Greater Perspective


Daily Prompt: Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.

I was never really that important of an object. Not back then, anyway.

I came from what you humans, or at least an elite group of you, refer to as the Third Dynasty of Ur, or Ur III. I say an elite group because I have come to understand that some of you don’t even know that our kingdom existed. Some don’t even understand why it matters. Imagine my shock!

But some, the elite, get it.

My latest owners are among the elite. I’m not sure how I landed in their hands. I mean, I know how, I am of course aware of my own illustrious history. I’m just not sure how I managed to be lucky enough to not only survive this long but to land in the hands of those who know, who have the knowledge of history. Those who can read.

I’m not sure how many of you humans can read these days. Back in Ur, when I was created, only a select few could read, despite the fact that mine were a highly enlightened people. So enlightened in fact that we created writing. Beat that for literary significance!

During my time, government officials were taught to read and write in Sumerian, the language used for our literature and our administrative documents. Yes, we had literature back then! Sumerian wasn’t the only language in our culture, but I was written in Sumerian so I know a bit more about it.

I was created by the administration of the time as a commercial document, a detailed inventory from the centralized textile industry. My cuneiform text recounts to those interested a list of textiles created, warehoused and bartered during a specific time in the year 2046 BCE.

Ah, I see I now have your attention. Yes, that was a long time ago.

I have been around a long time. I have watched the stars traverse the heavens for millenia upon millenia. Admittedly, I missed a lot while I was underground, but I have caught up quite a bit over the past few years, since I was exhumed. I have since travelled far from my beloved home, to a world so new that when I was first created, no one in Ur had even dreamed of its existence.

I finally fell into the hands of the people in whose home I am now housed. Incredible the way things work out. The husband, knowing his wife has a passion for history and an interest particularly in cuneiform and ancient Mesopotamia – I daresay, amazingly dignified and all too rare an interest among you humans – searched me out and bought me as a gift for her.

I have pride of place now at the front of a glass table under a skylight in their library room. A library – how fitting! I like to be under the skylight; it affords me a view of the heavens, night and day. I am joined on this glass table by other historical artifacts. But they stand behind me. I am right at the front for all to see. It is because, I think, lesser antiquities would have crumbled to dust centuries ago.

If I might take the liberty of getting on with my confession, with which I began this communication, I can scarcely believe that I am so revered by these people. They are clearly of noble birth!

For all my airs (yes I even admit I put on airs, but when you are this old, and have survived from the beginning of the written word, you take certain liberties with vanity), I am only a lowly government document. A dime a dozen we were. It’s the same even in your society as I understand it.

It’s not like I’m a piece of one of those famous law codes. You know, Hammurabi‘s laws? No? Well, anyway, we were a very important civilization and not only did we invent writing but we also invented laws, and wrote them down. Hammurabi’s laws came much later, in the 1700s BCE, after I had been created and had lain around for a few centuries. There were other laws written down before Hammurabi, but he has had all the glory. Such is the way of history.

But I digress. I was continuing with my confession about having been originally made for ordinary, every day purposes. I am just a bit moved that, although I am not as historically important as I could be, I am treated with great care and respect by these people.

The lady of the house stops and picks me up sometimes, turning me over in reverence. And this despite the fact that she can’t read cuneiform. Most days, though she may be bustling by with laundry or something to do with the child, she will at least take the time to glance my way. I can see in her eyes she appreciates me, and my place in history. I can sense with all the experience of one so old that she is still in awe to have a piece of ancient history sitting in her house.

She writes a lot and reads a lot, and she values such ancient wonders as the stars and the moon, and nature. No wonder she understands my importance. Clearly, people are still born these days with some of that ancient wisdom.

She’s not wise enough to be able to read cuneiform, mind you, but one can only dream so big when one is a small, broken-off piece of an ancient clay tablet.

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