Brill’s New Pauly

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(430 words)

[German version]

Language of the southern quarter of Mesopotamia, approximately from the Persian Gulf up to Nippur. Whether the oldest cuneiform texts from Uruk (end of the 4th millennium BC) represent Sumerian is debated, but it is plausible, given the lack of attestations of other language traditions in younger texts (Proto-Euphratic). The large majority of cuneiform texts from 3rd-millennium Sumer are written in Sumerian; yet the fact that the orthography only gains accuracy over time prevents a certain interpretation of the older texts in t…

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Streck, Michael P. (Munich), “Sumerian”, 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 16 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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