This volume reconsiders the question of literacy and communication in pre-modern societies from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Methodologically, its authors rely on the assumption that not only the content of a specific message, but also its material form and outlook effect the way in which textual artefacts are understood and interpreted by their individual readers or beholders. Furthermore, writers consciously and at times unconsciously design texts by applying different writing surfaces, writing implements or layouts.
The volume includes examples from the Ancient Orient, the antique Mediterranean, medieval Europe and the Middle East to elucidate how communication between rulers and subordinates was conceptualized in largely illiterate pre-modern societies with regard to the materiality, performance and presence of the written word.

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