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An Essay on the History of Written Language: Ivory Towers and Mythical Landscapes

This is an essay on the history of written language, it starts with a look at the mysterious figure of Socrates and his discussion of the god Thoth, reputed in myth to have created language.  This has been chosen as a starting point as this essay is already out of its depth in suggesting that such a subject can be tackled adequately.  We find ourselves confronted with the study of history and the art of historiography – what stories are told and how truely they hold any facts.  The most useful tool here will be a helping of doubt upon which a healthy scepticism to question things.

When I started this small, amateur study, I had no idea how much of a complicated subject it was.  It seemed on the surface simple.  As I went on trying to find the bottom of this endless story, the narrative(s) kept on revealing to me a million more roots and avenues to pursue.  Neither did I understand that it was so much of a political question to pursue either, and that, in my pursuit for the antique origins of written language I discovered the sage guidance of Wendy and Warwick Ball – friends of history, who were kind enough to guide me towards understandings that I have chosen to try and fit an ocean in a cup… Read more