Cuneiform: Ancient Scripts

Cuneiform: Ancient Scripts

by Irving Finkel, Jonathan Taylor

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Overview

Cuneiform: Ancient Scripts by Irving Finkel, Jonathan Taylor

Cuneiform script on clay tablets is, as far as we know, the oldest form of writing in the world. The resilience of clay has permitted these records to survive for thousands of years, providing a fascinating glimpse into the political, economic, and religious institutions of the ancient Near Eastern societies that used this writing system.
 
A concise and accessible introduction to the topic, this book traces the history of cuneiform from its beginnings in the fourth millennium BC to its eventual demise in the face of the ever expanding use of alphabetic Aramaic in the first millennium BC. The authors explain how this pre-alphabetic system worked and how it was possible to use it to record so many different languages. Drawing on examples from the British Museum, which has the largest and most venerable cuneiform collection in the world, this lively volume includes elementary school exercises, revealing private letters, and beautiful calligraphic literature for royal libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606064474
Publisher: Getty Publications
Publication date: 04/01/2015
Series: Ancient Scripts Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,236,631
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Irving Finkel is curator of ancient Mesopotamian script, languages, and cultures in the Middle East Department of the British Museum, where Jonathan Taylor is curator of the cuneiform collections.

Table of Contents

Before we start 6

Map 8

1 Looking backwards and forwards 10

2 Going to school 24

3 Who used cuneiform writing? 32

4 How do we understand it, anyway? 40

5 The scribe revealed 52

6 What happened to cuneiform 64

7 How did it work? 74

8 Counting days 88

9 Why study cuneiform? 100

Cuneiform code chart 102

Where to find out more 104

Index 106

Picture credits 111

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