{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Akkadian Alphabet3

Akkadian Alphabet3 - Understanding Cuneiform IN THIS...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–6. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Understanding Cuneiform
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
IN THIS episode I am presenting Sumerian Cuneiform, the script of one among the earliest cradles of civilisation, Sumeria, that is, the present-daybattered Iraq. Sumeria was a prosperous agriculture-based civilization. Sumerians had constructed a complex system of canals and dykes. But the country itself was virtually treeless and stoneless. Then they settled on mud as their medium of writing required for assisting their extensive trade. Weren’t they very enterprising, to have chosen the most unconventional medium? History vouchsafes to the efficiency of the medium for we have extensive writing of the Sumerians that tells us their story. Gilgamesh, a historical king of Babylonia, lived about 2700 B.C. Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down about 2000 B.C. in the Sumerian language on clay tablets,which stillsurvive.
Background image of page 2
The Sumerians were skilled in art, especially sculpture. They were also very inventive and were the first to use the arch and wheel, and developed a skillful number system based on 10's and 6's, the latter we use to divide circle and time. The Sumerians also had advanced knowledge of mathematics, medicine, and astronomy. Sumerians also kept records of much literature including hymns, epic tales, and myths. Sumerians also wrote the first epic poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh, mentioned before, which enabled scholars to learn about many aspects of Sumerian society. Perhaps all these would not have been possible withoutwriting.
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Thus we have the earliest writing of the world, dated to 3300 BC. This is long, long ago. For us, who are used to engraving on stones, scratching on mud-pots, stylus or brush-and-ink on leaves and ink on paper, to have successfully implemented writing by impressing conical headed pins on clay tablet is most amusing. I wouldn't have believed that it would be possible.Itisreallynotwriting,but'impressing'! I am in good company. For these 'impressions', when noticed in the 16 th century, were not taken to be characters of a script. There are only five basic 'impressions'. Permutation-combination of these five looks weird. These 'triangular, in the shape of a pyramid or miniature obelisk … and are all identical except in position and arrangement' were concluded to be belonging to no people ‘that can be discovered now or tohaveever existed’.Thiswas intheearly17thcentury.
Background image of page 4
When the inscriptions were first published in 1657, there was no 'hulchal'. Some thought it is ornamental graphics, some even found to be even the tracks of birds walking across newly softened clay! I would have said the same. You can see for yourself when you look at the specimen given in the presentation. There were also highly intellectual imaginative suggestions. An Oxford don even suspected these signs as an experiment
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 6
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}