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In Guns, Germs, and Steel, what is the lesson of the Phaistos disk? |

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Another problem with the Phaistos disk is that it was indecipherable by anyone who followed after the maker created it; therefore, it was discarded. But, the argument of Diamond that because the people of Crete in 1700 B.C. had no paper or materials to write on, and, therefore, simply did not develop a written language for this reason and not because they were less advanced or gifted than other civilizations seems rather shallow in light of the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, who did develop a written language which they wrote on the walls of tombs. 

In AD 391 it is recorded that the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I closed pagan temples throughout the empire, sealing off the writings of the past.

This action terminated a four thousand year old tradition and the message of the ancient Egyptian language was lost for 1500 years.

So, if the hieroglyphics were written four thousand years before AD 391, then the Egyptians had a written language in 3600 B. C., a language for which they found a purpose. Obviously, then the Egyptians seem a people more advanced than the Cretes, making Diamond's main argument that certain civilizations advanced because of where they were and the resources that they had ring hollow. Besides, if one among the Cretes was creative enough to fashion some kind of writing, why were not others curious? Did this Crete not share his creation with anyone?

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