Frayne Douglas R. - Old babylonian period

Author : Frayne Douglas R.
Title : Old babylonian period (2003-1595 BC)
Year : 1990

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Foreword. The ancient kings of Mesopotamia ruled one of the two great literate civilizations that set the course of the earliest history of the ancient Near East, Their temples and tombs do not waken vivid images in the minds of the modern reader or television viewer, as do those of the other great centre of early Near Eastern civilization, Egypt. But their cities, some with such familiar names as Babylon, Nineveh, and Ur, have been excavated over the past century and a half, according to the standards of the time, and have yielded an abundance of records of the boasted accomplishments of these kings. These are the Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, mostly telling of building projects and battles, all done ad maiorem gloriam deorum. The inscriptions, in a cuneiform script, are found on objects of various kinds including tablets, prisms, and vases of clay or steles, doorpost sockets, and sculpted wall panels of stone. Inscribed bricks are very common. A tiny cylinder seal, often known only from its impression on a clay tablet, or an engraved gem may give the name and titles of a king. The languages are Sumerian and Akkadian, the latter usually in its Babylonian dialect but with varying admixtures of the Assyrian dialect in documents from the north, in the region around modern Mosul. The objects on which the inscriptions are found are now for the most part scattered around the world in various museums, although inscriptions cut on the face of rocks or on stone building blocks are often still in situ. The principal museums with collections of these kinds of antiquities are in Baghdad, Istanbul, Berlin (East), Paris, London, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The dispersal of the inscribed objects around the world makes their systematic study difficult, and the difficulty is compounded by the practical inaccessibility of many of the journals and monographs in which studies of the inscriptions have been published over the past century and more. The purpose of the Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia Project is to make these texts available to layman and specialist alike by publishing standard editions, with English translations, in a series of volumes. To carry out this purpose an international editorial board has been formed and a staff of researchers and support staff assembled. This process began in the late 1970s with funding from the University of Toronto. In 1981 the Project was awarded full funding by the Negotiated Grants Section of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The unique features of these editions are: 1. Complete corpora of inscriptions are edited, not just selections. 2. Every inscription is collated against the original when humanly possible. 3. In the case of texts conflated from several exemplars, a full transliteration (in the 'score' format) is published on microfiches included with the volume. 4. To ensure accuracy the camera-ready copy is prepared by Project staff. Toronto March 1990. R.F.G. SWEET Editor-in-Chief. ...

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