Literacy in Early Civilizations

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Chapter 2

Literacy in Early Civilizations

Becoming literate was a major milestone in human progress. The Origins of Writing discusses early forms of literacy and the needs that literacy satisfied. In fact, writing was used for commerce, for government management, and for expressing human feelings, needs, and problems. We can see a common theme among world cultures in their literature, which is often referred to as The Hero’s Journey. Please take a look at both of these links before starting your assignment.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an amazing work of literature, an example of universal issues that have attracted and tormented human beings from the earliest days of civilization. Read the article linked for a description of the story and the historical questions surrounding it. There is also a brief video at the end of the article, well worth 10 minutes of your time. You can find a translation of the Epic here if you are interested in reading it (not required).

Now, your assignment:

In 300-400 words, write a short essay to post in this Discussion Forum that addresses the following question:

What are some of the common themes found in the myths of early civilizations, and why do you suppose these similarities exist? NOTE: in considering this question, take a close look at the types of questions that the author of the Epic of Gilgamesh is struggling to answer. You might find they are not just universal concerns addressed by countless creation stories, but also relevant to spiritual quests today.

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Thank You!

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