• Middle Babylonian Literary Texts in the Hilprecht Collection, Jena (Abgeschlossen)

    This volume contains editions of literary fragments from the Middle Babylonian period (ca. 1500–1000 BCE) kept in the Hilprecht-Collection in Jena. Presented in full are The Epic of Gulkišar (HS 1885+), a Mythological Narrative on Pa(p)nigara (HS 1886), a Ceremony in the Ekur (HS 1902), and the Games Text (HS 1893), with introductions, transliterations, translations, philological commentaries, hand copies and photographs.

    All texts are of special interest; The Epic of Gulkišar is a Middle Babylonian copy narrating the heroic deeds of its eponymous Sealand I king against Samsuditana, the last king of the First Dynasty of Babylon, the Mythological Narrative on Pa(p)nigara portrays the otherwise poorly known deity Pa(p)nigara, the Ceremony in the Ekur tells us of an hitherto unknown ceremony carried out at the Ekur temple in Nippur, and the Games Text is unique in the fact that it enumerates a great variety of children’s games set in daily life Babylon.

    Erschienen in 2019 als Middle Babylonian Literary Texts from the Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection, Jena. TMH 12. Harrasowitz Verlag. Zum Verlag.

  • Akkadian Magic Literature. Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian Incantations: Corpus – Context – Praxis (zusammen mit Nathan Wasserman, Jerusalem) (Abgeschlossen)

    Incantations are the most prolific literary genre in ancient Mesopotamia. In this monograph we present, for the first time, all known published and unpublished Akkadian incantations from the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, ca. 200 different magical texts dealing with snakes, scorpions, rabid dogs, demons, children’s diseases and sicknesses of the skin, difficult labor, bursts of anger, impotence, and lost love. Each text in this large corpus is carefully edited, translated, and accompanied by an up-to-date philological commentary.  Our systematic classification and philological processing of the corpus led to significant new understandings of the texts.

    The importance of incantations obviously extends far beyond their quantitative aspect. The genre sheds light on the ancient Mesopotamian Weltanschauung, instructing us in the ancient Mesopotamian   emotional constitution hopes, fears and personal beliefs (which often differed from the official god-and-temple-oriented religion). Furthermore, a careful reading of Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian incantations allows us to extract valuable information about ancient Mesopotamian daily life and realia: first and foremost, materia magica et medica, but also about housing and husbandry, cooking, clothing, cosmetics, and numerous references to flora and fauna.

    Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian incantations are challenging linguistically. They contain many hapax legomena, unique words, while known lemmas may render new and hitherto undetermined meaning. As both technical and poetic texts, incantations are hard to interpret. Metaphors abound (a brewing vat stands for a sick person’s bloated belly; a horned bull represents a scorpion with threatening pincers).

    Incantations rarely reveal personal details about the magical expert, on the one hand, and the patient on the other. This study investigates their origin, social background and gender enabling not only scholars of Assyriology but other fields as well to explore this important corpus and advance our comprehension of this fascinating body of magical texts in view of social-cultural history.

    Erschienen in 2022 als Akkadian Magic Literature. Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian Incantations: Corpus – Context – Praxis. LAOS 12. Harassowitz Verlag. Zum Verlag

  • Oneirocritica Mesopotamica: Dream Omens in Mesopotamia. The Series Zaqīqu/Ziqīqu and Other Related Texts

    In many cultures, dreams are seen as tools of divination. Mesopotamia is no different, and the earliest examples of oneiromancy can be traced as far back as the Third Millennium BCE. References to dreams and dream reports are found in a wide-variety of letters, literary texts, and royal inscriptions. Dreams (both spontaneous and induced) were considered signs from the divine sphere which were sometimes immediately intelligible, and sometimes needed extensive interpretation. Our knowledge of Mesopotamian dream interpretation has survived through a lengthy omen series from Nineveh (Kuyunjik), coined after its incipit Zaqīqu/Ziqīqu, and which consisted at one point of at least 11 tablets. Oppenheim called this scholarly work the "Assyrian Dreambook", suggesting it was an Assyrian invention, but in addition to Assyria (Nineveh, Kalḫu and Assur), Akkadian dream omens have come down to us from Babylonia (Old Babylonian, Middle Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian periods) and Susa. After Oppenheim's preliminary work, no systematic investigation has been undertaken into this text corpus. The present study seeks to reconstruct the series Zaqīqu/Ziqīqu and to investigate the development of Mesopotamian dream omens from the Second Millennium and the First Millennium, providing a full edition of the available material, both old and new. This study will also examine the topical arrangement of omens in the series, together with the use of the principle of "guide words"/ "guide signs" by the ancient scholars. Since the series Zaqīqu/Ziqīqu also contained incantations (Tablet I) and rituals averting evil dreams (Tablet X, XI), an in-depth study will be undertaken in order to ascertain their relationship to the larger structure of the series, as well as their affiliation with texts outside the series, such as, for example, the Assyrian Dream Compendium, which is a specific collection of incantations and rituals averting evil dreams.

  • Sumerian Magic Literature. The Corpus of Old Babylonian Sumerian Incantations