This book initiates the reader into the study of Akkadian literature from ancient Babylonia and Assyria. With this one relatively short volume, the novice reader will develop the literary competence necessary to read and interpret Akkadian texts in translation and will gain a broad familiarity with the major genres and compositions in the language.
The first part of the book presents introductory discussions of major critical issues, organized under four key rubrics: tablets, scribes, compositions, and audiences. Here, the reader will find descriptions of the tablets used as writing material; the training scribes received and the institutional contexts in which they worked; the general characteristics of Akkadian compositions, with an emphasis on poetic and literary features; and the various audiences or users of Akkadian texts. The second part surveys the corpus of Akkadian literature defined inclusively, canvasing a wide spectrum of compositions. Legal codes, historical inscriptions, divinatory compendia, and religious texts have a place in the survey alongside narrative poems, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enuma elish, and Babylonian Theodicy. Extensive footnotes and a generous bibliography guide readers who wish to continue their study.
Essential for students of Assyriology, An Introduction to Akkadian Literature will also prove useful to biblical scholars, classicists, Egyptologists, ancient historians, and literary comparativists.