Cuneiform is a writing system invented by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia around 3500–3000 BCE. It is regarded as the most significant of the Sumerian cultural accomplishments, and the most significant of those of the Sumerian city of Uruk, which improved cuneiform writing circa 3200 BCE. The term "cuneiform" comes from Latin cubus, cube + -form, formative.
In its earliest forms, cuneiform was used for recording administrative data on clay tablets. As time passed, it was used for literary works, including laws, hymns, and myths. By the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, Sumerians were using cuneiform to write poetry and song lyrics.
How did they do this? Cuneiform writing consists of wedge-shaped marks carved into soft clay or stone with a pointed tool called a stylus. These tools left deep grooves in the clay or stone that could be filled with pigment or ink to produce colorful prints. The first step in creating a cuneiform inscription is to carve several small wedges into the surface of the clay to make a pile of signs. Next, using a brush made of goat hair or feathers, cover the entire surface of the tablet with black ink. Finally, take the stylus and draw several lines across the printed page, one line separating each sign group.
Cuneiform is the name given to the writing system invented by the Ancient Sumerians. This lettering emerged from pictographs and other logos used on clay slabs to describe trade items and animals. Over time, several languages were written in cuneiform including Sumerian, Akkadian, Elamite, and Babylonian.
The original pictograph elements were eventually replaced with phonetic signs that represented sounds rather than objects (such as birds or animals). For example, a picture of a duck would be used instead of the actual word "duck" because it was assumed that nobody would know how to pronounce it. Around 2000 B.C., a syllabic script was developed where each sign also represented a syllable of a language.
In addition to words, phrases, and sentences, the ancients also used cuneiform to record numbers. Although modern scholars believe that the Sumerians had no concept of zero, they did use different marks for many numbers up to about 10,000. After this, they simply wrote larger numbers in multiple rows of signs.
Cuneiform remained popular until about 500 A.D., when it was replaced by Aramaic in the Middle East and Chinese characters in China. However, it is still used today in parts of Africa and Asia.
Cuneiform was created originally to write the Sumerian language of southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). It is one of the earliest writing systems, along with Egyptian hieroglyphs....
|Script type||Logographic and syllabary|
|Created||around 3200 BC|
|Time period||c. 31st century BC to 2nd century AD|
In the fourth millennium BC, Mesopotamia created a writing system. The writing was created with a triangular stylus, which resulted in the angular form of the strokes. This form of writing is known as "Sumerian cuneiform."
Sumerian was used for more than 1000 years before being replaced by Akkadian around 3100 BC.
Triangular-shaped symbols were used to write down accounts and business documents using a method called "cuneiform" (wedge shaped). Cuneiform is still used today in some parts of Asia and Africa to mark ownership of property or pay taxes.
The first written records we have are dating back to about 4000 B.C. They are notes on clay tablets from ancient Mesopotamia. These notes were used to account for goods being traded or soldiers being hired. They also included recipes for cooking foods such as lamb kidneys wrapped in fat sheep skin.
Around 3500 B.C., two different groups in Mesopotamia started using cuneiform independently of each other. One group used it to write down poems and stories while the other group used it to record objects and transactions. Around 3000 B.C., the poets started writing in their own language instead of using Sumerian.