Portal:Ancient Near East

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[[Image:|140x170px|left|The demon Huwawa]]The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literary fiction. Scholars surmise that a series of Sumerian legends about the mythological hero-king Gilgamesh (who according to the Sumerian king list might have been a real ruler in the late Early Dynastic II period (ca. 27th century BC)) were later compiled by the scribe Sin-liqe-unninni into an Akkadian language epic, with the most complete version existing today preserved on twelve clay tablets found in the library of the 7th century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.

The story revolves around the relationship between Gilgamesh, a king who has become distracted and disheartened by his rule, and a friend, Enkidu, who is half-wild and who undertakes dangerous quests with Gilgamesh. Much of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh's thoughts of loss following Enkidu's death. It is about their becoming human together, and places a high emphasis on issues surrounding human mortality. It is often credited by historians as being one of the first literary works.

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Sargon II and a courtier
Sargon II (Akkadian: Šarru-kinu, "legitimate king", reigned 722 – 705 BC)

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[[Image:|center|300x300px|Elamite Bust]]

Credit: Sumerophile
Elamite Bust
Elam, late 3rd millennium BC (Metropolitan Museum)

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Silver cup from Marvdasht with Linear Elamite inscription on it, c. 3rd millennium BC (National Museum of Iran)
...that the ancient Elamite language is proposed to be distantly related to the modern Dravidian languages? It is attested from c. 2500 BC, and a still undeciphered "proto-Elamite" goes back to c. 3000 BC.

...that the earliest attested Semitic language is Akkadian, c. 2500 BC?

...that the earliest attested Indo-European language is Hittite, from c. the 18th century BC?

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