About the project

In the seventh century BC the Assyrian monarch was the most powerful human being in the whole Middle East. Hundreds of letters, queries and reports show scholars advising the Assyrian royal family on matters ominous, astrological and medical, often with direct impact on political affairs. Along with court poetry and royal prophecies, they give an extraordinary vivid insight into the actual practice of scholarship in the context of the first well-documented courtly patronage of scientific activity in world history.

These Assyrian scholarly writings - letters, poetry, queries and reports - were published in eight edited volumes which are now out of print or difficult to get hold of:

With the kind permission of the authors and the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project [http://www.helsinki.fi/science/saa/], this project brings together translations and transliterations of all 2100 of these texts. We have also added a wealth of material from our undergraduate lectures and seminars to support our own teaching and to provide resources for colleagues in history of science and religion who do not have access to specialist libraries.

Timing, development, and feedback

The project began in January 2007 and this website went online in September 2007. The current version of the website was corrected and updated in August 2010 with further additions in January 2011. It includes the following new features:

Work has now finished on this website. However, since 2016, the website's content is maintained by the Munich Open-access Cuneiform Corpus Initiative [http://www.en.ag.geschichte.uni-muenchen.de/research/mocci/index.html] (MOCCI), which is based Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München [http://www.uni-muenchen.de/index.html] (Historisches Seminar - Abteilung Alte Geschichte) and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation [https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/home.html]. To report problems (i.e., broken links), send a brief message to the email address Jamie.Novotny@lrz.uni-muenchen.de.


The project was funded by an e-learning grant from the UK Higher Education Academy's Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies [https://www.heacademy.ac.uk] in 2007-8. Much of Eleanor Robson's time on the project in 2007 was supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities [http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk] at the University of Cambridge. Work on the Cuneiform Revealed section of the site was funded by a grant from the UK Higher Education Academy's Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology [http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/hca] in 2009. The 2010 update was supported by a grant from University College London's Executive Sub-Committee on Innovations in Teaching Learning and Assessment (ESCILTA). Support for the maintenance of the website (2016-) is provided by LMU Munich [http://www.uni-muenchen.de/index.html] and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation [https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/home.html] through the establishment of the Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East [http://www.ag.geschichte.uni-muenchen.de/lehrstuehle/ls_radner/index.html].

Software development

The website is based on a design by George MacKerron for the Whipple Museum [http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/whipple/], and was created using his Electrostatic software. The transliteration and translation files were originally coded by Bob Whiting for the Text Corpus of Neo-Assyrian Project [http://www.helsinki.fi/science/saa/]. They were converted to ATF [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/builder/], Oracc [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/]'s standard encoding, by Steve Tinney, who also wrote the pager which displays them.

Project team

Consultants and contributors of transliterations and translations

Other contributors

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© Higher Education Academy, 2007-11. Since 2015, SAAo is based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Historisches Seminar (LMU Munich, History Department) - Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East. Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/] license, 2007-20.
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