the development of writing
WRITING AS A MEANS OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION
WE WRITE FOR THE SAME BASIC REASON THAT WE RAISE a hat to a friend and shake a fist at an enemy, tie a knot in a handkerchief, or fly a flag at half mast. These are different methods of communication, of passing on (to others, or to ourselves) a message with meaning, but they all agree in making their appeal to the eye.
Our concern here is with those methods of visual appeal which, unlike gesture, can retain their message for an indefinite length of time. It may be guessed that prehistoric man of the neolithic age--to go back no further--invented for his own use such aids to memory, but, if so, they have not survived, with the exception of paintings and drawings.
The earliest pictures known are the work of paleolithic artists in caves in various parts of the world. Some of the most striking are found in southern France and neighboring Spain, where among the animals pictured are bison, mammoth, and rhinoceros, later extinct in that area. These illustrations often occur in subterranean caves, needing artificial illumination, and are even hidden away in a remote part of the cave. We can dismiss the idea that they were intended to be decoration. Probably they were meant to serve a magical purpose: the idea behind them would