As the first known system of writing, the cuneiform symbols traced in Sumerian clay than six millennia ago were once regarded as a simplistic and clumsy attempt to record in linear form the sounds of a spoken language More recently, scholars have acknowledged that early Sumerian writing far from being a primitive and flawed mechanism that would be improved by the Phoenicians and Greeks in fact represented a complete written language system, not only meeting the daily needs of economic and government administration, but also providing a new means of understanding the world human history Returning to early Mesopotamian texts that have been little studied or poorly understood, he traces the development of writing from the earliest attempts to the sophisticated system of roughlysigns that comprised the Sumerian repertory by aboutBC Glassner further argues with an occasional nod to Derrida that the invention of writing had a deeper metaphysical significance By bringing the divinely ordained spoken language under human control, Sumerians were able to make invisibility visible, separating themselves from the divine order and creating a new model of power There s obviously a lot of great information in this, and it gave me ways of thinking about cuneiform which hadn t occurred to me before, but there s something about it that feels a bit disorganised or meandering Is this just my attention span Anyway, I m left with a very joyful sense that we should see cuneiform as its own fully fledged system, rather than as a mere antecedent of writing as we know it.