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Updated: Sep 21

Video from World of Antiquity


"An amazing artifact dating back to ancient Mesopotamia is the Weld-Blundell Prism, currently housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. On it is found an enigmatic document known as the Sumerian King List. Where did this list come from, what does it say, and how is it important for the study of history? Find out in this video. After viewing, come back to the notes here for further information. ►DOWNLOAD Professor Miano's free e-booklet: "Why Ancient History Matters":" from video introduction.

"This clay prism is one of the most important records from ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Each of the four sides is inscribed with two columns of cuneiform (wedge-like) script recording the Sumerian language. The document lists a succession of cities in Sumer and its neighbouring regions, their rulers and the length of their reigns. Several versions of the Sumerian King List have survived, but this one represents the most extensive as well as the most complete.

The list is not history as we would understand it, but a combination of myth, legend and historical information. It starts with the mythological origins of kingship, when individuals have fantastically long reigns. This is followed by the famous lines: ‘The Flood swept over. After the Flood had swept over and kingship had descended from heaven’. The flood is the subject of other major works in Mesopotamian literature and the story was adapted in the Old Testament to form the basis of the account of Noah...' from the website: Ashmolean Museum Oxford


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