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Ama-gi is a Sumerian cuneiform inscription believed to be the first instance of the concept of freedom. Its earliest attested usage is in the reforms of the 24th century BCE king Uru-ka-gina. Its literal meaning is "return to mother". Although noted Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer wrote in 1963 that "we still do not know why this figure of speech came to be used for 'freedom'", since ama-gi was used to refer to manumission, i.e., the freeing of slaves, and similar concepts such as exemption from debts or obligations, it is logically consistent that a freed individual would "return to home or mother".

The ama-gi symbol is used as a logo by the Liberty Fund and was the title of the London School of Economics Hayek Society journal.


Bill St. Clair - Amagi
178x50 PNG, black on white - Cuneiform
405x146 GIF, black on white
Liberty Fund - Logo Tablet
365x475 JPEG, black on white, of Sumerian cuneiform tablet, with inset showing the symbol

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Editorial, by Hector Birchwood, ama-gi, 1996
Volume 1, Issue 1 of the LSE Hayek Society journal
The name of the Hayek Society's journal, AMA-GI, comes from a cuneiform inscription ... found in the ancient Sumerian city-state of Lagash, to symbolise 'freedom' (ama-gi). The clay tablet on which it was found dates back to 2300 BC and it is the earliest example of the concept of liberty being expressed in a written language.
Freedom vs. Liberty, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 10 Jul 2001
Delves into the etymology and semantics of the English words "freedom" and "liberty"
I begin on the ground of etymology: "Liberty" derives from Latin libertas, from liber, "free." ... Turning to our Germanic (Old English) words, "free" and "freedom," we find their source in Indo-European *priyos, meaning "dear" or "one's own." ... It is said that Chinese has no word, as such, for freedom. That would be interesting, if true, but I am more than ready to be set right on this point, if not. Ancient Sumerian had ama-gi, the cuneiform script for which you will find all over the endpapers of any book published by Liberty Fund.
Related Topics: Liberty, Society, J. R. R. Tolkien
Urukagina Bio: The Online Library of Liberty
In this important code is found the first written reference to the concept of liberty (amagi or amargi, literally, 'return to the mother'), used in reference to the process of reform. ... the idea that the reforms were to be a return to the original social order decreed by the gods fits well with the translation.


Anthem for the Ama-Gi, by Jim Davidson, 2000
We are the tribe of freedom you see.
In cuneiform writing they say 'Ama-Gi'
The most ancient way of writing we're free,
In wedges of clay before 2000 BC.

For four thousand years now people have known
That freedom is greatest when each is left alone.
No central planners, no central plan
Can make as much difference as one single man