>> If you've ever wanted to vow revenge for your stolen goat in ancient Babylonian, this is how to do it.>> This is the first film ever made in the dead language, out of use for 2,000 years. It was made by archeology students at the University of Cambridge.
And it tells the tale of The Poor Man of Nippur from ancient Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq. He's cheated out of his only possession, yes, it's a goat, by the local mayor, and vows revenge three times over. We asked scholar Martin Worthington, who directed his students in the film, why?
>> If you go to museums which have exhibitions or exhibitions about ancient Mesopotamia, it's usually visually stunning, but quite static. All these winged bulls sitting in these palace halls, all these clay tablets immobile in their cases. You get the sense that Mesopotamia was something arcane, elevated, mysterious, and removed.
But it was also a perfectly normal world where people did their shopping using Babylonian or Assyrians' everyday languages. Until a film shows you people running around and interacting with each other.>> The folk tale was found on a clay tablet in Turkey, dating to 700 BC. No one knows exactly how Babylonian sounds, but they've got a pretty good idea.
>> So Babylonian is a member of the Semitic family. Which means it's related to Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopic, and others so-called Semitic languages. That's a big clue towards looking for the sorts of sounds we'd expect to find in it.>> The students premiered their film this week. And, yes, the mayor does get his comeuppance.
No goats were harmed in the making of the movie.