Letters and Post in the Ancient World

Surviving letters such as clay tablets and papyrus scrolls contain a mine of information and they have been invaluable to historians. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Letters and their delivery via a state communication system was a feature of many ancient cultures. The writing medium may have differed but the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Incas[…]

Disaster Ahead: How Danube Floods Created Telegraph Networks

Telecommunication would prove to be a powerful agent of change. Rivers flood, some more regularly than others. The more infrastructure humans construct in floodplains, the more vulnerable to extreme hydrological events they become. Thus, when Danube floods hit Vienna, a Habsburg residence and the most important city of the monarchy, its waters regularly swept over[…]

Good Public Relations: What Ancient Persian Propaganda Tells Us about the ‘Nehemiah Memoir’

Inscriptions ranging from the first Persian king, Cyrus, through Artaxerxes reveal elements in common in both Babylonian and Egyptian texts. Stretching from Egypt to the Indus River, the Persian Empire was the largest empire yet seen in the ancient Near East. Typically, the Hebrew Bible depicts ancient Near Eastern empires as divine instruments of punishment.[…]

Fighting talk: First World War Telecommunications

As a result of the need to exchange information faster and more efficiently, telecommunications advanced rapidly. As the First World War raged, governments harnessed modern technologies to give them an advantage in conflict. New inventions – from tanks to Zeppelins – appeared on the battlefield, while existing technologies were adapted to fit the needs of the British[…]

Morse Code Marks 175 Years and Counting

Morse code works whether flashing a spotlight or blinking your eyes – or even tapping on a smartphone touchscreen. The first message sent by Morse code’s dots and dashes across a long distance traveled from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore on Friday, May 24, 1844 – 175 years ago. It signaled the first time in human[…]

The Spread of Knowledge via Print in Early Modern Europe

By the end of the fifteenth century, the majority of Western European cities had a printing press. By Richelle McDaniel Introduction While printing had already existed for several centuries, Johannes Gutenberg turned the printing world upside down and brought on a new era of print with his revolutionary innovation of movable type in 1445.[1] Movable[…]

Cultural Transfer of Scientific Knowledge in the Early Modern and Postcolonial Worlds

Some general principles for approaching the topic of knowledge transfer and science transfer. Abstract We are all familiar with stories of the daring voyages of discoverers and researchers who braved the seas and severe privation in the service of truth and enlightenment. The title of this article, “Knowledge Transfer and Science Transfer”, and the fact[…]

A 20th-Century History of the Raised Fist as a Changing and Cross-Applicable Symbol

The raised fist, or the clenched fist, is a symbol of solidarity and support.[1] It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. History A raised fist was used as a logo by the Industrial Workers of the World[3] (IWW) in 1917. However, it was popularised during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, when it was used by the Republican faction as a greeting, and was known[…]

How the Post Office and Postal Products Shaped Mid-Nineteenth-Century Letter-Writing

In an age of electronic communication it is easy to forget the vital role that letter-writing played in people’s everyday lives in the nineteenth century. By Susan Donovan Abstract In an age of electronic communication it is easy to forget the vital role that letter-writing played in people’s everyday lives in the nineteenth century. Critical[…]

In the Shadow of the Little Giant: Lincoln before the Great Debates

Until their great debates, Abraham Lincoln lived for a quarter-century in the shadow of Stephen A. Douglas. Until their great debates, Abraham Lincoln lived for a quarter-century in the shadow of Stephen A. Douglas. While his biographers often view his development before 1858 as a prelude to his presidential achievement, Lincoln saw himself in relationship[…]

Linguistic Understanding and the Philosophy of Language

What is it to understand a language, hence others? By Dr. Paul TomassiFormer Professor of PhilosophyUniversity of Aberdeen Introduction Current understanding of the nature of language[1] owes much to two authors: Noam Chomsky and the later Wittgenstein. What is interesting is that the conceptions of language proposed by each appear to conflict. The key question[…]