Further reading: sign lists, dictionaries, and text editions

This website does not give a full description of cuneiform script or the Akkadian language. For more information, see the books and websites listed below.

Introductions to cuneiform and Akkadian

Caplice, R., Introduction to Akkadian (Studia Pohl: Series Maior, 9), 4th ed., Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 2002.
A concise introduction, with exercises but no solutions. View preview on Google Books.

George, A.R., 'Babylonian and Assyrian: a history of Akkadian', in J.N. Postgate (ed.), Languages of Iraq, Ancient and Modern, London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 2007, pp. 31-71.
A fascinating, accessible description of the changes uses and features of the language over three millennia. Available as a PDF file from SOAS Research Online [https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/3139/].

Huehnergard, J., A Grammar of Akkadian (Harvard Semitic Series, 45), and Key to A Grammar of Akkadian, 2nd ed., Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2005.
Much more comprehensive coverage than Caplice. View snippets on Google Books.

Snell, D.C., A Workbook of Cuneiform Signs (Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, 3), Malibu: Undena Publications, 1999.
With many pages of writing exercises.

Walker, C.B.F., Cuneiform, London: British Museum Press, 1987.
An engaging and well illustrated description of the cuneiform writing system, its rediscovery and decipherment. Also available as a chapter of Hooker, J.T., Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet, London: British Museum Press, 1996.
View preview on Google Books.

Cuneiform sign lists

Borger, R., Assyrisch-babylonische Zeichenliste (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 33/33A), 4th ed., Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1988.
In German; now out of print. Especially useful for first-millennium Akkadian.

Borger, R., Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 305), Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2003.
In German. Authoritative coverage of all variants of cuneiform script but very hard for beginners to use. For a fuller description, see the page on Using sign lists.

Deimel, A., Šumerisches Lexikon, 4 vols., Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1925-50.
In German. Long superseded but the basis of modern sign lists such as Labat's.

Labat, R., Manuel d'épigraphie akkadienne, 6th ed., Paris: Geuthner, 1995.
In French. More user-friendly than Borger 2003 and particularly useful for an overview of the development of cuneiform signs. For a fuller description, see the page on Using sign lists.

Livingstone, A., et al., The Cuneiform Digital Paleography Project [http://www.cdp.bham.ac.uk/], University of Birmingham, 2004.
Aimed to produce a systematic and comprehensive survey of cuneiform signs, using high-resolution images.

Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary, PSL: The PSD Sign List [http://psd.museum.upenn.edu/epsd/nepsd-frame.html], University of Pennsylvania, 2006.
Particularly useful for identifying homophones and compounds. For a fuller description, see the page on Using sign lists.

Many other sign lists, especially those for the early periods of cuneiform, are available as PDF files from the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative [http://cdli.ucla.edu]'s pages on sign lists [http://cdli.ucla.edu/wiki/doku.php/sign_lists].

Akkadian dictionaries

Black, J.A, A.R. George, & J.N. Postgate, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, 2nd ed., Wisebaden: Harrassowitz, 2000.
With online additions and corrections, and supporting bibliography [http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/cda_archive/]. A very handy one-volume dictionary for students.

Oppenheim, A.L. et al., Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, 21 volumes, Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1956– .
Individual volumes are available as free PDF files from the Oriental Institute [http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/cad/]. The standard reference dictionary, known as CAD; Volume U/W is yet to appear.

von Soden, W., Akkadisches Handwörterbuch, 3 volumes, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1959–81.
In German. Often more reliable than CAD, especially for the first half of the alphabet.

The Laws of Hammurabi (Texts to read)

Bergmann, E., Codex Hammurabi: textus primigenius (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 51), 3rd ed., Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1959.
An excellent scale drawing of the entire text on the stela; oddly, the book itself is in Latin!

Borger, R., Babylonisch-assyrische Lesestücke (Analecta Orientalia, 54), 2 vols, 3rd ed., Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 2006.
Includes a cuneiform text of Hammurabi's laws in Neo-Assyrian signs and a transliteration, along with many other texts suitable for intermediate students. There is also a glossary, sign list, and reading hints (all in German).
View limited preview of the second edition (1994) of volume 1 and volume 2 on Google Books.

Roth, M., Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (Writings from the Ancient World, 6), 2nd ed., Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.
Alphabetic normalisation and English translation of all the major Mesopotamian law collections, including Hammurabi's. View snippets on Google Books [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fSW3AAAAIAAJ].

Scheil, V., Textes élamites-sémitiques, deuxième série (Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse, 4), Paris: P. Geuthner, 1902.
In French. The original publication, with excellent photographs. The edition is very out of date, of course. Available online in various formats [http://www.archive.org/details/mmoires04franuoft] from the Internet Archive [http://www.archive.org/index.php].

Publications of texts in the Tablet gallery

Blocher, F., Siegelabrollungen auf frühaltbabylonischen Tontafeln im British Museum (Münchener vorderasiatische Studien, 10), Munich: Profil, 1992.

Bongenaar, A.C.V.M., The Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar temple at Sippar: its administration and its prosopography, Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1997.

d'Agostino, F. & F. Pomponio, Umma Messenger Texts in the British Museum (Nisaba 1), Messina: Di.Sc.A.M., 2002.

Edzard, D.O., Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia. Early Periods, volume 3/1: Gudea and his Dynasty, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.

Englund, R.K. & J.-P. Gregoire, The Proto-Cuneiform Texts from Jemdet Nasr (Materialien zu den frühen Schriftzeugnissen des Vorderen Orients 1), Berlin: Mann, 1991.

Frankena, R., Briefe aus dem British Museum: LIH und CT 2-33 (Altbabylonische Briefe 2), Leiden: Brill, 1966.

Harris, R., 'The Case of Three Babylonian Marriage Contracts', Journal of Near Eastern Studies 33 (1974), pp. 363-369.
View article on JSTOR [http://www.jstor.org/stable/544771] (requires subscription).

Koch-Westenholz, U., Babylonian liver omens: the chapters manzāzu, padānu and pān tākalti of the Babylonian extispicy series mainly from Assurbanipal's library, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000.
View on Google Books [http://tiny.cc/bhmem] (limited preview).

Mattila, R., Legal transactions of the royal court of Nineveh, part II: Assurbanipal through Sin-šarru-iškun (State Archives of Assyria 14), Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2002.
Also at the State Archives of Assyria online.

Michel, C., Correspondance des marchands de Kanish, Paris: Cerf, 2001.

Moran, W.L., The Amarna Letters, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Müller, G.G.W., Die Londoner Nuzi-Texte (Santag 4), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998.

Schorr, M., Urkunden des altbabylonischen Zivil- und Prozessrechts, Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1913.
Download this book [http://www.etana.org/abzu/coretext.pl?RC=14509] as a PDF file [18 MB] from ETANA [http://www.etana.org].

Westbrook, R., Old Babylonian Marriage Law (Archiv für Orientforschung, Beiheft 23), Horn: F. Berger, 1988.

Wunsch, C., Das Egibi-Archiv I: Die Felder und Gärten (Cuneiform Monographs 20), Groningen: Styx Publications, 2000.

Back to top ^^
© 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.
Oracc uses cookies only to collect Google Analytics data. Read more here [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/about/cookies/index.html]; see the stats here [http://www.seethestats.com/site/oracc.museum.upenn.edu]; opt out here.