Linear Elamite Texts

Stuart Harris BS, MS, MBA

Around 2200 BC, a script called Linear Elamite suddenly appeared at Elam on the southwest coast of Iran, likely introduced from Estonia. Only the elite knew how to write this script and few examples survive, but two of these are masterpieces. During their tenure, Elam grew to be the most powerful city-state in the region.

Inscription A is a dedication speech, chiseled in a foundation stone of a temple on the highest mound in Susa, delivered by the king of Elam to honor his fallen soldiers, called Swords of Elam.

Inscription Q, inscribed on the Silver Cup of Elam, is a wedding gift from Kiririsa, the Elamite goddess of war and fertility, to her sister Narunte, goddess of victory, on the eve of Narunte's marriage to Sargon of Akkad. The message outlines her thoughts, misgivings, and measures still to be taken prior to the marriage.

A number Elamite names make sense in Finnish. Two short inscriptions from Estonia and Austria indicate that Linear Elamite survived in northern Europe.