Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)

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August — 1. September Livio come fonte per la conoscenza dei mandata. Andrzej Gillmeister.

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Language is also a fundamental tool to exercise power, since it allows socio-cultural and political involvement and integration. Nazioni e nazionalismo in Europa.

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Vernacular culture as a religious rampart: Roussillon clergy and the defence of Catalan language in s. Ads help cover our server costs. Remember me on this computer.

Harold Innis

Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Innis points out that music was central to the oral tradition and the lyre accompanied the performance of the epic poems. The first was the rise of an aristocratic civilization which valued justice and right action over the traditional ties of kinship. The second was the humanization of the Greek gods whose limited powers encouraged belief in rational explanations for the order of things. Gradually, the flexible oral tradition gave rise to other kinds of poetry. Innis notes that these new kinds of literature "reflected the efficiency of the oral tradition in expressing the needs of social change.

Bury describes him as venting his feelings freely and denouncing his enemies. This profusion of short personal lyrics likely coincided with the spread of writing and the increasing use of papyrus from Egypt. Innis credits the oral tradition with fostering the rise of Greek science and philosophy. He argues that when combined with the simplicity of the alphabet, the oral tradition prevented the development of a highly specialized class of scribes and a priestly monopoly over education.

Moreover, unlike the Hebrews, the Greeks did not develop written religious texts. Thales of Miletus may have discovered trigonometry. He also studied geometry and astronomy , using mathematics as "a means of discarding allegory and myth and advancing universal generalizations. The map maker, Anaximander also sought universal truths becoming "the first to write down his thoughts in prose and to publish them, thus definitely addressing the public and giving up the privacy of his thought.

In this chapter, Harold Innis focuses on the gradual displacement of oral communication by written media during the long history of the Roman Empire. The spread of writing hastened the downfall of the Roman Republic , he argues, facilitating the emergence of a Roman Empire stretching from Britain to Mesopotamia. The torture of Roman citizens and the imposition of capital punishment for relatively minor crimes became common as living law "was replaced by the dead letter. Papyrus enabled the governing of a large spatial empire, while parchment contributed to the development of a religious hierarchy concerned with time.

The alphabet was developed into a Graeco-Etruscan script when Rome was governed by an Etruscan king.

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The Etruscans also introduced Greek gods in the 6th century BC apparently to reinforce their own rule. A patrician aristocracy took control, but after prolonged class warfare, gradually shared power with the plebeians. A priestly class, "equipped with trained memories," made and administered the laws, their power strengthened because there was no body of written law. Paternal rights were limited, women became independent and individual initiative was given the greatest possible scope.

Innis seems to suggest that political stability coupled with strong oral traditions in law and religion contributed to the unity of the Roman Republic. Innis quickly sketches the Roman conquest of Italy and its three wars with the North African city of Carthage.

Empire and Communications

At the same time, Rome pursued military expansion in the eastern Mediterranean eventually conquering Macedonia and Greece as well as extending Roman rule to Pergamum in modern-day Turkey. Innis interrupts his account of Roman military expansion to discuss earlier problems that had arisen from the Greek conquests undertaken by Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. Philip and Alexander had established a Macedonian Empire which controlled the Persian Empire as well as territory as far east as India.

Innis suggests Rome would inherit the problems that faced Philip and Alexander including strong separatist tendencies. After Alexander's death, four separate Hellenistic dynasties arose. The Seleucid rulers attempted to dominate Persian , Babylonian and Hebrew religions but failed to establish the concept of the Greek city-state. Their kingdom eventually collapsed.

Harold Innis - The Bias of Communication

Innis concludes that monarchies that lack the binding powers of nationality and religion and that depend on force were inherently insecure, unable to resolve dynastic problems. Innis discusses various aspects of Ptolemaic rule over Egypt including the founding of the ancient library and university at Alexandria made possible by access to abundant supplies of papyrus. Innis contrasts the scholarly pursuits of the Attalid dynasty at Pergamum with what he sees as the dilettantism of Alexandria.

Innis suggests that the Attalids probably preserved the masterpieces of ancient Greek prose. He notes that Pergamum had shielded a number of cities from attacks by the Gauls. Innis writes that the Antigonids "gradually transformed the small city-states of Greece into municipalities. The Greek cities of this period developed common interests.

Hellenistic capitals provided a large reading public. Literary men wrote books about other books and became bibliophiles. Innis concludes that the increasing emphasis on writing also created divisions among Athens, Alexandria and Pergamum weakening science and philosophy and opening "the way to religions from the East and force from Rome in the West.

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Innis returns to his account of Roman history by noting that Rome's military successes in the eastern Mediterranean brought it under the direct influence of Greek culture. He quotes the Roman poet Horace : "Captive Greece took captive her proud conqueror. They include the introduction of Greek tragedies and comedies at Roman festivals to satisfy the demands of soldiers who had served in Greek settlements as well as the translation of the Odyssey into Latin.

Innis mentions there was strong opposition to this spread of Greek culture. He reports for example, that Cato the Elder deplored what he saw as the corrupting effects of Greek literature. Cato responded by laying the foundations for a dignified and versatile Latin prose.

Nevertheless, Innis points out that Greek influence continued as "Greek teachers and grammarians enhanced the popularity of Hellenistic ideals in literature. Meantime, Innis asserts, Roman prose "gained fresh power in attempts to meet problems of the Republic.

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Gaius Gracchus made Latin prose more vivid and powerful. Innis adds that political speeches such as his "were given wider publicity through an enlarged circle of readers. Rome's dominance of Egypt, Innis writes, gave it access to papyrus which supported a chain of interrelated developments that would eventually lead to the decline and fall of Rome.

Papyrus facilitated the spread of writing which in turn, permitted the growth of bureaucratic administration needed to govern territories that would eventually stretch from Britain to Mesopotamia. Centralized administrative bureaucracy helped create the conditions for the emergence of absolute rulers such as the Caesars which, in turn, led to emperor worship.

Innis notes that Rome attempted to increase its imperial prestige by founding libraries.

Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)
Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)
Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)
Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)
Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)
Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics)

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