Who Could Read And Write Cuneiform? Essay

969 Words Nov 13th, 2016 4 Pages
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 kings, Shulgi was in fact granting immortality to himself and his predecessors in the form of the written word (Cooper 2010:328-329). The Ancient Hymn B tells of King Lipit-Eshtar of Isin whose writing was said to be made beautiful by the gods themselves (Charpin and Todd 2010:9). One of the most well known scholar-kings is Ashurbanipal of Assyria. Ashurbanipal himself claims to be an accomplished mathematician, debater, and writer and reader of great works. While skepticism should be held due to the habit of kings glorifying themselves through the use of scribes, a copy of one of his works from the library of Nineveh states that, “I wrote, verified, and collated this tablet in the assembly of scholars; and in order that it shall be read…

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