Ancient Mesopotamia Essay

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WHO COULD READ AND WRITE CUNEIFORM?
The act of reading and writing in ancient Mesopotamia was believed to be the work of professional scribes who would assist rulers, merchants, and commoners in their daily economic or political activities (Charpin and Todd 2010:8). Some exceptions to this have been accepted by past historians. Several kings of various Mesopotamian kingdoms and empires have claimed to be literate and have composed work of their own (Charpin and Todd 2010:9). One such exception was the Neo-Sumerian period king Shulgi of Ur. Shulgi claimed to be a true scholar and composed hymns in his own name. His songs focused on his accomplishments and recorded some of the earlier songs of previous kings. In recording the songs of previous
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Scribes at the time begin to develop advanced forms of hymns and longer, more detailed praises to the kings of their age. The poems, hymns, and praises began to be written on multiple cylindrical or flat clay tablets in true cuneiform. This tradition saw its peak around 2500 to 2000 B.C.E with still sparse but noticeable evidence of such writing …show more content…
in the form of epic poetry. These tales were several hundred lines long which would put them in the category of “epic tales” or “epics”. Two of the most well known stories to emerge from this era are the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish. The Epic of Gilgamesh focus on the hero-king of Uruk named Gilgamesh and his journeys with his best friend Enkidu throughout the known world. The Enuma Elish discusses the origins of the universe and the creation of the world according to the Babylonian tradition. Both stories emerge from the heroic age of Sumeria of around 3000 B.C.E. and are the oldest examples of literary texts to date. These stories were written on many clay tablets in the mature cuneiform tradition (Kramer

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