"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Often thought to be the official motto of the United States Postal Service, the statement was actually written in about 430 BC by the Greek historian Herodotus. He was describing the perseverance of the mounted messenger service used by Xerxes, king of Persia. Some type of postal service has existed in civilized parts of the world since at least 2000 BC.
With a postal service it is possible to send a letter or package to nearly any destination in the world for a small fee. Most postal services are government agencies, and they are often monopolies. They have been established to assure that mail is picked up and delivered on a regularly scheduled basis with speed and security.
In most cases the service is paid for in advance by the sender. This is done by putting a postage stamp or some other indication of payment on the object being sent. Many companies and other institutions use postage meters that imprint the place of origin and amount of postage.
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