Saturday, 29 January 2022

The Instructions of Shuruppak - 2600 BC

The Instructions of Shuruppak is a fragmentary tablet, written in Sumerian. The earliest copies of this text represent some of the oldest literature known - from about 2600 BCE. The inscription reads in part:

Do not buy an ass which brays too much.
Do not commit rape upon a man's daughter;
the courtyard will learn of it.
Do not answer back against your father.

Even at the dawn of the written word, people looked to a more ancient past for wisdom.
Shuruppak's instructions begin by recalling "those far remote days" and "those far remote years" as the source of the wisdom it imparts.

Linguists estimate that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken around 5,500 years ago. But they have dated another ancient language, Proto-Afroasiatic — the grandparent of languages like Ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and Arabic — to 10,000 to 20,000 years old.