Writing had been developed around 3000 BC, by imprinting script on damp clay hardened into tablets small enough to fit in one’s pocket (known as cuneiform script). It made record keeping, letter writing, and literature possible. The beginnings of modern astronomy and mathematics too had been undertaken in Sumeria and Babylon. The priests and priestesses observed the moon and movements of stars regularly from observatories.
|A Cuneiform Tablet with script|
Sargon of Akkad was king of Sumeria and Babylon (Sargonian Dynasty, c.2340-2284 BC). He had built the world’s first empire, sending his troops as far as Egypt and Ethiopia. He was known to be a fair king, respectful of other traditions, and supportive of art, culture, and science.
King Sargon had a daughter named Enheduanna (c.2285-2250 BC). The Princess came by her name when the king made her En-priestess of the moon goddess. “En” was a prestigious title of leadership for ‘high priest’. She managed the great temple complex in Ur, its trade activities, and the agriculture surrounding the temple.
The alabaster disk. Enheduanna is 3rd from right.
Dressed as En-priestess of Ur.
The temple was also an important knowledge center. As the temple's Chief Astronomer Priestess, Enheduanna joined a long line of female astronomers who had tracked the stars and cycles of the moon. Because she was also a prolific poet/writer, she became the first of these women known by name.
Her poems later discovered on cuneiform tablets also became the first written form of a religious belief system discovered. She has been called the “Shakespeare of ancient Sumerian Literature.” Five hundred years later after her death Enheduanna’s poems were still being read.
One of her poems:
“The true woman who possesses exceeding wisdom,
She consults a tablet of lapis lazuli
She gives advice to all lands...
She measures off the heavens,
She places the measuring-cords on the earth.”
http://www.ancient.eu/Enheduanna/ Bernardi, Gabriella, 2016. The Unforgotten Sisters: Female Astronomers and Scientists before Caroline Herschel. Springer