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Writing and its Impact on Greek Art and Culture

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Writing and its Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Writing began in Greece with the Minoan Culture. It started with Hieroglyphs and moved on to a sylabic alphabet. The Minoan sylabic alphabet was called Linear A by Arthur Evans. The Mycenaeans seem to have adapted this alphabet to their own language. This adaptation was called Linear B. All these alphabets were difficult and required a special scribe to write and read them. Tablets written by a scribe were unique to that scribe so archeologists have been able to determine how many scribes there were. No myths have been found written in these alphabets. All that has been found are essentially business statements. The fact that the Mycenaean language was found to be an early version of Greek was most significant find of this language. The Mycenaean culture conquered the Minoans about 1450 BCE but their culture later collapsed about 1100 BCE. After that writing seem to have stopped in ancient Greece.

Neither the nature nor the source of the Minoan Language has been identified. For this reason the Linear A tablets have not been translated entirely. The Mycenean language has been identified as an early form of Greek. With this information the linear B tablerts can be read. Greek has been identified as an Indo-European language. This means that the ancentors of the Indo-Europeans spoke an ancient language that was formed in the region of the Caucasus Mountains. Indo-European peoples moved into Greece some thousands of years before the Mycenaean language was spoken. In Greece they picked up so called loan words from the previous residents of Greece and from other cultures because of trade contacts. Some of these loan words are identified at Click Here. Loan words can often be identified as not being a Greek word with an Indo-European root. A number of Greek words with Indo-European roots are listed here Click Here. Some of the loan words are Minoan words and in a number of cases Linar A words and Linear B words can be identified. Further details about the Mycenaean language can be found at Click Here.

A number of the words on the Linear B tablets can be found in the works of Homer. These include:

When it reappeared about 750 BCE the ancient Greeks believed the alphabet used came from Phoenicia. Greek historian Herotodus (5th century BCE) called the Greek letters "phoinikeia grammata" (φοινικήια γράμματα). But the alphabet is also called Cadmeia (Καδμήια) because the Greeks believed that Cadmus brought the letters from Phoenicia to Ancient Thebes. The original Phoenecian alphabet containined only consonants, some of which could not be used by the Greeks. These they turned into vowels. There were many local alphabets but in 403 BCE Athens adopted the Ionic or Milesian alphabet, which involved the addition of the eight Ionic lteeres to the alphabet. These included η, ω, θ, φ, χ, ζ, ξ, ψ. This alphabet eventually became common in all Greece and is still used today. In ancient Greece there was no distinction made between the upper and lower case letters. The word "alphabet" comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, which are alpha and beta. The names of the letters of the Greek alphabet are: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, ksi, omicron, pi, ro, sigma, tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega. The Greek Alphabet is illustrated at: Click here

We often speak of Fates writing the book of life. The lots are like runes with letters of the alphabet written on them with each letter standing for an event type for the future. The fates are often credited with the invention of the alphabet. You can read about forcasting the future with the Greek alphabet at: Click here In spite of the example of the Fates, women were not as much involved with writing as men so we do not have as good a record of their activities.

The motivation for the development of the Greek alphabet came mostly from the desire to record trade details. But there was also a desire to produce and read spells. Eventually the Greek writing was used to write down works involving the religion of Greece such as the works of Homer.

During the Classic Period the writers of Ancient Greece produced some of the most significant works ever written. These works have been widely influential and are still worth reading. The works include:

There were also significant woman writers and Poets:

Some copies of Greek manuscripts have been preserved from ancient times. Here is a copy of the Iliad on Papyrus: Homer, Iliad 22, 111-149 (P.Duk.inv. 4 R)


ask a question about this topic note the topic (writing) and Click here

Writing and its Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Questions and Answers

Question: send me some ancient greece writing

Answer: Ancient Greek writing is imaged at: Minoan Linear A and Linear B

Question: how did the paperback book come abut?

Answer: High speed mass production techniques developed toward the end of the Nineteenth Century allowed production of large numbers of books at low cost.

Question: Can you bring me to a website with information on Greek literature in History during the 6th century?

Answer: Cameron and Beyond: Review-discussion of Averil Cameron: Procopius and the Sixth century

Question: what materials did the greeks write with? pencils, pens, ink?

Answer: There were a number of options:

Question: what is wrasse?

Answer: A fish, of the tropics, often brightly colored.

Question: what is first greek alphabet

Answer: Linear A, a hieroglyphic alphabet only partly deciphered.

Question: do yuo havee any information abou the ancient greek's language and alphaabet

Answer: The people of Greece speak the Hellenic subfamily of Indo-European languages. Modern Greek resembles closely the classical Greek, but it has lost some inflectional forms and certain features of accent and vowel change. The Greek language has its own Greek alphabet which is similar to the Roman alphabet, but also quite distinct. The word "alphabet" comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, which are alpha and beta. There are several dialects of Greek including Old Ionic, the language of Homer; New Ionic, the language of Herodotus; Attic, the language of the great philosophers and playwrights of Athens; Aeolic; Doric, the language of Pindar.

we often speak of Fates writing the book of life. The lots are like runes with letters of the alphabet written on them with each letter standing for an event type for the future. The Fates are sometimes credited with the development of the alphabet. The names of the letters of the Greek alphabet are: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, ksi, omicron, pi, ro, sigma, tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega. The Greek Alphabet is illustrated at: Click here The Greek alphabet was not used until about 650 BCE.

Question: Where can I find pictures of epic poems or a sample of an epic poem???

Answer: The following epic poems are available:

Question: What are the ancient symbols of elements?

Answer: Hellenic civilization elements

Question: What are the writing materials?

Answer: Wooden and quill pens were used for ink and a stylus of wood was used for beeswax or clay book plates. Parchment was developed by the ancient Greeks. The Egyptians developed papyrus

Question: when was the first ever writing of greek alphabets were first used

Answer: Linear B was first used between 1450 and 1200 BCE. The Phoenician alphabet was used about 650 BCE

Question: do you have any information on Aristophanes' wasps and frogs? If you do please send them to me

Answer: Notes on Wasps, Aristophanes' Frogs

Question: what did the ancient Athenians write with?

Answer: In the beginning they wrote with a stylus in beeswax or clay. They also wrote with ink on papyrus. Later they invented parchment and wrote with ink on that.

Question: How did the Greeks use writing as a form of comunication?

Answer: The Ancient Greeks wrote letters to each other and they wrote books which they shared. Books were published by having them copied by hand. They also wrote on tablets which were left on altars and on signs which could be read publicly.

Question: How did the Ancient Greeks spell "Zeus" in their language.(using Greek letters)

Answer: Zeta epsilon upsilon sigma.


Answer: "It is significant to note that infanticide was not just a ‘primitive’ practice; Aristotle and Plato recommended it for eugenic reasons. And if infanticide is not acceptable today, it may be (as Gordon suggests) because we have better birth control methods, not because we are morally superior." The History of Birth Control

"Hysteria is a Greek word meaning a uterine condition. Ancient Greeks believed that the nervous symptoms were due to the uterus and therefore were experienced by women only. Plato described the uterus as an animal endowed with spontaneous sensation and emotion that was lodged in a woman, ardently desiring to produce children. If the uterus remained sterile long after puberty, it became ill-tempered and caused a general disturbance in the body until it became pregnant. The common prescription for the hysterical female in those days was marriage and child birth." Female hysteria

"Philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato had many ideas surrounding fertility and believed that abortion was necessary as a means of birth control in order to prevent the birth of unwanted, unhealthy children. Herbal potions were used but as they were often known as poisons, it is unclear from the literature whether they were used to prevent or terminate a pregnancy. There were strange beliefs surrounding conception. Aristotle believed that man carried the seed and the woman provided the place for the foetus to develop. Galen, a Greek scientist had similar ideas, believing that women carried the embryos which would require the mans' semen to make them grow. Barriers were then developed to prevent the semen meeting the embryo. Women were advised to place a mixture of substances, such as cedar oil, olive oil, frankincense, probably over the cervix to prevent the growth of the foetus.

Recipes used the leaves and the bark of hawthorn, ivy and willow. Juniper berries were placed in vulva or on the penis to produce temporary sterility. Peppermint and honey were used as suppositories prior to intercourse. Honey, gum and acacia were used as 'plugs' in order to prevent conception." History of Female Contraception

"Classically, the womb was regarded as an independent organism, a kind of animal within the female body hungry to bear children. The Book of Proverbs speaks of the grave and the womb being equally insatiable. Plato in his Timaeus wrote that the womb was a creature longing to be fertilised. If unfruitful for long it became restless and angry and left its proper place and wandered about the body, closing the passages for air, stopping respiration and causing anxiety, feelings of dread and other symptoms of illness. Hysteria (from the Greek hystera, meaning 'womb') was long thought to be caused by the womb tearing itself loose from its anchorage and wandering in the female body. In Bavaria, the hungry uterus was offered small round morsels made of cat's grease, honey, nutmeg and other ingredients. It was believed that while the woman slept, the womb-creature would emerge from the woman's mouth and partake of the fare and be appeased. In modern societies, "pre-menstrual syndrome" is a medically recognised condition that has also recently been accepted as a legitimate legal defence in a number of court cases in the US and Europe." THINGS FEMALE

Question: Why were the Greeks so amazing and why we are botherng to study their cultures and art

Answer: We study the ancient Greeks so we can learn about life, our place in the universe, and about ourselves. Many of the things they did became the foundation of our culture. But they also set ideals which are still our ideals. And their ideas about sex, love, art, and entertainment have filled our subconscious. They were amazing because of their high level of energy, their delight in rational discussion, their feverish religiosity, and their love of art, science, and culture. But though many have tried to copy their culture, everyone has failed.

Question: How do you write Courtney in greek

Answer: COURTENEY: From surname meaning, "from the court," "born at court," or, "from the enclosed land." Variant, Courtney, exists. Courtland is a related name. In Greek this relates to a dancing ring used by a chorus-- khoros or in Greek chi, omega, rho, omega, sigma.

Question: How would you write Michael in Greek?

Answer: Michael is not a Greek name, but is rather Hebrew. mu, iotta, kappa, alpha, lamda.

Question: who did the ancient greece people send their messages to?

Answer: Most messages related to business matters. Inventories of goods were most commonly sent. These could be holdings, orderings, or shippings. Some messages dealt with political relationships. A few messages were prayers and other appeals to the divine. Mesaages were commonly sent by a messenger who memorized the message and often ran the message to the recepient.

Question: Pindar's ode for Diagoras of Rhodes

Answer: Click here

Question: when did ancient greek start wrting

Answer: Greeks started writing literature about the time of Homer. Writing before this time was mainly for financial records. Writing was also used for religious purposes such as prayers and encantations.

Question: Ancient Greek language

Answer: Because the literature of Greece was so rich, the language that was used was preserved as classical Greek. You can still study this language and the wonderful works written in it.

Question: give me some poems about greece

Answer: The Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer are poems about Greece and you should read both of them.

Question: What effect did changes in classical Greek education, have on the change from oral memory to written memory?

Answer: The ancient Greeks were fanatics about education and writing was an import subject. They wrote everything down with the result that much material has been preswerved. They were the first scholars and some made efforts to document what they wrote and studied. This process began about the time of Homer so the oral tradition was destroyed about that time.

Question: what did the ancient greeks write with? ink?

Answer: Most writing was done on a tablet of wax or clay. The typical configuration is as follows:

In the Mycenaean culture writing was done on clay tablets that were rolled out flat.

Papyrus from Egypt was available but expensive. It was reserved for special documents like treaties. Parchment was developed during the Greek period. The ink used was many soot in water with a plant gum binder. reeds, sticks, and quills were used to apply the ink.

Question: If as you say, "There were also significant woman writers and Poets: " then why not include their "classic period?" Why are their names not included amongst the list of male writers? Also, some do not have a genre listed next to their name. It comes across as though the female writers are mediocre and not as meaningful to the historical periods. If you ask me, their writings are equally important. Were there not two genders living during that period? So why shouldn't there be two perspectives?

Answer: Yes there should be two perspectives. The problem is two-fold. Men have often belittled the other sex, and woman have not risen to the challenge. Research has shown that abilities of men tend to be more extreme, suggesting men would be more often the greatest, than woman. But even though women may have to accept second place more often, this does not mean that their voice is unimportant.

The truth is that the names of significant women writers are hard to find. The first reason is that there were not that many because they did not get the opportunities or pressures that the men did. If they did succeed later men struck their names from the record through prejudice. Many women wrote under a man's name to avoid this problem. The names that I do have are as follows:

Question: send me a proverbs of greeks



Answer: Descriptions of events were verbally provided. Poets versified these descriptions to make them easier to remember. These descriptions were strung together to make the telling more interesting. Much later the versified, strung together pieces were copied down as epics.

Question: With writing being invented in the Near East, how did it influnce the Greeks with their writing and their alphabet? What other aspects of teh Near East would have beeninfluencial to the Greek culture?

Answer: As with so many other things Near Eastern the Greeks took writing and improved upon it. Before Greek writng was the province of a special class of scribes. In Greece writing was modified so it could be used by the merchants. The incorporation of vowels greatly simplified writing and allowed not only the recording of transactions by merchants, but also the recording of history, laws, and religious incantations. The use of writing was so important to Greek religion that they ascribed its invention to the Fates. These multiple uses caused the Greeks to emphasize edutation and before long the entire society was literate. This literateness caused a profusion of literature of all sorts which we still enjoy today.

The other aspects of Near Eastern Cuture which provided Greece with resources included its architecture, economy, crafts including cotton and steel, religion, agricultural products especially wheat.

Question: How did writing in Ancient Greece get started?

Answer: Writing got started in ancient Greece in a fitful way. The first writing, found in Crete was hieroglyphic in nature. Later the Minoan civilization produced a syllabic writing called Linear A. When the Mycenaeans took over control of Crete they adopted the writing ideas of the Minoans and produced writing now called Linear B. After the Mycenaeans went into decline the writing of the Minoans seems to have been forgotten. The Dorians and other Greeks during the Greek Archaic period studied the Phoenician alphabet and developed an alphabet out of which the syllables could be formed with a few letters. This alphabet is essentially the same as the one used in Greece today and was also the foundation of the Roman alphabet and all those dependent upon it.

The Minoan hieroglyphics and the Linear A alphabet remain essentially undeciphered because no language has been found related to the one the Minoans used. But because Linear A is related to Linear B and because the Mycenaens spoke an early form of Greek, Linear B can be read and some inferences can be made as to the translations of some Linear A scripts.

The earlier writing is also fairly scarce and contains no poetry or religious writings. Mainly they seem to be used for accounting and business. Furthermore they were so difficult that scribes had to be employed. Business seems also to have been the impetus for the later Greek writing as it was developed during a period of great expansion of trade and commerce. But Greek, as we know it, had other pushes as well. The next push was religious. Poetry, incantations, spells, and myth were all written down. These things became so important that literacy rose to a high level in the ancient Greek classical period. Writing was so easily learned that everyone could be involved in it. Then during the Classical period the structure of language was observed to be important and philosophy was developed. Athens was the center of world learning for over a thousand years and this learning was greatly facilitated by the writing of the Greek language.

Most recent studies seem to suggest that Minoan may be related to the languages of Africa and the Minoans may have migrated from there. If so there is some hope that the Minoan scripts may yet be read. But it is not likely that much will be learned unless more examples can be found as well.

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