Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Department ofClassics and Ancient
Mediterranean Studies

CAMS 472: Akkadian

CAMS 472: Akkadian

Akkadian is the cover term for the East Semitic dialects spoken and written in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) from the mid-third millennium b.c.e. to about the first century c.e. These dialects (Babylonian and Assyria) are all quite similar. As is customary, the course will focus on Old Babylonian, as this is the ‘classical’ variety of the language, and served as the basis for the dialect of the vast majority of later Akkadian texts (Standard Babylonian). This course aims to familiarize students with the basics of Akkadian grammar and enable them to read a wide variety of genres: legal texts, letters, omens, royal inscriptions, and literary compositions. Because of the specific nature of the writing system and the fact that many texts are available only in copies, students will also be introduced to the cuneiform script, its basic structure, and a basic repertoire of signs. Every meeting will follow a similar structure: the first part will be devoted to the exercises corresponding to the lesson in the textbook that was explained the previous day; and the second part will be an explanation of the next lesson, the exercises of which will have to be prepared for the next meeting. Students will be required to do all the assigned exercises in advance, and participate in class. Special emphasis will be put on class participation: every student will be asked to read and translate in class. Furthermore, occasional quizzes are by no means a remote possibility. In addition, there will be a mid-term and a final examination. This course complements other existing courses in areas such as Ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical studies. Classics, Ancient History, and Linguistics. Moreover, this is one of the courses in CAMS that provide an introduction to an essential language of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern regio


Gonzalo Rubio
Associate Professor of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies