Saturday, July 02, 2005

This Week In History - 2 July

How often have you gone to the store to pick up a few items and thought to yourself "I should make a list". but, then decided that you could remember everything. Later when returning home you find out that you have forgotten one or two items that would have been on your list. Well, don't feel bad. This has been happening for over 5000 years.

In 3100 BC, before the Art of Writing was invented, a small timid man in the country of Sumaria had been sent to the market to get a few things. He returned home with only half the items he had been sent out for. His wife a large, loud, but gentle, loving woman, beat him about the head and shoulders, berating him for his stupidity and incompetence. In her anger she snatched up his favorite blanket and a piece of burned wood and made some marks on the blanket. The first mark meant meat, she explained. Then she made some more marks that she said meant bread. A third mark was supposed to mean apples. The last mark was for a new water pot. Throwing the blanket back into his face she said 'Here, now go back, and don't forget anything this time'.

He returned later with the water pot, some apples and some bread. When his loving wife demanded to know where the meat was he replied 'Oh I'm sorry Sweetie-Nookums, I couldn't read your hand writing'.


Word quickly spread throughout the marketplace that a man was apparently using some sort of list to do his shopping. When word reached the King he sent his most trusted advisor to investigate. When the advisor told the King it was true, the King declared a day of celebration to honor this great discovery.

The next day our hero was honored, posthumously, for being the first person in history to make use of a written language.

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