massarrah

massarrah:

Old Babylonian “Spreadsheets”

Tabular book-keeping made its debut early in Mesopotamian history during the third millennium BCE. The earliest known table that displays headings and a horizontal axis of calculations comes from the Early Dynastic Period (Robson: p. 117). Tables were used to organise and store both quantitative and qualitative information, and provided an important tool for book-keeping. Both of the examples pictured above are Old Babylonian administrative tablets from Larsa that show tabular accounts (Sources 1, 2).

Source: E. Robson, “Accounting For Change: The Development of Tabular Book-keeping in Early Mesopotamia”

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. Both photos from CDLI.

Glazed clay brick from reign of Tukulti-Ninurta II; shows a charioteer; border of chevrons top and bottom and inscription.
Length: 66.5 centimetres
Width: 46.5 centimetres
Thickness: 6.5 centimetres
"Inscription Transliteration:
(1) É.GAL {1}GISKIM-{d}MAŠ šárru dan-nu šar₄ ⌈KIŠ⌉ [šar₄] {kur}AŠ(2) A {1}U-ERÍN.TÁH šárru dan-nu šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ(3) {1}AŠ-dan{an} šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ-ma”

[British Museum]

Glazed clay brick from reign of Tukulti-Ninurta II; shows a charioteer; border of chevrons top and bottom and inscription.

  • Length: 66.5 centimetres
  • Width: 46.5 centimetres
  • Thickness: 6.5 centimetres

"Inscription Transliteration:

(1) É.GAL {1}GISKIM-{d}MAŠ šárru dan-nu šar₄ ⌈KIŠ⌉ [šar₄] {kur}AŠ
(2) A {1}U-ERÍN.TÁH šárru dan-nu šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ
(3) {1}AŠ-dan{an} šar₄ KIŠ šar₄ {kur}AŠ-ma”

[British Museum]

massarrah

massarrah:

Old Akkadian Administrative Text on Gypsum

This beautifully preserved administrative text from Nippur is recorded in Old Akkadian on a gypsum tablet. As the official language of records during the reigns of Sargon (c. 2334-2279) and his successors, Old Akkadian was used in administrative records such as the one above. It was also used in letters, and a few examples of literature in this early form of Akkadian have survived.

Sargon of Akkad is well-known for later legends about his origins, which chronicle how, having been abandoned, he was found floating on the Euphrates River in a basket made of reeds. His name in Akkadian, Šarru-kīnu, is a throne name meaning “The true (kīnu) king (šarru)”. (Sources 1, 2)

Old Akkadian, c. 2340-2200 BCE. 

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Photo from CDLI.