Is There A PDF Of The Epic Of Gilgamesh In Cuneiform Writing?

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Is there a PDF of the Epic of Gilgamesh in cuneiform writing?

In general, the answer is no. Sumerian cuneiform consisted of signs representing phonetic values (usually a discrete syllable), whole words, or determinatives (used to clarify the meaning of a another sign or group of signs). With a little creatively, one could use Sumerian cuneiform to write in any language, and that is precisely what the Akkadians did. However, the neatly-formed neo-Assyrian orthography, with its simplified angles and clearly-defined wedges, typically dates to a later period when Sumerian was no longer common. If you see a text that looks like this, especially on monuments, you can generally assume that it is Assyrian or Babylonian. The same text, following the “Old Babylonian” orthography, could be Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, etc.. (In this case, both texts are Akkadian. ma-tum ki-ma li-i i-ša-ab-bu, “The land is bellowing like a bull,” pulled from an exercise in Teach Yourself Babylonian by Martin Worthington.) You will notice that the older orthography uses odd angles, irregular strokes, hashing, etc. The newer orthography is cleaner and uses a smaller inventory of strokes. Here are few comparisons to give you a better idea. If you see an inscription that mostly lacks the familiar wedges, or where the signs are rotated by 90 degrees, then you are probably looking at a Sumerian text, but there is no way to know for sure without learning the language. Here is an example of a ninth-century BC Assyrian text on the Stela of Ashurnasirpal II (Wikimedia commons). This detail, from the Babylonian text of the Code of Hammurabi, is nearly 1,000 years older than the Stela of Ashurnasirpal II, and shows the older orthography in use at the time (Code of Hammurabi). This votive tablet is written in Sumerian, and is dated several centuries before the stela with the Code of Hammurabi. You can see, in general, that the signs favor the older orthography, but many of the lines lack the characteristic wedges. In the Sumerian period, the wedges were the unintentional result of the shape of the stylus, so t are often missing from carved inscriptions. (Image from Ur-Namma votive tablet translation) Another example of a Sumerian inscription that almost completely lacks the characteristic wedges (The Minoan Web of Mirrors and Scripts). There is also the Old Persian cuneiform script, invented in the sixth century BC. The style clearly emulates the Akkadian script but is not actually derived from it. Persian cuneiform only had 44 signs, and the characters are much simpler.

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The writing was used throughout southern Asia, from the Middle East across Mesopotamia and all the way to Crete and Egypt. Coptic cuneiform, which was originally devised as a system of writing, became the lingua franca of the Near East, especially in Egypt. In a sense, Sumerian used the same formulae used in Ancient Babylonian cuneiform, except that in contrast to Ancient Babylonian cuneiform, most signs were used for sounds and the shapes of letters (see the next figure, next page). (The Minoan Web of Mirrors and Scripts)   A cuneiform inscription in Ancient Sumerian written in a different script, Babylonian. (A cuneiform inscription in Babylonian written in a different writing system, Old Assyrian). If you go to the Museum of Assyria, they have two sites: One site exhibits only textiles and the other has artifacts. In the textiles, cuneiform signs are placed over old textile patterns. And in the textiles, cuneiform characters.

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