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Elamite (ēˈləmītˌ), extinct language of uncertain relationship that was once spoken in the ancient kingdom of Elam, located in SW Asia. It appears to be unrelated to any other languages, although some scholars see a kinship between Elamite and Brahui, one of the modern Dravidian languages. Elamite is an agglutinative language in that different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are often joined to form one word. A number of stone inscriptions and clay tablets that have Elamite texts written in cuneiform survive. These texts cover a period of about 2,000 years that began at the end of the third millennium B.C.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the people who inhabited the ancient state of Elam. The linguistic affinity of Elamite has not yet been established, although the most promising line of research would appear to lie in the study of Elamite-Dravidian relationships.

The earliest Elamite texts were written in the Old Elamite period (30th-22nd centuries B.C.) in “proto-Elamite,” which was markedly pictographic; this writing system has not yet been deciphered (seePICTOGRAPHIC WRITING). Toward the end of the period, Elamite adopted the Accadian cuneiform writing. An inscription on the Naram-Sin stele (23rd century B.C.) is the only text that has been preserved from the Old Elamite period.

Texts from the Middle Elamite period (14th–12th centuries B.C), including several bilingual Accadian-Elamite texts, are also known. Texts of the eighth century B.C., unlike those of the preceding periods, are extremely diverse in genre.

Elamite, an agglutinative language, was an official language of the Achaemenid Empire, and the most extensive Elamite texts date from this period. The language of the Achaemenid inscriptions was strongly influenced, however, by Old Persian, which is reflected in such areas as lexicon, syntax, and style and in the presence of numerous caiques.


D’iakonov, I.M. Iazyki drevnei Pererdnei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Reiner, E. “The Elamite Language.” In Handbuch der Orientalistik: Altkleinasiatische Sprachen. Leiden-Cologne, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Elamites gained entry into Cyrus's inner circle at some point, and probably had some influence on him from the beginning, as the Kingdom of Anshan under Cyrus and his father's rule was an ethnically mixed Elam-Persian entity where practically all of the literate men were Elamite or trained by Elamite teachers.
The successors of Ahmenes eliminated the authority of Elamites establishing their residence at Anshan and Parse (present province of Shiraz), accepting the suzerainty of King Astyages.
According to Rashidi, when the Assyrians took over the capital Susa in 639 BC, they attempted to destroy it completely by "the looting and razing of temples, the destruction of sacred groves, the desecration of royal tombs, the seizure of Elamite gods, the removal of royal memorials and the deportation of people, livestock and even rubble from the devastated city".
Elamite dynasties, the Old Hittite Kingdom, the Levant in the Middle Bronze Age, and the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt must now be fitted into this new scheme.
Other peoples such as the Elamites or the Semites had a huge influence on the development of these cultures.
Ur III kings also gained priestly sanction for their rule by piously carrying out religious ceremonies and building lavish temples for the priests.(68) These patriotic appeals, combined with improved social technology, seem to have worked: Ur III kings apparently faced few revolts in the Sumerian heartland, though the culturally distinctive Elamites were much less submissive.(69) Later Kassite kings followed the same formula of religious ceremony, temple-building projects, and deference to tradition with even more success: they controlled Babylonia for some three centuries, apparently with few attempts at revolt.(70)
The most powerful of Assyria's rulers, he either subjugated or dominated the Manna, the Elamites, and the Cilicians.
When even top Elamites engage in draft dodging what hope is there for the country?
A further piece from Room 2 may be that photographed in 1981 by John Russell, depicting the defeat of Elamites in the marshes (Fig.
Parthians, Medes, Elamites and the residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the part of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power.
I say a bit scary because they were no way as intimidating and aggressive as the grown-up Elamites.
290: Note that between the first attack of the Elamites on Babylonia in 145 BC under Kamnaskires I and the second in December 141 BC a change of regime had taken place in Babylonia, in April-July 141 BC (Van der Spek 1997/8: 171).