With this top-20 one could read 50% of the signs in the Codex Hammurabi (whereas 40 signs would be good for 75% of the text, the remaining 25% is scattered over a large number of less frequently used signs). The total number of cuneiform signs is of order 600. The frequency of the use of the signs depends very much on the epoch and type of the text.

The sign list contains at least three items:
--a number from Borger's book; Babylonisch-assyrische Zeichenliste'
--the cuneiform sign in New Assyrian orthography
--the name of the sign or one of its values.

Top-20 sign list

signs sorted by decreasing frequency of occurence in the Codex Hamurabi


70 NA


579 A


353 shA (Sha)



354 shU


343 GAL


461 KI


61 mu MU



342 ma MA



214 BI






143 KM



142 I
Sumerian i means `five', the sign shows 5 strokes.


399 IM





449 shI



69 BAD



86 RI



232 IR


328 RA



381 UD, U4
logogram: U4 = UD = ummu `day'
logogram: UTU = shamash the sungod, written with the determinative for deities as: logogram: BABBAR = peSu `white' examples in New Assyrian orthography: It developed (before rotation over 90 degrees) from a pictogram and showing sunset, hence the meaning `day', `white', `radiant'.


94 DIM


231 NI