1: G. Buccellati, December 2002
Imagine a student learning Sumerian, about 2250 B.C., far away from Sumer – an apprentice scribe in the administration of the Royal Palace of Urkesh.
One day, as he was walking through the storerooms of the Palace, he dropped a tablet on which he was writing his exercises – for us to find in 1992 A.D.
The six lines of the tablet are an excerpt he copied from a Sumerian lexical list. The full version of this dictionary was used as a reference tool throughout ancient Syro-Mesopotamia – at Ebla in the west, at Abu Salabikh in the south, at Gasur in the northeast.
We like to think of this ancient scholarly web on the analogy of the modern one – the World Wide Web. Both are born in an intellectual circle (today it is the University), and both spread because of their commercial usefulness.