Bilingual Sumerian Proverbs, Babylonia c. 2000-1700 BC
Written in Neo Sumerian and Old Babylonian cuneiform on clay, containing 42 proverbs, a folk tale and a fable. This is the only known major bilingual proverb tablet of Old Babylonian origin.
Some of the proverbs say:
-Strength does not compare to the possession of intelligence.
- My strength is my god, but it is finished by myself.
- A swift one caught a gazelle, but a strong man carried it away.
- The small pig roots, “I will not eat it for pleasure” he said.
The folk tale is about a man getting increasingly old, his declining physical abilities, and the effect of a young girl on him. It is the oldest known example of a theme well attested in later world literature. The best known examples are 1 Kings 1:1 ff. and 2:17 ff., Eccl. 12: 1-7, and the Merchant’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.