Monday, January 26, 2009

Akkadische Lesestüke (a Review)

Akkadische Lesestüke, by Theo Bauer, is one of the standard books students of Akkadian will use and is an absolutely indispensable tool.

The work is in three volumes. Volume One contains a number of actual texts in cuneiform including (among others):
1) Hammurabi’s Law Code (all 282 laws)
2) Gilgamesh
1) Descent of Ishtar
2) Hymn to Shamash
3) Omens
4) Royal inscriptions of Assurnasirpal, Sargon II, Senacherib, Essarhaddon and Assurbanipal

Volume Two is an extremely useful sign list of Assyrian characters (Old Babylonian characters will not be found here). The sign list gives the character, its phonetic value, its Logographic value (translated into German) and some examples of the sign’s usage.

Volume Three is an Akkadian / German dictionary of the words which appear in the texts in Volume One. This volume also includes a list of personal and place names found in the texts.

I am currently using this book (among others) to translate all of Hammurabi's law code from cunieform into English (I have previously translated the entire law code from a transliteration). I have found the sign list to be easy to use and logically arranged. The glossary is helpful (I read German) and the copy of the text I am working from comes from volume one of this book.

This classic work is available at Eisenbrauns ( for only $28. For those who read German this is a great deal on an invaluable reference tool. Those who do not read German should consider buying it anyway as the texts alone are worth having at that price (please note, I am NOT affiliated with Eisenbrauns in any way, but I have bought books from them on a couple of occasions and have been quite happy with their service).

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