Cuneiform Studies

Assyriology and Sumerology

Under ordinary circumstances, the following courses are required in Years 1 through 3 of the Assyriology and Sumerology program: Twenty-seven courses, including at least fifteen courses in Akkadian and Sumerian (with a minimum of five courses in Sumerian), and the three courses that comprise the Ancient Near Eastern History sequence. The nine remaining courses are electives that are to be chosen from either the same areas, allied fields of ancient Near Eastern studies, or other areas as appropriate.  The choice of electives should shape a broad and well-conceived plan of study that balances language study (either additional courses in Sumerian, Akkadian, or other languages) with appropriate course offerings in Mesopotamian history, archaeology, and art history.  In all cases, the plan of study must be approved by the Assyriology and Sumerology faculty.

After a maximum of three years comprising at least twenty-seven courses, as outlined above, students prepare for a qualifying exam that is to be held at the latest by the end of the autumn quarter of their fourth year.  This exam can be oral, written or a combination of the two, to be determined by the faculty.  The topic of the exam will be tailored towards the interests and needs of the individual student with an eye to the dissertation topic while also strengthening skills requiring improvement.  The exam provides an opportunity to read widely both primary and secondary texts and aims to establish a solid practical and theoretical base for the more focused dissertation research that follows.  Before the end of their fourth year students shall submit a dissertation proposal and will have to be admitted to candidacy.  

Hittite and Anatolian Languages, History and Culture

The program for Hittite and Anatolian Languages, History, and Culture is primarily aimed at philological training including basics in Akkadian and Sumerian. To guarantee a well-rounded training a historical and an archaeological component are included.

Within a regular program not all Anatolian languages (other than Hittite) can be taught since they rotate through more than 4 years. These languages not only include the Indo-European Anatolian Languages Palaic, Cuneiform Luwian, Hieroglyphic Luwian, Lydian, Lycian, Carian, Pisidic and Sidetic but also Hurrian. Apart from Hieroglyphic Luwian covering two quarters (First and Second millennium texts in that order) classes in these languages take one quarter each (Lydian, Lycian, Hurrian) or are combined in one (Palaic and Cuneiform Luwian, and Carian, Pisidic and Sidetic). This means that the students are strongly urged to study some of these by themselves.

In Years 1 and 2 the following 18 courses are required:

  • 3 Elementary Hittite
  • 3 Advanced Readings in Hittite
  • 1 First-Millennium Hieroglyphic Luwian
  • 1 other Anatolian language
  • 3 History of the Ancient Near East (sequence including Anatolian history)
  • 2 Anatolian Archaeology
  • 3 Elementary Akkadian
  • 2 Elementary Sumerian

In Year 3 the following 9 courses are required as a minimum:

  • 5 Advanced Readings in Hittite
  • 1 Second Millennium Hieroglyphic Luwian
  • 3 other Anatolian languages.

Changes in the above program are possible in order to accommodate individual interests (e.g. more Sumerian for somebody who wants to make more Akkadian in the form of Old Assyrian to study the earliest period of Anatolian history, or peripheral Akkadian for the relations with Hittite satellites like Alalakh, Emar or Ugarit, or an Egyptian component to study Egyptian-Hittite relations).

Before the end of Year Two the reading examination in German is required. For the second modern language students are strongly advised to take Italian instead of French.

After a maximum of three years comprising at least twenty-seven courses, as outlined above, students prepare for a qualifying exam that is to be held at the latest by the end of the autumn quarter of their fourth year.  This exam can be oral, written or a combination of the two, to be determined by the faculty.  The topic of the exam will be tailored towards the interests and needs of the individual student with an eye to the dissertation topic while also strengthening skills requiring improvement.  The exam provides an opportunity to read widely both primary and secondary texts and aims to establish a solid practical and theoretical base for the more focused dissertation research that follows.  Before the end of their fourth year students shall submit a dissertation proposal and will have to be admitted to candidacy.