SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar awarded Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust for project on Ancient Mesopotamian mythology

9 January 2018

The Leverhulme Trust has granted Professor Andrew George, Professor of Babylonian at SOAS University of London a Major Research Fellowship for a new project on Ancient Mesopotamian mythology.

The mythology of ancient Mesopotamia is preserved in the world’s oldest poetry and other texts written in Sumerian and Akkadian. Like other archaic mythologies it is a repository of ancient wisdom, holding serious answers to the great existential questions: What am I, where am I, where did I come from, where am I going, what is it all for? Professor George's project The Drunken Gods: A New Study of Ancient Mesopotamian Mythology proposes to make a fully original synthesis and analysis of this mythology, setting it in a narrative framework and probing its relevance to the human condition.

Professor George, now in the new School of History, Religions and Philosophies, said: "For a long time I have wanted to write a book-length study of the ancient Mesopotamian mythology that treats it seriously, as a body of material that still has valid things to say today. The project’s title flags up this point: when the gods are intoxicated, things will not go well for human beings.

“What I hope will emerge at the end of the three years is a study of ancient Mesopotamian mythology that tells a coherent history of the universe, from the beginning of the cosmos until the human era, and that also teaches us something about ourselves on the way."

The grant of £187,885 provides for three years' teaching replacement from September 2018.