Without writing there would be no history and no civilization as we know it. But how, when and where did writing evolve?
In a succinct and absorbing text, Andrew Robinson explains the interconnection between sound, symbol and script. He discusses each of the major writing systems in turn, from cuniform and Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs to alphabets and the scripts of China and Japan, as well as others such as the Cherokee ‘alphabet’ and the writing of the runes. Full coverage is given to the history of decipherment, and a proactive chapter devoted to undeciphered scripts challenges the reader can these codes ever be broken?
In this new edition, the author reveals the latest discoveries to have an impact on our knowledge of the history of writing, including the Tabula Cortonensis showing Etruscan symbols, and a 3rd millennium BC seal from Turkmenistan that could solve the mystery of how Chinese writing evolved. He also discusses how the digital revolution has not, despite gloomy predictions, spelled doom for the printed book. In addition, the table of Maya glyphs has been revised so that it is up to date with current research.
Andrew Robinson is the author of more than fifteen books, including The Man Who Deciphered Linear B and The Story of Measurement. Formerly the literary editor os The Times Higher Education Supplement, he is now a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.
With over 355 illustrations, 50 in colour
2nd revised edition 2007, 2009 reprint, Pb, 232pp, 19.3 x 25.3 cm