Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire
may sound like a dry website, but its subject and content is fascinating. In the 7th Century BC King Assurbanipal
built a library
that was to contain all the world's knowledge. Destroyed by the Medes in 612 BC, the library was not rediscovered until the 1840s
. 28000 clay tablets
written in Akkadian
have been found. 1600 can be read online
, all translated into English. It's a somewhat overwhelming amount, but there's a lovely highlights section
, which even includes pictures
of the pillow-shaped
. For a thorough overview, you can listen to the In Our Time episode about the Library of Nineveh
. The most famous text to have been found in Nineveh is undoubtedly the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of its decipherment
and the controversies that ensued, is interesting in its own right.
What was Jiroft?
An ancient civilization in what is now southern Iran that was lost to history until very recently. Many beautiful artifacts
have been dug up. It is claimed that writing originated with the Jiroft civilization
and that this is the legendary kingdom of Aratta
, subject of one of the world's oldest works of literature, Enmerkar and the lord of Aratta
. There is dispute over both. Either way, it certainly was a commercial hub
as early as 3000 B.C. The site has been extensively plundered
in recent years, but is so rich in artifacts that excavations can go on for decades.