Cuneiform [note 1] is a logo - syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Middle East.  The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era.  It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions ( Latin: cuneus) which form its signs.
cuneiform, system of writing used in the ancient Middle East. The name, a coinage from Latin and Middle French roots meaning “wedge-shaped,” has been the modern designation from the early 18th century onward. Cuneiform was the most widespread and historically significant writing system in the ancient Middle East. Its active history comprised the last three millennia bce, its long ...
- Jaan Puhvel
Cuneiform was also used to write stories, myths, and personal letters. The latest known example of cuneiform is an astronomical text from 75 C.E. During its 3,000-year history, cuneiform was used to write around 15 different languages including Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Elamite, Hittite, Urartian, and Old Persian.
- 1. denoting or relating to the wedge-shaped characters used in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, Persia, and Ugarit, surviving mainly impressed on clay tablets: "a cuneiform inscription"
- 1. cuneiform writing: "a Mesopotamian script pre-dating cuneiform"
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- Early Cuneiform
- Development of Cuneiform
- Cuneiform Decipherment & Impact
The earliest cuneiform tablets, known as proto-cuneiform, were pictorial, as the subjects they addressed were more concrete and visible (a king, a battle, a flood) and were developed in response to the need for long-distance communication in trade. Sophisticated compositions were unnecessary since all that was required was an understanding of the t...
One no longer had to struggle with the meaning of a pictograph; one now read a word-concept, which more clearly conveyed the meaning of the writer. The number of characters used in writing was also reduced from over 1,000 to 600 in order to simplify and clarify the written word. The best example of this is given by scholar PaulKriwaczek who notes t...
The great literary works of Mesopotamia such as the Atrahasis, The Descent of Inanna,The Myth of Etana, the Enuma Elish, and the famous Epic of Gilgameshwere all written in cuneiform and were completely unknown until the mid-19th century when men like George Smith, the Reverend Edward Hincks, Jules Oppert, and Rawlinson deciphered the language and ...
Along with other Assyriologists (among them, T. G. Pinches and Edwin Norris), Rawlinson spearheaded the development of Mesopotamian language studies, and his Cuneiform Inscriptions of Ancient Babylon and Assyria, along with his other works, became the standard reference on the subject following their publication in the 1860s and remain respected sc...
- Joshua J. Mark
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Jan 21, 2021 · Cuneiform is not a language but a proper way of writing distinct from the alphabet. It doesn't have 'letters' – instead it uses between 600 and 1,000 characters impressed on clay to spell words by dividing them up into syllables, like 'ca-at' for cat, or 'mu-zi-um' for museum. Other signs stood for whole words, like our '£' standing for ...