1939 film 'The Private Lives of ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Did Herman Melville help write his uncle's book?

Captain John D'Wolf II (1779-1872), member of a prominent slave-trading family of Bristol, Rhode Island, was the uncle of author Herman Melville (1819-1891). D'Wolf informed Melville's view of life at ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Does Historiography have a usual technical term for historical writing which makes factual claims without giving references for them?

Question. Does Historiography use a standard technical term for the following (commonly encountered) 'mode' of historical writing? The author, towards the beginning of the work, tells the reader a ...
4
votes
0answers
111 views

Textual organization

I was interested to see just now that the Dead Sea Scroll fragments (e.g. this one) have clear spaces delineating the words. Whereas we have, with the Hebrew Bible at least, an idea of where the line ...
4
votes
0answers
425 views

In what period were signature rubrics used?

A rubric is a flourish embellishing a signature; it's both decorative and a security feature. At least with regard to European languages, signatures are still used but rubrics were, as far as I can ...
1
vote
2answers
272 views

How were foreign names written in runes?

Are there any example of runic writing of a foreign name? Maybe journals or histories from famous warriors, travelers or foes? If so, how they do it with the runes? Basically I'm trying to find ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How does a runic alphabet work?

For instance, let's take the Younger Futhark alphabet. How do you build a word? By just getting the first letter or phoneme of the name of each rune? Or do they have a contextual meaning?
14
votes
2answers
3k views

What numerals did the people of Ireland use before Roman Numerals? (aka, did Ogham include numbers?)

I would like to know if any writing system of Ireland had a system of writing numerals prior to the Romans introducing Roman numerals. There are lots of sites online that show the Ogham writing system ...
5
votes
2answers
382 views

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935?

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935? The literacy campaigns in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1940 taught many people to read. Many people who did not speak Russian had no ...
11
votes
1answer
376 views

What is the origin of currency signs being placed before the numerical value?

For most units, they symbol/abbreviation is placed after the number: 200 m, 75° F, 60 mph, 100 watts, etc. When stating values of money, such as $500, the dollar sign is placed before the number. ...
3
votes
1answer
544 views

Why and when were ancient Egyptian hieroglyph phonograms used?

There are writings on the walls of some Egyptian temples of Hellenistic period written in Egyptian hieroglyph phonograms. Howevrer it was strange for me to know that these are Greek texts actually. ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

How many lines did an ancient Greek copyist write per day?

In Scribes, Script, and Books: The Book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance by Leila Avrin, on page 153, it is mentioned that copyists were paid average .25 denari per line (or 25 denari per 100 ...
5
votes
4answers
423 views

What adaptations allowed left-handers to write left-to-right with dip pens?

Most people touch the side of their hand to the page as they write with a pen or pencil. Latin is written from left to right, and culturally its heritage somewhat demonizes left-handers ("sinister"). ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

How were the prophecies of Biblical prophets such as Isaiah first published or disseminated?

I read the Old Testament but I don't understand how a prophet such as Isaiah would have first put forth his prophesies. Did he speak to a crowd, and someone took down his words? Or did he write little ...
7
votes
3answers
642 views

Did medieval Icelanders write with runes?

The land-taking of Iceland took place while Norse culture wrote short texts such as inscriptions using runes (during the transition from the Elder to the Younger Futhark). Runes are closely identified ...
5
votes
1answer
503 views

Most advanced nonliterate society

I got to thinking some more recently about the interrelation of societal advancement and information availability. That got me wondering about the limits. In short, what is the most advanced society ...
3
votes
2answers
218 views

What did Ostian script look like?

What did Ostian script look like? I've seen some drawings in Origin of the Serif and I'd like to learn more. But when I tried googling I wasn't able to find anything: all I got were false positives. ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Why did the Turks adopt the Latin alphabet after WWI?

The Turks used to write their language using the Arabic alphabet. After WWI, when Mustafa Kemal revolutionized the country, he imposed the usage of Latin alphabet. Also the new writing system seems to ...
4
votes
2answers
311 views

Decyphering Versal in Book of Kells

Apologies if this is not the appropriate forum for my question. I have problems decyphering the first versal on folio 179v in the Book of Kells. I suspect it stand for Jesus? If yes, which letters ...
14
votes
1answer
440 views

How did Romans organise their files?

I know how they wrote the information down: Documents, like legal contracts, were usually written in pen and ink on papyrus. Books were also written in pen and ink on papyrus or sometimes on ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Did the Romans have writing desks?

I am just rekindling my interest in Ancient Rome, and reading Rome:Its people, life and customs by Ugo Enrico Paoli. He goes into considerable detail about tables, but only dining tables. There is a ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Did Ancient Rome use lead styli?

Is wikipedia correct to say: The original form of "lead pencil" was the leaden stylus used by the ancient Romans, who also used it to write on wood or papyrus by leaving dark streaks where the soft ...