Scribe

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A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand as a profession and helps the city keep track of its records. The profession, previously found in all literate cultures in some form, lost most of its importance and status with the advent of printing. The work could involve copying books, including sacred texts, or secretarial and administrative duties such as taking of dictation and the keeping of business, judicial and historical records for kings, nobility, temples and cities. Later the profession developed into public servants, journalists, accountants, typists, and lawyers. In societies with low literacy rates, such as India, street corner letter-writers (and readers) may still be found providing a service.

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Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptian scribe, or sesh,[1] was a person educated in the arts of writing (using both hieroglyphics and hieratic scripts, and from the second half of the first millennium BCE also the demotic script) and dena (arithmetics).[2][3] Sons of scribes were brought up in the same scribal tradition, sent to school and, upon entering the civil service, inherited their fathers' positions.[4]

Much of what is known about ancient Egypt is due to the activities of its scribes. Monumental buildings were erected under their supervision,[5] administrative and economic activities were documented by them, and tales from the mouths of Egypt's lower classes or from foreign lands survive thanks to scribes putting them in writing.[6]

Scribes were also considered part of the royal court and did not have to pay tax or join the military. The scribal profession had companion professions, the painters and artisans who decorated and other relics with pictures and hieroglyphic text. A scribe was exempt from the heavy manual.

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