Monday, March 11, 2013

Cuneiform Script Cyrus Cylinder Touring US

The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet from  6th century BC Babylon, inscribed with a declaration in the name of Cyrus the Great, began a tour of the US this week which will take it to Washington DC, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

For those familiar with ancient languages and scripts, this is a famous and interesting example of Akkadian Cuneiform text.   A drawing of the Cuneiform is available online here, and a Latin transcription/English translation can be found here.

I was expecting to find a digital version of the text somewhere, since Cuneiform was added to Unicode back in 2006, but have been unsuccessful.   Info on fonts and keyboards for this script can be found in an earlier article..

Below is the Unicode Cuneiform and transcription for the first few words of line 20, translated as "I am Cyrus King of the world.."  You will need to install a cuneiform font to see it, and then it will not look exactly like the drawing, because cuneiform signs can vary greatly depending on the date, and there's no font yet for the Neo-Babylonian forms used on the cylinder.

𒀀 𒈾 𒆪 𒁹 𒆪 𒊏 𒑑 𒈗 𒆧 𒆳
a-na-ku m Ku-ra-áš LUGAL kiš-šat

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