SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Introductory Akkadian (Masters)

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

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course the student should have acquired knowledge and understanding of basic Akkadian grammar, mastery of essential Akkadian vocabulary, familiarity with the Neo-Assyrian form of the cuneiform script and competence in the reading of easy cuneiform texts in Akkadian; should have acquired competence in the translation and interpretation of texts in the genres studied; should have gained a fundamental understanding of the written legacy of ancient Mesopotamia; and should have acquired appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Assyriologists engage.


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 3 hours classroom contact per week in language classes.  10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The basic grammar of Akkadian is studied in the first eight weeks of the course. The remainder of the course comprises mainly the reading of a selection of set texts in cuneiform.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); a language learning portfolio consisting of a set of marked homework, short in-class tests, translation projects (30%).

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography
  • Borger, R.: Assyrisch-babylonische Zeichenliste. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 33 & 33A. Kevelaer Verlag Butzon & Bercker, Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988 (4th edition)
  • Caplice, Richard: Introduction to Akkadian. Studia Pohl, Series Maior, 9. Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1988 (3rd  edition)
  • Huehnergard, John: A Grammar of Akkadian. Harvard Semitic Studies, 45.  Winona Lake, Ind.: Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns, 2005 (2nd edition)
  • Labat, R.: Manuel d'épigraphie akkadienne. Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1988 (6th edition)
  • Ungnad, A.: Akkadian Grammar, transl. Harry A. Hoffner, Jr. SBL Resources for Biblical Study, 30. Atlanta, Ga: Scholars Press, 1992
  • A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, ed. J. Black, A. George and J. Postgate. Santag 5. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999


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