chapter  I
THE WRITTEN SOURCES
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Originally the script was pictorial. Each symbol meant the object presented in the picture: each symbol was an ideogram or word-symbol. A writing system of this kind has limited possibilities, but in the first centuries of the history of its develop­ ment the script in Mesopotamia served purposes that were also limited: it was only employed for bookkeeping-the establish­ ment of regulation and control over the products of agriculture and craftsmanship. The oldest texts are lists of livestock and agricultural equipment; a system of numbers was soon developed, a stroke indicating units and a circular impression tens.