Words and numbers in Cuneiform


 Click image for larger view .

Some Sumerian cuneiform


SU hand


UD sun, day


KA drink


AN, DIGIR diety


LU man


LUGAL king


SHIM beer


E house


A water


KU fish


KU eat


KU eat






DUB tablet



SHE barley


Numbers in cuneiform




The use of sexagesimal numbers for astronomy by the Babylonians in the last centuries bc gave them a great advantage over contemporary Greek astronomers who had no convenient mathematical notation. As a result many Babylonian astronomical calcu- lations were used by the ancient Greek and medieval Arab astronomers long after knowledge of cuneiform writing was lost. Our present base 60 system of counting sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, and three hundred and sixty degrees in a circle is a survival of Babylonian mathematics.


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There is a famous story of numerical manipulation in Assyrian history. Sennacherib had sacked Babylon in 689 bc. His son Esarhaddon on succeeding to the throne in 680 bc in a dramatic shift of policy decided to embark on its restoration, and justified it by announcing that whereas the god Marduk had decreed that the city should remain desolate for seventy years he had now relented and turned the number upside down. So seventy became eleven:


Write your name in cuneiform !

Make your own cuneiform tablet

Cuneiform Tablets: From the Reign of

Gudea of Lagash to Shalmanassar III

Cuneiform Archives: an Introduction

Workbook of Cuneiform Signs

Cuneiform: Forgotten Legacy

of a Forgotten People

History of Assurbanipal

The Babylonian story of the Deluge and the Epic of Gilgamish :

with an account of the Royal Libraries of Nineveh

Sumerian King List

(The Sumerian king list is an ancient text in the Sumerian

language that lists kings of Sumer from Sumerian and foreign dynasties.)

Anunnaki - Ancient Aliens Debunked

Zecharia Sitchin and the Anunnaki

 Sumerian King List still puzzles historians

Cuneiform Tattoos

Liberty in Cuneiform

Gilgamesh Tattoo 

 The top line is the cuneiform symbols for the name Gilgamesh. The bottom line, "ša naqba imuru išdi mati," is the first line, reconstructed and transliterated in Akkadian, for the Standard Babylonian Version of the EPIC OF GILGAMESH. Translated by Andrew George, it reads "He who saw the Deep, the country's foundation."