The world’s first writer was a woman and this new exhibit at The Morgan celebrates her

Photograph: Disk of Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon Mesopotamia, Akkadian, Ur (modern Tell el – Muqayyar), gipar Akkadian period, ca. 2300 BC . Courtesy of the Penn Museum. Pop quiz: Who's the world's author? “If you ask most people who the first known author is, you will always get a man and usually it will be Homer,” Sidney Babcock, a curator at The Morgan Library & Museum said today. “People are astonished to learn that it is a who lived in the third millennium BC.” A new exhibit at The Morgan pays tribute to that trailblazing author, a woman named Enheduanna, a high priestess and poet, the world's first author known by name, who wielded considerable religious and political power. The exhibition, called “ She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia, ca. 3400–2000 B.C. ” is on view at the museum in Manhattan's Murray Hill starting tomorrow, October 14. Ancient sculptures, reliefs and cuneiform tablets bring to life women's experiences in religious, social, economic, and political spheres—and much of it rings familiar today. For example, Enheduanna wrote about her own emotions, confessed her own human limitations and expressed awareness of her own humanity. She also wrote about being sexually harassed. In these works, Enheduanna was also the first writer to express her thoughts in a first-person autobiographical narrative. Enheduanna (ca. 2300 BC) lived in southern Mesopotamia, located in present-day Iraq. She was the daughter of the Akkadian king Sargon, and she was appointed to the temple […]

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