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Ancient wedgies: cuneiform and the origins of writing






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Ancient wedgies: cuneiform and the origins of writing. The Origin of Cuneiform Signs. Tokens: The First Book Keeping System A. What are Tokens B. How They Were Used. The Origin of Cuneiform Signs. The Development of Writing A. Denise Schmandt-Besserat
Ancient wedgies: cuneiform and the origins of writing

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Slide 1

Ancient wedgies:cuneiform and the origins of writing

Slide 2

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • Tokens: The First Book Keeping System

    A. What are Tokens

    B. How They Were Used

Slide 3

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • The Development of Writing

    A. Denise Schmandt-Besserat

  • Before Writing: Vol. 1: From Counting to Cuneiform. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

  • How Writing Came About. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

Slide 4

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • The Development of Writing

    B. From Ball to Tablet

Slide 5

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

II. The Development of Writing

C. Signs that Originated as Tokens

Slide 6

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • The Development of Writing

    D. Signs that Originated as Pictures

Slide 7

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • The Development of Writing

    E. Pictures to Tokens to Signs?

Slide 8

The Origin of Cuneiform Signs

  • The Development of Writing

    F. When it Becomes Cuneiform

  • At first, the images were drawn with the pointed end of the stylus

  • Cuneiform: the images are created when the edge of the stylus is impressed in the clay

Slide 9

Evolution of Cuneiform Signs

Uruk IV

c. 3200

Jemdet Nasr

c. 3100-2900

Ur III

2112-2004

Neo-Assyrian

1st millennium

god

place

person

woman

foreign

female slave

head

mouth

food

Slide 10

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

I. Logograms: Word Signs

ig = “door”

lu = “person, human”

šu = “hand”

dingir = “god”

gish = “wood, tree”

du = “to go”

Slide 11

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

II. The Movement to Syllabograms: Sound Signs

Sumerian

ig

šu

du

Akkadian

daltu

qatu

alaku

= “door”

ik - šu - du

ikšudu = “they conquered”

= “hand”

= “to go”

Slide 12

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

III Determinatives

A. Definition

  • Signs that do NOT represent a spoken word or sound, but indicate the class of object to which the word belongs

Slide 13

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

III Determinatives

B. Determinatives that Precede their Word

Before names of cities

Before names of men

Before professions

Before names of gods

Before names of countries

Before objects made of wood

Slide 14

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

  • Determinatives

    C. Determinatives that Follow their Word

After names of regions & countries

After names of types of birds

After names of types of fish

Slide 15

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

  • Homophony & Polyphony

    A. Homophony

    • When several signs have the same sound

      • To distinguish signs, subscripted numbers are used to indicate which sign is representing that sound

= gu

= gu3

= gu4

= gu2

Slide 16

How Cuneiform Signs Were Used

  • Homophony & Polyphony

    B. Polyphony

    • When one sign has many values

= ka, zu2, gu3, dug4, du11, inim, kiri3…….

= ud, tam, u4, utu, babbar, zalag, lih, lah, hiš……..

Slide 17

The Media of Cuneiform

I. Tablets

Slide 18

The Media of Cuneiform

II. Inscriptions

Slide 19

The Media of Cuneiform

III. Writing Boards (le’u)

Slide 20

The Media of Cuneiform

  • Writing Boards (le’u)

Slide 21

Ashur-nasir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

Palace of Kalhu

Slide 22

Ashur-nasir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

Palace of Kalhu

Slide 23

Ashur-nasir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

Palace of Kalhu

Slide 24

Ashur-nasir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

Palace of Kalhu: Room S

Slide 25

Ashur-nasir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

The Standard Inscription

Slide 26

Ashur-naşir-pal Inscription

Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.)

The Standard Inscription

Slide 27

Ashur-naşir-pal Inscription

Slide 28

Ashur-naşir-pal Inscription:Line 1

E GAL aš-šur – PAP - A SANGA aš-šur ni - šit DINGIR BE u DINGER MAŠ na - ra - am

Ekkal aššur - nașir - apli šang aššur nišit Enlil u Ninurta naram

Palace of Ashurbanipal high-priest of Ashur chosen of Enlil and Ninurta beloved of …….

= logograms (word-signs)

= determinatives

= syllabograms (sound-signs)

Slide 29

Ashur-naşir-pal Inscription:Line 2

eț - lu qar - du ša ina GIŠ.TUKUL- ti aš-šur EN – šu DU - DU - ku

ețlu qardu ša ina tukulti aššur belišu illaku

youngman heroic who in the confidence of Ashur his lord goes forth

= logograms (word-signs)

= determinatives

= syllabograms (sound-signs)

Slide 30

Ashur-naşir-pal Inscription:Line 3

gap - šu ša ma - hi - ra la - a TUK - u2 MAN mu - šak - niš

gapšu ša mahira la išu šarru mušakniš

Swelling who an opponent does not have, the king making submit

= logograms (word-signs)

= determinatives

= syllabograms (sound-signs)

Slide 31

Ugaritic: An Alphabetic Cuneiform Script

I. The City of Ugarit, 1600-1200 B.C.

Slide 32

Ugaritic: An Alphabetic Cuneiform Script

II. The Script

= A

= D

= Y

= N

= Q

= I

= H

= K

= Ż

= R

= U

= W

= Š

= S

= TH

= B

= Z

= L

= ´

= Ġ

Word

divider

= G

= ̦H

= M

= P

= T

= Ś

= KH

= DH

= Ş

= Ţ

Slide 33

Ugaritic: An Alphabetic Cuneiform Script


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