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Defining a ‘Book’ by Scratching through the Layers of History

Defining a ‘Book’ by Scratching through the Layers of History

  1. In the postmodern world of information and media, perhaps it is indeed true that there cannot be just one definition of the word, ‘Book’.

2. Nonetheless, we can still give our common consensus on the fact the term book came only after the development of language and writing.

3. It is widely known and accepted that the first written language was cuneiform developed by Sumerians, settled down in the Southern Mesopotamia, thousands of years from now.

4. The first pens were actually made out of brushes by Chinese in around 1000 BC. Egyptians in early 300 BC began to use reeds, which were dipped continuously in some form of ink.

5. With such developments, in the simplest of terms once can say, humans became curious to preserve their bravery and ideas somewhere. With this came the use of various natural objects like stones (clay tablets), animal skins (parchment) and leaves (papyrus) as tools to be scribbled on.

6. When several leaves were used to complete a particular expression or record by Mesopotamians, it was then collected and bound. This binding of the number of filled leaves then can be defined as a book.

7. It is agreed upon by some that cuneiform was written on Clay Tablets. Clay was flattened into a smooth surface and then dried. A stylus was used to etch characters into this dried slab of clay. But that can’t really be called a ‘book’.

8. The use of pictograph like characters is believed by some historians, was used to denote a modern-day count. The development of trade that came with establishments of civilizations gave way to calculations and recordings to avoid miscommunications and disputes. But then the question arises, from where does paper come?

9. Plants were used for this purpose. In 2400 BC, Papyrus became the first material on which one could write with ease. It is like a thin paper only, made by cutting Cyperus papyrus plants into strips. This was first used by the ancient Egyptians.

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10. When papyrus is rolled, it can be said as a scroll. When several such papyrus sheets are bound, they can be called manuscript and in simpler modern terms, a book.

11. Epic of Gilgamesh is considered by some historians as the earliest written piece of literature (by Mesopotmainas and found on the clay tablet).

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

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