Sumerian literature is the oldest literature in the world. The Sumerians invented the first writing system, beginning with cuneiform logograms, which evolved into a syllabary writing system. The Sumerian language remained in official and literary use in the Akkadian and Babylonian empires, even after the spoken language disappeared from the population; literacy was widespread, and the Sumerian texts that students copied heavily influence later Babylonian literature.
Sumerian literature has not been handed down to us directly, rather it has been rediscovered through archaeology. Nevertheless, the Akkadians and Babylonians borrowed much from the Sumerian literary heritage, and spread these traditions throughout the middle east, influencing much of the literature that followed in this region, including the Bible.