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Chapter 1. Why Writing Matters > It's as Easy as A, B, C - Pg. 8

Why Writing Matters 8 This type of "writing" has been found on clay tablets in parts of the Middle East and southeastern Europe. The pictures, such as a foot to show the concept of walking, were drawn on soft clay. The tablets were then baked in the sun to harden them. And what did people write about in this fashion? Tax accounts, land sales, and other business deals. After all, nothing is permanent but death and taxes. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing developed about 100 years later. Similar writing systems developed in the Aegean area, Anatolia, the Indus Valley, and China. But writing as we know it didn't develop until the alphabet was created. And it was a good thing, too, because picture writing has its down- sides, as the following story illustrates. It's as Easy as A, B, C According to the traditional story, Darius the Great, King of Persia, received a hieroglyphic message from his enemies the Scythians. The Scythians' message included a mouse, a frog, a bird, and an arrow. Darius interpreted this to mean the Scythians would surrender in the morning: The arrow meant they would give up their weapons, the mouse meant they would surrender their land, the frog meant they would surrender their water, and the bird meant they would soon fly away from the battlefield. Convinced he had read the message correctly, Darius headed for bed. Write Angles