Thibaud Nicolas

Title: L’or du soleil : le rôle socioéconomique du temple de Shamash à Sippar à l’époque paléo-babylonienne

University: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales – Paris

Supervisor: G. Chambon & D. Charpin

Abstract:
This PhD will focus on the socioeconomic role of the Ebabbar of Sippar during the OB period. This temple has already been widely studied for the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid period, but yet, the study of its role and function during the OId Babylonian period remains to do.
In this PhD, I aim to understand how deep the social roots of the Sippar clergy were and what interaction the Ebabbar as an institution had with the other “great organisms” such as judges, kârum and Babylon’s kings. I shall first try to show how important the temple was in the royal ideological dispositive. Then, I will try to reappraise a documentation about this Sipparian temple to understand who was doing what in it, and with what kind of socioeconomic impact. The main objective is to understand how the temple could weigh on the Old Babylonian economy not only by its own economic wealth, but also by the mean of using economic tools such as special measures and weights.
To do that, we will examine a corpus of around 400 texts, of which many have never been translated or studied. This corpus should allow us a better understanding of Old Babylonian accounting methods, the implicit information in them, and the brand new look we shall have on this vast documentation.

Contact: tnicolas.enseignant@gmail.com

Beatrice Baragli

Title: Salutations to the Sun. The Kiutu incantation prayers

University: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Supervisor: Prof. Walther Sallaberger

Abstract:
This dissertation offers the first complete critical edition of the Sumerian Kiutu incantation prayers (from ki-dutu-k “place of the sun (god)”), which are attested from the second up to the end of the first Millennium BCE. This work focuses on the definition of the textual typology, its ritual and religious background. Furthermore, this study treats the Kiutus as a part of the broader history of Mesopotamian literature.

Contact: beatrice.baragli@gmail.com

 

Anna Glenn

Title: 
Praise of Kingship: Širgida-Hymns in the Old Babylonian Liturgical Tradition

University:
Johns Hopkins University

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Paul Delnero

Abstract:
Sumerian hymns to deities, sung by professional musicians in the framework of ritual, represent a significant portion of the literary record of the early second millennium BCE, corresponding to the Mesopotamian Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000–1500). Although the words of these hymns, along with the clay tablets on which they were recorded, represent one of the most direct sources of evidence for ritual practice during this period, the hymns’ performative setting has only rarely been the focus of Assyriological scholarship. Instead, Sumerian cultic hymns are studied as works of literature, more closely aligned with compositions learned in scribal schools than with other liturgical material. Hymns are regularly classified according to criteria imposed on them by the requirements of modern scholarship, despite the fact they typically bear native labels (“subscripts”) classifying them according to features of performance. This dissertation aims to shift the scholarship on Sumerian hymns towards understanding their role as performed liturgical pieces, taking as a case study one group of hymns as defined by a native performative label: hymns classified with the label širgida.
A starting thesis of this dissertation is that (1) the significance of the text of Sumerian cultic hymns cannot be appreciated without taking into account their extra-textual, non-verbal elements of performance, and (2) consideration of such texts in light of their performative setting can offer important insights on second-millennium ritual. I test the hypothesis that natively defined hymnic groupings, such as širgidas, can be productively investigated as corpora, and that this approach will allow us to access otherwise obscure performative elements.
Investigating the širgida corpus, I present evidence for their general Sitz im Leben, clearly linking them to ritual performance and royal ideology (Chapter 2); identify patterns in the language of the hymns, considering their potential impact in ritual settings (Chapter 3); more fully explore kingship in the širgidas, arguing that they directly involve the Mesopotamian ruler (Chapter 4); explore the implications of the hymns’ references to material ritual elements (Chapter 5); and demonstrate that, in addition to kingship, the themes of prayer and offering play an essential part in the širgidas’ performance.

Contact:
anna.glenn@lmu.de

Hannelore Agnethler

Title: 
The Mesopotamian gods of fire and light Nuska and Gibil-Girra

University:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Walther Sallaberger

Abstract:
This dissertation deals with the so-called god of fire Gibil-Girra and god of light Nuska taking into account mainly literary sources e.g. hymns, prayers, magical incantations, lists of gods.
The aim of the study is to carve out the profile of these deities, focusing on their functions and roles within the Mesopotamian pantheon as well as their role and impact within the human word.

Contact:
Hannelore.Agnethler@campus.lmu.de

William McGrath

Title:
Resurgent Babylon: A Cultural and Intellectual History of the Second Dynasty of Isin

University:
University of Toronto

Supervisor:
Paul-Alain Beaulieu

Abstract:
This Ph.D dissertation is a study of the Isin II dynasty, a Middle Babylonian dynasty consisting of eleven kings who ruled from 1157-1026 B.C. As a chapter in the history of what is sometimes termed the ‘most famous city of antiquity,’ replete with intrigue though it is, it remains opaque and relatively understudied. Building on the admirable study of Post-Kassite political history conducted by J.A. Brinkman in 1968, an updated discussion of this history will be provided with an emphasis on textual evidence which has become available since that time.

As point of departure, my research will take a holistic approach charting important developments in the social, religious and literary domains which distinguish the Isin II period. A particular focus will be on the production of literature, the intellectual history of the period, and the phenomenon of ‘canonization’. I will seek to frame lasting developments in the scholarly praxis of Mesopotamia as an outgrowth of a major religio-political reorganization occurring in Babylon at this time. More specifically, my work will posit that the re-establishment of native rule in the city of Babylon, together with the re-installment of the city-god to his temple in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I, led to a resurgence of Babylonian power and prestige that would have formative effects on cuneiform culture for the next one thousand years.

Contact:
bill.mcgrath@mail.utoronto.ca

Loubna Ayeb

Title: Le ventre dans les incantations thérapeutiques suméro-akkadiennes : entre magie et médecine

University:
Université Lumière Lyon 2

Supervisor:
Philippe Abrahami

Abstract:
This dissertation focuses on a reedition and analysis of the ŠÀ (“belly”) incantation corpus. It will approach the representation and treatment of gastro-intestinal diseases in incantations, as well as medical texts, to get a broader understanding of the medical tradition in Mesoptoamia.

Contact:
loubna.ayeb@gmail.com

Turna Somel

Title:
Mesopotamian Divinatory Texts from Syria and Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age

University:
Philipps-Universität Marburg

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Nils P. Heeßel

Abstract:
Even as early as the late 3rd millennium BCE, there is evidence of divinatory practices in ancient Mesopotamia. A new text genre listing the meanings of omens appears during the first half of the 2. millennium BCE and attests to the continuous development of divinatory practices in Mesopotamia into the Hellenistic period. Furthermore, textual sources from neighbouring regions in the Near East dating to the Late Bronze Age (second half of the 2nd millennium BCE) demonstrate that this knowledge, and possibly the practices, were imported from Mesopotamia and existed parallel to local divinatory traditions, as hundreds of fragments have been found in Hattusa and Emar, and smaller numbers have been discovered in Alalah, Ugarit, Susa and Kabnak.

While the majority of the aforementioned fragments have already been edited, a comprehensive study treating this corpus of divinatory texts as a whole is needed. The aim of the present thesis is to study this corpus with a focus on the intellectual history of the Late Bronze Age. Of particular relevance are organisatory characteristics, hermeneutical strategies and areas of interest as documented in omen compendia, to be studied through a comparative perspective encompassing Hattusa and Emar, as well as Mesopotamian sites such as Assur, Babylon, and Nippur.

In addition to intellectual history, a major focus of this study is to document the process and effects of transmission and reception in the case of Hattusa and Emar, as well as to investigate whether (and how) the omen compendia were further developed within the local scribal communities. In the case of Hattusa, where translations of Akkadian omen compendia into Hittite are attested, a study of translation techniques is to be undertaken.

Contact:
somel@students.uni-marburg.de

Emily Zeran

Title:
Early Sumerian at Šuruppak: A Secure Palaeography of the Texts from the EDIIIa “Tablet House”

University:
Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Manfred Krebernik

Abstract:
This PhD project treats in detail the 138 texts written on clay tablets which can be confirmed to have been found in association with the architectural remains of a certain building at the ancient city of Šuruppak (modern Tell Fāra, Iraq). In doing so, the potential, as well as the limits, of palaeographical studies on cuneiform tablets will be explored, and a new methodology for undertaking such studies will be outlined. The outcome of this study will be a new sign list (NLAK) for the Fāra Period, to replace the Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen of A. Deimel (1923). This new sign list will provide the readings/values of the cuneiform signs (as confirmed by statistical frequency) as well as a full commentary.

Defining a phase of script to the lifespan of one building will establish a “spine” around which other texts from Šuruppak may be grouped, in order to reconstruct the development of script (and its association with archaeological levels/areas) at this site. It is hoped that other such studies on early cuneiform corpora will one day be arranged alongside this in order to create a relative chronology of the (stylistic and linguistic) phases of cuneiform script between 3400-2300 BC. The envisioned “comprehensive palaeography” may also serve as the means by which the hundreds of cuneiform texts deriving from the art market may be re-contextualized.

Contact:
emily.zeran@uni-jena.de

Daniel Sánchez Muñoz

Title:
Analysis of two terms related with Music in Ancient Mesopotamia: nam-nar and nārūtu(m)

University:
University of Granada

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Antonio Martín Moreno (Professor of Musicology)

Abstract:
Sumerian and Akkadian texts show us a very rich musical terminology whose meaning, however, is not always pretty clear for scholars dealing with the Mesopotamian music. One of the most controversial terms is the Sumerian nam-nar together with its Akkadian equivalent nārūtu(m). Certainly, this term has been previously defined in many several and different ways, like “(professional) condition of the nar-musician”, “musicianship”, “art of the singing”, “hymnic music” even as “Music”.

In this PhD Project, we will try to prove that, even if the meaning of this couple of terms experimented some changes throughout the long Mesopotamian history (an evolution not previously kept in mind in the previous research), its main meaning was “Music” in a broad sense as sound art and social condition, like in our current concept of “Music”.

For that purpose, we will analyse all the mentions of these two terms in our current Mesopotamian textual documentation, having a group around 50 texts from the Second Dynasty of Lagash until the Late Hellenistic Period of many typologies: administrative, lexical and literary (with different subdivisions: myths, praise hymns and songs, literary letters, astronomical texts, etc.) Many of these texts (some of them recently published) had not been analysed in the previous comments of nam-nar/nārūtu(m), mainly based in the Old Babylonian textual evidence.

Those texts will be individually analysed in this project starting from own editions based in the consultation of current copies/photographs in addition to the consultation of the cuneiform manuscripts in their museums. Later, we precise the context of each mention of these terms by a philological/lexicographical study of the most relevant terms in that excerpt with a final commentary indicating what it might be the best definition for nam-nar/nārūtu(m) in this text.

To prove that the main meaning of these two terms is “Music” is highly relevant, since such type of term is not at all common in the past and current musical cultures of the world, which normally have terms for specific manifestations of the musical activity, like the singing, the instrumental music or some types of recitation which Western people might consider as “music”. Certainly, many of the current terms for “Music” derive, as a last resort, from the Greek mousike (even the Arabic al-musiqa!) However, some Greek texts show that Pythagoras learned “The Arithmetic, the Music (=mousike) and the other Mathematical disciplines” with the magicians from Babylonia (Iamblichus, Pythagora’s Life, 4, 19). In this sense, to have a Sumerian or Akkadian term for “Music” might explain also these Greek texts and, therefore, the evolution of our musical history.

This PhD Dissertation will be the first one in the history of my University. In order to prepare a good project, I have previously taken courses on Assyriology in Spain through the CEPOAT (= Centro de Estudios del Próximo Oriente y Antigüedad Tardía) with Drs. Josué and Daniel Justel, Bárbara Solans and Erica Couto. Concerning my international training, I have previously taken courses in Würzburg (with Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer, PD Claus Ambos, Dr. Greta van Buylaere, and Dr. Dahlia Shehata) and Leiden (with Dr. Bram Jagersma, Dr. Jan Gerrit Dercksen, and Dr. Melanie Gross) in addition to studying with Dr. Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel (Université de Strasbourg) through the Diplôme d’Université de Langues Anciennes (DULA).

George Heath-Whyte

Title: 
Bēl and Marduk in the First and Late-Second Millennium BC

University:
University of Cambridge

Supervisor:
Dr Selena Wisnom & Dr Martin Worthington

Abstract:
My PhD research focuses on the god Marduk, who came to be the head of the Babylonian pantheon by the 1st Millennium BC. If people have heard of any Mesopotamian god, then it is probably Marduk, yet despite this, there are still large gaps in our knowledge of him. One aspect of this deity that has received almost no attention is the divine name commonly said to be held by him: Bēl (“Lord”). My research seeks to understand the role of this alternate name of Marduk in Mesopotamian theology in the late-second Millennium and the first Millennium BC.

Contact:
grh36@cam.ac.uk