SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Sumerian Texts 1

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

This module consists of readings from advanced Sumerian texts: historical inscriptions, laws, letters, contracts, religious and literary texts. The module comprises mainly the reading and discussion of a selection of set texts in cuneiform.


The module is designed for the second year of the study of Sumerian. Introductory Sumerian or the comparable UCL module is a prerequisite.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module the student should have acquired competence in the reading of intermediate-level cuneiform texts in Sumerian; should have made progress in the reading, translation and interpretation of cuneiform texts in the genres studied; should have a better understanding of the written legacy of Sumer; and should have gained appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Sumerologists engage.


The module will normally entail two or three hours in the classroom each week. Preparation for classes will include the study of passages from the set texts for reading in class.

Method of assessment

One written examination of three hours' duration in May-June, which tests candidates' ability in the transliteration and translation of selected passages from the set texts in cuneiform, and in translating an unseen passage. Questions on the grammar, context and subject matter of the chosen passages are also included.

Suggested reading

  • Falkenstein, A.: Die neusumerischen Gerichtsurkunden. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, NF 39-40, 44. Munich: Bay. Ak. Wiss., 1956-7
  • Römer, W. H. Ph.: Das sumerische Kurzepos 'Gilgames und Akka'. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 209/1. Kevelaer: Verlag Butzon & Bercker, Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1980
  • Sollberger, E.: Business and Administrative Correspondence under the Kings of Ur. Texts from Cuneiform Sources, I. Locust Valley: Augustin, 1966
  • Steible, H.: Die altsumerischen Bau- und Weihinschriften. Freiburger Altorientalische Studien, 5/I-II. Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1982
  • Steible, H.: Die neusumerischen Bau- und Weihinschriften. Freiburger Altorientalische Studien, 9/I-II. Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1991
  • Thureau-Dangin, F.: Les cylindres de Goudéa Textes cunéiformes du Louvre, 8. Paris: Geuthner, 1925


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules