? asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 9 years ago

Does anyone know the source of the Assyrian clay tablet from 2800BC that states "Our earth?

"Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common."

I can't seem to find where it was found or by whom. Even a picture of it or list of scholars that translated it would help. I have searched and all I ever find is that it is a quote of Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979).

There are also several different versions of it. Some mention "kids not obeying there parents". Some list "every man wants to write a book". Which is what I am doing and I want to quote the original and not Asimov's

Anything would help. Maybe the museum that currently has it would help if anyone knows which one has it.


@Liam Your first link was to a page that listed this quote in 2 books. The first was "Encyclopedia of Wit, Humor and Wisdom" and the second "Personality and Adjustment" but these books were published in 1949 and 1953. Your second link is to a collection of clay tablets in the Ashurbanipal Library Project, which are from the Assyrian king Ashurbamipal (668-627 BC)

1. The tablet does not come up listed in that collection

2. The quotes all said it was from a 2800BC tablet not 668-627BC

3. This project was started in 2001 and the publications on the collection have been after that date so how are people quoting it from the 40's, 50's, and Asimov in 79?

4. The books at your first link are just supposed to be for entertainment I think and are listed under humor.

Anyone have any better idea of where these came from? I would love to know where Asimov got this quote since it doesn't seem to exist anywhere else. He is a respected writer after all so I don't think he would just quote anything

Update 2:

@JimL Thanks Jim I think you hit the nail on the head. I love the way most of what people run around quoting and believing these days tend to be nothing more then made up stories lol. I hope the ancients had more integrity then that. You have helped a lot with my research THANKS!

4 Answers

  • Jim L
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, it is not a proverb. A proverb is an expression of a permanent truth about the human condition, eg 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.' This statement is specifically about 'these latter days'.

    If it is Assyrian,it is not from 2800 BC, as Assyria did not exist at that time. From 2800 BC it would have been Early dynastic Sumerian, a different language. There is nothing in Assyrian, or even Akkadian, from that peried, so don't let them bs u.

    And btw, 'There are no known Mesopotamian tales about the end of the world' - Wiki. This seems to show that "there are signs that the world is speedily coming to the end" isn't an idea that would occur easily to a Mesopotamian. I agree that this tablet, at least in its quoted form, has an urban myth smell about it.

    The young man's sources indicate 1) that there is research on translating the tablets in Ashurbanipal's library - certainly not contested by me - it's long overdue. Ashurbanipal by the way reigned from 669 BC to (there is some disagreement about this - see the interesting article by Joan Oates in the learned journal Iraq - she gives a precise reference in her popular book Babylon) 631-627 BC;

    and 2) the quotation from Bartleby designates the tablet as being from Babylon. Babylon first came to prominence under the first dynasty, more or less contemporary with the rise of Assyria in the early second millennium BC.

    No matter how Liam expatiates, there aren't any Assyrian tablets from 2800 BC. There no doubt was a proto-Assyrian language around then, but that's not the point at issue. The Assyrian state only began to form about 1900 BC. You can't build up an 'Assyrian tablet' from a few loan-words in Sumerian. A few loan-words in French in English, for example, aren't 'something in French'. 'Something in French' would for me mean at least a quotation.

    But apart from the date just to make sure a tablet actually exists in the form quoted, I'll email my friend the Assyriologist Dr MacGinnis of Cambridge University about it. And I'll quote the tablet reference Liam gives.

    Oh - UPDATE - in the interim I found this:

    '>I am suspicious, if for nothing else than because its allways presented

    >as 'assyrian tablet from 2,800 bc'. If it were a real thing, then

    >people'd undoubtedly get the information wrong sometimes, yet its

    >consistently reported as such. Also, i suppose 2800 bc is far to old to

    >be assyrian.

    Exactly -- a quick 10 second google shows that Assyria hadn't even existed at

    that time, and hadn't for another 800 years.

    Ok, then if it isn't assyrian, then whose it is?

    Sometimes it comes up as "egyptian" and that this saying begins the oldest

    book in human history, Prisse Papyrus:


    Too bad that's a lie too. Prisse Papyrus has nothing about anyone wanting to

    write a book or about world coming to an end.

    Okay then, who exactly made it up and when?

    After a few days of study i found out that that the earliest mention of this

    saying is from the book "Nineteen century evolution and after" by Marshall

    Dawson of Connecticut University, here is the link to the exact page where he

    mentions it:



    Most definitely this is the person who made it up and it started it all with

    this pseudo-ancient saying.

    So this should be dated 1924 not 2800 BC'

    Another UPDATE - I've also found it quoted from 1922, where they say it's from a tablet in Constantinople - somewhere conveniently remote in 1922.

    But the earliest cite I have

    >>found so far is in 1922:


    >>Cite: 1922, Report of the State Librarian to The Governor, State of

    >>Connecticut: Public Document No. 13, "Librarian's Report, 1920-22",

    >>Page 93, "Report Submitted November 18, 1922 by State Librarian George

    >>S. Godard", Published by the State of Connecticut, Hartford,

    >>Connecticut. (Google Books full view)




    >>A tablet (Assyrian) 2800 B.C. says:

    >>Â "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; there are signs that

    >>the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are

    >>common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to

    >>write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching."

    >>Â Tablet preserved in Constantinople.


    So I'm not going to bother Dr MacGinnis with this bunch of bs, but you can if you want. Look him up and you can find his email address. He is a very approachable man and anxious to communicate his enthusiasm about Assyriology.

    So to sum up:

    1. It is not as described. Assyrian tablet 2800BC is a nonsense.

    2. Internal evidence: not a mesopotamian mindset.

    3. External evidence: no certain attribution.

    Conclusion: it's a bunch of pseudo-ancient bs.

    Source(s): Also lifelong interest in assyriology, and know how the language and writing systems work.
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  • 4 years ago

    No, While a Few states Did secede over Slavery, Most Seceded over (At-the-time)unlawful Federal Taxes(such because the Cotton Tax), as a result Violating the tenth Amendment Slavery was once an Issue for the period of the War, however it was once a Small one, Most humans within the South did not even possess Slaves, so much humans who did have been the Wealthy, and as Such so much humans had no Reason to visit conflict over Slavery, on the grounds that they did not even possess any. the South went to conflict over a Northern Union that had Violated the Constitution, Such because the tenth Amendment ---------------------------------- Edit:The Following is simply to Further Explain the Point I was once Trying to make! Do you suppose President Abraham Lincoln Was A Tyrant/Northern Extremist? Personally I suppose he was once a Northern Extremist on the grounds that he Forced the Southern States to Pay(on the time) unlawful Federal Taxes. Specifically The worst of those Taxes was once the Cotton Tax, The Cotton Industry(on the time) was once the South's handiest Major Industry that the Northern States did not have, And I order to aid their Industry powerful and rapid developing the Southern States had positioned little or no Taxes at the Trade, The North However Violated the Constitution by way of Initiating a Federal Cotton Tax at the Cotton Industry with none of the State's Permission, This Normally shouldn't have been a huge deal, besides for the truth that this Tax was once three instances bigger then the Income Tax(of the time), It Nearly Crippled the Cotton Industry as a Result, What made it worse was once all the Farmers within the South who many have been already slightly making it by way of as is, have been out of the blue confronted with huge Losses and an Inability to Maintain their Livelihoods. He even Temporarily Suspended Rights to Habeas Corpus. He had humans who adversarial him Arrested, and Thrown in Jail, with out Trial and even telling them what they'd been charged with! And I recognise People will convey up matters like Fort Sumpter to check out and make it sound just like the Confederates have been the Aggressors, whilst In Reality at that Time the southern states had already Seceded from the Union, which supposed that the Fort was once then in Confederate Territory, Which from the Confederate Perspective the Fort was once being occupied by way of Foreign Troops in Confederate Territory. This could be like if the United States had a Base in Canada with out the Canadians Permission, If we did that the Canadians could have the Authority to drive us to depart, and the equal is going for Fort Sumpter!

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  • 6 years ago

    “Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs

    that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and

    corruption are common; children no longer obey their

    parents; every man wants to write a book and the

    end of the world is evidently approaching.”

    ~The Assyrian Tablet

    Babylonian exorcist and priest Sîn-lēqi-unninni

    2800 BC

    IF you believe it though it seems it's NOT an Assyrian writing and was NOT written in 2800BC either... false fabrication?

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  • 9 years ago



    It is an Assyrian proverb. I believe the tablet (CDLVI) is currently under possession of the British Museum, as it was found as part of the Library of Ashurbanipal, which according to the British Museum Library of Ashurbanipal Project, holds as many as 30,000 tablets.


    A note of correction: The ancient Assyrian Kingdom did not exist, the Assyro-Babylonian language did under the Akkadian Empire and earlier, and their is evidence for its possible existence during the Jemdet Nasr period. It definitely existed under the early dynasties and under the dynasty of Lagash. This can be found in the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL), put together by the Institute for Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, All Souls College, OKTA, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the British Academy. You may also wish to see the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania Projects and Electronic text libraries.


    To respond to the further edit claiming that the language did not exist. Early assyro-Babylonian did exist during this period of time, and during the discovery of the tablets there was no distinction between assyro-Babyloanin and Assyrian, nor of the neo-Assyro-Babylonian. [see BRITAC archives and The Semitic languages - Netzron]. This is also reflected in the fact that there is well documented evidence in the British Museum that the natives at that period in time referred to their tongue language as "assurayu" (Assyrian), despite the split in language by later studies based upon slight changes and places within the Tigris Valley or Iraq. [See Akkadisches Handwörterbuch]. In fact, assyro-Babylonian can be found dating back to 3500 BC with its use of loanwords in Old Sumerian (a sprachbund). There is also Sumerian cuneiform dating back to this period that consistently uses Assyro-Babylonian numbers, pronouns, and the such.

    You may also wish to read (to the asker as well as those whom challenged my information) "Archive und Bibliotheken in Babylon" "Wirtschaft Und Gesellschaft", and "Language, Literature and Writing at Ebla" of which details the loanwords as well as the discovery of 20,000 cuneiform tablets and various steles at Ebla. Those attempting to refute my information do not provide sources, references, or notes on it, thus invalidating the argument and validating myself. Hopefully the sources I supply by some of the worlds leading assyriologists and experts in the field of study will dispel the erroneous conflicting non-validated information and uncorroborated statement provided by the other user - of which I have (not including the initial link) included ten separate routes of enquiry that substantiate and certify the information provided.

    Source(s): Ancient Near East history hobbyist.
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