Literature and Communication

By: Trever Thompson


  • Akkadian was a semitic language spoken in Mesopotamia 2,800 BC and 500 AD.
  • It was named after the city of Akkad and first appeared in Sumerian texts.
  • The Akkadian cuneiform script was adapted from Sumerian cuneiform.
  • In many ways the process of adapting the Sumerian script to the Akkadian language resembles the way the Chinese script was adapted to write Japanese.
  • Akkadian, like Japanese, was polysyllabic and used a range of inflections while Sumerian, like Chinese, had few inflections.


  • In the 3rd and 2nd Millennia 2400-1100 BCE, Akkadian literature developed many different literary genres: hymns, lamentations, prayers to various gods, incantations against a range of sources of evil, love-lyrics, wisdom literature (proverbs, fables, riddles), as well as long epics and myths - roughly 550 different compositions.