'Vandals' and the history of writing.http://samlib.ru/l/lisukow_w_i/vanda...fwriting.shtml
Psychology is a universal phenomenon, that does not depend on whether we belong to the world of science or enjoy the life as just an ordinary man.
Ask any more or less educated person and he will tell you that the savage, who invented pottery has a higher level of cultural development than the savage who is not familiar with pottery at all. Pottery is one of the main markers in archeology, which allows us to date the findings and connect them with this or that archeological culture. And if there is no pottery at all, can we speak about a level of development?
It might seem logical. But we should clearly understand that this approach is inefficient if we use it as a universal method of comparative evaluation of historical events. And we could get rather false conclusions.
For example, a nomad who does not know what hygiene is but who invented a wheel is not much more advanced than any Aztec priest. Although the latter one was not familiar with the wheel.
Not less demonstrative is the generally accepted practice of comparing the Bronze and the Iron Age in mankind’s history from the point of view of the level of cultural development of society.
Formal logic says that if iron replaced bronze, it means that humanity stepped into to a new cultural level. A warrior brandishing his iron sword deserves cultural Olympus in our eyes while another warrior in bronze amour is a miserable outsider.
It is well known that initially iron items were considerably inferior to bronze items in operational properties and in quality of manufacture. Only after crowds of barbarians smashed the cultural centres of the Bronze Age completely and new states appeared on their ruins, new masters of life got an opportunity to improve the technology of smelting and processing iron for several hundreds of years.
Only by the middle of the first millennium BC we can seriously talk about a new level of development of human society.
It is if we go into details. The formal assessment of events sounds like transition from something inferior to something superior; that's it. Accordingly, people who lived in the Bronze Age are considered to be carriers of a lower level of culture as compared with their descendants from the Iron Age.
Exactly this formal logic is the ground flour of the majority of researchers dealing with historical processes. One of the particular conclusion in this evaluation system can be formulated as follows: any level of the development of the art of manufacturing ceramic tableware is a lower level of the cultural development of a society than the evidence of the presence of writing. That is why the nation which demonstrates advanced skills in the field of literacy is recognized as a spiritual leader and a teacher of neighbouring nations.
Let us try to find out if everything is so evident and simple in this issue.
First of all we should pay attention to the fact that the author of the product and the author of the inscription on it is not necessarily the same person.
The author of the products and the author of the inscriptions on the objects below are not only different people but are the representatives of completely different cultures.
You will agree that the masters who made these jugs could do their best if concerns the quality of manufacture and the way of plotting signs on the surface of the article. (Pic.1,2).
Pic.1 Phoenicia. Jug and the inscription on it. 8 BC
Pic.2. Greece. The jug with the plotted prototype of the Greek alphabet. 8-7 BC.
I can't but draw your attention to the fact that the Phoenician master obviously has something to learn from the Greek one.
In the picture below, the object and the author of the inscription are worthy of each other. He took a shard (from the scientific point of view - 'ostracon') and painted it with writing signs. Well done! Pic.3
Pic.3 'Ostracon'. Greece. 8 BC
But thousand years before this epoch-making event, something worthy to the 19 - 20 AD was created in the same land. Pic.4
Pic.4 Cup. Greece. 1600 BC
The human history turned over centuries but the tradition of leaving signatures anywhere, high and low became popular. Below we can see quite a decent ceramic article decorated with 'the masterpiece of Etruscan writing'. Pic.5
Pic.5 Etruscan inscription the second half of 6 BC.
And these are the first centuries AD. Literacy on the territory of Denmark is demonstrated by a Norwegian conqueror who chose a Roman masterpiece of blacksmith’s art as the object of violence. (Pic.6).
Pic.6. A Roman article and signature (210 – 260 AD).
If we look at the process as a whole we can get rather curious thing. I cannot imagine that a person in his right mind could order a beautiful thing and then roughly scratched a word or a phrase on it. Most likely, if he wanted it so much, he would ask the master to do that – as we can see it on the following examples (Pic.7, 8).
Pic.7 Vase. Greece. 5 BC.
Pic.8 Horn. Denmark.400-450 years AD.
And the style would have been saved. And this inscription would have looked more appropriate. And the examples above are evident illustrations of violence over the masterpieces.The real owners never behave in such a way with valuables. This can afford only the barbarians, for example, making a sacrifice to their god in order to immortalize themselves.
The most record - holder in the field of vandalism is the author of the inscription on the sarcophagus, called the 'sarcophagus of Ahiram.' Besides this savage desecrated the coffin of the deceased he misled the entire global scientific community to a few centuries ago.The idea of the oldest version of the Phoenician alphabet is based primarily on the inscription scratched on this sarcophagus by unknown craftsman (Pic. 9)
Pic. 9 A fragment of the inscription on the sarcophagus of Ahiram.
Initially this text was dated 13-12 century BC. But then after the discovery of some objects of the 7th century BC in the cultural layer of the sarcophagus, it was decided to have a compromise and assume average figure date, ie 10 BC. How scientific this decision was, this argument we will leave to the experts of archeology. We will try to find arguments in favor of the fact that here is just the act of vandalism.
Firstly let's analyse some other examples. Below is the object, radically different from the previous one (Pic. 9).
Pic. 9 King Kilamuva's Stella. 9 BC.
In this case, both the text and the images made clearly by one master. And as for the date -9 BC- there are no special disputies.
Here is another stele, even without people's images (Pic. 10).
Pic. 10. Mesha Stele or Moabit Stone. 9th century BC.