Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Being and Motion$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Thomas Nail

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190908904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190908904.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 November 2020

Writing I

Writing I


(p.285) Chapter 21 Writing I
Being and Motion

Thomas Nail

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that writing did not emerge out of nowhere. It took thousands of years for it to rise to its place of kinetic dominance, particularly toward the end of the ancient period. Writing emerged, like the concept of eternity, through four similar kinetic operations, resulting in a reproducible pattern of centrifugal motion. These operations were not evolutionary or developmental. Three of the four sections in this chapter look at one of the four major kinographic operations as it emerged during a certain time: the introduction of the first tokens of the ancient Near East, dating from around 8500 BCE, around the time of the invention of agriculture; their storage in clay spheres around 3700–3500 BCE; and the first abstract inscriptions as numbers (3400 BCE) and pictographs on tablets (3300 BCE). The fourth of these operations, the creation of written letters in alphabetic systems around 1850 BCE, will be addressed in Chapter 22.

Keywords:   writing, tokens, tallies, tablets, spheres

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .