A Brief History of Handwriting

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Before the world had letters the only way to communicate to one another was verbally by saying it. But as humans evolved so did handwriting. No one really knows what the first form of true handwriting and penmanship was. Some people say that it was ancient cave people who would draw stories using stick figures and animals. Others may argue that it was the ancient egyptians using their hieroglyphs in the walls of tombs and on scrolls. With people all over the world more and more began making their own fonts and variations of handwriting. Many tools and other things were created to make handwriting easier and neater. Handwriting and penmanship is important because if all electronics were to fail us the world would have to once again rely on handwriting and penmanship to reach one another and to communicate.

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The earliest known systematic orderly form of handwriting was sumerian handwriting which they have dated back to around 1000 BCE. Handwriting was invented so that you could communicate from farther distances. Unlike how we read writing today. Sumerian was read from top to bottom. As time progressed the sumerian style of handwriting evolved into what was known as Cuneiform. This style was made up of various wedge shaped markings. The name “ Cuneiform” actually means “wedge shaped”. Many believe that this is what lead to the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Something that all these forms of earlier handwritings have is that the seemed to be picture based. The pictures based handwritings are called pictographs, which is symbols that represent objects. With all these forms of handwriting and pictographs being created the ancient phoenicians started taking bits and pieces of these and created an alphabet.

The oldest alphabet was created by the ancient phoenicians, the phoenician alphabet consisted of Twenty Two Letters. The alphabet is made up of all consonants. They used it for writing and communicating. phoenicia is located around what we know as modern day Syria and Lebanon. The alphabet was in fact derived from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Thanks to merchants this alphabet spread across the Mediterranean. The Paleo-Hebrew, The Aramaic, and The Greek alphabet actually were based off of the Phoenician alphabet. The greeks ended up actually changing parts of the alphabet to make it more comfortable to them and they started passing around their alphabet in europe, there was a chain reaction and everyone started making their own alphabet but like the greeks they changed it to make it more comfortable and to a liking for their culture.

With all these alphabets and handwritings cultures started making their own fonts and scripts. The first european font was called blackletter, also known as gothic script. It was the. Followed by roman serif and the by sans serif. All fonts are special in their own way because it takes a lot to make a font. To make a font you need to think of the thickness of each letter, proportional letters, the font metrics which is where parts of the letter sit on the baseline, the sizing of the letters inside the font, and they also have to usually add numbers to the font from 0-9. Usually fonts are named after their stroke sizes and the features at the end of their strokes. Some fonts we use were invented not that long ago like Helvetica which was created by a swiss man was made in 1957. Times New Roman was invented in 1929. Anyone can make a font if they tried and who knows it might even become famous and used everyday like some of the fonts above.

In conclusion if there ever comes a day where technology doesn't work we as a human race may need to rely on our primitive ways and use a paper and pencil to communicate. Handwriting, penmanship, fonts and alphabet have come a long way and have spread out and have also changed in many ways since the first version of handwriting. Handwriting is how we as humans pass down previous knowledge onto future generations. Without a way to pass on knowledge future generations wouldn't be able to learn and hold onto information from the past.

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A Brief History of Handwriting. (2020, December 24). WritingBros. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-brief-history-of-handwriting/
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