Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


edited by: Amalia Catagnoti

  • Introduction
  • Ancient Writing Systems

Eblaite is the Semitic language attested in cuneiform texts dating ca. 2350 BC found in Syria at Tell Mardikh. Probably, during the third millennium, this language was spoken not only in Ebla itself, but also in the urban centers of upper northern Syria, roughly the area around Aleppo, that saw the emergence of the kingdom of Yamkhad in the early second millennium.
Eblaite is placed in the oldest known Semitic language level, which can be defined as Archaic Semitic, a level to which Akkadian from Mesopotamia also belongs.
Eblaite must also be distinguished from Amorite (though an archaic phase of this language can probably be traced in some personal names documented in the texts of the Palace G). The relationship between Eblaite and Akkadian is of complex definition. The two languages are certainly very close, sharing fundamental morphological traits such as the verbal system with three aspects even though there are other traits that are not shared.
Given both the quality of differentiation between Eblaite and Akkadian and both the quality of the eblaito - Akkadian isoglosses (some of which are also known in Ugaritic and ancient South Arabian languages), Eblaite and Akkadian may reflect two similar stages of Archaic Semitic. The two languages, which were spoken respectively in Syria and Mesopotamia, are in contrast with those that present the innovations which came from a more central area, observable in Amorite in the third millennium.

Ancient Writing Systems

  1. Eblaite