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By H. W. F. Saggs

Frontis. + 207 pp. with 114 illus., eightvo.

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Sample text

Ea took care, however, that Adapa did not go without the benefit of his advice and inside knowledge. Adapa was to put on mourning, and when questioned on this by the two doorkeepers of heaven he was to reply that he was in mourning for two gods who had disappeared from the earth. Since the two door-keepers were the gods in question this would at once gain Adapa their good word. Moreover, Anu would offer Adapa bread and water which were the bread and water of death; these he must on no account eat or drink.

In the long run, the most important consequence of the use of syllograms was the possibility which it provided of accurately representing languages other than Sumerian. The principal language concerned here was the Semitic language which we call Akkadian. C. there was a strong Semitic element in Mesopotamia, and it was a great convenience to be able to represent in writing the language of the people concerned. For simple or conventional statements, writing in ideograms would do as well for Akkadian as for Sumerian.

A class of words that a scribe would very often have to write, from the earliest invention of writing, would be personal names, which would obviously need to be entered in connection with temple receipts and ration issues. If a person delivering produce to the temple stores had a good straightforward name, which constituted a short sentence in Sumerian, there may have been no difficulty, since the elements of his name could be written with the ordinary Sumerian pictograms. Other names, however, especially if they were non-Sumerian, might well be meaningless to the scribe and so would prove impossible to write in pictograms.

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