Ancient literature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ancient literature comprises religious and scientific documents, tales, poetry and plays, royal edicts and declarations, and other forms of writing that were recorded on a variety of media, including stone, clay tablets, papyri, palm leaves, and metal. Before the spread of writing, oral literature did not always survive well, but some texts and fragments have persisted. One can conclude that an unknown number of written works too have likely not survived the ravages of time and are therefore lost.

Incomplete list of ancient texts[edit]

Bronze Age[edit]

Early Bronze Age: 3rd millennium BC (approximate dates shown). The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BC (classical Sumerian).[1] The earliest literary author known by name is Enheduanna, a Sumerian priestess and public figure dating to ca. 24th century BC.[2] Certain literary texts are difficult to date, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was recorded in the Papyrus of Ani around 1240 BC, but other versions of the book probably date from about the 18th century BC.

Middle Bronze Age: 2000 BC to 1601 BC (approximate dates shown)

Late Bronze Age: 1600 BC to 1201 BC (approximate dates shown)

Iron Age[edit]

Iron Age texts predating Classical Antiquity: 12th to 8th centuries BC

Classical Antiquity[edit]

9th century BC[edit]

8th century BC[edit]

7th century BC[edit]

6th century BC[edit]

5th century BC[edit]

4th century BC[edit]

3rd century BC[edit]

2nd century BC[edit]

1st century BC[edit]

1st century AD[edit]

2nd century[edit]

3rd century[edit]

Late Antiquity[edit]

4th century[edit]

5th century[edit]

6th century[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grimbly, Shona (2000). Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. Taylor & Francis. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-57958-281-4. The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BC, when the Sumerians started to write down their long epic poems.
  2. ^ "Why Has No One Ever Heard of the World's First Poet?". Literary Hub. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  3. ^ Biggs, Robert D. (1974). Inscriptions from Tell Abū Ṣalābīkh (PDF). Oriental Institute Publications. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-62202-9.
  4. ^ Two fragmentary Akkadian versions survive, from the 15th century BCE and from the end of the second millennium BCE: "Its great antiquity and popularity is evidenced by the large number of manuscripts of it that have survived" (Beaulieu in Clifford 2007:4).
  5. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen; Københavns universitet. Polis centret (2002). A comparative study of six city-state cultures: an investigation. Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-87-7876-316-7. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  6. ^ Jeremy A. Black; Jeremy Black; Graham Cunningham; Eleanor Robson (13 April 2006). The Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford University Press. pp. 325–. ISBN 978-0-19-929633-0. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  7. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London/New York 2001, ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
  8. ^ "The World's Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us About the Great Pyramids". Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  9. ^ Miguel Ángel Borrás; Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (2000). Joan Goodrick Westenholz, The Foundation Myths of Mesopotamian Cities: Divine Planners and Human Builder in "La fundación de la ciudad: mitos y ritos en el mundo antiguo". Edicions UPC. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-84-8301-387-8. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  10. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer (1964). The Sumerians: their history, culture and character. University of Chicago Press. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-0-226-45238-8. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  11. ^ Jones, Mark (2006). Criminals of the Bible: Twenty-Five Case Studies of Biblical Crimes and Outlaws. FaithWalk Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-932902-64-8. The Sumerian code of Urukagina was written around 2400 BC.
  12. ^ Allen, James P.; Der Manuelian, Peter, eds. (2005). The ancient Egyptian pyramid texts. Writings from the ancient world. Atlanta: Soc. of Biblical Literature. ISBN 978-1-58983-182-7.
  13. ^ a b Stephanie Dalley, ed. (2000). Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-953836-2.
  14. ^ Eccles, Sir John Carew (1989). Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self. Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-415-03224-7. The Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Sumer about 2200 BC.
  15. ^ Miriam., Lichtheim (2006). The Old and Middle Kingdoms. University of California press. p. 23. ISBN 9780520248427. OCLC 889165092.
  16. ^ Thorkild Jacobsen (1997). The Harps that once--: Sumerian poetry in translation, pp. 386-. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07278-5.
  17. ^ "Sumerian Literature: Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, Sumerian Creation Myth, Debate Between Bird and Fish, Lament for Ur, Nabnitu, Lu-Di IRA" – via
  18. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer (April 1979). From the poetry of Sumer: creation, glorification, adoration. University of California Press. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-0-520-03703-8. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  19. ^ Sallaberger, Walther; Schrakamp, Ingo (2015). "Part I: Philological data for a historical chronology of Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium". History & philology. Turnhout. pp. 1–133. ISBN 978-2-503-53494-7. OCLC 904661061.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  20. ^ John H. Walton (30 July 2009). The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. InterVarsity Press. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-8308-3704-5. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  21. ^ a b c d e James P. Allen (2015). Middle Egyptian Literature: Eight Literary Works of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-08743-9.
  22. ^ Dalley, Stephanie, ed. (2000). "Etana (pp. 189ff.)". Myths from Mesopotamia. Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199538360.
  23. ^ Nils P. Heeßel (1999–2015). "Šumma ālu". The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781444338386.wbeah21308. ISBN 9781444338386.
  24. ^ Simpson (1972), p. 177; Parkinson (2002), pp. 46, 50, 313.
  25. ^ Parkinson (2002), pp. 46, 50, 313.
  26. ^ Dalley, Stephanie (2000). Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780199538362.
  27. ^ Mitchell, T (1988). The Bible in the British Museum. The British Museum Press. p. 70.
  28. ^ Sasson, Jack (2015). From the Mari Archives: An Anthology of Old Babylonian Letters. University Park, United States: Penn State University Press.
  29. ^ Kloekhorst, Alwin (2020). "The Authorship of the Old Hittite Palace Chronicle (CTH 8): A Case for Anitta". Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 72: 143–155. doi:10.1086/709313. S2CID 224830641.
  30. ^ Bottéro, Jean. 2000. Ancestor of the West: Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226067155. p. 40.
  31. ^ Lichtheim, M (1973). Ancient Egyptian Literature. University of California Press. p. 215.
  32. ^ Thorkild Jacobsen (1994). Hess, Richard S.; Tsumuro, David Toshio (eds.). I Studied Inscriptions from Before the Flood: Ancient Near Eastern Literary and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis. Eisenbraun's. p. 129. ISBN 978-0931464881. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  33. ^ Allen, James P. (2005). The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt. New York/New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10728-9. LCCN 2005016908.
  34. ^ Taylor, John H.; British Museum, eds. (2010). Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: journey through the afterlife ; [published to accompany the exhibition at the British Museum from 4 November 2010 to 6 March 2011]. London: The British Museum Press. ISBN 978-0-7141-1993-9.
  35. ^ Imhausen, Annette (2007). Katz, Victor J. (ed.). The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11485-9.
  36. ^ Rossi (2007). Corinna Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-69053-9.
  37. ^ Noonan, John T. (1987). Bribes. University of California Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-520-06154-5. The Poor Man of Nippur dates from about 1500 BC.
  38. ^ Wilfred G. E. Watson; Nicolas Wyatt, eds. (1 January 1999). Handbook of Ugaritic Studies. BRILL. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-90-04-10988-9. OCLC 1025426965. The poem of Keret is one of the three major literary works which gifted Canaanite poets of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1200 BCE) bequeathed serendipitously to 20th century civilization.
  39. ^ Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press.
  40. ^ Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World. Princeton University Press.
  41. ^ Thapar, Romila; Witzel, Michael; Menon, Jaya; Friese, Kai; Khan, Razib (2019). Which of us are Aryans? rethinking the concept of our origins. New Delhi: Aleph. ISBN 978-93-88292-38-2.
  42. ^ Thorkild Jacobsen (1978). The treasures of darkness: a history of Mesopotamian religion. Yale University Press. pp. 167–168, 231. "Perhaps it was brought east with the Amorites of the First Dynasty of Babylon."
  43. ^ Scholz, Susanne (2021). Sacred Witness. Rape in the Hebrew Bible. Fortress Press. ISBN 9781506482033. (E-book edition)
  44. ^ Moran, William L. (1992). The Amarna Letters (English-language ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  45. ^ Lichtheim, Miriam (2006). Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume II: The New Kingdom. University of California Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-520-24843-4.
  46. ^ Arnold, Bill T.; Beyer, Bryan, eds. (2002). Readings from the ancient Near East: primary sources for Old Testament study. Encountering biblical studies. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic. ISBN 978-0-8010-2292-0.
  47. ^ Geller, M. J. (1980). "The Šurpu Incantations and Lev. V 1-5". Journal of Semitic Studies. 25 (2): 181.
  48. ^ Lichtheim, Miriam (1976). Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume II: The New Kingdom. CA: University of California Press. pp. 146–163. ISBN 0-520-03615-8.
  49. ^ Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol.2, 1980, p.203
  50. ^ a b Alan Lenzi (2008). "The Uruk List of Kings and Sages and Late Mesopotamian Scholarship". Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions. 8 (2): 137–169. doi:10.1163/156921208786611764.
  51. ^ Frahm, Eckert (2010). "Counter-texts, Commentaries, and Adaptations: Politically Motivated Responses to the Babylonian Epic of Creation in Mesopotamia, the Biblical World, and Elsewhere". Orient (45): 5.
  52. ^ Sri Lankan Journal of Librarianship and Information Management Vol.4, Nos.,3&4 (July – Dec.2011) pp. 1 -58
  53. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Ajahn Sujato – A Practical Guide to Reading The Suttas – March 2018". YouTube.
  54. ^ Zvelebil, Kamil (1973). The Smile of Murugan on Tamil literature of South India. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004035911.
  55. ^ "International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 11, Issue 7, July 2021 682" (PDF). International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications. 11. 2021.