Saturday, September 15, 2018

Library at Ebla

The discovery of the ancient library of Ebla is much more recent than Assurbanipal's, though the library itself is much more ancient and has been defined as the world's oldest library.

Ebla was a major trade center. It was revealed from the artifacts uncovered by the excavation of Ebla and through the study of the tablets that Ebla was a major economic power, a cultural center of the land of Canaan and a large metropolis of 260,000 people. Dating from around 2500-2250 BCE, the Ebla archive consisted of two small rooms off a large audience hall in a palace.

More than 17, well preserved clay cuneiform tablets and fragments were discovered at Ebla. While one room contained government and economic records, the other larger room held literary texts such as myths, epic narratives, hymns, rituals, and epic along with gazetteers, and school-related texts. The collection contained about 2,000 clay tablets written using Sumerian cuneiform.

To some extent the palace library at Ebla was a school library. It served as an academy for the training of scribes. But, like a modern university, this academy existed to create and preserve knowledge as well as to propagate it. The scholars of Ebla studied and extended the knowledge of the Sumerians.
Library at Ebla
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