Language > Translation of Akkadian

Translation of Akkadian

Background

So how do we understand the ancient language of the Akkadians, a long since gone people? In fact, understanding and translating of this language is so important because without it we would not understand that of Sumerian either. Well under king Tiglath Pileser III the language of Aramaic was introduced as the new de-facto language of Assyria.

Since many texts survived that were written in both languages and since Aramaic survived as a written language into the present we are effectively able to translate the ancient Akkadian language that was used by the Assyrians to document their history. From understanding the Aramic-Akkadian link we are then able to translate the Akkadian-Sumerian documents of the previous eras, thus our modern understanding of ancient history.

The noted interconnectedness of the Sumerian, Akkadian and Aramaic languages is reminiscent of the Rosetta Stone found in Egypt that led to the translation of the Egyptian language of hieroglyphs through understanding the ancient Greek language. In fact the Assyrian culture spread as far as Greece so the Aramaic language became infused with them and allowed it to survive.

It is ultimately through language that we can discover a lot about a culture. Following the collapse of Assyria the regional power become Neo-Babylonia (605-549 BCE) who in turn were conquered by the Achaemenid Empire (549-330 BCE) who were in turn conquered by Alexander the Great. After Alexanders death the Seleucid Empire formed to take over control over the eastern portion of the vast but now fragmented empire.

The Seleucids were eventually conquered by the Parthians, and the western section of the region known as Aram was given the name Syria. The Parthians held control over the region until it was conquered by the Roman Empire in 115 CE. Eventually the Sassanid Empire gained control over the region from 226-650 CE when they were conquered by the Arabs and the rise of Islam. At this point Assyria had really ceased to exist, along with Babylonia and any of the great civilizations of Mesopotamia. Now we get into a whole new era of history that has long since broken ties with the empires of old. Or so we thought.

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