Astronomical Diaries Digital

Head of Project:
Mag. Reinhard Pirngruber, Ph.D.

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michael Jursa

Funded by: FWF

The project intends to create a digital edition of the Babylonian Astronomical Diaries, which will then form the basis for computer-aided analyses of previously neglected aspects of the internal structure of the corpus. The project aims at systematically exploring features such as content range, orthography, syntactic and lexical features and thus introducing an approach that takes into account developments and heterogeneities in the study of a corpus. Despite its longevity, this corpus has so far been perceived as rather homogeneous by previous research.

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Duration: 01/04/18 → 31/03/21

 Bestiarium Mesopotamicum: Animal Omens in Ancient Mesopotamia

Head of Project: Ass.-Prof Dott. ric. Nicla De Zorzi, BA MA
(in collaboration with the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities [ACDH-ÖAW]: Dr. Karlheinz Mörth, Mag. Daniel Schopper, Mag. Saranya Balasubramanian)

Staff: Craig Anthony Harris
Nicole Lundeen-Kaulfus, BA
Dr. Judith Pfitzner, BA MA
Maya Rinderer, BA

Funded by: FWF

The project investigates an ancient Mesopotamian collection of predictions known under its incipit "If a city is set on a height" (Babylonian: Šumma ālu ina mēlê šakin). This composition collects phenomena interpreted as ominous, located in the physical, everyday environment of the Babylonian fortune-tellers, including specific forms of human and animal behaviour. The project will apply the "divination as literature" methodology to the animal omina and show that they should not be seen as a direct reflection of actual animal behaviour, but rather as culturally constructed "bestiaria", in which human individual and collective concerns and values are projected onto animal behaviour. Finally, in cooperation with the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ACDH) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the project will develop an innovative online database for the study of Mesopotamian texts about signology, which will allow linked searches in the original text, in English translations, in the glossary and in metadata on semantics and omen structure, among other things.

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Duration: 01/10/18 → 30/09/21

 The Material Culture of Babylonia in the First Millennium BC

Head of Project: Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michael Jursa
(Collaboration with Prof. Dr. Francis Joannès, Université Paris I Sorbonne)

Staff: Dott. Mag. Rosaura Cauchi, BA
Dr. Yuval Levavi, BA MA

Funded by: FWF and ANR (France)

In the project, data – mainly texts – from the first millennium BCE in Babylonia will be used to achieve a comprehensive record of the material culture of that time. These not only document types of objects that are no longer comprehensible archaeologically, but also enable the reconstruction of production processes. By integrating all available archaeological information, a synthesis of previously unattainable completeness and complexity is achieved.

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Duration: 01/03/19 → 28/02/22

 Late Babylonian Priestly Literature: Ideology in Context

Head of Project: Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michael Jursa
(in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Nathan Wasserman, Hebrew University Jerusalem)

Staff: Iris Kamil, BA

Funded by: Thyssen-Stiftung

The project deals with works of Babylonian literature written in the context of praising of the god Marduk in Babylon between the late fourth and the first century BCE. We will create an online corpus of these texts and offer a contextualization of the material by showing that this material is strongly influenced by the socio-economic and political situation of its authors and by their confrontation with the Hellenistic rulers of Babylonian.

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Duration: 7/2019 → 6/2021

 Repetition, Parallelism and Creativity: An Inquiry into the Construction of Meaning in Ancient Mesopotamian Literature and Erudition

Head of Project: Dott. ric. Ass.-Prof. Nicla De Zorzi, BA MA

Staff: Lucrezia Menicatti, MA
MMag. Dr. Martina Schmidl
Francis Simons, Ph.D.

Funded by: European Research Council

This five-year project, funded by the European Research Council, investigates the relationship between text form and function in Mesopotamian literature and scientific compositions. It focuses on the exact and variant repetition of linguistic phenomena as a means of structuring texts and shows that the use of repetitive figures of various kinds is rooted in the analogous worldview of Mesopotamian learned scribes, for whom meaning was essentially derived from similarity and analogy (observed or constructed). This investigation is based on literary, magical and mantic clay tablet texts from the first millennium BCE.


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Duration: 01/05/19 → 30/04/24

 The King’s City: A Comparative Study of Royal Patronage in Assur, Nineveh, and Babylon in the First Millennium BCE

Head of Project: Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michael Jursa

Co-head: Shana Zaia, BA MA Ph.D.

Funded by: EU (Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-Programm)

This project studies royal patronage in the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires of the 1st millennium BCE using three case studies: Assur, Nineveh, and Babylon. Using a combination of “top down” and “bottom up” perspectives, this study incorporates texts ranging from the ideological royal inscriptions to the economic and administrative corpora of temple archives. The aim of this project is to understand how the king’s patronage of certain cities affected their development, functions, and survival within the larger imperial landscape.

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Duration: 01/09/18 → 31/09/20