Scribbling furiously for master

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I found Anthony Di Renzo's excerpt from his work "His Master's Voice: Tiro and the Rise of the Roman Secretarial Class" to be an interesting translation of history about how shorthand was first developed in ancient Rome. Cicero's slave, Tiro, is credited as the inventor of this unique Latin shorthand that gave fame both to his master as well as himself.

Before Tiro's creation, scribes and secretaries would have been furiously scribbling, possible making mistakes, missing important conjecture, or simply holding back whomever they were scribing for. But Tiro's shorthand created a code, almost like the first secret code that could be hidden in plain sight and no one would have a clue what was being recorded. So when Di Renzo writes, "Writing was Cicero's way of legitimizing his speaking; and Tiro, in a sense, became his master's voice," Cicero used shorthand to carefully plan out his speeches to outmatch his enemies because Tiro gave him the perfect tool with which to succeed.

However, the most ironic part of Cicero's use of shorthand was when Marc Antony seized Julius Caesar's plans for his future government and used them as evidence that Antony could carry on Caesar's vision, documents written in shorthand. This event truly shows me how important the written word had come to be in Ancient Rome. Not only was it recording government happenings, but had given orators a better means of planning out their speeches so as to be the most influential. Its just like people having notecards that have printed reminders concerning key points in their presentation today. This technique has especially carried into today's courtrooms and literary sectors with professional stenographers. Granted, these people aren't slaves to those they notate for, but they are using a sophisticated, standardized system of shorthand; something that might have been impossible were it not for shorthand's humble beginnings in Ancient Rome.

Students also tend to use shorthand, but my colleagues have most likely spelled out full words for your reading ease.

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