Dictionary of the Oldest Written Language–It Took 90 Years to Complete, and It’s Now Free Online

It took 90 years to complete. But, in 2011, scholars at the University of Chicago finally published a 21-volume dictionary of Akkadian, the language used in ancient Mesopotamia. Unspoken for 2,000 years, Akkadian was preserved on clay tablets and in stone inscriptions until scholars deciphered it during the last two centuries.

In the past, we’ve published audio that lets you hear the reconstructed sounds of Akkadian (Hear The Epic of Gilgamesh Read in the Original Akkadian and Enjoy the Sounds of Mesopotamia). Now, should you wish, you can download download PDFs of U. Chicago’s Akkadian dictionary for free. All 21 volumes would cost well over $1,000 if purchased in hard copy. But the PDFs, they won’t run you a dime.

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Hear The Epic of Gilgamesh Read in the Original Akkadian and Enjoy the Sounds of Mesopotamia

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Comments (5)
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  • Eric Pascual says:

    I commend you for making this monumental work available to the public, free. It’s a most commendable service to humanity, most especially to those interested in languages. But forgive me, isn’t the oldest written language Sumerian?

  • There is something older than sumerian says:

    There is something older than sumerian the tablets of tartaria are like 7500 years ago

  • Debra Dees says:

    The book of leaves

  • john g. m. sharp says:

    Kudos to the University of Chicago for making this incredible project available to scholars, students and the general public.

  • Jean-Claude BERNARD of Palaiseau (France) says:

    Many thanks and congratulations for making this remarkable work on a fundamental cultural resource available to the general and specialized public interested.
    However, I think that Minoan and Etrusc languages (though not fully deciphered yet) might display older versions than those of both Akkadian and Sumerian languages.
    Does this assertion make sense ?
    Your answer is welcomed

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