The Ashmolean

Iraq: Navel of the World

Writing [6]

Aramaic, a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic, was spoken and written all over the Middle East from the beginning of the first millennium BC. Unlike Sumerian or Akkadian, it was written with an alphabet of just 22 letters, making it much easier to learn and use. This bowl from Kish, dating to the 6th century AD, is covered with an incantation in Aramaic to ward off evil demons.

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