Tag Archives: Bullae

Counting Sheep.

bullaSo how did writing begin? Counting sheep, of course.

Around 8,500 BC, trade among the ancient Mesopotamians grew more complicated, and merchants needed a record-keeping system to keep track of everything. They came up with a series of tokens, with each token representing a commodity—a jug of oil, a jar of perfume, a dog, a cow, a lion, or (very popular back then) a sheep. As this system became even more complicated and people amassed more property (and, therefore, tokens), merchants began to store their sheep-figurines in contraptions like the one pictured above, round ceramic envelopes called bullae. Continue reading

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