By John Man
Compliment for Alpha Beta
"This publication comes on the excellent second as we rediscover the significance in early interpreting of cracking the alphabetic code. the tale of the way that code got here into being is an engaging one, and guy is the right author to inform it." instances academic Supplement
"A richly soaking up exploration, from B.C. to desktops, of the evolution of the main primary characters of our cultural heritage, the alphabet we a lot take with no consideration. John guy writes with a compellingly stressed interest and immediacy. The ever dazzling, exotically precise narrative in his informative ebook makes it as undryly relaxing as a winning archaelogical dig of 1 of Alan Moorehead s colourful histories of African exploration." David Grambs, writer of The Describer s Dictionary and The Endangered English Dictionary
"Text that's crisp, taut, and as transparent as a bell.... a desirable tale with many a beguiling subplot alongside the way." New Scientist
"Letter ideal the easiest histories and mysteries of our ABC s!" Jeff McQuain, writer of by no means sufficient phrases and gear Language
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Extra resources for Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World
So for three millennia, successive and related cultures used cuneiform not only for practical purposes, but also to record their greatest cultural achievements. Akkadian kings commissioned scribes to transcribe the poetry that told them of their heroic ancestors. The most famous of the epics concerned the hero, Gilgamesh, who had sought the secret of immortality from the immortal Uta-napishti and heard from him the story of how he, Uta-napishti, survived a great Flood by building a boat. The greatest collection of tablets was that of the last king of Assyria, Ashurbanipal, an avid collector of tablets old and newly written, including several versions of the Gilgamesh epic which were buried beneath the ruins of the royal libraries when Nineveh was burned by invaders in 612 BC.
I know not what parted me from my place. < previous page page_56 next page > < previous page page_57 next page > Page 57 It was like the nature of a dream … I had no cause to be afraid; no one had run after me. I had heard no reproaches; my name had not been heard in the herald’s mouth. Only – that shuddering of my limbs, My feet hastening, My heart overmastering me, The God who fated this flight dragging me away! The Tale of Sinuhe, in this translation by Richard Parkinson, captures something deeply significant about Egyptian society: the fear of death, the agony of separation from that which promises to conquer death: the pharaoh, Egypt herself – and the blessing of returning to both.
So the commissioners assumed the worst – global warming, rising seas, changing ecologies, the usual scenarios of self-induced global catastrophe. Imagine that survivors are starting afresh. The world is much changed. Grasslands are deserts, former deserts bloom, skyscrapers are mere stumps. Our descendants gaze on ruined cities like Celts who see nothing but ghosts among the fallen stones of Londinium. They settle in the depths of what had once been Arizona and New Mexico. All is sweet forest. Several areas seem particularly attractive, because they lack trees already.
Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World by John Man