Recent Publications in Assyriology

A list of Recent Publications in Assyriology and related fields with key words and abstracts (as well as links to TOC's when available online) (this list is based primarily on new arrivals of books and journals in the Sackler Library at the University of Oxford, please send additions and corrections to Lynn-Salammbô Zimmermann).

Current List


Destruction and Preservation of Syrian Monuments

Title: Greenhalgh, M., Syria's Monuments: Their Survival and Destruction, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2017.

Keywords: Syria - civil war - monuments - destruction - neglect - re-use - earthquakes - resurrection - desertification - Lebanon - Jordan - Palestine - Late Antiquity - early 20th century - travellers’ reports - 17th-19th century

Abstract: Syria's Monuments: their Survival and Destruction examines the fate of the various monuments in Syria (including present-day Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine/Israel) from Late Antiquity to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. It examines travellers’ accounts, mainly from the 17th to 19th centuries, which describe religious buildings and housing in numbers and quality unknown elsewhere. The book charts the reasons why monuments lived or died, varying from earthquakes and desertification to neglect and re-use, and sets the political and social context for the Empire’s transformation toward a modern state, provoked by Western trade and example. An epilogue assesses the impact of the recent civil war on the state of the monuments, and strategies for their resurrection, with plentiful references and web links. (table of content)

Overview of Western Asians Civilisations 10th-1st Millenium BC

Title: Tsuneki, A., Yamada, Sh. and K. Hisada, Ancient West Asian civilization : geoenvironment and society in the pre-Islamic Middle East, Singapore: Springer, 2017.

Keywords: Clash of Civilizations - Europe - Asia - West Asia - 10th millenium BC - 1st millenium BC - West Asian Civilisations - Middle East - Eurocentric - agriculture - metallurgy - archaeology - philology - climate - geology - wheat cultivation - animal domestication - metallurgy - urbanisation - writing - religious traditions - cultural heritage - common background

Abstract: This book explores aspects of the ancient civilization in West Asia, which has had a great impact on modern human society—agriculture, metallurgy, cities, writing, regional states, and monotheism, all of which appeared first in West Asia during the tenth to first millennia BC.The editors specifically use the term "West Asia" since the "Middle East" is seen as an Eurocentric term. By using this term, the book hopes to mitigate potential bias (i.e. historical and Western) by using a pure geographical term. However, the "West Asia" region is identical to that of the narrower "Middle East," which encompasses modern Iran and Turkey from east to west and Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula from north to south.This volume assembles research from different disciplines, such as the natural sciences, archaeology and philology/linguistics, in order to tackle the question of which circumstances and processes these significant cultural phenomena occurred in West Asia. Scrutinizing subjects such as the relations between climate, geology and human activities, the origins of wheat cultivation and animal domestication, the development of metallurgy, the birth of urbanization and writing, ancient religious traditions, as well as the treatment of cultural heritage, the book undertakes a comprehensive analysis of West Asian Civilization that provided the common background to cultures in various areas of the globe, including Europe and Asia.These contributions will attempt to demonstrate a fresh vision which emphasizes the common cultural origin between Europe and West Asia, standing in opposition to the global antagonism symbolized by the theory of "Clash of Civilizations."(table of content on the Springer website)

The Persians

Title: Parker, G. and B. Parker, The Persians: lost civilizations, London: Reaktion Books, 2017.

Keywords: Aryans - migration - nomads - Persians - Iranians - Achaemenid empire - war - urbanisation - roads - irrigation - technology

Abstract: During the first and second millennia BC large numbers of nomadic people known as the Aryans migrated outwards into the Eurasian periphery from Central Asia. One particular branch of these Aryans moved south of the Caspian Sea and became known to history as the Persians or Iranians. Their first dwellings were in an unpromisingly arid area, but from there these early settlers would go on to form one of the most powerful empires in history. The Persians tells the captivating story of this beguiling ancient civilization. Drawing on the region’s subsequent history, it traces the unique features of Persian life and unravels their influence throughout the centuries. The book describes the difficulties early Persians encountered and how these contributed to their unique character and the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire. It recounts the keenly fought conflicts with the Greeks for mastery of the Eastern Mediterranean, a contest which was to dominate the geopolitics of the ancient world, and it paints a vivid picture of the many great Persian cities and their spectacular achievements: an efficient road system that linked an empire together; respect for their subject peoples; and advances in irrigation techniques which created a ‘paradise’ envied by their neighbours. Providing an entertaining insight into the influence, traditions and history of ancient Persia, the book shows how the uniqueness of modern Iran in the Islamic world owes much to its ancient civilization.


Seals from Seleucid Babylonia

Title: Wallenfeld, R., Hellenistic seal impressions in the Yale Babylonian collection: ring-bullae and other clay sealings, Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2016.

Keywords: Seleucid Babylonia - Hellenistic seals - Hellenistic period - seals - sealing practices - motifs - glyptic - iconography - ring-bullae - Mesopotamia - clay sealings - photographies - drawings

Abstract: Catalogue of the Babylonian Collections at Yale, col. 5. Drawings, photographs and analysis of hundreds of clay sealings from the Hellenistic period from Seleucid Babylonian. Includes a discussion of archival and sealing practices as well as motifs of the sealings on ring-bullae and other media.

Greek influence on Persepolis

Title: Stierlin, H., Persépolis : chef-d'œuvre des Grecs en Iran, Paris: Éditions Picard, 2016.

Keywords: Persepolis - Persian empire - Ionia - Ionian satrapy - deportation - architecture - Greek sculpture - statues - maps - plans - illustrations - Darius I - throne room - Apadana - tribute bearers - Gate of All Nations - comparison - Athenian culture - Acropolis of Athens - Panathenaic Games - Athenian democracy - Persian authoritarianism - photography - restorations

Abstract: Historien de l’art et des civilisations, Henri Stierlin scrute depuis de longues années les arts de la Grèce et de la Perse. Fasciné par Persépolis, il a confronté les vestiges des monuments grecs d’Ionie, datant du VIe siècle avant notre ère, aux ruines des palais perses bâtis vingt ans plus tard dans l’Empire perse. L’Ionie s’étendait à l’ouest de l’Asie mineure, entre Phocée et Milet. Contrairement aux idées reçues, Henri Stierlin soutient qu’une intense coopération s’était établie entre les Grecs d’Ionie et les Perses, après les invasions de ces derniers en Grèce et la déportation des populations grecques en Perse. Son œil de photographe et d’esthète lui permet d’affirmer que le palais royal de Persépolis construit par Darius Ier, l’apadana ou salle du trône et sa célèbre frise des Tributaires, furent construits et décorés par des architectes et des sculpteurs grecs. Il démontre, photographies et textes à l’appui, l’utilisation de techniques grecques sur le site le plus célèbre d’Iran. L’ouvrage met ainsi à l’honneur et l’architecture et la sculpture de Persépolis, à travers une théorie stimulante sur les relations entre Grecs et Perses. Henri Stierlin offre ainsi une lecture nouvelle de la célèbre frise des Panathénées qui ornait le Parthénon sur l’acropole d’Athènes. Elle apparaît comme une réponse de la démocratie athénienne à l’autoritarisme persan. À la multitude ordonnée des représentants de toutes les nations de l’Empire apportant leur tribut, elle oppose la cavalcade joyeuse des citoyens d’Athènes. Cet ouvrage est servi par une magnifique iconographie, en partie tirée des clichés et archives de l’auteur et pour partie réalisée par le photographe Adrien Buchet. La préface est signée de Manolis Korres, l’architecte qui a mené les restaurations du Parthénon à Athènes.

Overview of Mesopotamian history on the basis of the collection in the Louvre

Title: Thomas, A., La Mésopotamie au Louvre: De Sumer à Babylone, Paris : Somogy Editions, 2016.

Keywords: Louvre - Louvre collection - overview - Mesopotamian history - pottery - irrigation - statues - seals - development of script - urbanisation - kingdoms - cities

Abstract: Dans une vision passionnante et dynamique, cet ouvrage raconte l'histoire plurimillénaire de la Mésopotamie, berceau des premières villes et de l'écriture, par laquelle on connaît les plus anciens rois et empires de l'histoire, ainsi que leurs premières lois. Son auteur, Ariane Thomas, conservatrice chargée des collections mésopotamiennes du Louvre et docteur en archéologie, s'attache à dévoiler toutes les facettes d'une fabuleuse civilisation aujourd'hui disparue mais qui conserve à juste titre une place privilégiée dans notre imaginaire collectif. Dans ce pays « entre les deux fleuves » Tigre et Euphrate apparaissent les premiers témoignages d'inventions aussi fondamentales que l'irrigation, la charrue, la céramique ou le tour de potier et bien des avancées en mathématiques ou en astronomie - dont nous avons notamment hérité le découpage du temps. Une illustration très riche permet ainsi de découvrir au fil des pages comment vivaient les Mésopotamiens, d'Uruk à Babylone, en passant par Ur, Assur ou Ninive. Leurs villes colossales construites en argile et leurs décors témoignent de la grandeur de l'ancienne Mésopotamie, tout comme leurs splendides statues, vases, bijoux et sceaux. Quant aux innombrables textes mésopotamiens, ils nous parlent directement de la société et de ses croyances. Ce livre d'art autant que d'histoire est également l'occasion de s'émerveiller devant les exceptionnelles collections du Louvre qui abritent ces chefs-d'œuvre universels que sont le Code de Hammurabi, la Stèle des vautours ou les vestiges monumentaux du palais de Khorsabad.

Migration and Refugees

Title: Sánchez, V. M., Migraciones, refugiados y amnistía en el derecho internacional del Antiguo Oriente Medio, II milenio A.C., Madrid: Tecnos, 2016.

Keywords: 2nd millenium BC - refugees - immigrants - bilateral contracts - contracts between kingdoms - letters - annals - contracts with the Hittite kingdom - Egypt

Abstract: Este estudio sobre refugiados, emigrantes y amnistía en el derecho internacional del II milenio a. C. combina técnicas de derecho internacional, historia de las ideas e historiografía para investigar con rigor los primeros desarrollos del derecho que regula las relaciones entre estados soberanos territoriales en estos ámbitos. El libro examina las fuentes originales -tratados hititas, cartas diplomáticas, anales, plegarias y otros textos religiosos, etc..- y los desarrollos doctrinales en esta materia procedentes en lo esencial de estudios arqueológicos, paleográficos humanísticos y bíblicos, así las escasas publicaciones de historia del derecho internacional público o de las relaciones internacionales de este período remoto. El autor ofrece, de un lado, los principios generales y las normas particulares contenidas en los primeros regímenes bilaterales que regulaban internacionalmente los fenómenos migratorios y de refugiados, en lo esencial, los tratados bilaterales cerrados por el Reino Hitita con los Estados y semi-Estados del Antiguo Oriente Medio (circa 1700 a 1200 a. C.) que cubre un espacio geográfico perteneciente a tres continentes, el europeo, asiático y africano. Y de otro, la conexión de la cuestión de los refugiados políticos con la primera amnistía internacional de la Historia contenida en uno de esos tratados internacionales, el famoso Tratado de Qadesh (1259 a. C.) entre Hattusil III Rey Hitita, y Ramsés II, Faraón de Egipto del que se han conservado sus dos versiones, la depositada en los archivos del Reino Hitita y la propia de Egipto. Esta monografía identifica además otras pautas más generales del Derecho internacional y de las Relaciones internacionales de aquella época y provee así un recuento histórico-normativo fascinante al mismo tiempo para investigadores, estudiantes y académicos del Derecho, la Historia y las Humanidades. (table of content)

Transfer of Mesopotamian culture into the 1st millenium CE

Title: Svärd, S., Cross-cultural studies in Near Eastern history and literature, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2016.

Keywords: disability - intercultural transfer - Assyria - royal food - sweetening agents - condiments - 1st millenium CE - translation - transmission - Ancient North Arabia - Early Islam - Arabic Graffiti - Early Arabic Poetry - Šumma ālu ina mēlê šakin - coloured animals - Antiochos the Great - Robe of Nebuchadnezzar - Orientalism - Hellenocentrism - Arrian - Xerxes - statues - Harmodios - Aristogeiton

Abstract: Die Beiträge zu diesem Band gehen zurück auf Zusammenkünfte des Projekts “Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East” (IHANE) an der Universität von Helsinki in den Jahren 2010–2015. Ziel von IHANE war und ist die Untersuchung kultureller, linguistischer und literarischer Bezüge zwischen dem Nahen Osten und dem Westen und der Interaktion zwischen dem Nahen Osten und dem Antiken Griechenland im Besonderen. Zahlreiche Workshops und Konferenzen sind organisiert worden. Die Beiträge bringen die engen Disziplinen Assyriologie, Ägyptologie, Alte Geschichte, Altarabistik und Islam-Studien zusammen. (table of content)

The Reception of Babylon in Western Culture

Title: Scheil, A., Babylon under western eyes : a study of allusion and myth, Toronto ; Buffalo ; London: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Keywords: Babylon - Bible - metaphor - political metaphor - classical reception - medieval reception - medieval Christianity - modern reception - adaption - apocalyptic fiction - influence of biblical paradigms

Abstract: Babylon under Western Eyes examines the mythic legacy of ancient Babylon, the Near Eastern city which has served western culture as a metaphor for power, luxury, and exotic magnificence for more than two thousand years. Sifting through the many references to Babylon in biblical, classical, medieval, and modern texts, Andrew Scheil uses Babylon’s remarkable literary ubiquity as the foundation for a thorough analysis of the dynamics of adaptation and allusion in western literature. Touching on everything from Old English poetry to the contemporary apocalyptic fiction of the “Left Behind” series, Scheil outlines how medieval Christian society and its cultural successors have adopted Babylon as a political metaphor, a degenerate archetype, and a place associated with the sublime. Combining remarkable erudition with a clear and accessible style, Babylon under Western Eyes is the first comprehensive examination of Babylon’s significance within the pantheon of western literature and a testimonial to the continuing influence of biblical, classical, and medieval paradigms in modern culture. (table of content)

Social Theory and Near Eastern Archaeology

Title: Milevski, I. and T. E. Levy, Framing archaeology in the Near East : the application of social theory to fieldwork, Sheffield, UK ; Bristol, CT : Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2016.

Keywords: archaeology - social theory - fieldwork - Middle Eastern archaeology - archaeological interpretation - anthropology - positivism - hisotical paradigms - ‘processual’ archaeology - Marxist archaeology - ‘post-processual’ archaeology - evolutionist archaeology - cognitive achaeology - symbolic archaeology - cyber-archaeology

Abstract: This volume presents a series of studies by scholars working in Middle Eastern archaeology who actively apply social theory to interpret their fieldwork. It aims to highlight the value of using social theory in the interpretation of field work in a region where, traditionally, such approaches have not played a major role. There are a number of factors that account for why social theory is often under-exploited by archaeologists in this part of the world. In many countries, where large numbers of the foreign archaeologists are involved, a division between those doing fieldwork and those undertaking archaeological interpretation can easily arise. Or, the lack of interest in social theory may stem from a legacy of positivism that overrides other approaches. There is also the fact that archaeology and anthropology often belong to separate academic departments and are considered two separate disciplines disconnected from each other. In some cases the centrality of historical paradigms has precluded the use of social theory. There are also divisions between universities and other research institutions, such as departments of antiquities, which is not conductive to interdisciplinary cooperation. This factor is especially debilitating in contexts of rapid destruction of sites and the exponential growth of salvage excavations and emergency surveys. The papers integrate a wide range of perspectives including ‘New’ or ‘Processual’ archaeology, Marxist, ‘Post-Processual’, evolutionist, cognitive, symbolic, and Cyber- archaeologies and touch on many topics including 3D representation, GIS, mapping and social theory, semiotics and linguistics, gender and bioarchaeology, social and technical identities, and modern historical modellingy and social practices in Middle Eastern archaeology. (table of content)

Hittite Miscellaneous Texts in Translation (Rituals, Letters etc.)

Title: Tischler, J., Hethitische Texte in Transkription KUB 56 und KUB 57, Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.

Keywords: Hittite texts - translations - dream reports - vows - rituals - descriptions of festivals - letters

Abstract: Der vorliegende Doppelband aus der Reihe Dresdner Beiträge zur Hethitologie präsentiert die Transkriptionen der Keilschriftenautografien Hethitische Gelübde und Traumtexte sowie Rituale und Festbeschreibungen von Horst Klengel (1986) und Hethitische Briefe und Texte verschiedenen Inhalts von Alfonso Archi (1987). Anlage und Zielsetzung des Bandes orientieren sich an denjenigen der zahlreichen Transkriptionsbände, die Detlev Groddek in den letzten Jahren in dieser Reihe veröffentlicht hat.(table of content)

Materiality of Cuneiform Tablets

Title: Balke, T. E. and C. Tsouparopoulou, Materiality of writing in early Mesopotamia, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

Keywords: script-bearing artefact - tablets - materiality - material presence - spatial contexts - function - receptions - literacy

Abstract: Die Relation zwischen schrifttragendem Artefakt und dessen materieller Natur sowie dem meist herrschaftsdiskursiven Inhalt der verschrifteten Texte hat bislang kaum im Fokus der altorientalischen Forschung gestanden. Der Band möchte hierzu rezente kulturwissenschaftliche Forschungsansätze zur Relevanz der Materialität und Präsenz des Geschriebenen unter Berücksichtigung sozial-ontologischer Gesichtspunkte vorstellen und dadurch den Forschungsraum des alten Vorderasiens vom 4. Jtsd. v. Chr. bis zum 2. Jtsd. v. Chr. in seiner ganzen materiellen Bandbreite präsentieren. Untersucht werden Artefakte wie Tontafeln, Weihplatten, Stelen, Schalen, Siegel, Kegel, Nägel, Statuen, Vasen, Perlen usw. Gefragt wird dabei nach dem besonderen Zusammenwirken von Text, Schriftmedium und Stofflichkeit innerhalb eines damit assoziierten Umfelds. Wie verändern etwa gewähltes Material und Verwendungszweck eines Artefakts dessen Rezeption und Wahrnehmung und welche möglichen Hinweise auf den Grad der Lesefähigkeit in der Bevölkerung lassen sich daraus entnehmen. (corrigenda) (table of content) (open access)


Title: Palmiro N. and G. Visicato, Early Dynastic and Early Sargonic administrative texts : mainly from the Umma Region in the Cornell University cuneiform collections (CUSAS 33), Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2016.

Keywords: Umma - Umma region - city-rulers of Umma - chief administrators - temple of Inanna - Zabalam - ED IIIb - Early Sargonic texts - sheep - livestock - hides - fodder - ghee cheese - lard - wool - garments - vegetables - fruit - flax - fish - timber - tools - weapons - fields - personnel - sale documents - legal texts - metals - barley - flour - bread - beer - school texts - Adab

Abstract: Photos, transliteration, translation, and commentary of economic cuneiform texts from mid-third millennium Umma.

Achaemenid cosmology

Title: Bashiri, I., Ancient Iran: cosmology, mythology, history, San Diego, CA : Cognella, 2016.

Keywords: Achaemenid empire - religion - myths - heros - saints - monarchs - rulership - hierarchy - Ahura-Mazda - cosmology - Ahuric order - Zoroaster - Egypt - Parthians - Sassanids

Abstract: Ancient Iran: Cosmology, Mythology, History presents Iran's pre-Islamic history within the context of both its complex cosmology and rich mythology. The book uses the concept of farr to show how authority, finding guidance in the cosmic realm, organized the lives of Iran's hero-saints in the mythic realm. It also discusses how historical monarchs organized their hierarchical societies according to the dictates of Ahura Mazda. The book is divided into three parts. The first part examines cosmology, concentrating on Ahura Mazda. and the Ahuric order that emanates from him. The next section addresses mythology and describes how the rulership of hero-saints promoted the farr, culminating in the unique creed of Zoroaster. The final section tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran. It begins with a study of life on the plateau, moves on to the stages of empire, and focuses on the interactions thus far neglected between the early Achaemenids and ancient Egypt. It concludes with the rule of the Parthians and Sassanids. Additionally, through a new interpretation of Firdowsi's Shahname, the volume shows how the prophet Zoroaster reorganized Mazdian cosmology to fit the ethical, philosophical, and sociological dynamics of Achaemenid and Sassanid Iran. The addition of a comprehensive account of the lives of the characters of the Shahname enhances the narrative. (table of content)

Neo-Assyrian borders in Iran

Title: Radner, K.; Kreppner, F. J. and A. Squitieri, Exploring the Neo-Assyrian frontier with western Iran : the 2015 season at Gird-i Bazar and Qalat-i Dinka, Gladbeck: PeWe-Verlag, 2016.

Keywords: 8th-7th century BC - Neo-Assyrian period - Neo-Assyrian kingdom - borders - settlements - Gird-i Bazar - Qalat-i Dinka - Lower Zab - elites - West Iran - pottery production

Abstract: Der erste Band der Reihe Peshdar Plain Project Publications legt die Ergebnisse der ersten Feldkampagne 2015 vor. Die Forschungen konzentrierten sich auf zwei Fundstätten, die in neuassyrischer Zeit Teil eines Siedlungskomplexes darstellen: das winzige Gird-i Bazar ist in der Ebene gelegen, während Qalat-i Dinka eindrucksvoll auf einem Felssporn über dem Unteren Zab liegt. An beiden Orten wurden geophysikalische Prospektionen vorgenommen, bevor in Gird-i Bazar mit der Ausgrabung begonnen wurde. Die einphasige Siedlung aus einfachen Einraumhäusern, die hier zutage tritt, bietet nicht nur die vergleichsweise seltene Gelegenheit, einen nicht der Elite gewidmeten Lebensraum neuassyrischer Zeitstellung zu erforschen, sondern wegen ihrer Grenzlage auch die hochwillkommene Chance, die Keramikkulturen Westirans (Hasanlu, Godin Tepe, Nush-i Jan und Baba Jan), mit der assyrischen Produktion des 8. und 7. Jahrhunderts zu synchronisieren. C14-Daten von Holzkohlefunden sichern die Datierung ab. (open access)

Persian Religious Policies

Title: Vikander Edelman, D., Religion in the Achaemenid Persian empire: emerging Judaisms and trends, Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck.

Keywords: dialectical tensions -religion - Persian empire - Yehud - Bible - monotheism - cults of Yehud - Persian period - Ethnicity - Southern Transjordan - Josiah - Jews - Judaism - incense burners - Assyrian religious policies - Persian religious policies – Achaemenid kingship - mythology - imperial religious policy – Achaemenid mutilation practices – double-shekel - Sidonian coinage - Persian Navy – Egyptian Gods - Egyptian cults - 27th dynasty - seals - glyptic - Phryia

Abstract: Lange Zeit meinte man, dass die Herrscher des Achämenidenreichs eine Politik der religiösen Toleranz innerhalb ihrer weitläufigen Provinzen und in ihren Kolonien vertraten. Die vierzehn Beiträge dieses Sammelbandes untersuchen verschiedene Aspekte der dynamischen Interaktion zwischen kaiserlichen und kommunalen Ebenen, die hauptsächlich auf regionale religiöse Praktiken Einfluss hatten. Einige der Beiträge befassen sich mit den aufkommenden Formen des Judentums unter achämenidischer Vorherrschaft, andere mit achämenidischer Religion, königlicher Ideologie und politischer Taktik bezüglich der Religion. Manche behandeln Aspekte der phönizischen Religion und dem Wandel hin zu ägyptischen religiösen Bräuchen. Ein weiterer Beitrag spricht die Ausübung verschiedener Religionen in Phrygien an, auf die Abbildungen auf Siegeln hinweisen. Gemeinsam zeigen die Beiträge, dass Toleranz mehr Teil politischer Zweckmäßigkeit war als eine allgemeingültige Strategie, die aus religiöser Überzeugung entstanden war. (table of content)

An Introduction to Archaeology

Title: Shafer-Elliott, C., The five-minute archaeologist in the southern Levant, Sheffield, UK: Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2016.

Keywords: introduction - archaeology - basic questions - Southern Levant - surveys - archaeological concepts - techniques - excavations - locations - tells - sites

Abstract: The Five-Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant is a user-friendly exploration of basic concepts within archaeology and the techniques and methods used by archaeologists in the field. It is intended for students and lay readers alike, such as those participating in community archaeology for the first time, and would be an excellent reader for introductory level courses on the archaeology of the Southern Levant. Topics range from basic questions such as ‘how do archaeologists chose where to dig?’ to surveys of archaeological concepts and types of archaeology, written by specialists in those particular fields. Chapters are informal and relaxed – more like a chat or discussion that will help to answer some of the basic questions that archaeologists are often asked. (table of content)

Seals in the British Museum IV

Title: Wiseman, D. J., Collon, and E. Porada, Catalogue of the Western Asiatic seals in the British Museum: Cylinder Seals IV, London: Trustees of the British Museum, 2016.

Keywords: cylinder seals - second millenium - 2nd millenium - Babylonia - regional glyptic styles - seal-cutting - Kassite cylinder seals - Mitannian seals - Middle Assyrian style - Iranian seals - Cypriot seals - materials - stones

Abstract: Where the Egyptians have wall paintings, the ancient Near East has cylinder seals as the main source of illustrative material, covering a range of subject matter and periods not covered by relief sculptures. The seals are particularly attractive, and the inscriptions are rare examples of personal prayer from the ancient world. This volume continues the story of the cylinder seal styles of the second millennium BC beyond Babylonia in this internationally recognized series documenting the British Museum’s cylinder seals collection. The Isin/Larsa and Old Babylonian Periods of the early 2nd millennium BC merited a whole volume (Volume III), as did the succeeding Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods of the 1st millennium BC (Volume V) and the Pre-Achaemenid and Achaemenid periods of the 1st millennia BC-AD in Iran (Volume VI). However, between 2000 and 1000 BC whole series of regional glyptic styles were developed in various autonomous kingdoms and city states. Each of these has merited its own chapter or section within this current volume, with its own selection of photographs and catalogue entries. As the seals featured in this volume came from a number of different sites, they reflect a greater variety of styles than is the case with the single-period or single-origin groups of seals treated in the previous catalogues. There was also a greater exchange of seal-cutting expertise between the various kingdoms, and it is possible to make tentative suggestions as to seals possibly cut by the same craftsman.

Collections Management Practice in the Near East

Title: Fitzpatrick, D., Managing archaeological collections in Middle Eastern countries : a good practice guide, Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology, 2016.

Keywords: collections - management - preserving cultural heritage - preserving collections - preservation problems - Middle East - Middle Eastern archaeological collections - conservation

Abstract: Collections management practice is an often ignored aspect of archaeological research and salvage activities in many Middle Eastern countries, yet literally thousands of artefacts are recovered every year with no real strategies for managing them sustainably into the future. In this guide, archaeologist Dianne Fitzpatrick sees archaeological collections management not in terms of a last-ditch effort to solve on-site storage crises and preservation problems at the end of a project, but as a means of integrating achievable good-practice strategies into research designs and site management plans from the start, or for that matter, at any time that assist project directors and local Antiquities Directorates. Strategies designed to protect and preserve ensure the cultural significance and research potential of artefacts is maintained throughout the archaeological process and encourages those creating, managing and preserving archaeological collections to work toward the same goals. Merging together conservation-led principles with current on-site practice in a practical manner, Managing Archaeological Collections in Middle Eastern Countries aims to be a good practice standard or checklist. (table of content)

BiOr. 73 3/4

Title: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, Bibliotheca orientalis, 2016.

Keywords: Hittite - Luwian - Hittite-Luwian parallels - stele - soul - Ugaritic - Ugaritic studies - textual base - Ṣa'dah - Tarīm - Ḥaḍramawt - Muslim grave stelas - book reviews - Pharaonic Egypt - Roman-Greek-Egypt - Assyriology - Semitistic Epigraphy - Hittitology - Judaica - Islam


GIUSFREDI, Federico: 'Soul' and 'Stele' in Hittite and Luwian

HARTLIEB, Jörg: Towards a Solid and Supportive Textual Base for Ugaritic Studies A (More) Comprehensive Review of KTU

SCHNEIDER, Madeleine: Quatre stèles funéraires musulmanes inédites Trois de Ṣa'dah (Yémen) et une de Tarīm (Ḥaḍramawt)

Literary reviews

JANER 16/2

Title: Winitzer, A. et al., Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 16/2, 2016.

Keywords: Pithos A - standing figure - YHWH - Asherah - sexual dualism - Bes - iconography - Khirbet Beit Lei - refugees - refugee hypothesis - tomb - Iron Age - Judah

Content: Thomas, R.: The Identity of the Standing Figures on Pithos A from Kuntillet ʿAjrud: A Reassessment

Mandell, A. and J. D. Smoak: Reconsidering the Function of Tomb Inscriptions in Iron Age Judah: Khirbet Beit Lei as a Test Case


Title: American Schools of Oriental Research, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 10/2016.

Keywords: Tel Dor - Iron Age IIA - gazelles - Chalcolithic ritual - Marj Rabba - Bar Kokhba - refuge caves - glass vessels - Judaea - Amman citadel - inscription - Aila - Red Sea - port - agricultural economy - hinterland production - Kassite seals - gender - eunuchs - Kassite glyptic - Late Roman - Beit Nattif figurines - Thmuis - Tell el-Timai - Hellenisitic ceramic assemblage

Content: The current issue of BASOR includes articles: Tel Dor and Iron Age IIA Chronology, Gazelles, Liminality, and Chalcolithic Ritual: A Case Study from Marj Rabba, Israel; Glass Vessel Use in Time of Conflict: The Evidence from the Bar Kokhba Refuge Caves in Judaea, Israel; Line Five of the Amman Citadel Inscription: History of Interpretation and a New Proposal; Debating Ancient Synagogue Dating: The Implications of Deteriorating Data; A Diachronic Look at the Agricultural Economy at the Red Sea Port of Aila: An Archaeobotanical Case for Hinterland Production in Arid Environments; and more. (table of content)

Suicide in the Ancient Near East

Title: Dietrich, J., Der Tod von eigener Hand : Studien zum Suizid im Alten Testament, Alten Ägypten und Alten Orient, Tübingen : Mohr Siebeck, 2016.

Keywords: suicide - honour - failure - social status - family honour - death - Gilgamesh - Israel - blame - guilt - suicide as an escape from war - Naram-Sîn - Assurbanipal - Dialogue of Pessimism - suicide threads - Old Babylonian letters - suicide as sacrifice - royal cemetary at Ur - Neo Assyrian suicide of courtiers

Abstract: Viele Fragen zur Selbsttötung und zum gesellschaftlichen Umgang mit Selbsttötung werden aktuell in der Öffentlichkeit und auf verschiedenen Forschungsfeldern diskutiert. Eine umfassende Behandlung des Themas mit Blick auf das Alte Testament und die Kulturen des Alten Orients, einschließlich des Alten Ägypten, stand bislang jedoch aus. Mit dem vorliegenden Band schließt Jan Dietrich diese Forschungslücke. Er grenzt Suizid und Suizidgedanken vom allgemeinen Sterbens- und Todeswunsch ab und wählt einen kulturgeschichtlichen und soziologischen Zugriff auf die Quellen. Die Selbsttötung wird dabei aus der Perspektive des Suizidanten und aus der Perspektive der Kulturen des Altertums verständlich gemacht und es wird gezeigt, dass sie fernab von dem Stigma Krankheit oder Sünde ihren Platz in der Wiege unserer Kultur hatte. Entsprechend wird die Selbsttötung als »Sinngeschichte«, als ein mit Sinn besetzter Versuch zur Lösung eines lebensrelevanten Problems begriffen. Der Autor unterscheidet zwischen eskapistischen Formen des Suizids in unterschiedlichen Kontexten sowie zwischen aggressiven und oblativen Formen und macht die Selbsttötung besonders vor dem Hintergrund vorherrschender Ehr- und Schamvorstellungen verständlich.

Political Thought in Mesopotamia

Title: Black, A., A World History of Ancient Political Thought, Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2016.

Keywords: political thought – kingship – justice – law – society

Abstract: This revised and expanded edition of A World History of Ancient Political Thought examines the political thought of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Israel, Iran, India, China, Greece, Rome and early Christianity, from prehistory to c.300 CE. The book explores the earliest texts of literate societies, beginning with the first written records of political thought in Egypt and Mesopotamia and ending with the collapse of the Han dynasty and the Western Roman Empire. In most cultures, sacred monarchy was the norm, but this ranged from absolute to conditional authority. 'The people' were recipients of royal (and divine) beneficence. Justice, the rule of law and meritocracy were generally regarded as fundamental. In Greece and Rome, democracy and liberty were born, while in Israel the polity was based on covenant and the law. Confucius taught humaneness, Mozi and Christianity taught universal love; Kautilya and the Chinese 'Legalists' believed in realpolitik and an authoritarian state. The conflict between might and right was resolved in many different ways. Chinese, Greek and Indian thinkers reflected on the origin and purposes of the state. Status and class were embedded in Indian and Chinese thought, the nation in Israelite thought. The Stoics and Cicero, on the other hand, saw humanity as a single unit. Political philosophy, using logic, evidence and dialectic, was invented in China and Greece, statecraft in China and India, political science in Greece. Plato and Aristotle, followed by Polybius and Cicero, started 'western' political philosophy. This book covers political philosophy, religious ideology, constitutional theory, social ethics, official and popular political culture. (table of content)

Hittite dictionary

Title: Tischler, J., Vocabulaire hittite: y compris louvite, palaïte, akkadien et sumérien, Leuven: Peeters, 2016.

Keywords: Hittite dictionary – enclitic particles – suffixes – idiomatic expressions

Abstract: Ce Vocabulaire hittite présente, en français, une nouvelle édition, augmentée et revue du Hethitisches Handwörterbuch de J. Tischler. De nombreux exemples, incluant expressions idiomatiques et chaînes enclitiques, accompagnent les traductions. L'objectif de cet ouvrage est de proposer un dictionnaire aisément accessible au monde académique et scientifique francophone et de contribuer ainsi au développement des études concernant le hittite et les langues voisines.(table of content)

Hittite sentence connectives

Title: Inglese, G., Subordination and sentence connectives in Old Hittite : a corpus-based study of clause linkage strategies in Hittite, München : LINCOM GmbH, 2016.

Keywords: Old Hittite – sentence connectives – subordinate clauses – Hittite grammar – syntax

Abstract: This monograph offers a new investigation of the Old Hittite sentence connectives nu, šu, and ta, with a focus on their occurrence after subordinate clauses. Although this phenomenon is well known to Hittitologists, a comprehensive account of the synchronic function and the origin of this peculiar construction is still missing. This work aims at partly fulfilling this gap. Based on a detailed corpus analysis of original Old Hittite texts, the occurrence of connectives after subordinate clauses is synchronically investigated in order to assess its syntactic, semantics, or pragmatic motivations. Both quantitative and qualitative data are taken into account, and the discussion is framed within current trends in general and typological linguistics. This study also takes a closer look at the origin of this syntactic pattern, and discusses how the occurrence of connectives in different syntactic environments can be diachronically motivated, taking into consideration the diachronic typology of clause linkage strategies. Building on evidence collected throughout the work, it is argued that a correct understanding of the occurrence of connectives after subordinate clauses in Old Hittite leads to useful insights explaining post-Old Hittite developments in clause linkage, notably the expansion of nu and the eventual disappearance of šu and ta. (table of content)

Seleukid kings

Title: Chrubasik, B., The men who would be king: kings and usurpers in the Seleukid Empire, Oxford: Thesis (D.Phil.) University of Oxford, 2016.

Keywords: Seleukid period – Seleukid empire – kingship – usurpers – kings – rebels – literature – numismatology – politics – rulers – Seleukid state

Abstract: Kings and Usurpers in the Seleukid Empire: The Men who would be King focuses on ideas of kingship and power in the Seleukid empire, the largest of the successor states of Alexander the Great. Exploring the question of how a man becomes a king, it specifically examines the role of usurpers in this particular kingdom - those who attempted to become king, and who were labelled as rebels by ancient authors after their demise - by placing these individuals in their appropriate historical contexts through careful analysis of the literary, numismatic, and epigraphic material. By writing about kings and rebels, literary accounts make a clear statement about who had the right to rule and who did not, and the Seleukid kings actively fostered their own images of this right throughout the third and second centuries BCE. However, what emerges from the documentary evidence is a revelatory picture of a political landscape in which kings and those who would be kings were in constant competition to persuade whole cities and armies that they were the only plausible monarch, and of a right to rule that, advanced and refuted on so many sides, simply did not exist. Through careful analysis, this volume advances a new political history of the Seleukid empire that is predicated on social power, redefining the role of the king as only one of several players within the social world and offering new approaches to the interpretation of the relationship between these individuals themselves and with the empire they sought to rule. In doing so, it both questions the current consensus on the Seleukid state, arguing instead that despite its many strong rulers the empire was structurally weak, and offers a new approach to writing political history of the ancient world. (table of content)

Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in Upper Mesopotamia

Title: Iamoni, M., Trajectories of complexity : Socio-economic dynamics in Upper Mesopotamia in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.

Kewords: Neolothic period – Chalcolithic period – socio-economic complexity – North Mesopotamia – Upper Mesopotamia - 6th millennium BC – 5th millennium BC – 4th millenium BC – Syria – Turkey – settlement patterns – pottery

Abstract: This volume is the result of a workshop that was organised by Salam Al-Quntar and the editor of the present proceedings on June 11, 2014 during the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE) in Basel, Switzerland. The workshop’s aim was to stimulate colleagues studying the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in Mesopotamia to present papers investigating the development of human societies during the 6th - 4th millennia BC in Upper Mesopotamia. Of specific interest was the analysis of the “socio-economic complexity” phenomenon, seen as part of dynamics that cross the usual chronological boundaries (and thus not only as the result of typical 5th and 4th millennium BC processes). The ten contributions that compose the volume propose conclusions that go beyond such rigid subdivisions; moreover, many of them present the most recent data from key research projects currently ongoing in Upper Mesopotamia (north-eastern Syria, south-eastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan). Therefore this volume offers an updated - and to some extent alternative - view of the crucial changes (such as different types of settlement pattern, variations in ceramic traditions, the use of new production technologies and emergence of early forms of urbanism) that characterised the region throughout the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. (table of content)

Habur and Middle Euphrates in the 2nd Millenium

Title: Yamada, Sh. and D. Shibata, Cultures and societies in the Middle Euphrates and Habur areas in the second millennium BC, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.

Kewords: School Texts – Syria - Habur – Middle Euphrates – Old Babylonian - School Curriculum - 2nd Millenium – Education – Scribal Tradition – School Texts – Old Babylonian - School Curriculum - Middle Babylonian - Hana – Emar – Ekalte – Hittite Scribal Culture

Abstract: The excavations of various archaeological sites along the Habur and the Middle Euphrates region since the 1970s have supplied us with a great amount of inscriptional sources that shed new light on the scribal culture, society, and history of those areas and their relations to their surroundings. Particularly in order to reach a comprehensive understanding of the scribal education and traditions in the region, the conference “Cultures and Societies in the Middle Euphrates and Habur Areas in the Second Millennium BC: Scribal Education and Scribal Traditions” was held in Tsukuba, Japan, in December 2013. This volume includes ten papers by assyriologists who participated in the conference. Next to various analyses of local and regional scribal traditions from fresh philological and archaeological viewpoints, new texts are published and studied. Dealing with the scribal education and traditions examined in the written sources from Mari, Terqa, Tabatum/Tabetu (Tell Taban), Emar, Ugarit, Hattusa, and southern Babylonian cities, the volume makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the aspects of transmission, diffusion, and interaction of local and regional scribal cultures in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia during the second Millennium BC. (table of content)

Ziqqurats in Strasbourg

Title: Quenet, Ph., Ana Ziqquratim - Sur la piste de Babel, Presse universitaires de Strasbourg, 2016.


Abstract: Catalog for exhibition with same title. (website of exhibition, table of content).

Mesopotamian Sounds

Title: Rendu Loisel, A.-C., Les chants du monde : le paysage sonore de l'ancienne Mésopotamie, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2016.


Abstract: (in French)

FS Liverani

Title: Bartolini, G and Big, M.G. (ads.), Not only history : proceedings of the Conference in Honor of Mario Liverani held in Sapienza-Universita di Roma, Dipartimento di scienze dell'antichita, 20-21 April 2009, Winona Lake, Indiana : Eisenbrauns, 2016.


Abstract: In 2009, Mario Liverani celebrated his 70th birthday and retired from teaching at Sapienza–Università di Roma, although his book Antico Oriente: Storia, società, economia remains in wide use and is still foundational for anyone studying the ancient Near East. The Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche, Archeologiche e Antropologiche dell'Antichità, where Mario Liverani was a leading specialist since the department's inception, celebrated Liverani's milestone birthday and retirement with a conference held in his honor, and this book publishes the papers that were read at the conference on April 20-21, 2009.
The title chosen for the conference was "Not Only History/Non solo storia," which alludes to Liverani's multiple interests and forays into the field of the ancient Near East and Egypt. A select group of scholars and colleagues was chosen to represent Prof. Liverani's fields of interests, because it was impossible to include all of the Italian and international colleagues who could have been invited. Even so, the list of eminent contributors in the fields of ancient Near Eastern history, art, linguistics, and archaeology is more than adequate to recommend acquisition of this fine collection: John Baines (Oxford), Dominique Charpin (Collège de France), Joaquín María Córdoba (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Jerrold Cooper (Johns Hopkins), Jean-Marie Durand (Collège de France), Peter Machinist (Harvard), David Mattingly (University of Leicester), Piotr Michalowski (University of Michigan), Nadav Na'man (Tel Aviv University), Nicholas Postgate (Cambridge), Johannes Renger (Free University of Berlin), Marc Van de Mieroop (Columbia University), Irene Winters (Harvard), and Norman Yoffee (University of Michigan). (Table of content).

Anti-witchcraft part II

Title: Abusch, I. T., and Schwemer, D., Corpus of Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals, volume 2, Brill, 2016.


Abstract: Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centres upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient. The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia. (table of content).

Pictures of War

Title: Battini, L. (ed.), Making Pictures of War: Realia et Imaginaria in the Iconology of the Ancient Near East, Archaeopress Archaeology, 2016.


Abstract: This book brings together the main discussions that took place at an international conference on the iconology of war in the ancient Near East, a subject never addressed at an international meeting before. The articles span the 3rd to the 1st millennium, with a special stress on the Neo-Assyrian period. They try to respond to many questions about representations of war: what is ‘warrior’ iconography and on what basis it can be defined? Did the war scenes follow a specific directory whereby they adopted the most varied forms? Can we determine the most usual conditions for the creation of pictures of wartime (such as periods of great change)? Were the war scenes referring to specific historical events or were they generic representations? What can a society accept from the representations of war? What did war images silence and why? What is a ‘just’ punishment for enemies and thus the ‘just’ representation of it? Who has control of the representation and therefore also the memory of war? Who is the real subject of war representations? What emerges from all the articles published here is the relevance of textual data in any analysis of iconological material. And this is not only true for iconology, but for all the archaeological material discovered at historical sites. (Table of content).

Neo-Assyrian Shield

Title: Backer, F. De and Dehenin, E. The Neo-Assyrian shield : evolution, heraldry, and associated tactics, University of Exeter Press 2016.


Abstract: This handbook analyses the different types of shields used by soldiers in the Neo-Assyrian army and their opponents. Written, visual, and material sources are analysed to illustrate practical aspects of defensive weaponry in the ancient Near East in the first millennium B.C. The origins, use, evolution, and manufacture of shields are considered in presenting a typology of these objects. The first study of its kind, this work will appeal to advanced scholars, graduate students, general non-specialists, and re-enactors alike. (Table of content).

Mesopotamia at Montserrat

Title: Márquez Rowe, I., La colección mesopotámica del Museo de Montserrat.


Abstract: (Youtube presentation of book)

Cuneiform Palaeography

Title: Devecchi, E., Müller, G. G.W. and Mynářová, J. (ads), Current research in cuneiform palaeography : proceedings of the workshop organised at the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw 2014, PeWe-Verlag 2015.


Abstract: (table of content)

Italian work in the Baghdad Museum

Title: Lippolis, C., de Martino, S., Parapetti, R. , and G. Capri, L'Iraq Museum di Baghdad. Gli interventi italiani per la riqualificazione di un patrimonio dell'umanità, apice libri, Firenze 2016.


Abstract: (table of content)

Fundamentals of economics

Title: Warburton, D., The fundamentals of economics : lessons from the Bronze Age Near East, Neuchâtel : Recherches et Publications, 2016.


Abstract: The Fundamental of Economics builds on the author’s earlier work demonstrating political and economic interaction in the third and second millennia BC. The fundamental premise is that there are laws of economics and that the data from Early Antiquity offer a deep time perspective on economic development, which is the only means of identifying the overriding laws of economics in urban civilized societies. The central argument is that in Early Antiquity (effectively the Bronze Age Near East, ca. 3000-1200 BC), demand was created by the requirements of the core states, and that this enabled and pushed the emergence of market forces. The economies of Antiquity were dominated by profound structural unemployment combined with low wages for unskilled labour – wages unrelated to the market value of the goods produced. Demand pushed technological development in peripheral regions offering products sought by the textile producing core powers exploiting cheap labour. This trend continued until recently, and the economies of the Pre-Industrial world were thus market economies from ca. 2000 BC. Throughout history, elite sponsored demand and money have played decisive roles in pushing growth while the distributive and regulatory mechanisms of the markets restricted wage growth, enhancing inequality and profits from finance and commerce blossomed. The changes of recent centuries in the West (i.e., after 1800 AD) are not due to science & technology or the liberation of markets & banks so much as the use of fiat money combined with low interest rates. A Financial Revolution transformed economics and society, partly because of investment possibilities and partly because of rising wages in fiat money. Money circulated freely through the economy, facilitating the emergence of new forms of business – and diminishing poverty through rising real wages. Money-wealth pushed science & technology, temporarily guaranteeing Western dominance. Due to market forces and diffusion, this Western transformation can only have a limited lifetime; economies are changing again as a result of recent developments; globalisation will resurrect earlier patterns, eroding the Western advantages and reducing living standards. This interpretation of history thus not only rejects the evolutionary paradigms of Marx and Polanyi, but also throws doubt on the theoretical validity of both the Neoclassical Synthesis and most varieties of Keynesianism which currently dominate economic thought.

Schippmann and Iran

Title: Farridnejad, S., Gyselen, R. & Joisten-Pruschke, A. (des.), Faszination Iran : Beiträge zur Religion, Geschichte und Kunst des Alten Iran : Gedenkschrift für Klaus Schippmann, Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015.


Abstract: This memorial volume is dedicated to one of the most prolific and renowned scholars in the field of Ancient Iranian Archaeology and History, the late Professor Klaus Schippmann (1924-2010), who held the chair of “Near Eastern Archaeology with special reference to Iran” at Georg-August-Universität of Göttingen until his retirement in 1990. The volume consists of eleven papers written by some of the foremost scholars in the field of Iranian Studies as well as some of his lifetime friends and colleagues. The articles are essentially concerned with different aspects of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Numismatics and Religion, reflecting Klaus Schippmann’s scholarly interests. The volume also presents parts of his unpublished private diary (1959) from his Nachlass, reflecting his ideas, visions and memories of his excavations as well as a report of his last trip to his favourable archaeological site of taḫt-e soleymān (Iran), written by his personal tour leader. The book is illustrated by numerous plates.(table of content)

Hitite to Homer

Title: Bachvarova, Mary R., From Hittite to Homer : the Anatolian background of ancient Greek epic, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2016.


Abstract: This book provides a groundbreaking reassessment of the prehistory of Homeric epic. It argues that in the Early Iron Age bilingual poets transmitted to the Greeks a set of narrative traditions closely related to the one found at Bronze Age Hattusa, the Hittite capital. Key drivers for Near Eastern influence on the developing Homeric trad- ition were the shared practices of supralocal festivals and venerating divinized ancestors, and a shared interest in creating narratives about a legendary past using a few specific storylines: theogonies, geneal- ogies connecting local polities, long-distance travel, destruction of a famous city because it refuses to release captives, and trying to overcome death when confronted with the loss of a dear companion. Professor Bachvarova concludes by providing a fresh explanation of the origins and significance of the Greco-Anatolian legend of Troy, thereby offering a new solution to the long-debated question of the historicity of the Trojan War. (Table of content)


Neo-Hittite Seals

Title: Kubala, A., Iconography of 'Neo-Hittite' seals, Warsaw : Creator Publishing House, 2015.

Keywords: Neo-Hittite period - glyptic - seals - Neo-Hittite icoography - Southern Anatolia - Northern Syria - 10th-8th century - motifs

Abstract: The presented book is the first comprehensive study of seals that originated in the territory of southern Anatolia and northern Syria in the time span from the 10th to the 8th century B.C., commonly referred to as Neo-Hittite. The objects discussed in the publication are currently housed at sixteen museums and private collections. The aim of the book is to define the phenomenon called "Neo-Hittite glyptic" based primarily on iconographic, but also stylistic analysis of whole scenes as well as separate motifs decorating seals included in this category. It will help to answer the basic question if we are justified in using the term Neo-Hittite to determine seals to which such a label was applied by modern scholars. (table of content)

Death in the Ancient Near East (Bible)

Title: Hays, C. B., A covenant with death : death in the Iron Age II and its rhetorical uses in proto-Isaiah, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

Keywords: Iron Age II - funerary practices - Mesopotamia - Egypt - Syria - Palestine - 1st Isaiah - First Isaiah - I. Isaiah - death - Isaiah 5-38 - believes about death

Abstract: The book shows how ancient Near Eastern attitudes toward death illumine the Hebrew Bible. Death is one of the major themes of First Isaiah, although it has not generally been recognized as such. In this work Christopher Hays offers fresh interpretations of more than a dozen passages in Isaiah 5-38 in light of ancient beliefs about death. What especially distinguishes Hays's study is its holistic approach, as he brilliantly synthesizes both literary and archaeological evidence, resulting in new insights. Hays first summarizes what is known about death in the ancient Near East during the Second Iron Age, covering beliefs and practices in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria-Palestine, and Judah/Israel. He then shows how select passages in the first part of Isaiah employ the rhetorical imagery of death that was part of their cultural context; further, he identifies ways in which these texts break new creative ground. (table of content in Google Preview)

Legal Proceedings in the Ancient Near East

Title: Barta, H., Lang, M. and R. Rollinger, Prozessrecht und Eid : Recht und Rechtsfindung in antiken Kulturen: Innsbrucker Tagung "Lebend(ig)e Rechtsgeschichte" (6th : 2011 : Innsbruck, Austria), Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015.

Keywords: ordeal – oath – law– history of law - procedural law – kudurru inscriptions – Middle Babylonian – Kassite period – collective debt – liability – evidence – cuneiform law – Biblical law – Israel – witnesses – Deuteronomy – judicial texts – assertory oath – court – Neo Babylonian period – Middle Assyrian – Hittite

Abstract: Seit 2004 findet in Innsbruck die Tagung „Lebend(ig)e Rechtsgeschichte“ statt, deren Referate veröffentlicht werden. Dieser Band enthält die Vorträge des ersten Teils der 6. Tagung vom Dezember 2011 zum Thema „Prozessrecht und Eid: Recht und Rechtsfindung in antiken Kulturen“. Inhaltlich bietet der Band nach einer Einleitung zum „Verfahrensrecht als frühes Zivilisierungsprojekt - Zur Teleologie rechtlicher Verfahren“ von Heinz Barta diese Beiträge: Kurt Kotrschal, Biologie oder Moral?; Betina Faist, Der Eid im neuassyrischen Gerichtsverfahren; Eckart Otto, Prozessrecht und Beweiseid im Keilschriftrecht und im biblischen Recht. Ein rechtstypologischer Vergleich; Simone Paganini, Gerichtsorganisation und Prozessverfahren im Alten Israel. Beobachtungen zu Zentralgericht, Richter- und Zeugengesetz im Deuteronomium; Kristin Kleber, Des Frommen Zuflucht, des Übeltäters Verderben. Der assertorische Eid im Gerichtsprozess der spätbabylonischen Zeit; Gerhard Thür, Prozesseide im Gesetz Drakons und ihr Nachleben im klassischen Athen; Walther Sallaberger, Sumerische und altbabylonische Eidesformeln in lexikalischer und kulturhistorischer Perspektive; Guido Pfeifer, Klageverzichtsklauseln in altbabylonischen Vertrags- und Prozessurkunden als Instrumentarien der Konfliktvermeidung bzw. Konfliktlösung; Susanne Paulus, Ordal statt Eid - Das Beweisverfahren in mittelbabylonischer Zeit; Elena Devecchi, Die Rolle des Eides im hethitischen Prozessverfahren. Neben den Tagungsreferaten enthält der Band auch die Reden der Preisträger des erstmals verliehenen Preises für ‚Antike Rechtsgeschichte‘, Susanne Paulus (Münster) und Jan Dietrich (Leipzig). (table of content)

Societies in Transition

Title: Janssen, U., Gesellschaften im Wandel: Funerärer Aufwand und soziale Wirklichkeit im frühstaatlichen Mespotamien und Ägypten anhand von Grabbefunden aus Ur und Kafr Tarkhan, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2015.

Kewords: Mesopotamia - Egypt - comparative history - Early Dynastic - social history - funerary practices

Abstract: Dieser Band zieht einen qualitativen Vergleich der Darstellung sozialer Stratifizierung innerhalb der Bestattungssitten im frühdynastischen Südmesopotamien und im frühdynastischen Ägypten am Übergang vom 4. zum 3. Jahrtausend v.Chr. Eine Gegenüberstellung der beiden Regionen bietet sich wegen ihrer offenkundigen Gemeinsamkeiten und in mehrfacher Hinsicht beträchtlichen Unterschiede an.

Als Materialgrundlage dienen die Gräberfelder von Ur in Südmesopotamien und Tarkhan in Mittelägypten, die jeweils in ihrer Region die größten bekannten Gräberfelder ihrer Zeit darstellen. Die funeräre Symbolwelt bezieht sich in beiden Gesellschaften in verschiedener Weise auf die tatsächlichen sozialen Strukturen. Die beobachteten Differenzen lassen sich durch Unterschiede der Gesellschaften in Stadtstaat und Flächenstaat und die - zumindest zum Teil damit verbundenen - unterschiedlichen Jenseitsvorstellungen als kontrastierende bzw. bestätigende Sinnwelten im Sinne des sozialen Konstruktionismus erklären.

Rural Archaeology in Mesopotamia

Title: Schwartz, G.M. (ed.), Rural Archaeology in Early Urban Northern Mesopotamia: Excavations at Tell al-Raqa'i, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles, 2015.

Keywords: archaeology - urbanisation - Mesopotamia - Tell Al-Raqa'i

Abstract: This book presents a new perspective on the emergence of urban societies in Mesopotamia, focusing attention on life in a rural village and helping to correct the traditional bias by archaeologists toward the urban and the elite. Reporting on the extensive excavations at Tell al-Raqa’i (early-middle 3rd millennium BC) in upper Mesopotamia/Syria, the authors offer detailed studies on architecture, pottery, animal bones, plant remains, and other varieties of artifacts and ecofacts. These data provide a wealth of information on the nature of life in a small community during the transition to urbanism. Spatial and social organization, household economics, and the significance of enigmatic structures such as the Round Building and a small “temple” are among the issues discussed. ArtifactThe excavations at Raqa’i, with their exposure of a broad segment of an ancient village, reveal important new insights on the nature of rural life in upper Mesopotamia and on the role of villages in early urban societies in general. (Table of Contents)

Ancient Kanesh

Title: Trolle, M.T., Ancient Kanesh : a merchant colony in Bronze Age Anatolia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2015.

Keywords: Kanesh - economic history - Anatolia - Bronze Age - Assyria

Abstract: The ancient Anatolian city of Kanesh (present-day Kültepe, Turkey) was a continuously inhabited site from the early Bronze Age through Roman times. The city flourished c.2000–1750 BC as an Old Assyrian trade outpost and the earliest attested commercial society in world history. More than 23,000 elaborate clay tablets from private merchant houses provide a detailed description of a system of long-distance trade that reached from central Asia to the Black Sea region and the Aegean. The texts record common activities such as trade between Kanesh and the city state of Assur and between Assyrian merchants and local people. The tablets tell us about the economy as well as culture, language, religion, and private lives of individuals we can identify by name, occupation, and sometimes even personality. This book presents an in-depth account of this vibrant Bronze Age Anatolian society, revealing the daily lives of its inhabitants. (Table of Contents)

Ancient Near East in the 19th Century

Title: Levy, T. L., Schneider, T., and W.H.C. Propp (eds.), Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective : text, archaeology, culture, and geoscience, Springer, 2015.

Keywords: archaeology - Old Testament - religion - ancient Near East - Egypt - history - interdisciplinary

Abstract: The Bible's grand narrative about Israel's Exodus from Egypt is central to Biblical religion, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim identity and the formation of the academic disciplines studying the ancient Near East. It has also been a pervasive theme in artistic and popular imagination. Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective is a pioneering work surveying this tradition in unprecedented breadth, combining archaeological discovery, quantitative methodology and close literary reading. Archaeologists, Egyptologists, Biblical Scholars, Computer Scientists, Geoscientists and other experts contribute their diverse approaches in a novel, transdisciplinary consideration of ancient topography, Egyptian and Near Eastern parallels to the Exodus story, the historicity of the Exodus, the interface of the Exodus question with archaeological fieldwork on emergent Israel, the formation of biblical literature, and the cultural memory of the Exodus in ancient Israel and beyond.

This edited volume contains research presented at the groundbreaking symposium "Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination" held in 2013 at the Qualcomm Institute of the University of California, San Diego. The combination of 44 contributions by an international group of scholars from diverse disciplines makes this the first such transdisciplinary study of ancient text and history. In the original conference and with this new volume, revolutionary media, such as a 3D immersive virtual reality environment, impart innovative, Exodus-based research to a wider audience. Out of archaeology, ancient texts, science and technology emerge an up-to-date picture of the Exodus for the 21st Century and a new standard for collaborative research. (Table of Contents)

Tell Nebi Mend

Title: Peter J. Parr (ed.), Excavations at Tell Nebi Mend, Syria, Volume I, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Syria - archaeology - history - prehistory

Abstract: The archaeological site of Tell Nebi Mend, a tell on the Homs plain in present-day Syria, is universally recognised as the location, first, of Qadesh (or Kadesh), where, in c. 1286 BC, the armies of Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II of Great Hatti fought the most famous battle of pre-classical antiquity, and, second, of Laodicea ad Libanum, founded most probably in the 3rd century BC as the capital of a district of the Seleucid empire.

Collaborative excavations undertaken over 12 seasons aimed to fill a major gap in archaeological knowledge between the northern and southern Levant and to develop an understanding of the archaeology and early history of the Levantine Corridor independent of, and supplementing, that based on Palestinian and Biblical research. The primary aim was to obtain as complete a sequence as possible of cultural and environmental data, sampling all periods of the site’s occupation, which included Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Hellenistic/Roman deposits, enclosures and defenses spanning the 7th millennium BC to the mid-1st millennium AD. A definitive classification of all types of Syrian pottery over two millennia was established, together with a much longer sequence of pottery, stone, metal and bone implements, terracottas and other cultural remains, accompanied by a wealth of environmental data and a series of radiometric dates.

The earliest settlement so far discovered at Tell Nebi Mend dates to the first half of the 7th millennium BC and is the subject of this volume. Five phases of occupation were recognised with architectural features including, at different times, house structures and remains of larger, probably communal, buildings, along with remains of plaster, floor surfaces, fire and rubbish pits and burials, followed by large-scale abandonment. More than 2000 sherds of Neolithic pottery and 1400 flint and obsidian artefacts were recovered.

Ancient Near East in the 19th Century

Title: Kevin M. McGeough, The Ancient Near East in the Nineteenth Century: Appreciations and Appropriations, Vols. I-III, 3 vols., Sheffield Phoenix Press, Sheffield, 2015.

Keywords: ancient Near East - historiography - Orientalism - contemporary history - literature - art - politics

Abstract: At the beginning of the nineteenth century, little was known of the ancient Near East except for what was preserved in the Bible and Classical literature. By the end of that century, an amazing transformation had occurred: the basic outline of ancient Near Eastern history was now understood and the material culture of the region was recognizable to the general public. This three-volume study explores the various ways by which non-specialists would have encountered ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Holy Land and how they derived and constructed meaning from those discoveries. McGeough challenges the simplistic view that the experience of the ancient Near East was solely a matter of ‘othering’ and shows how different people claimed the Near East as their own space and how connections were drawn between the ancient and contemporary worlds.

Volume I (Claiming and Conquering) traces how the study of the ancient Near East developed into a professional discipline and how interpretative frameworks were gradually standardized throughout the nineteenth century. Some of the best-sellers of the period were accounts of the early explorers of the region and, beginning with the Napoleonic expedition, the book examines how ancient Near Eastern discoveries were communicated to the public. It looks at how archaeological reporting was shaped in this period and how the study of the ancient Near East was employed to understand issues of progress and decline and was referenced in the political and social satire of the period. It also documents the growth of middle-class tourism to the region and considers how the changing experiences of travel impacted Near Eastern studies. Throughout, the book observes how the ancient Near East mirrored and subverted British society and played a role in European and North American thinking about their places in a larger global and historical perspective.

Volume II (Collecting, Constructing, and Curating) (Table of Contents) examines the different ways that non-specialists encountered the materiality of the ancient Near East over the course of the nineteenth century. During this time, people collected artifacts while traveling in the region or paid to see the collections that others brought back. The public experienced the ancient world in museum exhibits that privileged ‘real’ artifacts in a new context or in hyper-real displays (like the Crystal Palace) where whole buildings from the ancient Near East were reconstructed. Men and women dressed as biblical characters in travelling fairs or spent an evening unwrapping a mummy. Individuals bought Assyriological souvenirs and employed Egyptian styles in their design, first in higher quality designer products and later in novelty items. Egyptian temples provided the architectural inspiration for buildings in London and the ancient use of colour was a strong argument for reimagining Victorian style. The adoption of Egypt, especially, in the world’s-fair phenomenon linked the ancient Near East with a global future in which change was naturalized and consumers were taught not to be afraid of the transformations brought by the industrial age.

Volume III (Fantasy and Alternative Histories) (Table of Contents) argues that fiction and fantasy play an important role in establishing expectations about the past. Changing sensitivities towards realism in art meant that imaginary visions were charged with an archaeological aesthetic. Orientalist painting offered seemingly realistic glimpses of ancient life. Stage plays and opera used the ancient Near East for performances that explored contemporary issues. Mummy stories evolved from humorous time-travel tales into horror fiction rooted in fears of materialism, and adventure novels ruminated on the obligations and dangers of empire.

Alongside these explicitly fictional modes of thinking about the past, the nineteenth century saw a rise in popularity of esoteric thinking. People offered alternative versions of ancient history, imagining that ancient religious practices continued into the present, through secret societies like the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians or in the new movements of Mormonism and Theosophy. Volume III ends by examining the interpretations of the Near East offered by Sigmund Freud and H.P. Lovecraft, showing how these two figures influenced later popular experiences of the ancient Near East.

History of Science

Title: Klaus-Dietrich Fischer and Brooke Holmes (eds.), The Frontiers of Ancient Science: Essays in Honor of Heinrich von Staden, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2015.

Keywords: history of science - medicine - mathematics - science - lists - ancient history

Abstract: Our understanding of science, mathematics, and medicine today can be deeply enriched by studying the historical roots of these areas of inquiry in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The fields of ancient science and mathematics have in recent years witnessed remarkable growth. The present volume brings together contributions from more than thirty of the most important scholars working in these fields in the United States and Europe in honor of the eminent historian of ancient science and medicine Heinrich von Staden, Professor Emeritus of Classics and History of Science at the Institute of Advanced Study and William Lampson Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale University. The papers range widely from Mesopotamia to Ancient Greece and Rome, from the first millennium B.C. to the early medieval period, and from mathematics to philosophy, mechanics to medicine, representing both a wide diversity of national traditions and the cutting edge of the international scholarly community.

Text, Textual Acts, and History of Science

Title: Karine Chemla and Jacques Virbel (eds.), Texts, Textual Acts and the History of Science, Springer, 2015.

Keywords: history - mathematics - linguistics - lists

Abstract: The book presents the outcomes of an innovative research programme in the history of science and implements a Text Act Theory which extends Speech Act Theory, in order to illustrate a new approach to texts and textual communicative acts. It examines assertives (absolute or conditional statements, forecasts, insurance, etc.), directives, declarations and enumerations, as well as different types of textual units allowing authors to perform these acts: algorithms, recipes, prescriptions, lexical templates for terminological studies and enumerative structures. The book relies on the study of a broad range of documents of the past dealing with various domains: mathematics, zoology, medicine, lexicography. The documents examined come from scholarly sources from different parts of the world, such as China, Europe, India, Mesopotamia and are written in a variety of European languages as well as Chinese, Cuneiform and Sanskrit. This approach proves fruitful in both history of science and Text Act Theory.

Tradition and Innovation

Title: A. Archi (ed.), Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 57th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale at Rome, 4-8 July 2011, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - ancient Near East - history - social history - religion - language - economic history - political history - art

Abstract: In July, 2011, the International Association for Assyriology met in Rome, Italy, for 5 days to deliver and listen to papers on the theme "Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient Near East." This volume, the proceedings of the conference, contains more than 40 of the papers read at the 57th annual Rencontre, including 3 plenary lectures/papers, many papers directly connected with the theme, as well as a workshop on parents and children. The papers covered every period of Mesopotamian history, from the third millennium through the end of the first millennium B.C.E. The attendees were warmly hosted by faculty and students from the Università di Roma "La Sapienza." (Table of Contents)

Mesopotamian Divination Texts

Title: Ulla Susanne Koch, Mesopotamian Divination Texts: Conversing with the Gods, Sources from the First Millennium BCE, Guides to the Mesopotamian Textual Record 7, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - divination - omens - magic - scribes and scholars - history of science - text editions

Abstract: Divination is one of the best documented intellectual and religious endeavours of Ancient Mesopotamia. Texts pertaining to divination appear already at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC and the tradition continued up until the very end of cuneiform culture. But the lifespan of Mesopotamian divination is much longer than two millennia. It gestated in the 3rd millennium and remnants live on to this day in astrology and astronomy. This volume is dedicated to the sources from the 1st millennium. They are rich and varied, consisting of technical and theoretical works, explanatory texts, commentaries as well as ephemeral sources for the practical use of divination in the life of king and commoner. From being the preserves of a very few specialists, divination has become an important topic of study with new text editions and studies appearing every year, this book provides a survey of the sources, as well as an introduction to the history, theory and practice of the various divination genres.

Male and Female in the Gilgamesh Epic

Title: Tzvi Abusch, Male and Female in the Epic of Gilgamesh: Encounters, Literary History, and Interpretation, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Akkadian - literature - textual history - textual criticism - gender - literary history

Abstract: The deeds and struggles of Gilgamesh, legendary king of the city-state Uruk in the land of Sumer, have fascinated readers for millennia. They are preserved primarily in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the most well-known pieces of Mesopotamian literature. Studying the text draws us into an orbit that is engaging and thrilling, for it is a work of fantasy and legend that addresses some of the very existential issues with which contemporary readers still grapple. We experience the excitement of trying to penetrate the mind-set of another civilization, an ancient one—in this instance, a civilization that ultimately gave rise to our own.

The studies gathered here all demonstrate Tzvi Abusch's approach to ancient literature: to make use of the tools of literary, structural, and critical analysis in service of exploring the personal and psychological dimensions of the narration. The author focuses especially on the encounters between males and females in the story. The essays are not only instructive for understanding the Epic of Gilgamesh, they also serve as exemplary studies of ancient literature with a view to investigating streams of commonality between ancient times and ours. (Table of Contents)

Textiles and Dress

Title: Mary Harlow, Cécile Michel, and Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.), Prehistoric, Ancient Near Eastern & Aegean Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: ancient Near East - Aegean - textile production - archaeology - administration - gender - interdisciplinary

Abstract: Textile and dress production, from raw materials to finished items, has had a significant impact on society from its earliest history. The essays in this volume offer a fresh insight into the emerging interdisciplinary research field of textile and dress studies by discussing archaeological, iconographical and textual evidence within a broad geographical and chronological spectrum. The thirteen chapters explore issues, such as the analysis of textile tools, especially spindle whorls, and textile imprints for reconstructing textile production in contexts as different as Neolithic Transylvania, the Early Bronze Age North Aegean and the Early Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean; the importance of cuneiform clay tablets as a documentary source for both drawing a detailed picture of the administration of a textile industry and for addressing gender issues, such as the construction of masculinity in the Sumerian kingdoms of the 3rd millennium BC; and discussions of royal and priestly costumes and clothing ornaments in the Mesopotamian kingdom of Mari and in Mycenaean culture. Textile terms testify to intensive exchanges between Semitic and Indo-European languages, especially within the terminology of trade goods. The production and consumption of textiles and garments are demonstrated in 2nd millennium Hittite Anatolia; from 1st millennium BC Assyria, a cross-disciplinary approach combines texts, realia and iconography to produce a systematic study of golden dress decorations; and finally, the important discussion of fibres, flax and wool, in written and archaeological sources is evidence for delineating the economy of linen and the strong symbolic value of fibre types in 1st millennium Babylonia and the Southern Levant. The volume is part of a pair together with Greek and Roman Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology edited by Mary Harlow and Marie-Louise Nosch.


Title: Peeter Espak, The God Enki in Sumerian Royal Ideology and Mythology, Harrassowitz Verlag, Weisbaden, 2015.

Keywords: Sumerian - mythology - comparative mythology - royal inscriptions - religion - kingship

Abstract: This study analyzes the divine concept of the Sumero-Akkadian deity Enki in its literary and mythological development through different periods of Mesopotamian history. Sumerian myths and theology related to the god Enki are influential throughout the history of the Ancient Near East. Several mythological motives from the Sumerian cultural area later reach the creation stories of the Old Testament and beyond. Through the Biblical narratives the ancient Sumerian mythology of Enki reaches the later Christian world, and therefore this mythology has become a part of the collective memory and culture of the present day world. Seven chapters give a diachronical overview of the relevant source materials (royal inscriptions, hymns, etc.) related to the god Enki and other close divine figures and religious phenomena from the period of about 2500-1700 BC. The last two chapters concentrate on the aspects of comparative mythology and archaic Sumerian religion. The relations of Enki and the Mother Goddess in the Mesopotamian religion and YHWH and Eve in the Old Testament are briefly analyzed. Some aspects about the decline of the cult of the Mother Goddess and several details of the political history of the Ancient Near East reflected in the relevant texts are discussed in the book. It is claimed that there is no direct conflict between the theologies of Nippur and Eridu (Enlil and Enki), at least when analyzing the available source material.


Title: Richard Stoneman, Xerxes : A Persian life, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2015

Keywords: biography - Xerxes - Persia - historiography

Abstract: Xerxes, Great King of the Persian Empire from 486–465 B.C., has gone down in history as an angry tyrant full of insane ambition. The stand of Leonidas and the 300 against his army at Thermopylae is a byword for courage, while the failure of Xerxes’ expedition has overshadowed all the other achievements of his twenty-two-year reign.   In this lively and comprehensive new biography, Richard Stoneman shows how Xerxes, despite sympathetic treatment by the contemporary Greek writers Aeschylus and Herodotus, had his reputation destroyed by later Greek writers and by the propaganda of Alexander the Great. Stoneman draws on the latest research in Achaemenid studies and archaeology to present the ruler from the Persian perspective. This illuminating volume does not whitewash Xerxes’ failings but sets against them such triumphs as the architectural splendor of Persepolis and a consideration of Xerxes’ religious commitments. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of a man who ruled a vast and multicultural empire which the Greek communities of the West saw as the antithesis of their own values.

ASOR Archaeological Reports 22: Tell er-Rumeith

Title: Nancy Lapp and Tristan J. Barako (eds.), Tell er-Rumeith: The Excavations of Paul W. Lapp, 1962 and 1967, American Schools of Oriental Research, Boston, 2015.

Keywords: Syria - archaeology - Iron Age

Abstract: Tell er-Rumeith lies at the eastern edge of the Irbid plain in northern Jordan not far from the Syria border and the present town of Ramtha. The publication presents the most complete corpus of Iron Age pottery for this area and its occupation reflects the Biblical traditions of the region. Tristan Barako and the other authors have used the field notes, reports, and photographs of Paul Lapp¹s excavations in the 1960s to bring together this final report. In Part I of the volume, Barako presents the basic stratigraphy of the site and the corpus of Iron Age pottery that represents its main period of occupation. Part II presents studies of artifacts by a variety of authors, including the post-Iron age pottery, noteworthy presentations of the community health (the human skeleton evidence) and textile production at the site, as well as fascinating collections of figurines, groundstone, and other small finds.

Qatna and Bronze Age Globalism

Title: Peter Pfälzner and Michel Al-Maqdissi, Qaṭna and the Networks of Bronze Age Globalism: Proceedings of an International Conference in Stuttgart and Tübingen in October 2009, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2015.

Keywords: archaeology - Syria - Qatna - Bronze Age - economic history - trade - internationalism

Abstract: In October 2009, the exhibition Treasures of Ancient Syria was opened in the Landesmuseum Württemburg in Stuttgart. The focal point of the exhibition was the newly discovered ancient city of Qatna, center of a 2nd millennium BC kingdom of the same name located in present day Syria. The inauguration of the exhibition served as an occasion to invite this field of study’s large international academic community to a conference entitled Qatna and the Networks of Bronze Age Globalism. Hence, from 17th to 20th October 2009, the newest research findings on Qatna, Syria, and the neighboring regions in the 2nd millennium BC were presented and discussed in Stuttgart and Tübingen.

The papers published within this book are organized into various thematic categories: Section I, Qatna and the International World of the Bronze Age; Section II, Qatna and Its Syrian Neighbours: Historical Relations and Cultural Contacts; Section III, Materials from Qatna and International Exchange; Section IV, Archaeological and Scientific Investigations at Tell Mishrife/Qatna in a Diachronic Perspective; in Section V, the closing discussions of the conference are published. The proceedings of the conference published within this volume provide a truly unique insight into the world of the ancient Near East in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. (Table of Contents)

Gods, Kings, and Merchants

Title: D. Charpin, Gods, Kings, and Merchants in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, Peeters, Leuven, 2015.

Keywords: Old Babylonian - social history - economic history - political history - legal history - religion - merchants - kingship - Mari

Abstract: Gods, kings and merchants, a way of designating religion, politics and the economy: three spheres which in the modern world are quite distinct, even if they do interact constantly. The aim of this book is to show that their boundaries were far more fluid in the Mesopotamian civilisation: gods could act as money lenders, kings could invoke divine will to refuse extradiction, the dead could serve as a reference for how the living should behave, and wealthy merchants could live in residences modelled on those of kings… This civilisation preceded the "Greek miracle" which Jean-Pierre Vernant has quite correctly defined as a "process of change which led to the emergence, as distinct areas, of the blueprints for the economy, politics, law, art, science, ethics, and philosophy". In a direct continuation of his earlier book published in 2010, Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, D. Charpin here examines in greater depth the situation which existed in Mesopotamia in the first half of the second millennium BC, using texts discovered in numerous archives throughout the entire Near East, especially those found at Mari eighty years ago. (Table of Contents)


Title: U. Finkbeiner, M. Novak, F. Sakal, and P. Sconzo (eds.), Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean: Middle Euphrates, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Middle Euphrates - Anatolia - Syria - archaeology - chronology - urbanism - history

Abstract: The Middle Euphrates region extends between Jezirah and Northern Levant; it follows the course of the Euphrates from the south flanks of the Taurus mountains in Turkey almost to the modern border with Iraq. The settlement area drawn out between steppes in the east and in the west owes its particular character to just that life line with its rich soil but also to the trade routes meeting at the Euphrates Bend and connecting Anatolia to Mesopotamia, and the Syrian east to the Levant. Especially for the 3rdmillennium, finds and findings from the area under consideration show great cultural variety and demonstrate the different influences by the neighbouring regions that meet here at the Euphrates river. The international rescue excavations in the wake of dam projects in Turkey as well as in Syria yielded abundant material. The present study takes into account the results of more than forty sites. In agreement with the principles of ARCANE the richly illustrated account is divided along find groups and written by experts who supplemented their specific chronological findings thus arriving at a new periodization and terminology for the 3rd millennium. (Table of Contents)

Near Eastern Influences on Greek and Roman Law

Title: Raymond Westbrook, Ex Oriente Lex : Near Eastern influences on ancient Greek and Roman law, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2015.

Keywords: ancient Near East - ancient Greece - ancient Rome - history of law - interdisciplinary

Abstract: Throughout the twelve essays that appear in Ex Oriente Lex, Raymond Westbrook convincingly argues that the influence of Mesopotamian legal traditions and thought did not stop at the shores of the Mediterranean, but rather had a profound impact on the early laws and legal developments of Greece and Rome as well. He presents readers with tantalizing fragments of early Greek or archaic Roman law which, when placed in the context of the broader Near Eastern tradition, suddenly acquire unexpected new meanings.

Before his untimely death in July 2009, Westbrook was regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on ancient legal history. Although his main field was ancient Near Eastern law, he also made important contributions to the study of early Greek and Roman law. In his examination of the relationship between ancient Near Eastern and pre-classical Greek and Roman law, Westbrook sought to demonstrate that the connection between the two legal spheres was not merely theoretical but also concrete. The Near Eastern legal heritage had practical consequences that help us understand puzzling individual cases in the Greek and Roman traditions. His essays provide rich material for further reflection and interdisciplinary discussion about compelling similarities between legal cultures and the continuity of legal traditions over several millennia.

Aimed at classicists and ancient historians, as well as biblicists, Egyptologists, Assyriologists, and legal historians, this volume gathers many of Westbrook’s most important essays on the legal aspects of Near Eastern cultural influences on the Greco-Roman world, including one new, never-before-published piece. A preface by editors Deborah Lyons and Kurt Raaflaub details the importance of Westbrook’s work for the field of classics, while Sophie Démare-Lafont’s incisive introduction places Westbrook’s ideas within the wider context of ancient law.

Ancient Assyria

Title: Karen Radner, Ancient Assyria : A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: Assyria - introduction - history

Abstract: Assyria was one of the most influential kingdoms of the Ancient Near East. Ancient Assyria: A Very Short Introduction sketches the history of Assyria from city state to empire, from the early 2nd millennium BC to the end of the 7th century BC. Since the archaeological rediscovery of Assyria in the mid-19th century, its cities have been excavated extensively in present-day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Israel, with further sites in Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan providing important information. The Assyrian Empire was one of the most geographically vast, socially diverse, multicultural, and multi-ethnic states of the early first millennium BC.

Hegemonic Practices in Assyria

Title: Bleda S. Düring (ed.), Understanding Hegemonic Practices of the Early Assyrian Empire: Essays dedicated to Frans Wiggerman, NINO, Leiden, 2015.

Keywords: Assyria - Old Assyrian - Middle Assyrian - empire - political history - archaeology - agriculture - administration - Mittani

Abstract: Understanding Hegemonic Practices of the Early Assyrian Empire is a thematic volume that addresses the issue of how the Middle Assyrian State achieved and maintained its hold over conquered territories. The central question is whether this state had particular hegemonic practices that might explain its remarkable successes. Contributions were written by established and up and coming archaeologists and Assyriologists.

Particular themes addressed in this volume include; first, the relation between the Middle Assyrian state and that of the Mittani: to what degree the Assyria was a successor state and how it transformed its Mittanian heritage; second, what the effects of the Middle Assyrian Empire were on settlement patterns and landscapes in occupied territories; third, what the strategies of the Middle Assyrian Empire were in its westernmost peripheries; fourth, what the agricultural policies of the Middle Assyrian state were; fifth, what the administrative techniques of the Middle Assyrian state were and how they differed from those of other states; and sixth, how we can best understand the success of the (Middle) Assyrian Empire from a comparative perspective.

AOAT 406

Title: Juan-Pablo Vita, Canaanite Scribes in the Amarna Letters, AOAT 406, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Syria - Amarna letters - Canaan - language - history - Akkadian - Canaano-Akkadian - scribes

Abstract:`The Syro-Palestinian Amarna letters have a multiple linguistic interest. The language used in the 14th century B. C. in the letters from the Syro-Palestinian vassals from Egypt, known as Canaano-Akkadian, seems to be Akkadian based on an Old Babylonian dialect. But they were the work of autochthonous Syro-Palestinian scribes, whose mother tongue was a North-West Semitic language which frequently seeped into the Akkadian language, regarding morphology, syntax and lexicon. Throughout the last four decades there has been increasing evidence that the language used in the Amarna Palestinian letters is not uniform, which has led to focusing on the study of local corpora or subcorpora. The direct and thorough analysis of these texts revealed, through the palaeography of the letters, that one single scribe could write documents for two or more kings simultaneously. The book contains two main parts. The first one intends to individualize the hands of the scribes who wrote the letters from the small kingdoms of Syria-Palestine. The various corpora are presented and the analysis of the correspondence from each corpora is structured according to the following pattern: historical corpus, linguistic corpus, identified scribes, and general com­ment. The purpose of the second part is to show the usefulness of the method­ology of palaeographic identification of the hands of the scribe as a tool for future philological, linguistic and historical investigations of the Canaanite Amarna letters. The volume is supplemented by many detail photographs of the cuneiform tablets under discussion. (Table of Contents)


Title: Saana Svärd, Women and Power in Neo-Assyrian Palaces, State Archives of Assyrian Studies 23, Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, Helsinki, 2015.

Keywords: Assyria - gender - women - power structures - social history - political history - palaces

Abstract: Power in general and women’s power in particular has been understood mostly in a hierarchical way in earlier research on Mesopotamian women. Hierarchical power structures were important in Mesopotamia, but other kinds of power structures existed as well. This study, which focuses on women in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 930-610 BC), draws attention to heterarchical power relations in which women were engaged in Neo-Assyrian palace milieu. Heterarchical power relations include power relations such as reciprocal power, resistance and persuasion. Although earlier research has certainly been aware of women’s influence in the palaces, this study makes explicit the power concepts employed in previous research and further develops them using the concept of heterarchy. The study is based on primary cuneiform sources and presents a detailed description of of women in Neo-Assyrian palaces. However, it additionally shows that by applying modern theories of power to the study of the ancient texts, one can gain important new insights into the dynamics of ancient society.

NISABA 27: Umma Messenger Texts

Title: Noemi Borrelli, The Umma Messenger Texts from the Harvard Semitic Museum and the Yale Babylonian Collection, Part 1, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Ur III - Neo-Sumerian - text editions - administrative texts - messengers - economic history

Abstract: In this volume, Noemi Borrelli publishes 240 Messenger Texts from the city of Umma, texts that are currently housed in the collections of the Yale Babylonian Collection and the Harvard Semitic Museum. Earlier volumes of Nisaba published nearly 900 similar Messenger Texts that are in the collections of the British Museum.

The texts published here range in date from the fifth month of Amar-Suen 3 to the twelfth month of Ibbi-Sîn. These administrative records provide data on the allotment of rations and disbursement of goods and thus form a basis for further study of the sociology and economics of Neo-Sumerian times in and around the city of Umma.


Title: Tzvi Abusch, The Witchcraft Series Maqlû, SBL Press, Atlanta, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - text edition - magic - witchcraft - Akkadian - history - textual history - literature

Abstract: The Akkadian series Maqlû, "Burning," is one of the most significant and interesting magical texts from the Ancient Near East. While containing almost 100 incantations and accompanying rituals directed against witches and witchcraft, it actually represents a single complex ceremony. The ceremony was performed during a single night and into the following morning at the end of the month Abu (July/August), a time when spirits were thought to move back and forth between the netherworld and the world of the living. This edition of the text contains a detailed introduction as well as an annotated transcription and translation of the text.

AOAT 403: Traditions of Written Knowledge

Title: Daliah Bawanypeck and Annette Imhausen (eds.), Traditions of Written Knowledge in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia: Proceedings of Two Workshops Held at Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main in December 2011 and May 2012, AOAT 403, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Egypt - history of science - scribal scholarship - knowledge - astronomy - magic - medicine - mathematics - history of law

Abstract: This volume is addressed to historians of science, Egyptologists and Assyriologists dealing with the history of early science. It presents the proceedings of two workshops held at the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, focusing on traditions of systematic knowledge in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Assuming that written knowledge was preserved and transmitted intentionally in both cultures, paradigms of knowledge can be reflected by the texts. Although the available source material is subject to their find spots and the vagaries of preservation, by asking specific questions the sources can provide insights into the work of the ancient scholars. The text corpora presented in this volume come from the fields of medicine, magic and ritual, astronomy, mathematics and law. The authors use the sources to provide overviews of the discussed knowledge areas and to discuss certain aspects of the traditions in more detail.

Old Babylonian Alalah

Title: Jacob Lauinger, Following the Man of Yamhad : settlement and territory at Old Babylonian Alalah, Brill, Leiden, 2015.

Keywords: Old Babylonian - Alalah - settlement - legal history - socio-economic history - administrative texts - text editions - history - Bronze Age

Abstract: Legal texts recording the purchase or exchange of entire settlements are among the most important cuneiform tablets discovered at Old Babylonian/Middle Bronze Age (Level VII) Alalah. Following the Man of Yamhad is the first book-length study of these legal texts and the socio-economic practice that they document. The author explores the nature of the alienated settlements, the rights enjoyed by their owners, the underlying system of land tenure, and the larger political context in which the transactions occurred. The study is supported by extensive collations and up-to-date editions of relevant legal and administrative texts. Its conclusions will be of interest to anyone working on the history, society, and economy of the Bronze Age Near East. (Table of Contents)

LANE 5: Mood and Modality in Hurrian

Title: Dennis R.M. Campbell, Mood and modality in Hurrian, Languages of the Ancient Near East 5, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, 2015.

Keywords: Hurrian - language - grammar - ergativity - modality - philology - linguistics

Abstract:In a long dead language isolate such as Hurrian, grammatical studies are replete with difficulties. The paucity of material and our inability to compare it to modern, well-documented languages typically results in more questions than answers. Many posited answers to these questions lead inevitably to dead ends. Studies in languages such as Hurrian run the risk of either stagnating due to an adherence to the status quo by scholars or fragmenting when no two scholars can (or will) agree on any point. In this book, Campbell has in many ways broken with tradition in an attempt to go beneath the surface and reveal further complexities in Hurrian grammar. This work, the first English language monograph on Hurrian since 1941, is not a dogmatic treatise meant to counter the status quo but an exploration of the complexities of the Hurrian language from a new perspective. His conclusions may challenge present perceptions, but the hope is that they will in turn inspire challenges, for it is only in this way that our understanding of this wonderful language and the people who spoke it can be furthered.

Mood and Modality in Hurrian provides a formal and functional analysis of the Hurrian modal morphemes. Unlike the better-known Semitic and Indo-European languages of the ancient Near East, Hurrian has a rich complement of modal endings. This at-times bewildering variety in form and function of modal morphemes in Hurrian has been a largely unstudied topic. Although it has been touched upon in a number of studies, it has not received a detailed treatment until now. The present work will be seen by some as a potentially radical departure from standard understandings of the way these endings work, but this is not the intent. No systematic treatment of these morphemes has been attempted, and because of this, certain thoughts (and assumptions) on form and function have grown from tentative postulations to grammatical “certainties” over the years. And although some of these suppositions have borne the test of time, many others were in need of major revision. Campbell’s conclusions represent a major shift in the way that we understand these modal forms and make his work important reading for Semitists and Indo-Europeanists alike.

Beyond a philological treatment of a dead language, Campbell also adds to the accumulated knowledge of ergativity. Hurrian is a highly ergative language, and this book explores the interplay between ergativity and modality in the language. Issues such as split-ergativity are explored in detail. Furthermore, Campbell explores the issue of voice in Hurrian and its relation to modality, documenting for the first time the differentiation in Hurrian between agent-focusing and patient-focusing (but not truly passive) voices. (Table of Contents)

Early Greek and Mesopotamian Religious Poetry

Title: Christopher Metcalf, The Gods Rich in Praise : Early Greek and Mesopotamian religious poetry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: Sumerian - Akkadian - Hittite - Greek - Homer - Hesiod - Greece - Mesopotamia - Near East - religion - poetry - hymns - prayers

Abstract: This book contributes to the current academic debate on the relationship between early Greek poetry and the ancient Near East, especially Mesopotamia. It is the first extensive study to be based on a detailed analysis of the ancient texts, consisting in this case of a selection of religious poems mainly in Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, and Greek. The first part of the book (Chapters 1–3) presents the core groups of sources from the ancient Near East, describing the main features of style and content of Sumerian and Akkadian religious poetry and showing how certain compositions were translated and adapted beyond Mesopotamia (such as in Hittite). Chapter 4 introduces the early Greek sources and makes some initial comparative observations. The study then proceeds to compare selected elements of form and content: hymnic openings (Chapter 5), negative predication (Chapter 6), the birth of Aphrodite in the Theogony of Hesiod (Chapter 7), and the origins and development of a phrase in Hittite prayers and the Iliad of Homer (Chapter 8). The first conclusion is that, in terms of form and style, early Greek religious poetry was probably not indebted to ancient Near Eastern models. This contradicts some current thinking in Classical scholarship, according to which Near Eastern influence was pervasive in early Greek poetry in general. But this book also argues that such influence may nevertheless be perceived in certain closely defined instances, particularly where supplementary evidence from other ancient sources is available, and where the sources permit a reconstruction of the process of translation and adaptation.

The Hurrian Ritual Itkalzi

Title: Stefano de Martino and Aygül Suel, The Third Tablet of the Ritual Itkalzi: Essays on the Hurrian Šapinuwa Tablets, Volume I, LoGisma Editore, Florence, 2015.

Keywords: Hurrian - text editions - religion - ritual - Šapinuwa

Abstract: This study is part of the project directed by Aygül Süel and devoted to the publication of the Hurrian texts from Ortaköy/Šapinuwa. As is well known, about 650 Hurrian tablets have been found in the excavations of this city (Süel 1998; Süel 2013; Süel – Süel 2013). A. Süel has promoted the study and the publication of these documents.

KBo 46: Hittite Texts in Transcription

Title: Detlev Groddek, Hethitische Texte in Transkription, KBo 46, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2015.

Keywords: Hittite - text editions - religion - historical texts - oracular texts - Buyukkale, Turkey

Abstract: In ""KBo 46"" H. Otten, C. Ruster and Wilhelm present a total of 329 text-fragments with a common place of origin in Buyukkale, Turkey. The contents include a broad range of texts, though in a broad sense the largest number of texts is religious in nature, such as incantations and celebratory rituals, but oracular and historical texts are also found in this collection. The material, typically augmented with similar and duplicate information, is presented here in accordance with the current state of research in transcription that was available at the time of publication, with the result that nearly two thirds of the texts have been collated into photographic tables. This volume concludes with full indices of the material related to names, the congruent and duplicate/parallel texts, as well as a contrasting index of CTH (from the series Catalogue des Textes Hittites) numbers.

Broadening Horizons

Title: Giorgio Affanni, Cristina Baccarin, Laura Cordera, Angelo Di Michele, and Katia Gavagnin (eds.), Broadening Horizons 4: A Conference of young researchers working in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Central Asia, University of Torino, October 2011, British Archaeological Reports, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - ancient Near East - Egypt - Central Asia - history - culture - economic history - archaeology

Abstract: Broadening Horizons is an international congress dedicated to postgraduate students and early-stage researchers working with disciplines in the area of Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean studies (Table of Contents). With Broadening Horizons 4 the thematic areas were broadened, opening the congress up to the Central Asia studies. The conference was hosted at Università degli Studi di Torino, from the 25th to the 28th of October 2011. Broadening Horizons 4 was a huge success. A total of seventy-four participants from fifteen countries attended the congress, making it the most successful edition. This volume includes most of papers presented at the congress and the key lecture by St John Simpson. The volume has been arranged according to the sessions: settlement patterns and exchange networks; socio-economic reconstruction of ancient societies based on archaeological, historical or environmental records; application of new technologies in archaeological research; impact of human dynamics on landscape evolution; exploitation of the natural environment and sustenance strategies; and posters. Anyone with an interest in the Ancient Near East, Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia studies will find much to enjoy and appreciate in this volume.

OBO 271: Prophecy and Covenant from Mari to the Bible

Title: Jean-Georges Heintz, Prophétisme et alliance : des archives royales de Mari à la Bible hébraïque, Academic Press Fribourg, 2015.

Keywords: Old Babylonian - Amorite - Old Testament - Bible - prophecy - prophetic literature - covenant - theology - Akkadian - Hebrew

Abstract: This volume contains 19 articles by Jean-Georges Heintz, professor emeritus for Old Testament studies at the University of Strasbourg. The contributions deal with the origins, forms and functions of prophecy and prophetic literature in the West Semitic area and their relations to the theology of covenant and divine sovereignty. These fields are studied on the basis of Old Babylonian/Amorite texts from Mari and Syro-Palestinian literature, especially the Hebrew Bible, in order to comprehend the evolution of institutions and traditions. A special interest is granted to the relations ancient Near Eastern iconography and the figurative language of the Hebrew Bible.

Policies of Exchange Title: Barbara Horejs (ed.), Policies of Exchange. Political Systems and Modes of Interaction in the Aegean and the Near East in the 2nd Millennium B.C.E.: Proceedings of the International Symposium at the University of Freiburg, Institute for Archaeological Studies, 30th May-2nd June 2012, Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Mediterranean - Egypt - trade and exchange - economic history - political history - gift exchange - diplomacy - Amarna

Abstract: The Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean belongs to the most captivating chapters in the history of the Ancient World: Various cuneiform documents and archaeological sources illustrate the numerous contacts between different polities in the 2nd millennium BC. Reciprocal gift exchange within the framework of diplomatic contacts and redistributive mobility of goods in asymmetric political relations shaped regional and supra-regional communication in different ways. Following the detailed discussions about modes of culture contacts and exchanges in previous research the contributions in the present volume address questions of the specific mechanisms and routes of exchange.

How and by which means did material commodities and knowledge circulate among the Great Powers, lesser independent states and vassal kingdoms of the Aegean, Anatolia, Syria, the Levant, Mesopotamia and Egypt? Where did the different raw materials and finished products come from, and under which conditions and by whom were they negotiated? Is it possible to determine regions of production and direct and indirect channels of distribution? Which rules were applied in the supra-regional exchange? Which possibilities and which obligations did the vassal kingdoms of the Levant have towards the Great Powers of the Hittites, Assyrians and Egyptians? Which role did the Mycenaean palaces of the Aegean play within the “international” network of exchanges? Can we develop a model of political and economic interaction?

During the symposium at Freiburg University archaeologists, philologists and historians discussed these issues on the basis of the current evaluation of the archaeological and written evidence within an interdisciplinary framework and developed perspectives on the specific forms of exchange (re)considering the interaction of political and economic forces.

Historiography of the Early Dynastic Period(s)

Title: Reinhard Dittman and Gebhard Selz (eds.), It's a Long Way to a Historiography of the Early Dynastic period(s), Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Babylonia - historiography - history - chronology - Early Dynastic - archaeology

Abstract: This volume comprises the contributions presented at a colloquium, which developed from a workshop concerning “The Early Dynastic Period in Babylonia” on the occasion of the 75th birthday of Hans Nissen. At the workshop the lack of a survey of the present status quaestionis was apparent, as was the absence of considerations regarding avenues for future research of this formative epoch in the development of ancient Mesopotamian cultures. The colloquium in Vienna in November 2011 whose findings are presented here sought to address these shortcomings. The assembled contributions cover a wide-ranging archaeological and philological field by discussing old approaches and presenting new interpretations. A total of 17 papers in German and English provide fresh impetus for research and offer new perspectives for further investigation.

God in the Bible and Hittite Mythology

Title: Hélène Nutkowicz and Mazoyer Michel, La disparition du dieu dans la Bible et la mythologie hittite: Essai anthropologique, L'Harmattan, 2015.

Abstract: Hittite - Biblical studies - religion - anthropology - mythology

Abstract: Drames et tragédies se succèdent qui voient les destructions de la nature, de l'homme et du cosmos dans les royaumes tant hatti que judéen, témoins de la rupture entre le monde terrestre et le monde divin. Quelles explications les peuples touchés par ces situations de crises apportent-ils ? Quels sont les points partagés et les divergences développées par ces deux peuples?

Mesopotamia in the Ancient World

Title: Robert Rollinger and Erik van Dongen, Mesopotamia in the Ancient World: Impact, continuities, parallels, Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of the Melammu Project held in Obergurgl, Austria, November 4-8, 2013, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - history - culture - literature - politics - religion - influence

Abstract: The Melammu Project, founded in 1998, organized five successive conferences and a sixth in 2008. Melammu Symposia 7 now represents a new dawn for the project publishing the contributions of the meeting in Obergurgl in November 2013. This time it will not be an isolated event: Further conferences have already taken place and been planned (Kiel 2014, Helsinki and Tartu 2015, Kassel 2016, and Beirut 2017), the project board has been renewed, reinvigorated and rejuvenated, and plans are underway for a thorough reworking and updating of the project database. Its focus (now slightly reworded to be somewhat wider) is to investigate “the continuity, transformation and diffusion of Mesopotamian and Ancient Near Eastern culture from the third millennium BC through the ancient world until Islamic times” (quoted from the Melammu Project website). Of course, Mesopotamia was not the source of all culture; but it was an important area in ancient history, that without doubt deserves such a project, dedicated to the study of its cultural impact and heritage. This volume assembles 42 contributions devoted to the topics “Prayers and Incantations”, “Foreign Reception of Mesopotamian Objects”, “The Use of Literary Figures of Speech”, “Mesopotamia and the World”, “The World of Politics”, “Iran and Early Islam”, and “Representations of Power”.

Labor in the Ancient World

Title: Piotr Steinkeller and Michael Hudson (eds.), Labor in the Ancient World: A colloquium held at Hirschbach (Saxony), April 2005, Islet, 2015.

Keywords: economic and social history - labor - ancient world - slavery

Abstract: The fifth volume in this series sponsored by the International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE) and the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET) offers case studies on how labor was mobilized and remunerated in the early Near East and Mediterranean world. The initially voluntary character of labor on public building projects evolved into corvée as the primary way of obtaining labor. Among other characteristics are the minor significance of slave labor; the role of large building projects as a tool of social and political integration; the use of hired workers as a way of dealing with the systemic shortage of labor, and the practice of compensating the employees of “large organizations” with salaries in food and/or land allotments. By late Neolithic times the obligation to supply corvée labor services became the basis for assigning land tenure. The historical data demonstrate that the corvée labor tax became the basis for assigning property rights, not a later intrusion on these rights.

Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Glyptic

Title: Anja Fügert, Die neuassyrische und spätbabylonische Glyptik aus Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - archaeology - Syria - glyptic - Dur Katlimmu - first millennium

Abstract: Die Ausgrabungen in der Unterstadt des nordostsyrischen Fundortes Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad erbrachten zwischen 1978 und 2008 über 1500 glyptische Funde (Siegel, gesiegelte Texte und Tonverschlüsse) mit über 500 verschiedenen Siegelbildern. Die Objekte konnten aufgrund der stratigrafischen Auswertungen der Erdbefunde in die durchlaufende stratigrafische Sequenz der Unterstadt eingeordnet werden, die von der frühen neuassyrischen Zeit (10./ 9. Jahrhundert v.Chr.) über den Fall des Neuassyrischen Reiches bis in die achämenidische Zeit des 5. Jahrhunderts v.Chr. reicht.

Anja Fügert verortet zunächst die glyptischen Funde in ihren Ablagerungskontexten und wertet das Material auf dieser Basis funktional und chronologisch aus, untersucht Bildthemen und Einzelmotive und führt die Ergebnisse in einer Synthese zusammen, die neue Aussagen zur Ökonomie und Verwaltung der Unterstadtresidenzen beinhaltet. Erstaunliches Ergebnis ist, dass die politische Zäsur mit dem Zusammenbruch des Neuassyrischen Reiches und dem Wechsel zum Spätbabylonischen Reich einer Kontinuität im Glyptikkorpus gegenübersteht. Das glyptische Material erlaubt jedoch die Identifikation sozioökonomischer Veränderungen. Die Auswertung des größten eisenzeitlichen Materialkorpus eines nordmesopotamischen Fundortes stellt die wichtige - bisher unbekannte - Rolle heraus, die Siegel in der Administration der gehobenen privaten Gesellschaftskreise spielten. Durch die stratigrafische Verortung der Glyptik gelang es zudem, die „Wiedereinführung“ des Stempelsiegels in Mesopotamien im späten 9. Jahrhundert v.Chr. anzusetzen - und damit etwa ein Jahrhundert früher als bisher angenommen.

Old Babylonian Textbook

Title: Michael P. Streck, Altbabylonisches Lehrbuch, Harrasowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2015.

Keywords: Old Babylonian - Akkadian - language - text edition - glossary - teaching Akkadian

Abstract: Das "Altbabylonische Lehrbuch" von Michael P. Streck führt anhand des altbabylonischen Dialektes in das Akkadische ein, die nach Umfang, geographischer Breite und chronologischer Länge der Bezeugung bedeutendste altorientalische Sprache und eine der wichtigsten semitischen Sprachen überhaupt. Zugleich bietet es eine Einführung in die Keilschrift, das wichtigste Schriftsystem des Alten Orients. Das Lehrbuch enthält eine kurzgefasste Grammatik auf dem neuesten Stand der Forschung, 15 Lektionen, in denen die Grammatik, das Vokabular, die Keilschriftzeichen und die Technik von Transkription und Transliteration eingeübt werden sowie Lesestücke, die in den neuassyrischen Duktus sowie in die altbabylonische Kursive umgesetzt und kommentiert sind. Zudem bieten ein Glossar, ein nach Wortklassen und Bedeutungsgruppen gegliederter akkadischer Grundwortschatz, ein Zeichenindex, der Lösungsschlüssel für die Übungen in den Lektionen und die Lesestücke sowie ein Glossar der grammatischen Terminologie zusätzliche Hilfestellung beim Studium des Altbabylonischen. (Table of Contents)

Defining the Sacred

Title: Nicola Laneri (ed.), Defining the Sacred : Approaches to the archaeology of religion in the Near East, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - religion - archaeology - ritual - prehistory - history

Abstract: Religion is a phenomenon that is inseparable from human society. It brings about a set of emotional, ideological and practical elements that are pervasive in the social fabric of any society and characterizable by a number of features. These include the establishment of intermediaries in the relationship between humans and the divine; the construction of ceremonial places for worshipping the gods and practicing ritual performances; and the creation ritual paraphernalia. Investigating the religious dimensions of ancient societies encounters problems in defining such elements, especially with regard to societies that lack textual evidences and has tended to lead towards the identification of differentiation between the mental dimension, related to religious beliefs, and the material one associated with religious practices, resulting in a separation between scholars able to investigate, and possibly reconstruct, ritual practices (i.e., archaeologists), and those interested in defining the realm of ancient beliefs (i.e., philologists and religious historians).

The aim of this collection of papers is to attempt to bridge these two dimensions by breaking down existing boundaries in order to form a more comprehensive vision of religion among ancient Near Eastern societies. This approach requires that a higher consideration be given to those elements (either artificial – buildings, objects, texts, etc. – or natural – landscapes, animals, trees, etc.) that are created through a materialization of religious beliefs and practices enacted by members of communities. These issues are addressed in a series of specific case-studies covering a broad chronological framework that from the Pre-pottery Neolithic to the Iron Age. (Table of Contents)

Old Babylonian Letters from Mari

Title: Jack M. Sasson, From the Mari Archives : An anthology of Old Babylonian letters, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, 2015.

Keywords: Syria - Mari - Old Babylonian - letters - kingship - religion - Amorites

Abstract: A selection of translations of the hundreds of letters from ancient Mari (Tell Hariri) on the Euphrates River, categorizing them by type of letter, contents, and with commentary on the ways in which the letters provide access into our understanding of ancient Mesopotamian society, in the 2nd millennium B.C.E.

The Reigns of Tudhaliya II and Supiluliuma I and the Amarna Age

Title: Boaz Stavi, The reign of Tudhaliya II and Šuppiluliuma I : The contribution of the Hittite documentation to a reconstruction of the Amarna Age, Winter Verlag, Heidelberg, 2015.

Keywords: Hittite - Hatti - Egypt - Amarna - chronology and history

Abstract: In the mid-fourteenth century BC, two kings ruled in Hatti – Tudhaliya II and Šuppiluliuma I. During this period, Hatti was fraught with political turmoil and instability. It began with the destruction of Hattuša, and ended with a glorious military campaign, in which a large part of Syria was conquered, and the foundation laid for a strong and prosperous kingdom. Many studies have dealt with this epoch, since it parallels the el-Amarna period, however, its Hittite aspect has been comparatively overlooked. That, coupled with the discovery of several new sources for this period, provided the impetus for my research on this era.

This volume sets out to identify important historical events that occurred during the protagonists’ reign, to verify them and examine their details, and then offers a synchronization of the Egyptian and Hittite chronologies. (Table of Contents)

History of the Ancient Near East

Title: Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC, 3rd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: history - Mesopotamia - Near East - archaeology - teaching

Abstract: Incorporating the latest scholarly research, the third edition of A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000–323 BC presents a comprehensive overview of the multicultural civilizations of the ancient Near East. The new edition integrates the most up-to-date research, and includes a richer selection of supplementary materials, and addresses the wide variety of political, social, and cultural developments in the ancient Near East. Updated features include new “Key Debate” boxes at the end of each chapter to engage students with various perspectives on a range of critical issues; a comprehensive timeline of events; and 46 new illustrations, including 12 color photos. The new edition also features a new chapter addressing governance and continuity in the region during the Persian Empire, as well as offers in-depth, accessible discussions of key texts and sources, including the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

19th and 20th Century Travelers in the Near East

Title: Rachel Mairs and Maya Muratov, Archaeologists, Tourists, Interpreters : Exploring Egypt and the Near East in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, Bloomsbury, London, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Egypt - early travellers - exploration - archaeology - politics

Abstract: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, growing numbers of tourists and scholars from Europe and America, fascinated by new discoveries, visited the Near East and Egypt – attracted by the riches and mysteries of the Land of the Bible. Almost all such visitors, no matter how esoteric or academic their pursuits, had to deal with the local authorities and the native workforce for their archaeological excavations. The vast majority of these visitors had to rely on interpreters, dragomans, translators and local guides.

This study, based on published and unpublished travel memoirs, guidebooks, personal papers and archaeological reports of the British and American archaeologists, deals with the socio-political status and multi-faceted role of interpreters at the time. Those bi- or multi-lingual individuals frequently took on (or were forced to take on) much more than just interpreting. They often played the role of go-betweens, servants, bodyguards, pimps, diplomats, spies, messengers, managers and overseers, and had to mediate, scheme and often improvise, whether in an official or unofficial capacity.

For the most part denied due credit and recognition, these interpreters are finally here given a new voice. An engrossing story emerges of how through their many and varied actions and roles, they had a crucial part to play in the introduction to Britain and America of these mysterious past cultures and civilizations.

Neo-Assyrian Imperial Landscape

Title: Alice M.W. Hunt, Palace ware across the neo-Assyrian imperial landscape : social value and semiotic meaning, Brill, Leiden, 2015.

Keywords: Neo-Assyrian - archaeology - semiotics - imperialism

Abstract: In Palace Ware Across the Neo-Assyrian Imperial Landscape, Alice Hunt investigates the social and symbolic meaning of Palace Ware by its cultural audience in the Neo-Assyrian central and annexed provinces, and the unincorporated territories, including buffer zones and vassal states (Table of Contents). Traditionally, Palace Ware has been equated with imperial identity. By understanding these vessels as a vehicle through which interregional and intercultural relationships were negotiated and maintained she reveals their complexity gaining a more nuanced view of imperial dynamics.

Palace Ware Across the Neo-Assyrian Imperial Landscape is the first work of its kind; providing in-depth analysis of the formal and fabric characteristic, production technology, and raw material provenance of Palace Ware, and locating these data within the larger narratives of power, presentation, symbol and meaning that shaped the Neo-Assyrian imperial landscape.

Sumerian Dialogue

Title: J.C. Johnson and M.J. Geller, The Class Reunion : An Annotated Translation and Commentary on the Sumerian Dialogue Two Scribes, Brill, Leiden, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - Sumerian - language - scribal scholarship - text editions - Old Babylonian

Abstract: In The Class Reunion—An Annotated Translation and Commentary on the Sumerian Dialogue Two Scribes, J. Cale Johnson and Markham J. Geller present a critical edition, translation and commentary on the Sumerian scholastic dialogue otherwise known as Two Scribes, Streit zweier Schulabsolventen or Dialogue 1 (Table of Contents). The two protagonists, the Professor and the Bureaucrat, each ridicule their opponent in alternating speeches, while at the same time scoring points based on their detailed knowledge of Sumerian lexical and literary traditions. But they also represent the two social roles into which nearly all graduates of the Old Babylonian Tablet House typically gained entrance. So the dialogue also reflects on larger themes such as professional identity and the nature of scholastic activity in Mesopotamia in the Old Babylonian period (ca. 1800–1600 BC).

Ancient Mesopotamian Religion

Title: Hrůša, Ivan, Ancient Mesopotamian religion : a descriptive introduction, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Mesopotamia - religion - divination - ritual - magic

Abstract: The aim of this publication is to provide an overview of the religious world and practice of the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia, as it is transmitted to us by the archaeological and, primarily, written Mesopotamian sources. The book provides a practical description base on ancient sources and illustrated continuously with passages from Mesopotamian texts. The history of ancient Mesopotamia covers roughly three thousand years and its territory is a vast area which was inhabited by many nations of different cultures, and where states and nations replaced one another. The Mesopotamian religion cannot be conceived as a unitary or even a uniform system. It should not come as a surprise that these traditions may vary with or contradict one another. The chapters are devoted to the principal Mesopotamian divinities, temple and temple cult, prayers, rituals and the various forms of divination, all of which are supplemented by up-to-date bibliographical references.

Late Assyrian Royal Palaces

Title: D. Kertai, The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.

Keywords: royal architecture - archaeology - Neo-Assyria

Abstract: The Late Assyrian Empire (c. 900 - 612 BC) was the first state to rule over the major centres of the Middle East, and the Late Assyrian court inhabited some of the most monumental palaces of its time. The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces is the first volume to provide an in-depth analysis of Late Assyrian palatial architecture, offering a general introduction to all key royal palaces in the major centres of the empire: Assur, Kalḫu, Dur-Sharruken, and Nineveh.

Where previous research has often focused on the duality between public and private realms, this volume redefines the cultural principles governing these palaces and proposes a new historical framework, analysing the spatial organization of the palace community which placed the king front and centre. It brings together the architecture of such palaces as currently understood within the broader framework of textual and art-historical sources, and argues that architectural changes were guided by a need to accommodate ever larger groups as the empire grew in size.

Ex Oriente Lex

Title: R. Westbrook (D. Lyons and K. Raaflaub, eds), Ex Oriente Lex: Near Eastern Influences on Ancient Greek and Roman Law, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2015.

Keywords: legal history - Mesopotamia - Greece - Rome

Abstract: Throughout the twelve essays that appear in Ex Oriente Lex, Raymond Westbrook convincingly argues that the influence of Mesopotamian legal traditions and thought did not stop at the shores of the Mediterranean, but rather had a profound impact on the early laws and legal developments of Greece and Rome as well. He presents readers with tantalizing fragments of early Greek or archaic Roman law which, when placed in the context of the broader Near Eastern tradition, suddenly acquire unexpected new meanings.

Aimed at classicists and ancient historians, as well as biblicists, Egyptologists, Assyriologists, and legal historians, this volume gathers many of Westbrook’s most important essays on the legal aspects of Near Eastern cultural influences on the Greco-Roman world, including one new, never-before-published piece. A preface by editors Deborah Lyons and Kurt Raaflaub details the importance of Westbrook’s work for the field of classics, while Sophie Démare-Lafont’s incisive introduction places Westbrook’s ideas within the wider context of ancient law.


Title: K. Focke, Der Garten in neusumerischer Zeit, Ugarit-Verlag, Münster, 2015.

Keywords: Sumerian - text editions - food history

Abstract: A wealth of original text material from the Ur III period provides insight into kitchen gardens in ancient Mesopotamia (Table of Contents). These gardens played a vital role in Mesopotamian society, as they were a major component in the supply of food. The complexity involved in cultivating such gardens is demonstrated in particular by texts on date palm cultivation that hail primarily from Umma. The relevant texts cover diverse subjects and therefore also shed light on planting methods, the selection of botanic species, and the usage of the produce. Besides fruit, vegetables, and herbs, there is also evidence that wood was harvested in such gardens, which would have been of great importance in Southern Mesopotamia as the region is poor in wood. The personnel that worked such gardens are differentiated, but the sources also demonstrate that they were always strongly dependent on the ubiquitous public administration represented by palace and temples.


Title: I. Finkel and J. Taylor, Cuneiform, British Museum Press, London, 2015.

Keywords: writing - Sumerian - Akkadian - language - decipherment

Abstract: Cuneiform script on tablets of clay is, as far as we know, the oldest form of writing in the world. The choice of clay as writing medium in ancient Mesopotamia meant that records of all kinds could survive down to modern times, preserving fascinating documents from ancient civilization, written by a variety of people and societies. From reading these tablets we can understand not only the history and economics of the time but also the beliefs, ideas and superstitions. This new book will bring the world in which the cuneiform was written to life for the non-expert reader, revealing how ancient inscriptions can lead to a new way of thinking about the past. It will explain how this pre-alphabetic writing really worked and how it was possible to use cuneiform signs to record so many different languages so long ago. Richly illustrated with a wealth of fresh examples ranging from elementary school exercises to revealing private letters or beautifully calligraphic literature for the royal library, we will meet people that aren't so very different from ourselves. We will read the work of many scribes from mundane record keepers to state fortune tellers, using tricks from puns to cryptography. For the first time cuneiform tablets and their messages are not remote and inaccessible, but wonderfully human documents that resonate today.

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