READING AND WRITING IN BABYLON

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Harvard University Press, 2010 - History - 315 pages
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Over 5,000 years ago, the history of humanity radically changed direction when writing was invented in Sumer, the southern part of present-day Iraq. For the next three millennia, kings, aristocrats, and slaves all made intensive use of cuneiform script to document everything from royal archives to family records.

In engaging style, Dominique Charpin shows how hundreds of thousands of clay tablets testify to the history of an ancient society that communicated broadly through letters to gods, insightful commentary, and sales receipts. He includes a number of passages, offered in translation, that allow readers an illuminating glimpse into the lives of Babylonians. Charpin‚e(tm)s insightful overview discusses the methods and institutions used to teach reading and writing, the process of apprenticeship, the role of archives and libraries, and various types of literature, including epistolary exchanges and legal and religious writing.

The only book of its kind, Reading and Writing in Babylon introduces Mesopotamia as the birthplace of civilization, culture, and literature while addressing the technical side of writing and arguing for a much wider spread of literacy than is generally assumed. Charpin combines an intimate knowledge of cuneiform with a certain breadth of vision that allows this book to transcend a small circle of scholars. Though it will engage a broad general audience, this book also fills a critical academic gap and is certain to become the standard reference on the topic.

  

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Reading and Writing in Babylon

User Review  - Joan W. Gartland - Book Verdict

Charpin (Mesopotamian history, Sorbonne, Paris) takes up a subject that's been debated by Assyriologists for many years: Did scribes alone have the knowledge to read and write cuneiform, the earliest ... Read full review

Review: Reading and Writing in Babylon

User Review  - Eduardo R - Goodreads

This is a great book but the typos? Seriously? Is this really the best HUP can do in 2010? So annoying. Read full review

Contents

The Archival Documents
68
Correspondence
115
Oaths Contracts
154
Literary Works and Libraries
178
Messages for the Gods and for Posterity
215
Abbreviations
253
Bibliography
271
Index
305
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Dominique Charpin is Professor of Mesopotamian History at the Sorbonne, Paris.

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