Literature of Mesopotamia

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Joshua J. Mark
by
published on 16 February 2024

The literature of Mesopotamia dates from c. 2600 BCE when scribes began composing original works in the region of Sumer. The Sumerians invented writing c. 3500 BCE, but it was then mostly used for record-keeping. The literature of ancient Mesopotamia influenced the works of other civilizations including Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

The pieces in this collection represent only a very small fraction of the body of Mesopotamian literature which included hymns, wisdom literature, historical fiction, history, poetry, mythology, legends, incantations, prayers, proverbs, didactic literature, and the epic tale, which was first established in the world through The Epic of Gilgamesh. The literature of ancient Mesopotamia is also distinguished by the first author in the world known by name, the Akkadian poet Enheduanna (l. 2285-2250 BCE), daughter of Sargon of Akkad.

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Questions & Answers

How old is Mesopotamian literature?

Mesopotamian literature dates to c. 2600 BCE.

What is the oldest piece of Mesopotamian literature?

The Kesh Temple Hymn is the oldest piece of Mesopotamian literature.

Who wrote Mesopotamian literature?

Scribes wrote Mesopotamian literature. Some are known by name. The most famous is the first author in the world known by name, Enheduanna (l. 2285-2250 BCE), daughter of Sargon of Akkad.

What is the most famous work from Mesopotamian literature?

The most famous work from Mesopotamian literature is The Epic of Gilgamesh.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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