Cuneiform: Earliest Known Writing System

How many words do you read in a day? With text everywhere, it’s easy to take writing for granted. But did you know that the world’s earliest known writing system first appeared in Mesopotamia, what we know as southern Iraq, around 3200 BC? It’s called cuneiform, Latin for “wedge-shaped,” because a reed stylus was used to impress wedges into wet clay tablets to record temple holdings and transactions, such as the number of animals in a herd, for example. Within a few hundred years, cuneiform writing spread throughout southern Iraq.

No longer just for record-keeping but for correspondence in business and political communications, including hymns that celebrated the gods. From these developments came scribes trained in the art of reading and writing, many of who worked for temples and palaces. Cuneiform texts—a reliable “written” history of ancient peoples for us to study and understand.

Share

More Book Minute Features

November 12, 2018

Museum of the Bible - Year Two

Thousands of people are experiencing one of the most influential and beloved books of all time—the Bible! On November 17, 2017, Museum of the Bible op...
November 05, 2018

Billy Graham Exhibit

The Billy Graham Crusade Choir has been a familiar staple in opening Graham Crusades over the years—much like this one from New York City’s Madison Sq...
October 29, 2018

Reformation Day

Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517, and according to legend, nailed them to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther h...

Click to Expand