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|History of literature|
|Modern by century|
Early Bronze Age: 3rd millennium BCE (approximate dates shown). The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BCE (classical Sumerian). The earliest literary author known by name is Enheduanna, a Sumerian priestess and public figure dating to ca. the 24th century BCE. 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 BCE, but other versions of the book probably date from about the 18th century BCE.
Middle Bronze Age: ca. 2000 to 1600 BCE (approximate dates shown)
Late Bronze Age: ca. 1600 to 1200 BCE (approximate dates shown)
Iron Age texts predating Classical Antiquity: 12th to 8th centuries BCE
8th century BCE
7th century BCE
6th century BCE
5th century BCE
4th century BCE
3rd century BCE
2nd century BCE
1st century BCE
Manche Märchen ordnet [August] Nitschke den Jägern und Hirten der letzten Eiszeit zu, andere den Bauern und Fischern im Mesolithikum, wieder andere den Seefahrern der Meglithgesellschaft oder den Helden der Indogermanen. [August Nitschke assigns many fairy-tales to the hunters and herders of the last Ice Age, other ones to the farmers and fisherfolk of the Mesolithic, and still other ones to the seafarers of the megalith cultures or to the heroes of the Indo-European peoples.]
The earliest written literature dates from about 2600 BC, when the Sumerians started to write down their long epic poems.
The Sumerian code of Urukagina was written around 2400 BC.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Sumer about 2200 BCE.
The Poor Man of Nippur dates from about 1500 BC.
For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another (as the Greeks have) but only 22 books, which are justly believed to be divine; and of them, five belong to Moses, which contain his laws, and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death.