The Sumerians, the most ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia, invented writing in the fourth millennium B.C. to support the various economic activities that were becoming increasingly urgent in the most ancient urban centres.
Clay tablets, used as a support, were engraved with a pointed stylus. After engraving, the tablets were baked in the sun or fired in a furnace.
Tablet D 714, in particular, bears the text regarding the sale of a piece of land, in which there also repeatedly appears the name of the god Enlil, “lord of the wind”, the principal deity of the city of Nippur.
Entire administrative archives and libraries of tablets present us with a lively and direct account of the historic and political events, social and economic organisation, mythology and religion of the peoples of Mesopotamia, western Iran, Turkey and Syria.
Thanks to the syllabic nature of its signs, cuneiform script, which originated for writing Sumerian, was then used from the middle of the third millennium B.C. for the Semitic language of the new inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Akkadians. It was subsequently used for Babylonian, Amorite, Aramaic and Assyrian (Semitic languages and dialects) as well as for Hittite (an Indo-European language) and Hurrian (an agglutinative language, difficult to classify).