Creative Commons image by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Long ago, in the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia, Akkadian was the dominant language. And, for centuries, it remained the lingua franca in the Ancient Near East. But then it was gradually squeezed out by Aramaic, and it faded into oblivion once Alexander the Great Hellenized (Greekified) the region.
Now, 2,000+ years later, Akkadian is making a small comeback. At Cambridge University, Dr. Martin Worthington, an expert in Babylonian and Assyrian grammar, has started recording readings of poems, myths and other texts in Akkadian, including The Epic of Gilgamesh. This clip gives you a taste of what Gilgamesh, one of the earliest known works of literature, sounds like in its mother tongue. Or, you can jump into the full collection of readings right here, courtesy of the University of London.
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Before his passing in 2017, Dr. A.J. Ferrara was completing the final edits of his epic manuscript of Inanna’s Descent for publication by Oxford Press. Please let me know if it is available. Thank you.