What Ancient Civilization Had Cuneiform?

Cuneiform was the first known system of writing that was developed by ancient civilizations. It originated in Mesopotamia, which is now modern-day Iraq, and was used by several different cultures throughout history. In this article, we will explore which ancient civilization had cuneiform.

The Origins of Cuneiform

Cuneiform writing was developed around 4000 BCE in Sumer, one of the earliest known civilizations in the world. The word “cuneiform” comes from the Latin word “cuneus,” which means “wedge-shaped.” This is because cuneiform symbols were created by pressing a reed stylus into clay tablets to create wedge-shaped marks.

The Spread of Cuneiform

Cuneiform writing was soon adopted by other cultures in Mesopotamia, including the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. These civilizations used cuneiform to keep records of trade transactions, legal documents, and religious texts.

The Akkadian Empire

The Akkadian Empire emerged around 2334 BCE and was the first empire to use cuneiform as its official language. They used it to write their laws, administrative documents, and religious texts.

The Babylonian Empire

The Babylonians rose to power after defeating the Assyrians in 612 BCE. They adopted cuneiform as their official language and used it to write their epic stories such as the Story of Gilgamesh.

The Assyrian Empire

The Assyrian Empire emerged around 2500 BCE and lasted until 609 BCE when it fell to the Babylonians. They used cuneiform for their administrative documents as well as for recording their military conquests.

Collapse of Cuneiform

With the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 609 BCE, the use of cuneiform began to decline. It was gradually replaced by other writing systems such as the Phoenician alphabet and eventually the Greek alphabet.


In conclusion, cuneiform was used by several ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. It was used to record everything from trade transactions to epic stories and military conquests. While it eventually fell out of use, it remains an important part of human history and is considered one of the earliest forms of writing.