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Oracle bone script

Oracle bone script was the form of Chinese characters used on oracle bones—animal bones or turtle plastrons used in pyromantic divination—in the late 2nd millennium BC, is the earliest known form of Chinese writing. The vast majority, amounting to over 50,000 inscribed items, were found at the Yinxu site, they record pyromantic divinations of the last nine kings of the Shang dynasty, beginning with Wu Ding, whose accession is dated by different scholars at 1250 BC or 1200 BC. After the Shang were overthrown by the Zhou dynasty in c. 1046 BC, divining with milfoil became more common, a much smaller corpus of oracle bone writings date from the Western Zhou. Thus far, no Zhou sites have been found with a cache of inscriptions on the same scale as that at Yinxu, although inscribed oracle bones appear to be more widespread, being found near most major population centers of the time, new sites continue to be discovered after 2000; the late Shang oracle bone writings, along with a few contemporaneous inscription in a different style cast in bronzes, constitute the earliest significant corpus of Chinese writing, essential for the study of Chinese etymology, as Shang writing is directly ancestral to the modern Chinese script.

It is the oldest known member and ancestor of the Chinese family of scripts, preceding the bronzeware script and making it the direct ancestor of over a dozen East Asian writing systems developed over the next three millennia, including the Chinese and Japanese logographic and syllabaric scripts still in current use. In terms of content, the inscriptions, which range from under ten characters for incomplete prognostications to over 100 characters in rare cases, deal with a wide range of topics, including war, ritual sacrifice, agriculture, as well as births and deaths in the royal family. Thus, they provide invaluable insight into late Shang dynasty society; the common Chinese term for the script is jiǎgǔwén. It is an abbreviation of guījiǎ shòugǔ wénzì, which appeared in the 1930s as a translation of the English term "inscriptions upon bone and tortoise shell" first used by the American missionary Frank H. Chalfant in his 1906 book Early Chinese Writing. In earlier decades, Chinese authors used a variety of names for the inscriptions and the script, based on the place they were found, their purpose or the method of writing, one common term being 殷墟卜辭.

As the majority of oracle bones bearing writing date from the late Shang dynasty, oracle bone script refers to a Shang script. It is certain that Shang-lineage writing underwent a period of development before the Anyang oracle bone script because of its mature nature. However, no significant quantity of identifiable writing from before or during the early to middle Shang cultural period has been discovered; the few Neolithic symbols found on pottery, jade, or bone at a variety of cultural sites in China are controversial, there is no consensus that any of them are directly related to the Shang oracle bone script. The oracle bone script of the late Shang dynasty appears pictographic, as does its contemporary, the Shang writing on bronzes; the earliest oracle bone script appears more so than examples from late in the period. Comparing oracle bone script to both Shang and early Western Zhou period writing on bronzes, oracle bone script is greatly simplified, rounded forms are converted to rectilinear ones.

The more detailed and more pictorial style of the bronze graphs is thus thought to be more representative of typical Shang writing than the oracle bone script forms, this typical style continued to evolve into the Zhou period writing and into the seal script of the Qin in the late Zhou period. It is known that the Shang people wrote with brush and ink, as brush-written graphs have been found on a small number of pottery and bone, jade and other stone items, there is evidence that they wrote on bamboo books just like those found from the late Zhou to Hàn periods, because the graphs for a writing brush and bamboo book are present in the oracle bone script. Since the ease of writing with a brush is greater than that of writing with a stylus in wet clay, it is assumed that the style and structure of Shang graphs on bamboo were similar to those on bronzes, that the majority of writing occurred with a brush on such books. Additional support for this notion includes the reorientation of some graphs, by turning them 90 degrees as if to better fit on tall, narrow slats.

Additionally, the writing of characters in vertical columns, from top to bottom, is for the most part carried over from the bamboo books to oracle bone inscriptions. In some instances lines are written horizontally so as to match the text to divinatory cracks, or columns of text rotate 90 degrees in mid stream, but these are exceptions to the normal pattern of writing, inscriptions were never read bottom to top; the vertical columns of text in Chinese writing are traditional

Guthrie Moir

George Guthrie Moir MA, was a British television producer, Liberal Party politician, prominent Christian and writer, one of the founders of Independent Television. He was the son of May Flora Moir, he was educated at Berkhamsted School in Peterhouse, Cambridge. In 1951 he married Sheila Maureen Ryan, SRN, they had two daughters. One of his daughters was Suzy Moir. In 1940 he joined up with the 5th Suffolk Regiment as an officer. In 1942 he became a Prisoner of War in Singapore, he was put to work on the notorious Burma Railway for three and a half years. He was a member of the Liberal Party, his first involvement in politics was being elected to Aylesbury Rural District Council in 1947, on which he served for two years. In 1949 he was elected as an Independent to Buckinghamshire County Council on which he served until 1975, he stood as a Liberal candidate at the United Kingdom general election of 1950 in his home constituency of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. He did not stand for parliament again. In 1950 he became the Director of the European Youth Campaign.

In 1952 he was elected the second President of the World Assembly of Youth, serving until 1956. In 1958 he became Executive Producer at Rediffusion Television. In 1968 he became head of Religious programmes at Thames Television. Why I Believe, 1964 Life’s Work, 1965 Teaching and Television: ETV Explained, 1967 Beyond Hatred, 1969 The Suffolk Regiment, 1969 Into Television, 1969He wrote contributions for The Times, Times Educational Supplement, Church Times, The Contemporary Review and The Frontier. World Assembly of Youth Aylesbury

Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel

Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel was a Dutch regent, Princess of Orange by marriage to John William Friso, Prince of Orange, regent of the Netherlands during the minority of her son and her grandson. She was a daughter of Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, Maria Amalia of Courland, she and her husband are the most recent common ancestors of all reigning monarchs in Europe. Marie Louise is notable for having served as regent for two periods in Dutch history: during the reigns of her young son, William IV, Prince of Orange from 1711 and 1730, of her young grandson, William V, Prince of Orange, from 1759 to 1765, she was fondly referred to as Marijke Meu by her Dutch subjects. Marie Louise was one of seventeen children born to Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, by his wife and cousin, Maria Amalia of Courland. Two of her siblings included King Frederick I of Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. On 26 April 1709, Marie Louise was married to Prince of Orange, he was the eldest surviving son of Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz, Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau.

The events behind their betrothal began after John William was killed by cannon fire and roundshot on two different occasions. His mother, Henriette Amalia realizing how vulnerable her son was began looking for a suitable bride to ensure an heir. In the end, the choice came down to two German princesses, she informed him that he should think of the choice as between two chairs, that he should choose the most comfortable of the two. John duly became engaged to the 20-year-old Marie Louise within a week, he did not bother meeting the other candidate. The main factor in this decision was that Marie Louise's father was a trusted general under the well-respected Duke of Marlborough. In addition, marriage to a daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel would have served to strengthen John William's place among the other ruling houses. Marie Louise was not considered attractive, as her features were heavy and her face was dominated by a large nose, she was however charming, greeted those of all ranks with natural friendliness and sincere concern for their well being.

They had two children before his untimely death by drowning on 14 July 1711, the youngest of whom was born after his death. William Charles Henry Friso's birth was met with great relief by the Frisians, he automatically inherited the title Prince of Orange. Since her husband died while she was pregnant, her son William became Prince of Orange upon his birth six weeks later. Marie Louise served as regent for her son from 1711 until he reached his majority in 1731; this regency was granted despite her inexperience with the affairs of her adopted country. Although she did not have any experience, Marie Louise withstood a series of natural disasters, which included a sequence of bad harvests and severe winters from 1712 to 1716. At the time of her marriage, Marie Louise earned the affection of the Dutch population, she was known as a woman of intelligence and sensitivity, was fondly referred to as Marijke Meu. She dealt with a major problem concerning shipworms – parasites that upon arriving on ships from the Far East, proceeded to devour wooden sections of the vital, protective dykes.

These damages threatened to collapse the entire dyke system, which would have destroyed vast amounts of land used for farming in the Dutch province of Friesland. The money needed to prevent such an occurrence from happening was hard to raise however. In order to end the looming starvation, Marie Louise traveled to the Hague and pleaded in person before the States-General for help, she spoke so eloquently that she returned home with not only a remittance on taxation, but with a sizable detachment of soldiers to help repair the dykes. After a 1736 visit, Marie Louise maintained a correspondence, in "abominable French," with religious and social reformer Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf. A religious woman, she provided sanctuary to persecuted Protestants fleeing the Catholic Habsburgs. Despite her son's objections, Marie Louise allowed a group of Moravians to settle in the barony of IJsselstein, of which she was baroness. After her husband died, Marie Louise found herself a 23-year-old widow residing in a foreign country.

She became inherently agonized over the affairs of her children. This pessimistic trait passed onto her daughter Amalia as well, causing her to be melancholy and withdrawn her whole life, her son William inherited her heavy Germanic looks, rather than "the finely etched ascetic looks which his father had shared with William III". William was sickly as a child, was rigidly disciplined and educated by Marie Louise with great care in the city of Leeuwarden. Marie Louise had a good relationship with her son, so that by the time of his coming of age in 1729, she was invited to take equal part in the celebrations. In his youth, she sent him daily letters reminding him to do such things as brush his teeth and get plenty of sleep. Marie Louise was described to be frugal in comparison to the excesses of her mother-in-law Henriette Amalia. Due to this frugality, she was able to give large sums to various charitable causes. On one occasion, a nobleman offered her lavish hospitality. Marie Louise's s