The so-called " Sumerian Family Laws " are thus preserved.
So, for -example, the word for " name " may be written by a sign MU, or it may be written out by two signs shu-mu, the one sign MU representing the " Sumerian " word for " name," which, however, in the case of a Babylonian or Assyrian text must be read as shumu - the Semitic equivalent of the Sumerian MU.
Similarly the word for " clothing " may be written SIG-BA, which represents again the " Sumerian " word, whereas, the BabylonianAssyrian equivalent being lubushtu it is so to be read in Semitic texts, and may therefore be also phonetically written lu-bu-ush-tu.
In the Sumerian texts of Babylonia it was called Numma, "the Highlands," of which Elamtu or Elamu, "Elam," was the Semitic translation.
The earliest Sumerian records seem to be anterior to 4000 B.C. Shortly after that period Babylonia was invaded by Semites, who became the ruling race.
This, by the way, points to the conclusion that Babylonian (Sumerian) culture and art were considerably older than the Egyptian; but we have no definite evidence yet on this point.24 Later points of artistic connexion may be seen when we compare the well-known bronze statues of Pepi I.
Probably the oldest head-dress is the circular close-fitting cap (plain or braided), which, according to Meyer, is of Sumerian (non-Semitic) origin.
In the early inscriptions of Lagash the whole district is known as Gu-Edinna, the Sumerian equivalent of the Semitic Kisad Edini.
The earliest period of which we have any knowledge Babylonia was divided into several independent states, the limits of which were defined by canals and Early Sumerian boundary stones.
The great engineering works by means of which the marshes were drained and the overflow of the rivers regulated by canals went back to Sumerian times, like a considerable part of later Babylonian religion and the beginnings of Babylonian law.
Indeed Sumerian continued to be the language of religion and law long after the Semites had become the ruling race.
Sumerian in its turn borrowed from Semitic Babylonian, and traces of Semitic influence in some of the earliest Sumerian texts indicate that the Semite was already on the Babylonian border.
It must be remembered that the reading of most of the early Sumerian proper names is merely provisional, as we do not know how the ideographs of which they are composed were pronounced in either Sumerian or Assyrian.
This dynasty of Ur was Semitic, not Sumerian, notwithstanding the name of Dungi.
He was followed by a dynasty of 11 Sumerian kings, who are said to have reigned for 368 years, a number which must be much exaggerated.
Samas-sum-yukin became more Babylonian than his subjects; the viceroy claimed to be the successor of the monarchs whose empire had once stretched to the Mediterranean; even the Sumerian language was revived as the official tongue, and a revolt broke out which shook the Assyrian empire to its foundations.
There were libraries in most of the towns and temples; an old Sumerian proverb averred that " he who would excel in the school of the scribes must rise with the dawn."
A considerable amount of Semitic Babylonian literature was translated from Sumerian originals, and the language of religion and law long continued to be the old agglutinative language of Chaldaea.
It will be convenient to begin with the later historical periods, and then to push our inquiry back into the earlier periods of Babylonian and Sumerian history.
At the same time the advance step was taken of utilizing the Sumerian words as means of writing the Babylonian words phonetically.
In this case the signs representing Sumerian words were treated merely as syllables, and, without reference to their meaning, utilized for spelling Babylonian words.
Besides the conventional use of certain signs as the indications of names of gods, countries, cities, vessels, birds, trees, &c., which, known as " determinants," are the Sumerian signs of the terms in question and were added as a guide for the reader, proper names more particularly continued to be written to a large extent in purely " ideographic " fashion.
Professors Peter Jensen and Zimmern have also done excellent work in the same field and, together with Haupt, have established the correct method of investigating the Sumerian vocables, which should be studied only in relation to the Sumerian literature.
Sumerian words should by no means be compared with words in the idioms of more recent peoples, such as Turkish, in spite of many tempting resemblances.'
Until further light has been thrown on the nature of Sumerian, this language should be regarded as standing quite alone, a prehistoric philological remnant, and its etymology should be studied only with reference to the Sumerian inscriptions themselves.
On the other hand, grammatical and constructional examples may be cited from other more modern agglutinative idioms, in order to establish the truly linguistic character of the Sumerian peculiarities and to disprove the Halevyan contentions that Sumerian is really not a language at a11.4 It is not surprising that Halevy's view as to the cryptographic nature of Sumerian should have arisen.
In fact, the first impression given by the bewildering labyrinth of the Sumerian 1 Die Entstehung des ältesten Schriftsystems oder der Ursprung der Keilschriftzeichen (Leipzig, 1897).
See especially his Sumerian grammar in this latter work, pp. 133-147.
4 Prince, Materials for a Sumerian Lexicon, pp. 18, 21.
The present writer in his Materials for a Sumerian Lexicon has mentioned this ruling phenomenon again and again.
Examples of this, the leading principle which was followed by the framers of the Sumerian system, might be cited almost ad infinitum.
Facts of this character taken by themselves would perhaps be sufficient to convince most philologists that in Sumerian we have an arbitrarily compounded cryptography just as Halevy believes, but these facts cannot be taken by themselves, as the evidences of the purely linguistic basis of Sumerian are stronger than these apparent proofs of its artificial character.
Briefly considered there are six most striking proofs that the Sumerian was based on a primitive agglutinative language.
Sumerian presents a significant list of internal phonetic variations which would not have been possible in an arbitrarily invented language.
The discussion of these phenomena brings us to another point which precludes the possibility of Sumerian having been merely an artificial system, and that is the undoubted existence in this language of at least two dialects, which have been named, following the inscriptions, the Eme-ku, " the noble or male speech," and the Eme-sal, " the woman's language."
Scholars of this opinion believe that this language, which has been arbitrarily called " Akkadian " in England and " Sumerian " on the European continent and in America, was primitively the speech of the pre-Semitic inhabitants of the Euphratean region who were conquered by the invading Semites.
The study of the Sumerian vocabulary falls logically into three divisions.
Professor Paul Haupt may be termed the father of Sumerian etymology, as he was really the first to place this study on a scientific basis in his Sumerian Family Laws and Akkadian and Sumerian Cuneiform Texts.
2 It is significant that all phonetic and grammatical work in Sumerian tends to confirm nearly every one of Haupt's views.
On the other hand the cult of a specific storm-god in ancient Babylonia is vouched for by the occurrence of the sign Im - the "Sumerian" or ideographic writing for Adad-Ramman - as an element in proper names of the old Babylonian period.
1-9, immediately followed the Flood, 2501 B.C., or (LXX.) 3066 B.C. But the monuments of Egypt and Babylonia make it certain that man must have appeared upon the earth long before either 4157 B.C. or 5328 B.C.; and numerous inscriptions, written in three distinct languages - Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian - are preserved dating from an age considerably earlier than either 2501 B.C. or 3066 B.e.
LAGASH, or Sirpurla, one of the oldest centres of Sumerian civilization in Babylonia.