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Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia$
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Dominique Charpin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226101583

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226101590.001.0001

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Reading and Writing in Mesopotamia: The Business of Specialists?

Reading and Writing in Mesopotamia: The Business of Specialists?

Chapter:
(p.7) Chapter 1 Reading and Writing in Mesopotamia: The Business of Specialists?
Source:
Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226101590.003.0002

This chapter examines cuneiform writing in ancient Mesopotamia within the context of recent studies of the phenomenon of literacy, which is currently the object of a debate in Assyriology. It analyzes the reading and writing of kings, the clergy and merchants and provides evidence that, in the late third and the second millennia bce writing was more widespread than is usually believed. This chapter also suggests that the principal use of writing in Mesopotamia was communicating information long distance rather than for storing knowledge.

Keywords:   cuneiform writing, ancient Mesopotamia, literacy, Assyriology, communicating, storing knowledge

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