Thin End of the Wedge focuses on the cultures that used cuneiform (“wedge-shaped”) writing. That timeframe is from about 3000 BC to about 100 AD. In other words, the first 2/3 of recorded human history is written in cuneiform. The earliest known writing in this part of the world dates to around 3200 BC. It’s called “proto-cuneiform”, because the cuneiform system evolves from it. Proto-cuneiform is not as well understood as mature cuneiform. We can’t even be sure what language is being written. By around 2600 BC mature cuneiform has emerged, and we can identify the Sumerian language. Soon afterwards we can also identify the Akkadian language. Cuneiform writing is then used in ancient Iraq for more than 2000 years. The latest securely dated cuneiform tablet dates to 76 AD.
Experts divide this long history into periods:
|Early Dynastic (Pre-Sargonic)||2900-2300 BC|
|Old Akkadian (Sargonic)||2300-2100 BC|
|Ur III (“Ur three”)||2100-2000 BC|
|Old Babylonian / Old Assyrian||2000-1600 BC|
|Middle Babylonian / Middle Assyrian||1600-900 BC|
|Neo-Babylonian / Neo-Assyrian||900-600 BC|
|Late Babylonian||from 539 BC|
Abbasid period: early Islamic period, named after a dynasty based in Iraq. C. 750-1258 AD. EPISODE 3
Isin-Larsa: the period from about 2000 BC to the mid-18th century BC. The early part of the Old Babylonian period. Named after the cities of Isin and Larsa in southern Iraq, home of two major kingdoms.
Old Assyrian Colony Period: the time around the 19th century BC, in northern Iraq. EPISODE 12
Ottoman period: Period of Turkish rule of Iraq, 1534–1704 and 1831–1920. EPISODE 13
Seleucid period: Period of rule by a Greek dynasty, c. 312–64 BC. Part of the Late Babylonian period. EPISODE 11