The Development of Akkadian hymns in 2nd and early 1st millennium Mesopotamia: Literary form, language and style, intellectual context (Arbeitstitel)
Universität Ca' Foscari Venedig und Universität Würzburg
Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer und Prof. Dr. L. Milano
This research project focuses on a group of first-millennium Akkadian literary hymns celebrating deities, which stand out in the corpus of Akkadian literary texts in terms of poetic form and content. They share various features, the first and most evident of which is their great length of uniformly 200 lines.Sharing precisely the same number of lines can hardly be a coincidence and indicates that these compositions were understood as belonging to a common genre and may have formed a specific body of texts. Moreover, they are characterized by an abundant use of rhetorical figures, and also their literary structure shows a number of significant similarities. In addition to these elements, the hymns share the absence of any explicit cultic context and, indeed, of any indications about their use, function or social setting. Their literary style may suggest that these hymns had a purely literary purpose, and may never have been used as texts for recitation in religious practice. This project aims to offer new editions of some of the best preserved Akkadian Great Hymns, and to complete a comprehensive study of the corpus as a whole. It will also analyze the substantial and formal features of the hymns and investigate the parallels with different texts, in order to better clarify the Sitz im Leben of these poems.
Aggressive Magic in Mesopotamia: Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Magic (Arbeitstitel)
Erstbetreuer: Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer
This project aims to complete a comprehensive study of aggressive magic in Mesopotamia from the third to the first millennium BCE. Aggressive magic can be defined as the use of rituals and incantations for the purpose of gaining advantage or control over an opponent or another person. The research will take an inductive approach and will be based on the study of primary sources written in Sumerian and Akkadian. It will combine both synchronic and diachronic perspectives and will examine the changes and the development throughout the millennia of rituals and incantations intended to influence humans. It will also evaluate the place of aggressive magic in the Mesopotamian magic system – between legitimate magic, carried out by the incantation priest, and illegitimate/illegal magic performed by the witch.
Conceptions of Transgression and its Consequences in the Ancient Mesopotamian Exorcistic Corpus (Arbeitstitel)
University of Oxford und Universität Würzburg
Erstbetreuer: Dr. Frances Reynolds (Oxford); Mitbetreuer: Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer
My doctoral research examines the portrayal of suffering in rituals of the Mesopotamian exorcistic corpus (āšipūtu) that was attributed to the consequences of an individual’s transgressive actions. Rituals of the āšipūtu corpus that are concerned with these sources of suffering primarily aim to counter māmītu-curse and arratu-curse, and these concepts therefore form the main focus of my dissertation. The role of māmītu as a ‘self-curse’ that punishes transgression has long been recognized in the modern literature, but new material allows for a reassessment of arratu-curse, demonstrating that it served as a complementary concept to māmītu-curse. My dissertation is centred around a tripartite structure. First, I examine the portrayal of specific transgressive actions as the potential causes of suffering. Certain aspects of this portrayal, however, problematize a direct link between an individual’s actions and divine punishment: the sufferer’s ignorance of their actions; the possibility of contracting suffering through direct or indirect contact with a contagious person or contaminated materials; and the portrayal of ‘self-curse’ as externalized, demon-like entities. Second, I look at the manifestation of suffering in social, economic, and cultic problems, as well as physical and psychological symptoms. Finally, I assess the methods employed by the exorcist to remove the patient’s state of suffering, including appealing to the gods for mercy, removing the physical manifestations of impurity, and treating the internal symptoms. The way these methods were understood to work provides further insight into the exorcist’s conceptualization of transgression and divine punishment. My findings suggest a significant new approach to the theology of sin and divine punishment in late Mesopotamian scholarship.
Ištar in Hatti: The Disambiguation of Šawuška and Associated Deities in Hittite Scribal Practice (Arbeitstitel)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Erstbetreuer: Prof. Dr. Gary Beckman; Mitglied des supervisory committee: Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer