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SEAL: A Text Corpus of Babylonian and Assyrian Literary Texts from the 3rd and 2nd Millennia BCESources of Early Akkadian Literature is a joint project of the Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Altorientalisches Institut of the University of Leipzig.
Akkadian, i.e. Babylonian and Assyrian, literature, documented on cuneiform tablets from Ancient Mesopotamia (together with Sumerian and Egyptian literature) forms the oldest written literature of mankind.
In the 3rd and 2nd Millennia (c. 2400-1100 BCE), Akkadian literature developed many different literary genres: hymns, lamentations, prayers to various gods, incantations against a range of sources of evil, love-lyrics, wisdom literature (proverbs, fables, riddles), as well as long epics and myths - roughly 550 different compositions. Many of these compositions are not yet published in satisfactory modern editions or scattered throughout a large number of publications.
SEAL ("Sources of Early Akkadian Literature"), which started at 2007, is updated regularly. It aims to compile a complete indexed corpus of Akkadian literary texts from the 3rd and 2nd Millennia BCE, attempting to enable the efficient study of the entire early Akkadian literature in all its philological, literary, and historical aspects.
Many of the editions in SEAL rely on new collations and photos. (For the moment being, these photos cannot be shown publicly due to restricted copy rights.)
As part of this project SEAL will publish the corpus in printed form, in monographs within the new series Leipziger Altorientalistische Studien. Several volumes are currently in preparation:
- N. Wasserman: Old Babylonian Incantations.
- N. Wasserman: Love Lyrics.
- M. P. Streck: Old Babylonian Hymns.
- Elyze Zomer: Middle Babylonian Incantations.
- J. Fechner will publish a monograph on "Altbabylonische Gottesbriefe" outside the SEAL series.