The Importance And Origin Of The Writing System In Ancient Mesopotamia

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Cuneiform is the name of the many writing systems found throughout Mesopotamia that were in use from the fourth millennium B.C.E until the late first century C.E. The word cuneiform means “wedge-shaped,” due to the wedge shape being one of the two elements that describes the writing style. It was carved on clay tablets and could also be found on stone and metal works (Zorman 2014:103-104). The use of clay was advantageous as it could be molded into many forms and shapes. The disadvantage of using clay meant that weight would be an issue when transporting the tablets and corrections could not be made once the clay had been baked and hardened (Charpin and Todd 2010:7). Characters within the script could
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What is interesting to note and important to discuss is the fact that the ancient Mesopotamians themselves had origin stories for their writing systems. The Sumerians believed that writing originated from the gods themselves and that the system was merely given to man to use as he wished. The myth of Innana and Enki contains the tale of writings origin. The tale speaks of the Sumerian god of wisdom, Enki, who possessed the most things called me, which is a “divine characteristic essence which is immanent in everything,” (e.g., Gong, Yan, and Ge 2009). It is believed these me were not stated to be created by the gods but were raw materials the gods could use as they see fit. According to the legend, the me of “scribal art,” was taken from the city of Eridu and brought to Uruk by Inanna. This act caused the city of Uruk to become civilized according to the myth. This could describe what the Sumerians saw as cultural dissemination and is their account for how writing reached Uruk and the rest of Sumer (e.g., Gong, Yan, and Ge …show more content…
The system involved the use of baked clay tokens which would represent different goods to be bought and sold such as agricultural products and later man made goods. The size and shape of the tokens would represent different goods with markings on the tokens representing the number of goods to be traded, bought or sold (Mouck

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