The Sumerian Invention



The first writing system began in Sumer about 5300 years ago. Pictograms – such as the one of the head shown above – evolved into cuneiforms, providing the ability to represent concepts other than those linked to visible realities.

Each cuneiform could represent a number of words or ideas. The ‘mouth’ cuneiform also represented ‘tooth’ ‘teeth’ ‘voice’ ‘speech’ ‘to talk’ ‘to shout’ etc.

The distinction between the mind (or soul as it would be regarded then) and the visible brain still had to be inferred from the context.

(Origins of the Human Brain, Eds J-P Changeux and J Chavaillon 1995)

NB The first known marble sculpting began on Naxos at about the same time.