Writing and language in ancient Mesopotamia


Ancient Mesopotamia is often referred to as “the cradle of civilization”, a label that actually carries a certain level of truth to it. Here, along the banks of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, mankind founded the world’s first major cities 6000 years ago and invented the world’s first writing system: cuneiform. These two innovations – the urban revolution and the invention of writing – have proved to be crucial to the way we humans have settled on Earth.


It is called cuneiform because cuneus in Latin means “wedge”, and each symbol is formed from small triangles (wedges), which are assembled in different ways and at different angles (the composition of wedges for a single symbol can vary from just one …