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By Marc Van de Mieroop

Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of background discusses how the ample Mesopotamian cuneiform textual content resources can be utilized for the learn of varied elements of historical past: political, social, fiscal and gender. Marc Van De Mieroop offers a student-friendly advent to the topic and:* criticises disciplinary methodologies that are usually educated via a wish to write a heritage of occasions* scrutinises the highbrow historical past of old writings* examines how Mesopotamia's place because the 'other' in Classical and Biblical writings has inspired scholarship* illustrates techniques with examples taken from the whole thing of Mesopotamian historical past.

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1350 to 280 one where the regnal years of kings are used, and (3) the Seleucid and Arsacid eras after 280 BC. Prior to the Sargonic period in the twenty-fourth century a number of systems seem to have been used side by side, regnal years, year names, and possibly eponyms (Hallo 1988:176–7), but the data are so slim that THE FIRST HALF OF HISTORY 21 we can only reconstruct the chronological framework for some isolated rulers. With the Sargonic dynasty, or just before it, a system of year names came into use, which proves to be of incredible benefit to the historian.

At the end I will attempt an explanation of why the narrative writings available to us have dominated our thoughts on the Mesopotamian subjects they describe. ASSYRIAN ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS Mesopotamian kings, and a handful of queens, thought it proper to record some of their deeds in writing, as any self-respecting ruler might, in order to guarantee the survival of their memory in the minds of later generations. The Epic of Gilgamesh, now the most famous literary text from Mesopotamia, struggled with the issue of immortality and advised the reader where to find it.

The latter group contains only twelve historical observations, however, often mentioned in more than one omen (Cooper 1980:103 n. 12). There is a variety of opinions on the historical value of these statements: some scholars credit them with great accuracy (Hallo 1991b), even as being the only real accurate historical statements in Mesopotamian literature (Finkelstein 1963); others find merit only in those with a realistic historical content, while a few doubt that they contribute anything to our historical knowledge (Cooper 1980).

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