The written word has saved lives, preserved traditions, given generations an insight into moments in time and ultimately helped to shape the world we live in and the values which we live by.
The way in which we communicate and write continues to change and evolve – and, in my opinion, not always for the better. (I received a text message the other day that simply contained a ‘shocked face’ emoji and the over-used ‘lol’). But never underestimate the power of the written word. Quite how far our Snapchat ‘conversations’, throwaway text remarks or self-indulgent Facebook posts will go towards shaping the future is yet to be seen, but here’s a rundown (in no particular order!) of some written documents that have stood the test of time and made their mark in history.
Magna Carta In 1215, the barons of King John created the Magna Carta and it remains one of the most important documents in history. It is considered one of the first steps taken in England towards establishing parliamentary democracy whilst there are strong influences from the document in the American Bill of Rights, written in 1791. Even more recently its basic principles are seen very clearly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, penned in 1948.
The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank: Heartbreaking, inspiring and often very funny, the diary penned by Anne Frank at the age of 13 whilst she hid from the German occupation in a secret annex in Amsterdam gives an unprecedented insight into her world as a Jew during the Second World War. The diary stops abruptly in August 1944, when her family are betrayed and eventually sent to Auschwitz death camp. Only Anne’s father Otto survived and published the diary in 1947. How wrong Anne was when she wrote: “Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year old school girl.”
Domesday Book Compiled in 1085-6 on the orders of King William I, it is our earliest public record, the foundation document of the national archives and a legal document that is still valid as evidence of title to land. It describes in remarkable detail the landholdings and resources of late 11th-century England and was used for many centuries for administrative and legal purposes.The Domesday Book continues to be the starting point for most local historians researching the history of their area.
The Bible Made up of a collection of writings written over a span of 1,500 years – the earliest ones set down nearly 3,500 years ago – the impact The Bible has had, and continues to have, on civilisation over centuries is undeniable. The bible continues to be the most read and widely distributed book in the world.
The Rosetta Stone Carved in 196BC, the Rosetta Stone was the key to unlocking the secrets of the ancient world. It contained a Ptolemaic decree, written in three languages: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. After many years of studying the Rosetta Stone and other examples of ancient Egyptian writing, Jean-François Champollion deciphered hieroglyphs in 1822 and unlocked the ancient world.
The written word has been key in shaping the world for centuries. I wonder whether generations to come will be able to decipher our current ‘language’ of communication?
From my POV IDK myself…
*ICYMI: In Case you Missed It, *POV IDK: Point of View I Don’t know (The Dodo Pad’s GMC: Guide to Modern Communications)