Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sumerians and cuneiform script

Writing was invented in order to record business activities in the early Near East. The Sumerians developed a form of pictograph writing that used word pictures like bird, fish, ox of grain etc, around 4000-3500 BC.

The end of the wooden or reed stylus, which struck the clay first, made a wider mark than the shaft, and so came into being the typical wedge-shape impression after which this writing system became known – cuneiform (from the Latin word cuneus meaning wedge).

After the 3rd millennium BC it took a conventional form of linear cuneiform drawings and was written from left to right.

The writing system invented by the Sumerians was soon taken over by other peoples and languages: Aramaic, Persian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hittite, and Hurrian as well as many localized dialects such as the Canaanite Akkadian of the Amarna letters.

Cuneiform, as the script for the Sumerian and Akkadian languages, became the lingua franca of most of the ancient Near Eastern world from before 3000 BC until it was superseded by the alphabetic Aramaic in the seventh to sixth centuries BC.
Sumerians and cuneiform script
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