Ancient Scripts

Sumerian

Ancient Scripts: Sumerian The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, in Southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform.

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Cuneiform

Ancient Scripts: Cuneiform The term "cuneiform" is very deceptive, in that it tricks people into thinking that it's some type of writing system. The truth is that cuneiform denotes not one but several kinds of writing systems, including logosyllabic, syllabic, and alphabetic scripts. In fact, "cuneiform" came from Latin cuneus, which means "wedge". Therefore, any script can be called cuneiform as long as individual signs are composed of wedges. Many languages, including Semitic, Indo-European, and isolates, are written in cuneiform.

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Akkadian

Ancient Scripts: Akkadian While the cuneiform writing system was created and used at first only by the Sumerians, it did not take long before neighboring groups adopted it for their own use. By about 2500 BCE, the Akkadian, a Semitic-speaking people that dwelled north of the Sumerians, starting using cuneiform to write their own language. However, it was the ascendency of the Akkadian dynasty in 2300 BCE that positioned Akkadian over Sumerian as the primary language of Mesopotamia. While Sumerian did enjoy a quick revival, it eventually became a dead language used only in literary contexts, whereas Akkadian would continue to be spoken for the next two millenium and evolved into later (more famous) forms known as Babylonian and Assyrian.

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Cuneiform Scripts

Sumerian is the first known written language. Its script, called cuneiform, meaning "wedge-shaped". The Cuneiform script is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Created by the Sumerians in the late 4th millennium BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.

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