Innis, Harold A., Empire and communications \ i~,~}. k \1.\i.. ‘i+h l”!r·,)~\_l.t rVl. I\ P;’3·\:: ,f~.rl PAPER AND THE PRINTING PRESS ;Ji! ‘Jt~j. Harold Innis: Prophet of Empire & Communications. 03Jan Photograph of Harold Innis standing among lilacs, no date Harold Innis, no date. Source. Empire and Communications examines the impact of media such as stone, clay, papyrus and the alphabet on the empires of Egypt and.

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They were fully developed in the inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I. In the handbooks of temple structure and adornment of sacred shrines which probably made up a large part of temple libraries, Thoth was the framer of rules of ecclesiastical architecture. Last but not least, as a book that draws from such a distant past into recent history, exploring the many rises and falls of western society paralleled by the communication media in use immensely helps one in developing better perspectives to navigate on our modern days of “celebration of the electrical sublime”.

Rights were devolved to individuals as they formed new family units, but rights amounting to a strict entail were retained.

If the stylus was pressed lightly a large number of short strokes was necessary to make a single sign. Oral traditions were written down and literature became the bond slave of religion.

Hocart, Kingship London,p. The second was the humanization of the Greek gods whose limited powers encouraged belief in rational explanations for the order of things. Two scribes were shown in drawings, the chief with a stylus and a tablet and the assistant with the pen and parchment or papyrus.

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In this foundational work, he traces humanity’s movement from the oral tradition of preliterate cultures to the electronic media of recent times. The influence of the stars was formulated in dogmas of absolute rigidity and a cosmic religion was based on science.

In a series of intellectual leaps, Innis asserts that Ra’s power was vested in an absolute monarch whose political authority was reinforced by specialized astronomical knowledge. Innis however, decided to undertake a sweeping historical survey of how communications media influence the rise and fall of empires. The pharaoh Akhnaton tried to introduce Atenthe solar disk as the one true god, a system of worship that would provide a common ideal for the whole empire.


His consort Ninlil became the mother goddess. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers.

Empire and Communications –

John rated it really liked it Oct 07, Complexity favoured increasing control under a monopoly of priests and the confinement of knowledge to special classes. Rome assumed control over the medium on which Egyptian civilization had injis based, and built up an extensive bureaucracy, but the latter survived in a fusion in comumnications Byzantine Empire with Christianity based on the parchment codex.

Brilliant book, a tough read but worth the effort. After Sennacherib Aramaic characters alone were used for weights. Along the north Communlcations coast the cod fisheries were exploited over an extensive coast-line; decentralization was inevitable; and political interests of Europe were widely represented.

Consonantal values were represented by single signs, principally for foreign names and words, but the older pictographic writing communcations maintained as a harolc and more convenient form of abbreviation, particularly after the scribes had learned a large number of signs.

Religion was transformed into the worship of one God, the creator and ruler of all things, the God of social justice, mercy, and finally love. Peace within an enlarged empire brought increased industrial efficiency. Syria and Palestine became part of the empire. Pirenne has commented on the irony of history in which as a result of the character of the material much is preserved when little is written and little is preserved when much is written.

Where formerly a priestly oracle had been the final resort, Deuteronomy added a lay judge. The use of papyrus rapidly increased after the expulsion of the Hyksos.

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For more detail on agrarian grievances, see Haarold, p. Innis divides the history of the empires and civilizations he will examine into two periods, one for writing and the other for printing. In Babylon the temple and the palace were separate, whereas the Assyrians combined them and the kings were their own chief priests. Innis notes that parchment, on the other hand, is a durable medium that can be produced wherever farm animals are raised.


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.

Empire and Communications by Harold A. Innis

Poor in abstracts, they abounded in synonyms with fine shades of meaning for deeds and things and provided the vocabulary of the poet rather than the philosopher. Alexander John Watson Introduction. The Cimmerians attacked Lydia in B. With few abstract terms inins without powers of rationalization the Judaism of antiquity produced no philosophers. The cult of Thoth communiations played an important role in the expulsion of the Empjre and in the New Kingdom. Jeremiah had spiritualized religion and separated it from all outward institutions, even from the nation.

Under rulers of the eighteenth dynasty B. His one premature and quite unfinished attempt to write about his later enthusiasms systematically was in a book called Empire and Communicationsfirst published in by Oxford University Press.

Empire and Communications

His investigation into communications in empires that prospered and later collapsed, was aimed at finding answe A comprehensive look at history of communications from communicatiins to the 50s, when the author died.

Please try again later. The priests concerned with extensive administration of landed [40] property owned by the temples had adapted religious ceremonies, festival seasons, and time reckoning to practical occupations. The clergy of Heliopolis established a new calendar and imposed it on Egypt. A renaissance of art and literature followed the conquest of Egypt and transmission of the wisdom of Babylonia in copies, compilations, and revisions from the originals to the royal [47] library and archives epmire Ashur-bani-pal B.

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. The prophets of the seventh and sixth centuries reduced a multitude of gods to one and transformed Judaism by giving religion an ethical basis.