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History of Books and Writing
Greek and Roman Copycats

History of Books and Writing
History of Books and Writing

Greek and Roman Copycats
Print Greek and Roman Copycats Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.64

     challenging words:    pictograms, stylus, meticulous, scribes, scribe, counteract, sleep-deprived, blocky, parchment, pointed, disastrous, writing, better, papyrus, unreliable, spite
     content words:    Middle Ages, King Eumenes II, Many Roman, Emperor Trajan

Greek and Roman Copycats
By Colleen Messina

1     The ancient Greeks created lifelike sculptures, graceful architecture, and a unique system of government that inspired our own. The great Greeks were also conquerors... and copycats. Alexander the Great conquered and destroyed the Phoenician city of Tyre, but he preserved one important Phoenician invention. Perhaps the Greek soldiers asked the conquered Phoenician merchants, "Got letters?" When the Greeks saw the incredible Phoenician writing system, they took it home. Copying is not always a good idea, but in this case, the Greeks made a smart move because they acquired the best alphabet in the ancient world.
2     The Greeks copied the innovative Phoenician alphabet because pictograms and ideograms just didn't work out for them. Their famous historian, Herodotus, recorded a disastrous event that came from misinterpreting pictograms. A general received a scroll with pictures of a bird, a frog, and several arrows on it. The pictures intrigued him, but he was too proud to admit that he couldn't figure out what the message meant. He studied the scroll all night.
3     In the morning, the general told his officers that the scroll meant the enemy was surrendering to them! The officers patted themselves on the back and congratulated each other on their victory. However, the poor, sleep-deprived general had made a deadly mistake. The pictures meant that the enemy would attack them and that they should prepare to surrender! The Greeks learned the lesson that communicating with pictures was unreliable. They needed a better system.

Paragraphs 4 to 10:
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History of Books and Writing
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