|Description||A collection of eight ancient clay bricks. Each brick has a cuneiform inscription: 1. "To Nannar, eldest son of Enlil, his king, Urnammu, the mighty man, priest of Erech, King of Ur, King of Sumer and Akkad, has built Etemennigur, his beloved house, and restored it to its place." (Third dynasty of Ur, 2300-2180 B.C.) 2. "Urnammu, king of Ur, builder of the house of Nannar." (Third dynasty of Ur, 2300-2180 B.C.) 3. "Bursin, whose name Enlil has proclaimed in Nippur, who exalts the head of Enlil’s temple, the mighty man, king of Ur, king of the four quarters of the world." (Third dynasty of Ur 2300-2180 B.C., from shrine of Enki, the Water God.) 4. "Sindidinnam, the mighty man, caretaker of Ur, king of Larsa, who restored the decrees of Ur and Eridu. Ganunnah, from ancient days, the kings my predecessors had not restored. On the order of Nannar, the great king, I built Eshgalmah his treasure house, unrivalled for all people, for my life and the life of my father." (Larsa dynasty, 2180-1955 B.C., from the treasure of the moon God.) 5. "Lipit-Ishtar, the humble shepherd of Nippur, righteous husband man of Ur, unceasing caretaker of Eridu, priest ornament of Erech, king of Isin, king of Sumer and Akkad, who Innina carried in her heart, the king who established the law of Sumer and Akkad." (Isin dynasty, 2180-1955 B.C. from the shrine of the Moon Goddess.) 6. "To Nannar, king of all Enlil, his king, Sinbalatau-igbi, governor of Ur, caretaker of Eridu, built the palace Ennuanna where stands Ninkasi." 7. "Nebuchadenezzar king of Babylon, caretaker of Esagila and Ezida, eldest son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, Egishsirgal, the temple of Sin in Ru, for Sin my lord, I rebuilt." (Neo-Babylonian Period 604-538 B.C., from the temple of Ur.) 8. "Nabonidus, king of Babylon, caretaker of Ur, renovated and restored Elugalmalgasidi, the ziggurat of Egishirgal." (Neo-Babylonian Period 604-538 B.C.)|
- (the pictures were to be interpreted according to their usual pronunciations rather than according to the objects they depicted. During the third millennium B.C., the pictures gradually changed to conventionalized linear drawings, and because they were pressed into soft clay tablets with the slanted edge of a stylus, these pictures came to have a wedge-shaped form. During the third millennium (both Early and Old Akkadian periods c.2450-1850 B.C.), cuneiform came to be written from the left to right with the cuneiform signs turned on their sides. The inscriptions of Sargon II, the great ruler of Akkad, were written at this time. The writing system continued to be practiced for many centuries. The last known tablet in cuneiform dates from c. A.D. 75.
- and proper names were indicated by combinations of pictures used according to the rebus principle
- numbers were depicted by repetition use of strokes or circles
- These clay bricks were obtained by the joint expedition of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and the British Museum, during excavations of Ur (now Iraq) from 1924-26. Dr. Leon Legrain, Curator of the Babylonian Section of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania determined the dates of the bricks as well as the translations of their cuneiform inscriptions. Facts about the Sumerians are rare, but it is thought that the Sumerian people invented the cuneiform (wedge-shaped or arrow-headed) system of writing around 2600-2400 B.C. Cuneiform was used most extensively in the ancient Middle East. It was borrowed and adapted by the Elamites, Hitties, Hurians, Kassites, Mitanni, and the Persians. The writing system flourished especially flourished under the Sumerian ruler, Sargon I (c.2637-2582 B.C.). Cuneiform was originally written in columns from top to bottom, in which objects were represented by pictures