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Almo
23rd September 2010, 08:47 AM
From Simon Singh's site:

For over three thousand years, the Ancient Egyptians used these scripts in every aspect of their lives, just as we use writing today. Then, towards the end of the fourth century AD, within a generation, the Egyptian scripts vanished. The last datable examples of ancient Egyptian writing are to be found on the island of Philae. A hieroglyphic temple inscription was carved in AD 394, and a piece of demotic graffiti has been dated to 450 AD. The spread of the Christian Church was responsible for the extinction of the Egyptian scripts, outlawing its use in order to eradicate any link with Egypt’s pagan past.

http://www.simonsingh.net/Hieroglyphs.html

That's depressing. I know there are other examples of these sorts of Religion-based cultural erasings (and several non-religion based ones). But it bugs me that this form of writing endured over 3000 years just to get snuffed for no good reason.

Though I feel I should add this:

http://cs-exhibitions.uni-klu.ac.at/index.php?id=279

Apparently the discovery of letter-frequency analysis came from people studying the Koran for patterns. It ocurred to me one reason Islam in the 1000's didn't stifle science was because Islam was not afraid of science. According to this account, it embraced science as a means of studing the religious texts.