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The history of literature begins with the invention of writing, in Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Writing developed out of proto-literate sign systems in the 30th century BC, although the oldest known literary texts date from the 27th or 26th century BC. Literature from the Iron Age includes the earliest texts which have been preserved in a manuscript tradition (as opposed to texts which have been recovered by archaeologists), including the Avestan Gathas (see date of Zoroaster), the Indian Vedas (see Vedic period), parts of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament; cf. dating the Bible), and the earliest literature from Ancient Greece. Classical Antiquity is generally considered to begin with Homer in the 8th century BC, and it continues until the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. Although the earliest Classics were in Ancient Greek, from the 3rd century BC Greek literature was joined by Latin literature. As well as the Western canon, there is also a period of classical Sanskrit literature and Sangam literature in India, Chinese classics in China, and in Late Antiquity the beginning of classical Syriac and Middle Persian literature. The following is a chronological list of literary works up until the 5th century AD. Literature of the 6th to 9th centuries is covered in Early medieval literature. For a list of the earliest testimony in each language, see list of languages by first written accounts.
List of ancient texts
See also: Sumerian literature, Akkadian literature, Ancient Egyptian literature, Hittite texts, Vedic Sanskrit Early Bronze Age: 3rd millennium BC (approximate dates shown) The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BC (classical Sumerian). The earliest literary authors known by name are Shuruppak and Urukagina, dating to ca. the 27th and 24th centuries BC, respectively. Certain literary texts are difficult to date, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead which was recorded in the Papyrus of Ani around 1240 BC, but other versions of the book probably date from about the 18th century BC. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2600 Sumerian texts from Abu Salabikh, including the Instructions of Shuruppak and the Kesh temple hymn 2600 Akkadian Legend of Etana  2400 Egyptian Pyramid Texts, including the Cannibal Hymn 2400 Sumerian Code of Urukagina  2400 Egyptian Palermo stone 2350 Egyptian The Maxims of Ptahhotep 2270 Sumerian Enheduanna's Hymns 2250-2000 Sumerian Earliest stories in theEpic of Gilgamesh  2100 Sumerian Curse of Agade 2100 Sumerian Debate between Bird and Fish 2050 Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu 2000 Egyptian Coffin Texts 2000 Sumerian Lament for Ur 2000 Sumerian Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta
Middle Bronze Age: ca. 2000 to 1600 BC (approximate dates shown) • 1950 Akkadian Laws of Eshnunna • 1900 Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar • 1900 Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh
also called the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses with a final redaction between 900-450 BC. 1000-600 BC Chinese Classic of Poetry (Shījīng). 1050 BC The Babylonian Theodicy of Šaggil-kīnam-ubbib. Book of the Dead • 1200-900 Akkadian version and younger stories in the Epic of Gilgamesh • 1200 Akkadian Tukulti-Ninurta Epic • 1200 Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers  Iron Age See also Sanskrit literature.Ancient literature • • • • • • • • • • 1850 Akkadian Kultepe texts 1800 Egyptian Story of Sinuhe (in Hieratic) 1800 Sumerian Eridu Genesis 1800 Akkadian Enûma Eliš 1800 Akkadian Atra-Hasis epic 1780 Akkadian Code of Hammurabi stele 1780 Akkadian Mari letters. Atharvaveda 1100-800 BC date of the redaction of the extant text of the Rigveda 1050 BC Egyptian Story of Wenamun 1050 BC Akkadian Sakikkū (SA. Some give an alternate date of 1320-1280.GIG) “Diagnostic Omens” by Esagil-kin-apli. 1600 to 1200 BC (approximate dates shown) • 1700-1100 Vedic Sanskrit: approximate date of the composition of the Rigveda. • 1400 Akkadian Marriage of Nergal and Ereshkigal • 1400 Akkadian Autobiography of Kurigalzu • 1400 Akkadian Amarna letters • 1330 Egyptian Great Hymn to the Aten • 1240 Egyptian Papyrus of Ani. Classic of Changes (I Ching) • 950 BC date of the Jahwist portions of the Torah according to the documentary hypothesis • 900 BC Akkadian Epic of Erra • 850 BC date of the Elohist portions of the Torah according to the documentary hypothesis . Chinese literature Iron Age texts predating Classical Antiquity: 12th to 8th centuries BC • • • • • • • 1200-1100 BC approximate date of books RV 1 and RV 10 in the Rigveda 1200-800 BC approximate date of the Vedic Sanskrit Yajurveda. • 1600 Hittite Code of the Nesilim • 1500 Akkadian Poor Man of Nippur  • 1500 Hittite military oath • 1550 Egyptian Book of the Dead • 1500 Akkadian Dynasty of Dunnum • 1440-1400 Hebrew Torah. Many of these were not set to writing until later. Classic of Documents (Shūjīng) (authentic portions). including the Epic of Zimri-Lim 1750 Hittite Anitta text 1700 Egyptian Westcar Papyrus 1650 Egyptian Ipuwer Papyrus 2 Late Bronze Age: ca.
3rd. Maitrayaniya Upanishad) • Greek: • • • • Sappho Ibycus Alcaeus of Mytilene Aesop's Fables 5th century BC • 5th century BC to 4th century AD: Sanskrit: Epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) • Avestan: Yasht • Chinese: • Confucius: Analects (Lúnyǔ) • Classic of Rites (Lǐjì) • Commentaries of Zuo (Zuǒzhuàn) • Greek: • Pindar: Odes • Herodotus: The Histories of Herodotus • Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War • Aeschylus: The Suppliants. Book of Isaiah) 7th century BC • Greek: • • • • Hesiod: The Theogony and Works and Days Archilochus Alcman Semonides of Amorgos • Solon • Mimnermus • Stesichorus 6th century BC • Hebrew Bible: Psalms (according to late dating) Book of Ezekiel. 4th. Indian literature. Oedipus at Colonus. Latin literature. Syriac literature. Oresteia • Sophocles: Oedipus the King. Book of Amos. 6th. 2nd. including the Iliad and the Odyssey 800-500 BC: Sanskrit Brahmanas 722–481 BC: Chinese Spring and Autumn Annals (Chūnqiū) (chronicles of the state of Lu) Oldest non-Pentateuchal books of the Hebrew Bible (the Book of Nahum. Hebrew literature. The Persians. Electra and other plays . 1st 8th century BC • • • • Greek Trojan War cycle. 5th. Book of Hosea.Ancient literature 3 Classical Antiquity See also Ancient Greek literature. Antigone. Avesta See also: centuries in poetry: 7th. Book of Daniel (according to conservative or early dating) • Chinese: Sun Tzu: The Art of War (Sūnzǐ Bīngfǎ) • Sanskrit: • Sutra literature • some Mukhya Upanishads (Katha Upanishad. Seven Against Thebes.
Timaeus • Euclid: Elements • Menander: Dyskolos • Theophrastus: Enquiry into Plants 3rd century BC • • • • Avestan: Avesta Etruscan: Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis (Linen Book of Zagreb) Sanskrit: Panchatantra by Vishnu Sarma Tamil: 4 • 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD: Sangam poems • Tolkāppiyam (grammar book) • Hebrew: Ecclesiastes • Latin: • Lucius Livius Andronicus (c. Gorgias. Miles Gloriosus. Phaedrus. Protagoras. Bacchae. military historian and antiquarian • Greek: • Manetho: Aegyptiaca 2nd century BC • • • • • Avestan: Vendidad Chinese: Sima Qian: Records of the Grand Historian (Shǐjì) Aramaic: Book of Daniel Hebrew: Sirach Greek • Polybius: The Histories • Book of Wisdom . Cyropaedia • Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. The Suppliants. historian • Lucius Cincius Alimentus (3rd century BC). and other plays • Quintus Fabius Pictor (3rd century BC). Heracleidae. The Wasps. Andromache. Medea. Parmenides. Plutus • Hebrew: date of the extant text of the Torah 4th century BC • Hebrew: Book of Job. Peace. Menexenus. Ecclesiazousae. Helen. Phoenician Women. Symposium. Meno. Theaetetus. dramatist.Ancient literature • Euripides: Alcestis. The Clouds. translator. dramatist. Rhesus • Aristophanes: The Acharnians. Republic. founder of Roman drama • Gnaeus Naevius (ca. The Birds. Electra. Metaphysics • Plato: Euthyphro. The Frogs. Heracles. Lysistrata. Apology. Cyclops. beginning of Hebrew wisdom literature • Chinese: • Laozi (or Lao Tzu): Tao Te Ching • Zhuangzi: Zhuangzi (book) • Mencius: Mencius • Greek: • Xenophon: Anabasis. 254 — 184 BC). Hecuba. Crito. 264 — 201 BC). Iphigeneia at Aulis. epic poet • Titus Maccius Plautus (c. Hippolytus. Ion. Orestes. 200 BC). Iphigeneia in Tauris. Trojan Women. Thesmophoriazusae. The Knights. 280/260 BC — c. composer of comedies: Poenulus.
2nd and 3rd 1st century AD • Chinese: Ban Gu: Book of Han (Hànshū) • Greek: • Plutarch: Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans • Josephus: The Jewish War. poet Lucius Aelius Stilo Praeconinus (154 BC — 74 BC). 160's BC — 103/2 BC). 220 BC — 130 BC). historian Valerius Antias (2nd & 1st centuries BC). generalist. historian • Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi (2nd century BC). historian Gaius Sempronius Tuditanus (2nd century BC). Pro Caelio. historian Lucius Cornelius Sisenna (121 BC — 67 BC). centuries in poetry: 1st. Eunuchus. public officer. • Quintus Ennius (239 BC — c. orator Publius Rutilius Rufus (158 BC — after 78 BC). satirist • Quintus Lutatius Catulus (2nd century BC). poet • Marcus Pacuvius (ca. tragic dramatist. jurist Quintus Lutatius Catulus (2nd & 1st centuries BC). historian Publius Sempronius Asellio (158 BC — after 91 BC). comic dramatist: The Brothers. public officer. public officer. historian Quintus Cornificius (2nd & 1st centuries BC). historian • • • • • • • • • • • • • Manius Manilius (2nd century BC). soldier. satirist • Lucius Cassius Hemina (2nd century BC). jurist Lucius Coelius Antipater (2nd century BC). military officer. jurist Lucius Afranius (2nd & 1st centuries BC). tragic dramatist • Lucius Pomponius Bononiensis (2nd century BC). 86 BC). philologist Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius (2nd & 1st centuries BC). poet • Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus (130 BC — 87 BC). The Girl from Andros. Against Apion • The books of the New Testament • Latin: see Classical Latin . philologist • Gaius Lucilius (c. tragic dramatist. comic dramatist. jurist. epigramatist • Aulus Furius Antias (2nd century BC). Dream of Scipio Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars Virgil: Eclogues. public officer. comic dramatist • Marcius Porcius Cato (234 BC — 149 BC). topical writer • Gaius Acilius (2nd century BC). rhetorician 5 1st century BC • Pali: Tipitaka • Latin: • • • • • Cicero: Catiline Orations. historian • Lucius Accius (170 BC — c. The Self-Tormentor. Antiquities of the Jews. Georgics and Aeneid Lucretius: On the Nature of Things Livy: Ab Urbe Condita (History of Rome) See also: Pahlavi literature. 169 BC). poet • Statius Caecilius (220 BC — 168/166 BC).Ancient literature • Septuagint • Latin: • Terence (195/185 BC — 159 BC). comic dramatist Titus Albucius (2nd & 1st centuries BC).
Ancient literature • • • • • Tacitus: Germania Ovid: Metamorphoses Pliny the Elder: Natural History Petronius: Satyricon Seneca the Younger: Phaedra. Ephrem the Syrian • Hebrew: Gemara 5th century • Chinese: Fan Ye: Book of the Later Han (Hòuhànshū) • Sanskrit: Kālidāsa (speculated): The Recognition of Śakuntalā.k. The Cloud Messenger • Pahlavi: • Matigan-i Hazar Datistan (The Thousand Laws of the Magistan) . 5th century in poetry 4th century • Latin: see Late Latin • Augustine of Hippo: Confessions. On Christian Doctrine • Apicius (a. On the Subject of Cooking) • Pervigilium Veneris (Vigil of Venus) • Syriac: Aphrahat.a. Dialogues 6 2nd century • Sanskrit: Aśvaghoṣa: Buddhacharita (Acts of the Buddha) • Pahlavi: • Yadegar-e Zariran (Memorial of Zarēr) • Visperad • Drakht-i Asurig (The Babylonian Tree) • Greek: • • • • • Arrian: Anabasis Alexandri Epictetus and Arrian: Enchiridion Ptolemy: Almagest Athenaeus: The Banquet of the Learned Pausanias: Description of Greece • Latin: see Classical Latin • Apuleius: The Golden Ass • Lucius Ampelius: Liber Memorialis • Suetonius: Lives of the Twelve Caesars 3rd century • • • • • Avestan: Khordeh Avesta (Zoroastrian prayer book) Pahlavi: Mani: Shabuhragan (Manichaean holy book) Chinese: Chen Shou: Records of Three Kingdoms (Sānguó Zhì) Greek: Plotinus: Enneads Latin: see Late Latin • Distichs of Cato • Hebrew: Mishnah Late Antiquity See also: 4th century in poetry. De re coquinaria.
"This fragment of an old version of the Etana Legend was written about 2000 years earlier than the fragments found in the Library of Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC). 118. and some modern scholars. p. Taylor & Francis.”  according to ancient Jewish and Christian tradition. Criminals of the Bible: Twenty-Five Case Studies of Biblical Crimes and Outlaws (http:/ / books. (1994). which are justly believed to be divine. Atrahasis: An Ancient Hebrew Deluge Story (http:/ / books. co. . 29-30. Gilgamesh."  Stephanie Dalley. google. ISBN 978-0-19-953836-2." (in English). google. Sir John Carew (1989). "The Poor Man of Nippur dates from about 1500 BC. ISBN 978-1-58509-228-4. co. uk/ books?id=rM68T7L-lY4C). uk/ books?id=K1QhcIrHB68C). 826. ISBN 978-0-520-06154-5. . Bava Bathra 146  Mishnah. (Loeb Classical Library). James K (1999). pp. uk/ books?id=zHnH4DJ9pr0C). Oberlies (p. Mark (2006). 6. Holman Reference.  Miriam Lichtheim. 2008. (2003). "The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BC. the Flood."  Thorkild Jacobsen (1978). p. Pirqe Avoth 1:1  Josephus. Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. The Life. co. co. Against Apion. John T. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation. p. 167–168. "The Uruk List of Kings and Sages and Late Mesopotamian Scholarship". ""For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us. ESV Study Bible (1st ed. II: Exodus.  The Consolation of Philosophy (Oxford World's Classics). ISBN 978-1-4335-0241-5. and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. Gilgamesh. Bribes (http:/ / books. ISBN 978-0-8010-1264-8.). Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 8 (2): 137–169. Oxford University Press. Estimates for a terminus post quem of the earliest hymns are far more uncertain."  Clay."  Oberlies (1998:155) gives an estimate of 1100 BC for the youngest hymns in book 10. . "I-XI". The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth (11th ed. Oxford University Press. Introduction to Genesis. 280. written in Sumer about 2200 BC.2. New American Commentary Vol. ISBN 978-1-57958-281-4. and Others. 231. University of California Press. FaithWalk Publishing. ISBN 978-0-19-953836-2.""  Stuart.Ancient literature • Frahang-i Oim-evak (Pahlavi-Avestan dictionary) • Latin: see Late Latin • • • • • • • Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus: De Re Militari Augustine of Hippo: The City of God Paulus Orosius: Seven Books of History Against the Pagans Jerome: Vulgate Prudentius: Psychomachia Consentius's grammar Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite: Celestial Hierarchy. 158) based on 'cumulative evidence' sets wide range of 1700–1100  Noonan. "11:8".203  Alan Lenzi (2008). . Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation. pp. ISBN 978-1-932902-64-8. when the Sumerians started to write down their long epic poems. Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (http:/ / books. Introduction (2000)  Dante placed Boethius the “last of the Romans and first of the Scholastics” among the doctors in his Paradise (see The Divine Comedy).  Talmud. Douglas K (2006). 4.  Eccles. "The Epic of Gilgamesh. google."  Jones. Oxford University Press. uk/ books?id=6zgp1_zeJbEC). Loeb Classical Library. "The Sumerian code of Urukagina was written around 2400 BC. The treasures of darkness: a history of Mesopotamian religion. 1-144. uk/ books?id=CRZu51yv1X4C). De consolatione philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy) 524 AD. Routledge. google. Crossway. and Others. Book Tree. ed. co. p. pp. 448. five belong to Moses. see above inline citations. vol. disagreeing from and contradicting one another (as the Greeks have) but only 22 books. (1987). ISBN 978-0-415-03224-7.  Hoffmeier. Albert T. Ancient Egyptian Literature. XLII. ed. p. widely considered to be the last work of classical philosophy. “Perhaps it was brought east with the Amorites of the First Dynasty of Babylon. ed. ISBN 978-0-19-513088-1. .).  RA Torrey. ISBN 978-0-8054-0102-8. Mystical Theology 7 6th century • Latin: Boethius. which contain his laws.  Stephanie Dalley. ISBN 978-0-674-99205-4. p.  "Introduction to the Pentateuch. Baker Academic. 216. google. pp. Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (http:/ / books. Flavius (1926). 34. the Flood. 1980. and of them. Shona (2000). References  Grimbly. p. p. . Yale University Press.
Ivan Štambuk. Neddyseagoon. Shii. Ymwang42. Darktower 12345. Elias Enoc. Til Eulenspiegel. Rrumora. Hmains. Irishguy. Mm. Perichandra1. Dblk. PiCo.php?oldid=506952604 Contributors: A Musing. Woohookitty. ERIDU-DREAMING. Gwrightnyc. BigEars42.luqman. Mamgeorge. Robert Weemeyer. Magioladitis. Gaura79. Ettrig. Dpv. Langdell.org/w/index.0/ . Garzo. JohnChrysostom. Jeff Dahl. Van der Hoorn. Xaverius. Dbachmann. KRajaratnam1. Paul August. Deeptrivia. Cynwolfe. WereSpielChequers. NawlinWiki. Merlion444. Rreagan007. GoingBatty. Kurrgo master of planet x. Milton Stanley. Ploversegg.Article Sources and Contributors 8 Article Sources and Contributors Ancient literature Source: http://en. Astorknlam. Andycjp. Pegship. Fordmadoxfraud. Da Joe. PRB. Rossnixon. 66 . CCHIPSS. Agnistus. Aristophanes68. Yahel Guhan. Hnaluru.org/licenses/by-sa/3. Donnie Love. Mmcannis. Nono64. Mwvandersteen. Sumerophile.wikipedia.0 Unported //creativecommons. R3venans.ܥܝܪܐܩ anonymous edits License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3. Bfinn. Jagged 85. Ramananrv123. Sp4cetiger. TheLeopard. Ekrenor. Qrfqr. Yom. Joefromrandb. Gil Gamesh. Ravenous. Tomisti. Sahardoom. Io Katai. Yolgnu. Fratrep. Michael Sidlofsky. Charles Matthews. Paul Bedson. Pruemele101.