SOAS University of London

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

Akkadian Texts 1

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2021/2022
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

This module covers a selection of fairly elementary Akkadian texts such as royal annals, building inscriptions and the easier literary texts, for example Ishtar's Descent into the Netherworld, the Poor Man of Nippur, and portions of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The module includes study of the texts' content, form and style.


The module is suited to the second year of the study of Akkadian. Introductory Akkadian 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 Akkadian; 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 ancient Mesopotamia; and should have gained appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Assyriologists 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. 

Scope and syllabus

The module comprises mainly the reading and discussion of a selection of set texts in cuneiform. 

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); four (non-repeatable) pieces of coursework to be submitted on day 5, after reading week term 1 (5%); day 5, week 1, term 2 (10%); day 5 after reading week term 2 (5%); day 5, week 1, term 3 (10%).

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography:
  • The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 25 vols (A/1-2, B, D, E, G, H, I/J, K, L, M/1-2, N/1-2, P, Q, R, S, S., Sh/1-3, T, T., Z; U/W forthcoming). Chicago: Oriental Institute & Glückstadt: Augustin, 1956- 
  • Borger, R.: Babylonisch-assyrische Lesestücke. 2 vols. Analecta Orientalia, 54. Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1994 (reprint of 2nd edition) 
  • George, A. R.: The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. 2 vols. Oxford
  • Gurney, O. R.: The Sultantepe Tablets, I. London: British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1957 
  • Thompson, R. Campbell: The Prisms of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. London: British Museum, 1931  
  • von Soden, W.: Akkadisches Handwörterbuch. 3 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1965-81


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules