Bureaucracy and writing

Forms were born in triplicate.

It’s depressing to think that the spur for writing was bureaucracy. The bureaucrats could record what farmers produced or merchants traded and tax them. Of course, in those days bureaucrats would come home from a hard day’s fiscal vampirism and say to their wives, “Sorry I’m late, darling, but we were absolutely snowed under with claywork today.” Well, they wrote on clay. Paperwork, claywork. Geddit? No? Sigh.

My guess is that the first piece of non-bureaucratic writing that wasn’t just a doodle was probably a letter, probably from one official to another since they had access to the scribes. As for literature, my guess in this case is that some egotistical poet decided that his version of some poem should be the definitive one.

That’s enough idle musing out of me.


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