Most of the Assyrian letters included in this volume have been available in modern critical edition since 1970, when the first volume of my Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal (LAS I) was published. An extensive commentary to these texts (LAS II) has been available since 1983. The prolonged work on the commentary produced many corrections, improvements and additions to the texts edited in LAS L though by and large this edition still retains its value.

The decision to produce a revised and enlarged edition of LAS in the SAA series was prompted primarily by two factors. In the first place, LAS I has long been out of print and it was felt that the publication of an updated version of the corpus, especially in the format of the SAA series with complete glossary and indices, would be a real service. More importantly, the Babylonian letters belonging to the corpus, which were omitted from LAS I for reasons explained there, p. VIII, still remained unedited; making this important material finally available for study had become a real desideratum in view of recent advances in the study of Assyrian royal ideology and religion.

The present edition is based on a computerized version of LAS I prepared, proofread and updated with LAS II by Laura Kataja and Raija Mattila. The English of the translations was revised by Robert M. Whiting. This preliminary manuscript was supplemented with transliterations and translations of the Babylonian letters and the new Assyrian material provided by myself, a preliminary new order of the texts was established by Raija Mattila, and preliminary proofs, including indices compiled by Mattila, were produced.

The final manuscript represents a throughly revised version of this preliminary manuscript. I have personally scrutinized all the transliterations, translations, indices and the glossary, modified the order of texts and the critical apparatus, provided the headings and written the introduction. Thus the responsibility for the final product rests with me. However, the preparation and production of the volume incorporates a tremendous investment of time and effort by Raija Mattila, Laura Kataja and Robert M. Whiting, and it would never have appeared without them. I am deeply indebted to them for their valuable assistance.

Thanks are due to the Trustees of the British Museum for permission to publish previously unpublished texts in their custody in this volume, and to the staff of the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities of the British Museum for continued collaboration received in the publication of the SAA series.

The edition of the Babylonian letters has greatly profited from transliterations and collations made by Prof. Manfried Dietrich of the University of Münster and kindly placed at the disposal of the Project. Dr. I. L. Finkel of the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities and Prof. M. J. Geller of University College. London, collated a number difficult passages at my request. Dr. Julian Reade of the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities once again provided excellent illustrations. I wish to extend my thanks to all these colleagues for their invaluable collaboration.

Helsinki, July 1993Simo Parpola

Simo Parpola

Simo Parpola, 'Preface', Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars, SAA 10. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1993; online contents: SAAo/SAA10 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 []

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SAAo/SAA10, 2014-. 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 [] license, 2007-20.
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