BBC News – Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years   Leave a comment

“The dictionary was put together by studying texts written on clay and stone tablets uncovered in ancient Mesopotamia, which sat between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers – the heartland of which was in modern-day Iraq, and also included parts of Syria and Turkey.

And there were rich pickings for them to pore over, with 2,500 years worth of texts ranging from scientific, medical and legal documents, to love letters, epic literature and messages to the gods.

“It is a miraculous thing,” enthuses Dr Finkel.

“We can read the ancient words of poets, philosophers, magicians and astronomers as if they were writing to us in English.

“When they first started excavating Iraq in 1850, they found lots of inscriptions in the ground and on palace walls, but no-one could read a word of it because it was extinct,” he said.

But what is so striking according to the editor of the dictionary, Prof Martha Roth, is not the differences, but the similarities between then and now.”

 

via BBC News – Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years.

History still has so much to tell us about humanity. Read in full….

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Posted June 13, 2011 by arnoneumann in Language

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