فصل 06کتاب: تاریخی کوچک از جهان / فصل 6
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
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متن انگلیسی فصل
I C-A-N R-E-A-D
How do you do it? Why, every schoolchild knows the answer: ‘You spell out the words.’ Yes, all right, but what exactly do you mean? ‘Well, there’s an I, which makes “I”, and then a “C” and an “A” and an “N”, which spells “can” and so on, and with twentysix letters you can write anything down.’ Anything? Yes, anything. In any language? Just about.
Isn’t that amazing? With twenty-six simple signs, each no more than a couple of squiggles, you can write down anything you like, be it wise or silly, angelic or wicked. It wasn’t anything like as easy for the ancient Egyptians with their hieroglyphs. Nor was it for the people who used the cuneiform script, for they kept on inventing new signs that didn’t stand just for single letter sounds, but for whole syllables or more. The idea that each sign might represent one sound, and that just twenty-six of those signs were all you needed to write every conceivable word, was a wholly new invention, one that can only have been made by people who did a lot of writing. Not just sacred texts and songs, but all sorts of letters, contracts and receipts.
These inventors were merchants. Men who travelled far and wide across the seas, bartering and trading in every land. They lived quite near the Jews, in the ports of Tyre and Sidon, cities much larger and more powerful than Jerusalem, and quite as noisy and bustling as Babylon. And in fact, their language and their religion were not unlike those of the peoples of Mesopotamia, though they didn’t share their love of war. The Phoenicians (for this was the name of the people of Tyre and Sidon) made their conquests by other means. They sailed across the seas to unknown shores, where they landed and set up trading posts. The wild tribes living there brought them furs and precious stones in exchange for tools, cooking pots and coloured cloth. For Phoenician craftsmanship was known throughout the world indeed, their artisans had even helped in the construction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Most popular of all their goods was their dyed cloth, especially the purple, which they sold throughout the world. Many Phoenicians stayed in their trading posts on foreign shores and built towns. Everywhere they went they were welcomed, in Africa, Spain, and in southern Italy, on account of the beautiful things they brought.
Nor did they ever feel cut off from home, because they could write letters to their friends in Tyre and Sidon, using the wonderfully simple script they had invented, which we still use today. It’s true! Take this ‘B’, for example: it is almost identical to the one used by the ancient Phoenicians, three thousand years ago, when they wrote home from distant shores, sending news to their families in those noisy, bustling harbour towns. Now you know this, you’ll be sure not to forget the Phoenicians.