Around 3400 BC, someone got the idea of conveying their thoughts to others by making some crude marks in wet clay with a reed as a writing implement. It was called cuneiform.
As succeeding civilizations came and went, more refined forms of writing was invented. When kings and monarchs needed to get their messages across, they found that the best way was to convey them with the written word! The question remains as to who taught all the subjects to read what was written. We are told that earlier civilizations were much more advanced in the arts and sciences than present day scholars.
When Alexander the Great became supreme ruler of all that he surveyed, or didnít survey, as the case may be, he had some way of extolling his exploits. Whether or not he conveyed his thoughts by written word still remains quite hidden.
The first known history of the written word, as we know it today, was actually 600 years before Gutenberg. Chinese monks set ink to paper using a method known as block printing; wooden blocks were coated with ink and pressed onto sheets of paper. Later, in1450, a goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg perfected a printing machine. The first sheets printed were from the Bible that had been laboriously hand printed by monks, etc. These first sheets became known as the Gutenberg Bible.
After the Protestant Reformation, begun in 1517 by a monk named Martin Luther, the written word became more and more common and those who wished to learn to read could pursue reading it at their leisure. Since then, millions and millions of manuscripts, historical documents, and written pages have been distributed throughout every nation and in their languages.
Every disaster, wars, inventions, killings, political victories, space walks, moonwalks, births, and anything imaginable on the earth, has been recorded on the pages of books newspapers, magazines, and cereal boxes. Earth-fills, known as dumps, have become overstocked with the remnants of mankindís search for knowledge. Even though, probably the majority of people read their news on the internet, there are still millions who like to have the written word printed on paper. We were told a few years ago that books on the internet would replace the old stand-by written word! It has not happened yet, but I suppose it could happen, providing we still have electricity in the future.
Had I been in on the Starbucks Roundtable spoken of by Ron Cruger of Spectator fame, I would have put my two cents in and declared that the greatest invention of all times was the written word. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword!