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Greek contributions to journalism

Posted by: | September 29, 2009 | No Comment |

The Greeks contributed many things to journalism including the addition of vowels to the alphabet and the first known Western history in 443 B.C.

“The final step in the development of writing was the adoption of an alphabet,” according to our textbook on page 47. The Greek addition of vowels came by about 750 B.C. The original alphabet was created by the Canaanites in about 1500 B.C.  The Greek alphabet consists of 24 letters. Because Greek is an Indo-European language, differences in vowels make for differences in meaning. The vowels added to the language were A (alpha), E (epsilon), I (iota), O (omicron) and Y (upsilon).

Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew, have a lot of consonantal sounds. The Greek alphabet became the first alphabet to use both consonants and vowels. The Roman alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet and the Scandinavian Runic alphabet are all directly related to the Greek alphabet. The word alphabet actually comes from two Greek letters; Alpha and Beta.

The Greeks originally wrote every second line from left to right, but around 500 B.C., the practice changed to the way it is today.

The Greeks also contributed what is generally thought of as the first Western history in 443 B.C. Writer Herodotus wrote about the wars between Greece and Persia in his best known work, “Histories”. Cicero called him the Father of History. “Histories” included information about the rise of Persia and the friction between it and Greece. Most of the historical accounts that Herodotus wrote about happened in his lifetime. He wrote about battles and even talked to his elders to find out more information.

Herodotus also wrote about countries he visited in his travels, including Egypt. He wrote about the differences in culture and lifestyles. He claimed he only wrote down what was reported to him, and some of it has been considered inaccurate. He was known as one of the first people to collect his information systematically, just like today’s modern journalists.

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