Brill’s New Pauly

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(1,254 words)

I. Mesopotamia

[German version]

A. Concept

According to lexical texts (1st half of the 2nd millennium BC), the Sumerian term for proverbs was i-bi-lu. The Akkadian tēltu(m) is known primarily from the epistolary literature of Assyria and the city of Mari (1st half of the 2nd millennium BC) [7]. Both terms refer not only to proverbs in the modern sense, but also to the fable and anecdotes, riddles and witty sayings.

[German version]

B. Sources

The earliest Sumerian sources of proverbs are col…

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Böck, Barbara (Madrid), Hoffmann, Lars and Damschen, Gregor (Halle/Saale), “Proverbs”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 14 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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