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Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Completed after 90 Years

Scholars at the University of Chicago and the Oriental Institute announced the completion of a 21-volume Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, a project begun by OI’s founder James Henry Breasted 90 years ago. On Monday, June 6 scholars from around the world gathered to discuss the significance of the achievement.

The ambitious project identifies, explains, and provides citations for the words written in cuneiform on clay tablets and carved in stone by Babylonians, Assyrians and others in Mesopotamia between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100.

Editor-in-charge Martha Roth, the Dean of the Division of the Humanities at the University, is one of the world’s leading experts on the ancient languages of Mesopotamia. Roth has been working on the project since 1979. “I feel proud and privileged to have brought this project home.  This will be a foundation for how to do more dictionary projects in the future.”

From the University News Office:

“The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is one of the most important and unique contributions of the Oriental Institute to understanding the civilizations of the ancient Near East,” said Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute. “The Assyrian Dictionary is the single most impressive effort I know of to systematically record, codify and make accessible the Akkadian language that forms the heart of the textual record of civilization in the place of its birth: Mesopotamia.

Read more about the completion of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary on the University’s news page here. The project’s unveiling was also profiled in the Chicago Tribune as well as The New York Times, the UPI science website, and the Associated Press in Canada. To read more about the dictionary project at the Oriental Institute please click here.

Photo by Jason Smith

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