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Where did alphabet letters come from?

By | 2018-04-13T01:35:55+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

The first alphabet letters: the Canaanite alphabet Early Canaanite alphabet Each of the letters of the early Canaanite alphabet was the first sound of the most ordinary words in their language. The letter was a picture of that word's meaning. Often you can still recognize that picture in our letters today. And the order of [...]

Epic of Gilgamesh – Mesopotamian writing

By | 2018-04-13T01:43:06+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu fight the monster Humbaba, on an Assyrian cylinder seal from the 600s BC The real king Gilgamesh The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story about a Sumerian king (Gilgamesh) who seems to have lived around 2500 BC, in Mesopotamia. Story-tellers probably began telling this story not long after he [...]

Who was Enheduanna? Akkadian literature

By | 2018-04-15T12:09:52+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

One of Enheduanna's poems, in cuneiform on a clay tablet Nobody knows Enheduanna's real name, if she had one. "Enheduanna" means "High Priestess, Ornament of the god An", but that's what people called her. Enheduanna's father was King Sargon of Akkad, and her mother was Queen Tashlultum. Enheduanna herself must have been born about 2285 BC. When she grew up, Enheduanna [...]

History of the Alphabet – West Asia

By | 2018-04-15T12:12:24+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Egyptian temple to Hathor at Serabit in the Sinai Before about 1800 BC, all people in the world wrote using pictures that each stood for a word or a syllable. In Egypt, these were called hieroglyphs, and in West Asia, they were called cuneiform. About 1800 BC, some people from Canaan (modern Israel and Lebanon) traveled [...]

Bronze Age timeline: 4000-2000 BC

By | 2018-04-07T17:04:35+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

A clay pot with a drawing of a wheeled cart from what is now Poland, about 3500 BC Around 4000 BC, there were enough people in West Asia, Egypt, China, and Peru for them to live in small cities (about 10,000-50,000 people). These places began to choose kings to govern them. Then they formed the first small empires. They built the [...]

Maya writing – Ancient Central America

By | 2018-04-11T09:22:20+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, Literature|

A page from the Madrid Codex It's possible that the Maya learned how to write from the Olmec, but there aren't any definite examples of early Olmec writing, so it might also have been the Maya who invented writing in the Americas. Like most other writing systems, Maya writing is a syllabary, not an [...]

Aztec language, writing, and literature

By | 2017-09-09T23:39:39+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, Literature|

An Aztec book, or codex (ca 1500 AD) The Aztec system of writing was very much like the Maya system. Probably the Aztec people learned how to write from the Maya. Aztec writers wrote their literature in books, which folded like a fan. We call these books codices (one codex, two or more codices). Aztec writers [...]

Who were the Zapotec? Central American history

By | 2018-04-12T08:53:16+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, History|

A Zapotec head The Zapotec civilization, like the Maya, grew up in the region that had been ruled by the Olmec, after the collapse of Olmec power about 500 BC. The main city of the Zapotec kings was Monte Alban (in modern Mexico). The Zapotec developed their own hieroglyphic writing system, possibly building on earlier Olmec [...]

Who were the Maya? Central American history

By | 2018-04-12T08:53:13+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, History|

Maya royal palace at Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico (600s-700s AD) When the Olmec rulers began to lose control of their country about 600 BC, new leaders came forward and took over ruling in Central America (modern Guatemala). These were the Maya. Archaeologists divide Maya history into four time periods, the Pre-Classic, the Classic, and the Post-Classic. The [...]

Roman schools – education in ancient Rome

By | 2018-05-22T15:26:22+00:00 September 4th, 2017|People, Romans|

Roman education outside of school: A Roman teacher home-schooling, about 200 AD Poor kids had to work Roman schools were for rich boys; most Roman kids did not go to school. Like their parents, they worked in the fields hoeing and weeding and plowing as soon as they were old enough. (More about Roman farming) Their parents needed [...]