Cuneiform: n. The oldest known writing system that originated in Mesopotamia circa 3400BC. It was etched onto wet clay tablets using a wedge-shaped stylus.
Cuneiform is the original ancient written language that underpins all modern forms of written communication. Many languages throughout a vast geographical span over thousands of years were written in cuneiform, including Sumerian, Hittite, Hurrian and Akkadian. Among these, Akkadian (an early cognate of Hebrew and Arabic) became the lingua franca of the Near East, including Egypt, during the Late Bronze Age.
Tablet XI The Epic of Gilgamesh “You gods may I be mindful of these days & never forget them.”
The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest surviving great works of literature from ancient Mesopotamia.
Cuneiform was used for everything – from official royal correspondences between leaders to simple records about the movements and transactions of farms and merchants.
Over time, cuneiform became a skill not only taught in temples and scholarly arenas but also moved into the hands of citizens, as well as into private homes.