History Through Literature


Literature refers to the written of a particular religion, philosophy, culture or sub-culture which is written in prose or poetry. In the west, literature originated in the city of Uruk in the southern Mesopotamia and later flourished in Egypt. In fact the Egyptian and Mesopotamia literature are referred to as the oldest form of literature. Other old forms of literature include the Greece, Rome and Chinese literature. However, most of these ancient literatures were oral literature, and thus most it got lost with time. Nevertheless, there are some few segments of this literature which is still available.

Origin of Ancient Literature

The first ever written work of literature in the world was written by Enheduanna, who served as the high priestess of Ur, between 2285 and 2250 BCE. Enheduanna work of literature was written in form of hymns to praise Inanna, a Sumerian goddess. Most of the ancient literature was majorly concerned with activities of the gods. However, as time went on, humans’ activities played a significant literature work.

Literature is an extensive field which covers broad variety of literature works. Therefore, for the purpose of study, in the modern world, literature works has been sub-divided into units of non-fiction and fiction. Nevertheless, most of ancient literature is understood differently by different groups; those who wrote the literature, those who heard it sung pre-literacy and the modern interpretation of the same work.

History of Literature

Most of the ancient literature works verbal literature was passed from one generation to another through a word of mouth. It took quite long period before this literature was recorded and thus it is very difficult to determine when the oral composition of the literature was made. This literature was recorded in form of poet, hymns and folklores.

The great value of the ancient literature and originality which is criticized by modern-day reader is known to ancient generation. Most the ancient literature emphasizes spiritual beings and gods as well as great heroes. For instance, the ancient Egyptian literature was composed in respect to the Egyptian gods and goddesses. As time went on, the human aspects were introduced in the literature. However, this was made to praise great heroes in certain cultures or religion such as kings, rulers and magicians.

Through the spread of Christianity, the early Greece and Rome literature heritage was preserved and transformed. Although it was first, spread in European nations, the Greece and Rome literature was later spread to western hemisphere. This was the beginning of the modern literature.

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