Enheduanna lived from 2285 to 2250 BCE. The dates are courtesy of Roberta Binkley who wrote the biography of Enheduana, an Akkadian princess, who moonlighted as High Priestess of the moon god Nanna. I didn’t know the Akkadians had birth certificates, but I will take Roberta’s word. The Akkadians were a Semitic people in Mesopotamia and their language is extinct which means reading her works is problematic as there is no Berlitz course being offered at this time.
She wrote the “Sumerian Temple Hymns.” The title says everything you need to know. She also wrote “The Exaltation of Inanna,” a collection of devotions. That the first known works are religious is no surprise. The ancients didn’t write mystery novels, thrillers, or anything to do with zombies and vampires. They were a serious sort.
Most credit the first male writer as Shin-eqi-Unninni, who wrote the famed “Epic of Gilgamesh.” Once again the writing was Akkadian. The tablets were found by either Austen Layard or Hormuzd Rassam, (depending on the source you are reading), during the 19th century when one of the two, if not both, were digging around in the library of Ashurbanipal in Assyria. The library was in ruins, but fortunately they did not use paper then; tablets last longer. The library dates to the sixth century BCE.
Just as there are differences on who found the tablets in the ancient library, it is difficult to pinpoint the time in which “The Epic of Gilgamesh” was written because there are assorted Gilgamesh stories that predate the full version. It is a fact that the tablets themselves refer to Shin-egi-Unninni as the writer, so he may have been the first to autograph his book. When Shin lived is also up for debate.
Apparently Gilgamesh was a real person; the King of Uruk about 2500 BCE. One thing for certain is that the book predates the Old Testament and has many stories, such as the great flood that are familiar to Bible readers. Since “The Epic of Gilgamesh” predates the Bible, could writers of the Old Testament be plagiarizers. And if so, has the statue of limitations expired?
The important thing is know we know who are the patron saints of female and male writers. Now writers have someone to pray to.