Sumerian

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Hylander
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Sumerian

Post by Hylander » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:52 pm

This has nothing to do with ancient Greek or Latin, but it does relate to an ancient language that, once dead, came to be cultivated as a cultural artifact like Latin and Attic Greek. Interesting obituaries of a pre-eminent Sumerian specialist at the University of Chicago, Dr. Miguel Civil, from the Washington Post and Chicago Sun-Times:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/ob ... d8c1fc1d25

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/migue ... r-ninkasi/

And an archived article from the New York Times on brewing Sumerian beer:

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/24/styl ... amous.html

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Paul Derouda
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Re: Sumerian

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:47 am

“The recovery of the past represents a sheer enrichment of human thought,” he wrote in the foreword to “In the World of Sumer,” Kramer’s 1986 autobiography. “It is a sort of time travel in which, unlike in science fiction in which we encounter generally pitiful creations of an ethnocentric imagination in alien worlds, we make acquaintance with fellow humans who represent aspects of ourselves which temporal and cultural boundaries have made impossible to actualize.”
Very well said. This is why I study Greek, and why I find historical novels so unsatistying, when we have plenty of actual texts from the distant past.

I was told some years ago by a specialist in Sumerian about a text whose interpretation was particularly controversial - a text that, according to one interpretation, was a hymn to a goddess, and according to another a recipe for brewing beer. I surmise that we’re dealing with the same case here!

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Sumerian

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:10 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:47 am

Very well said. This is why I study Greek, and why I find historical novels so unsatistying, when we have plenty of actual texts from the distant past.
I have known plenty of students who have gotten into "real" history and/or Classics because of historical novels.
I was told some years ago by a specialist in Sumerian about a text whose interpretation was particularly controversial - a text that, according to one interpretation, was a hymn to a goddess, and according to another a recipe for brewing beer. I surmise that we’re dealing with the same case here!
Why can't it be both? :lol:
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

almound
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Re: Sumerian

Post by almound » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:24 pm

Sumerian-Akkadian is quite amazing. Here's a couple of neat things about it. (You can go to the sites by searching for the following titles.)

The Bull Who Would Be King
A translation of Tablet #36 in the Library of Congress. The world's first political satire,
the first dark comedy and murder mystery. A literary masterpiece that was written by
a Sumerian Shakespeare.

Ancient Babylonians took first steps to calculus
... ancient astronomers charted the movements of Jupiter, the planet equated with Babylonian's chief god, and used a forerunner of calculus to do it: They calculated the area under a curve—a basic operation in calculus—in a graph of Jupiter's velocity versus time. And they did it more than 2000 years ago.

Graeco Babyloniaca
The Graeco-Babyloniaca are a unique set of texts which feature Akkadian and Sumerian cuneiform on one side and a transliteration of this text inscribed in Greek characters on the other. It seems most likely that these texts were used to teach the correct pronunciation of Akkadian and Sumerian religious and ritual texts to Babylonians who had by now lost touch with their traditional tongue. They would have spoken Aramaic as their first language and had a good knowledge of Greek
Greek and artificial intelligence ... who knew?
Almound

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halibot
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Re: Sumerian

Post by halibot » Tue May 21, 2019 11:07 pm

While we have deciphered Sumerian cuneiform, one of the linguistic mysteries from the Sumerian time period (c. 3500-2200 BC) remains the Indus Valley script. Egypt, Sumeria, and the Indus Valley civilization were three of the largest in that time period to use writing, but the Indus writing system remains undeciphered. A related question is whether their language belonged to the Dravidian or Indo-European family. Western scholars tend to take the view that the Indus civilization was Dravidian, and that the Aryans invaded and gradually took over as the Indus Vallley Civilization declined in the late 3rd millenium BC. Today, Hindi and Urdu, Indo-European languages, dominates in the territory formerly controlled by the Indus civilization. My guess is that this theory is correct because Mehrgarb was one of the earliest Indus Valley cities (from c. 4000 BC) and it's close to where the Elamite civilization thrived, and the Elamite language has significant overlap with Dravidian.

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