The first script (cuneiform)
The need for written language appeared as soon as people realized the importance of information transfer on distance and time. At first he tried to convey my thoughts with pictures, have some sort of sign a letter that called pictography (pictus – written with inks, graph – write). But to interpret the drawings clearly different people is impossible.
A well known case when the Persian king Darius, having received a “letter” from Scythians (bird, a mouse, a frog and 5 arrows) considered that the Scythians submit to him, while his military Gobryas “read” message “is exactly the opposite”.
Needed a system of marks, adopted by all or a large group of people. Evidence of this conditional writing back to the second half of the fourth Millennium B.C. It was a Sumerian writing, borrowed later other peoples of Mesopotamia. The signs were squeezed out of clay tablets stick with rectangular base. The corners of the rectangle left wedge-shaped deepenings.
The heyday of cuneiform literature fall reign of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (VII century BC). It was the fearsome conqueror, but at the same time educated man of his time, an avid book lover and collector.
He collected 30 thousand clay books representing all available at the time the information. Transcript of marks showed that residents of Mesopotamia were able not only to read and write, but also to measure the area, to calculate the percentage, multiply and be raised to a power, take the square root.
The most important art book in the collection of Ashurbanipal – the immortal epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest book in the world. The king of the city of Uruk has great powers of endurance, the gods sent him equal physically, Enkidu. Together they struggle with evil forces, but the gods send death on Enkidu. Gilgamesh does not want to reconcile with the fact of death and goes for immortality to distant relative Utnapishtim all (Noah). But Utnapishtim all does not know, how to become immortal, he gives only to Gilgamesh drink wisdom. But drink the king was unable to bring his people, drank his snake. Seemingly exhausted by long transitions king of Uruk is returned with nothing. But in the process fell to him of the difficulties he understood the main thing: “man is mortal, but he lives in his good works.”
More surprisingly, the clay of the book, as befits the library was kept in a particular system. They were placed in boxes placed in departments: historical tablets, medical, prayers and myths, lists of laws, travelling, hymns, etc. are Preserved departments with dictionaries of foreign words. Many tablets remained print “Palace of Ashurbanipal, king of the Universe, the king of Assyria”.
It should be noted that the written language is considered one of the great achievements and inventions of mankind.