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A History of Communication

A History of Communication

Project made by: Antonesei Adina


Băncilă Andreea
Bărbat Ruxandra
Bighian Alexandra
Chircă Marina

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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A History of Communication

The history of communication dates back to the earliest signs of human life and it
can range from simple processes of exchange to full mass communication. Human
communication was revolutionized with speech about 200,000 years ago, symbols were
developed about 30,000 and writing about 7,000 years ago.

I. And this is how it all started…

Symbols – they resulted from the imperfections of speech. Symbols, generally,


are defined as conventional representations of a concept, an idea. The oldest known
symbols, which were created with the purpose of communicating through time are cave
paintings, known as a form of rock art, dating up to the Upper Paleolithic. Thought very
simple as form and not well standardized, these paintings represented every day life
“photos” of those times and also, gave us information about the way of life, beliefs,
organization of cro magnon people. This is how we found out that 15,000 years ago, the
Cro magnons created the first ever calendar.
The next step in the history of communication is petro glyphs …carvings into a
rock surface and from archeological findings we know that it took Homo sapiens almost
20, 000 years to move from cave paintings to the first dated petro glyphs. It is very
possible that the humans of those times used other forms of communication , besides
paintings and petro glyphs , such as specially arranged stones ( Stonehenge) , symbols
carved in wood ( totems ) and even tattoos ( tribes in the Hawaiian islands) .
Pictograms – a pictogram or a pictograph is a symbol representing a concept,
object, activity, place or event by illustration. It is a form of proto-writing where ideas are
transmitted through out drawings, they are telling a story about an event and can be
ordered chronological. They were used all over the world since around 9,000 BC and
they were the basis of cuneiform writing and hieroglyphs and began developing into
logographic writing systems around 5,000 BC.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
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The oldest-known forms of writing were primarily logographic in nature, based


on pictographic and ideographic elements. Most writing systems can be broadly divided
into three categories: logographic, syllabic and alphabetic (or segmental); however, all
three may be found in any given writing system in varying proportions, often making it
difficult to categorize a system uniquely.

The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the
beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic of the late 4th millennium BC. The first
writing system is generally believed to have been invented in pre-historic Sumer and
developed by the late 3rd millennium into cuneiform. Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the
undeciphered Proto-Elamite writing system and Indus Valley script also date to this era,
though a few scholars have questioned the Indus Valley script's status as a writing
system.

The original Sumerian writing system was derived from a system


of clay tokens used to represent commodities. By the end of the 4th millennium BC, this
had evolved into a method of keeping accounts, using a round-shaped stylus impressed
into soft clay at different angles for recording numbers. This was gradually augmented
with pictographic writing using a sharp stylus to indicate what was being counted.
Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing was gradually replaced about 2700-2000 BC by
writing using a wedge-shaped stylus (hence the termcuneiform), at first only
for logograms, but developed to include phonetic elements by the 2800 BC. About 2600
BC cuneiform began to represent syllables of spoken Sumerian language. Finally,
cuneiform writing became a general purpose writing system for logograms, syllables, and
numbers. By the 26th century BC, this script had been adapted to another Mesopotamian
language, Akkadian, and from there to others such as Hurrian, and Hittite. Scripts similar
in appearance to this writing system include those for Ugaritic and Old Persian.

The Chinese script may have originated independently of the Middle Eastern
scripts, around the 16th century BC (early Shang Dynasty), out of a late Neolithic
Chinese system of proto-writing dating back to c. 6000 BC. The pre-Columbian writing
systems of the Americas (including among others Olmec and Mayan) are also generally
believed to have had independent origins, although some experts have noticed similarities
Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,
specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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between Olmec writing and Shang writing that seem to suggest that Mesoamerican
writing was imported from China [3].

The first pure alphabets (properly, "abjads", mapping single symbols to single
phonemes, but not necessarily each phoneme to a symbol) emerged around 2000 BC
in Ancient Egypt, but by then alphabetic principles had already been incorporated
into Egyptian hieroglyphs for a millennium (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets).

By 2700 BC Egyptian writing had a set of some 22 hieroglyphs to represent syllables that
begin with a single consonant of their language, plus a vowel (or no vowel) to be
supplied by the native speaker. These glyphs were used as pronunciation guides
for logograms, to write grammatical inflections, and, later, to transcribe loan words and
foreign names.

However, although seemingly alphabetic in nature, the original Egyptian


unilateralism was not a system, and was never used by them to encode Egyptian speech.
In the Middle Bronze Age an apparently "alphabetic" system is thought by some to have
been developed in central Egypt around 1700 BC for or by Semitic workers, but we
cannot read these early writings and their exact nature remain open to interpretation.

Over the next five centuries this Semitic "alphabet" (really


a syllabary like Phoenician writing) seems to have spread north. All subsequent alphabets
around the world, with the sole exception of Korean Hangul, have either descended from
it, or been inspired by one of its descendants.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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II. Medieval Communication

In the Middle Ages, communication for the wealthy and the literate, consisted in
letters and private messengers in order to tell each other news. Parchment made from
goat or sheep skin would be used and were sealed with wax with a distinct emblem
unique to the sender, in order to maintain privacy and made sure no one would tamper
with their letters.
The lower classes however, would have to rely on travelling merchants by word
of mouth for far-off news. Important news would be spread by bards who would sing
ballads (long poetry or songs) at festivals of meal time detailing events such as new
marriage, birth or deaths of important people within the community.
Literacy was largely limited to Latin, and possessed principally by churchmen and
nuns so the transmission of ideas occurred mainly through the spoken vernacular word,
and by means of gestures, images, and the manipulation of symbolic objects (thus, for
instance, the relics of saints were carried to distant lands to collect alms, to recover
possessions appropriated by nobles, or to aid in battle). Christianity stimulated
pilgrimages, or missions we might say, and crusades. Marriage took brides to foreign
courts where they served as cultural ambassadors. Medieval kings and great nobles were
continually on the road. Lesser officials and messengers traveled on government
business. Knights sought out tourneys and distant wars to advance their fortunes and
reputations. Merchants and carriers transported goods to regional fairs, and engaged in
international trade. Minstrels, jongleurs, and troubadours traveled to gain patronage and
to extend their repertoire, spreading news and influencing the reputations of warriors,
heroes, and kings. Students too journeyed extensively from place to place in order to sit
at the feet of famous masters. Artists were invited to decorate manuscripts and architects
to raise buildings. Those who challenged traditional norms also came to rely on the
efficiency of communicative systems to expand their ranks with adherents.
Through the use of propaganda, medieval society experimented with such forms
and methods of communication as symbols, stereotypes, and slogans, thus elaborating
features of communication which, however modified, are still in use today.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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Civilization progressed slowly; science was looked upon with distrust and often,
as heresy. Communication between and within countries was tedious and primarily sent
word-of-mouth. Books were a rarity, and writing was the province of the powerful.
1539 A.D. - Mexico began using the first printing press in the Western Hemisphere.
1639 A.D. - The first press in the American Colonies was established in Cambridge,
Mass.
1665 A.D. - The "London Gazette" was the first English newspaper.
1738 A.D. - The first daily newspaper was the "Pennsylvania Evening Post and Daily
Advertiser".
1828 A.D. - The first comprehensive dictionary was published by Noah Webster.
Printed Books
The oldest printed book known is a Chinese religious book, The Diamond Sutra.
Other books like this were printed with wood blocks, usually made from Mulberry wood.
1150 AD - Homing Pigeons
The homing pigeon is a variety of domesticated Rock Pigeon that has been
selectively bred to be able to find its way home over extremely long distances. The wild
rock pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning that it will generally return to its own
nest and its own mate. This made it relatively easy to breed from the birds that repeatedly
found their way home over long distances. Their average flying speed over moderate
distances is around 48 km/h. Homing pigeons are called carrier pigeons when they are
used to carry messages. This is possible where a message is written on thin light paper
(such as cigarette paper) and rolled into a small tube attached to the bird's leg; this is
called pigeon post. Pigeons can only go back to one "mentally marked" point that they
have identified as their home. So "pigeon mail" can only work when the sender is
actually holding the receiver's pigeons. White homing pigeons are used in Release Dove
ceremonies at weddings, funerals, and some sporting events.
Messenger pigeons were used as early as 1150 in Baghdad and also later by
Genghis Khan. The Republic of Genoa equipped their system of watch towers in the
Mediterranean Sea with pigeon posts. In 1860, Paul Reuter, who later founded Reuters
press agency, used a fleet of over 45 pigeons to deliver news and stock prices between
Brussels and Aachen, the terminals of early telegraph lines. The outcome of the Battle of
Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,
specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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Waterloo was also first delivered by a pigeon to England. Flights as long as 1800
kilometers have been recorded by birds in pigeon racing competition.
The Printing Press
Johann Gutenburg invented an actual printing press in 1450, it was a screw press
that worked very much like a wine press. He discovered how to make a good ink that
would print with metal type. Gutenburg was the first to use a press to print the Bible, it is
the oldest full length volume printed. From Gutenburg's press in Mainz, Germany,
printing spread all over Europe, but unfortunately, because of interest and politics,
printing did not really grow again until the 18th century.
Morse’s Code
Another main of communication was developed in the last years of the Middle
Ages. Samuel Finley Breese Morse had the brilliant idea to string a wire between two
points, maybe miles apart. A key at one end is pressed and it closes the electrical circuit
which sends a pulse of electricity through the wire. When the key is let go very fast, the
pulse of electricity sent through the wire is a dot. if the key is held down 3 times longer,
the pulse is a dash. Dashes and dots mixed together form different letters of the alphabet
and when sent from a person at one end of the wire to another person at the other end of
the wire, these dashes and dots would spell out words.
On May 24, 1844, Morse stretched wires from Washington D.C. to Baltimore,
New York and sent the message, "What hath God wrought!" through the telegraph
machine. The telegraph was a success.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
8

III. Modern Communication

Today's communication is very developed. Television, Internet, radio are just


few of the 20th century inventions. The Internet has been described as the greatest
information giver ever invented. I don't know how we ever lived without it. Television is
another information provider. You can find out latest news, relax watching a movie or
listening to music or just watch researchers work on Discovery Channel, which is one of
the most popular science channel. Radio is another contemporary invention which
provides you with the best music.
Communications are fundamental to business- some form of communication
is at the heart of every business process whether internal or external. Technology has
added to the possibilities of travel by horse or the quill pen, and fuelled an expectation of
speed of communication which a century ago would have been unthinkable. Mobile
phone - if a conventional call is to a location, a call to a mobile is to a person. Some
people think that the major use of this is as a tool for making calls. E-mail - quicker and
cheaper than a letter, the biggest danger here is that too few people re-read what has been
written before hitting the ’send’ button. Also a point of danger for systems - you won’t
get anthrax but some e-mails will be as terminal to your office systems if you aren’t
careful. Fax - the last ’big thing’ before e-mail usurped it; is still an excellent tool for
getting pictures sent quickly.
These latest inventions had influenced people's minds and created a new point of
view towards the system of communication in nowadays.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
9

IV. Contemporary Age

Ostertag examines the journals and newspapers that grew out of five significant
movements: abolitionism, woman suffrage, gay and lesbian issues, environmentalism,
and the underground GI press during the fear of oblivion obsessed medieval and early
modern Europe. Stone, wood, cloth, parchment, and paper all provided media onto which
writing was inscribed as a way to ward off loss. And the task was not easy in a world in
which writing could be destroyed, manuscripts lost, or books menaced with destruction.
Paradoxically, the successful spread of printing posed another danger, that an
uncontrollable proliferation of textual materials, of matter without order or limit, might
allow useless texts to multiply and smother thought. Not everything written was destined
for the archives; indeed, much was written on surfaces that allowed one to write, erase,
then write against the Vietnam War.1
The article analyzes the current state of television systems in a selected group of
countries by exploring the political, economic, and technological factors that have shaped
the sector in such a short span of time. Contributors represent countries from all areas of
the world.2
The Internet has presented people in the region with the opportunity to engage in
conversations, discussions, and debates about issues which were previously considered
taboo such as religion, women s rights, and Arab governments, among others.
Media is represented in books, magazines, popular music, movies, television, and the
Internet within entertainment, advertising, and news/information.
New methods of communication were emerging at the time of the Civil War.
Photography allowed people to see the war without being there on the battlefront. The
telegraph allowed messages to be sent electrically over telegraph wires. This was much

1
Ostertag, Bob, People’s
Movements, People’s Press: The Journalism of Social Justice
Movements (Beacon Press, 2006)
2
Ward, David, Television and Public Policy: Change and Continuity in an Era of Global
Liberalization (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007)
Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,
specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
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faster and more reliable than sending messages by horse messenger. Other means of
communication, such as signal towers, provided communication over short distances.
Photography was relatively new at the time of the Civil War. Cameras were much
larger than they are today. Taking pictures was a slow and complex process.
Traveling to locations with this large camera was not a easy task.
Photographers would often follow armies into battle to get pictures of the battle
scene. These included both newspaper and Army photographers. These photographers
would travel by horse and wagon to different locations. This picture shows the wagons
and camera of Sam A. Cooley, Department of the South.
Newspaper reporters traveled by horse and wagon to cover the war. Stories of the
war were sent back to their newspaper to be published.

Newspaper Vendor and Cart in an Army Camp


(Source: Library of Congress)

Newspapers not only took news of the war back to the rest of the country, but also
brought news from home to the soldiers. This picture shows a newspaper vendor and cart
selling newspapers in a camp.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
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Prior to photography, artists would sketch pictures of battlefield. This picture


shows Alfred R. Wood, an artist of Harper's Weekly, sketching on the battlefield.

Telegraph Operators during the Civil War


(Source: Library of Congress)

The telegraph was emerging as a means of sending messages from one location to
another electronically. Telegraph corps followed troops and erected telegraph poles and
wires to provide communication from the battle front. This photograph shows a group of
military telegraph operators. Poles carrying the telegraph wires can be seen leading into
the distance.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
12

Signal Tower used during the Civil War


(Source: Library of Congress)

Tall signal towers were used to send messages short distances. This photograph
shows the Butler's signal tower, Bermuda Hundred, Virginia.

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
13

Observation Balloon during the Civil War


(Source: Library of Congress)

Airplanes were not yet invented at the time of the Civil War. That didn't stop
armies from getting high off the ground to see what the enemy was doing. Observation
balloons in the sky were used to report on troop movements and battles.

Table of Contents
Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,
specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
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I. And This Is How It All Started… …………………………………..page 2


II. Medieval Communication ………………………………………….page 5
III. Modern Communication ……………………………………………page 8
IV. Contemporary Communication …………………………………….page 9

Bibliography:

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010
A History of Communication
15

http://www.sussexenterprise.co.uk/viewPage.jsp?id=5541643 viewed at 25th


October 2009
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_communication viewed at 27th
October 2009
http://library.thinkquest.org/5729/ viewed at 30th October 2009
http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_history_of_communication.htm
viewed at 1st November 2009
Braudel, Fernand (1972); History and Social Science, in Economy and Society in
Early Modern Europe , London: Ed. Peter Burke
E.G.; Mattelart, Armand (1999), The Invention of Communication, trans. Susan
Emmanuel (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), Paul Starr, The Creation
of the Media (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University PRess).
Blumler, J.; McLeod, J., & Rosengren, K. E. (Eds.). (1992). Comparatively
Speaking: Communication and Culture across Space and Time. Newbury Park, CA: Sage

Universitatea “Babeș Bolyai”, Facultatea de Științe Politice Administrative și ale Comunicării,


specializarea Comunicare și Relații Publice, Linia Română, Anul Universitar 2009/2010