Cuneiform Script

Topics: Cuneiform script, Sumerian language, Mesopotamia Pages: 3 (817 words) Published: March 29, 2007
Cuneiform Expression: The Language Before Letters
The Cuneiform script, an early form of language consisting of pictographic symbols, was first created by the Sumerians and later built on by other cultures. Written on wet clay tablets, Cuneiform symbols were drawn with a long reed crafted into a writing instrument, also known as a stylus. The stylus created wedge shapes, which is why the name cuneiform was assigned to it. Cuneiform translates to "wedge shaped". Some Languages included in the Cuneiform classification were Sumerian, Akkadian, Elamite, Hittite, Luwian, Hurrian, Hattic, and Urartian. Cuneiform was primarily used during the time period that lasted between the 30th century BC to 1st century AD.

The first symbol picture was that of the word "great". Shortly after, the second was that of the word "man". This pictorial writing then later developed into a series of wedges and hooks. The wedges representing whole Sumerian words are described as ideographic. This writing consists of using ideograms, or word symbols.

This writing system was used primarily in Mesopotamia until the century before the birth of Christ. This was a very important factor in the history of Mesopotamia because it allowed laws to be written and also made it easier to make detailed accounts of history and historical happenings. Much of what we know about this ancient culture we would not know had the people not been able to communicate.

One of the important languages written in the Cuneiform style was Sumerian. The Sumerian society was one of the earliest societies to come about in the world, and the Sumerians developed the Cuneiform system that would influence scripts in the area for the next 3000 years to come. This was the first recognized written language, and would be later used as a basis for other languages. The invention of the Sumerian writing system came about because the Mesopotamians realized they needed a way to keep track of clay tokens they used to count...
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