The Legend of Etana and the history and decipherment of Sumerian and The Epic of Gilgamesh ( BC) was perhaps the first literary work in history. by Aaron Wyckoff. The Igigi, the gods of creation, created a city and laid its foundation, and called it Kish. But the people were without a king. Etana was according to the legend, the first king after the Flood. In the Epic, Etana is childless; meanwhile an eagle has ignored his own children’s advice and.

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Enuma Elish (The Babylonian Epic of Creation)

This Akkadian clay tablet, 1 ca. In the attenuated version of the story Etana attempts to fly with an eagle to the heavens to meet the sky-god Anu who can show him where to find the plant of birth, allowing Etana to father a son.

In some versions he is successful, in other he falls back to Earth.

But, again consulting the King List, the next ruler of Sumeria was Balih, the son of Etana, so make of this what you will. By the end of the fourth millennium BCor more specifically around BCthe first written script, cuneiform, appeared etanw Mesopotamia.


Sumerian legend has it that writing was invented by the god Enmerkar, but Denise Schmandt-Besserat fairly ruins this story by arguing that writing evolved out of the etan of clay tokens and envelopes bulla used for bookkeeping.

The pictograms went through a number of transformations and by BC Sumerian scribes had reduced the script to only five basic wedge-shaped strokes impressed into clay tablets with a triangular shaped reed stylus, hence the name cuneiform L: Over the centuries many civilizations rose and fell in the Fertile Crescent and many adopted cuneiform for their language. The Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Hittites and the Hurrians all wrote in cuneiform and left behind some of the earliest examples of literate societies.

The Epic of Gilgamesh BC was perhaps the first literary work in history.

Etana and the Goddess –

The Code of Hammurabi BC was the first codification of law. The Armana letters BCwere the first examples of diplomatic correspondence.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. The use of cuneiform declined after the rise of Aramaic around BC and was completely etaan by the first century AD.

Rawlinsen studied the Behistun Inscription in Iran, and by he could read cuneiform signs. They each deciphered a newly-discovered Assyrian text and their results were so similar that the decipherment of cuneiform, at least Akkadian cuneiform, was considered complete. Yale University Press, Two centuries later the historian St.


By the late s the terms BCE before the common era and CE common era began to be used as epuc generic and neutral terms. Although your humble author is tolerant and sensitive of other cultures and world-views, he is only to a certain point: BC and AD it is. So think accountants and mid-level bureaucrats, not legendary gods.

The Legend of Etana

How Writing Came About. University of Texas Press, Presumably the more beer you drank the more challenging the puzzles became. Here are a few from Ranier Beer:. To bring this full circle it should be noted that beer was invented or, more likely, discovered by the Sumerians ca. The Epic of Gilgamesh includes references to Siduri, a brewster and barmaid, and the Hymn to Ninkasi the goddess of beerca.

So important were the ancient brewers that they were exempted from military service. For more than you probably care to know about the subject, see the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.