Sources of Early Akkadian Literature (SEAL) is a joint project headed by Michael P. Streck of the Altorientalisches Institut of the University of Leipzig and Nathan Wasserman of the Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Akkadian, i.e. Babylonian and Assyrian, literature, documented on cuneiform tablets from Ancient Mesopotamia, forms (together with Sumerian and Egyptian literature) the oldest written literary corpus of mankind.
In the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE (c. 2400–1100), Akkadian literature encompassed many different literary genres: hymns, lamentations, prayers to various gods, incantations against different diseases, demons and other sources of evil, love-lyrics, wisdom literature (proverbs, fables, riddles), as well as epics and myths - roughly 900 different compositions (Summer 2019). Many of these compositions are not yet published in satisfactory modern editions or are scattered throughout a large number of publications.
SEAL is an ongoing project which started in 2007. It aims to compile an exhaustive catalogue of Akkadian literary texts from the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE, to present this corpus in such a way as to enable the efficient study of the entire early Akkadian corpus in all its philological, literary, and historical dimensions. Many of the editions in SEAL rely on new collations and photographs.
Users should be aware that online SEAL is a work-in-process. Streck and Wasserman, and their respective Leipzig and Jerusalem teams, regularly add to the catalogue and improve the texts.
In parallel to the online site, SEAL publishes sections of the corpus in printed monograph form as part of the series Leipziger Altorientalistische Studien (LAOS):
N. Wasserman, Akkadian Love Literature of the 3rd and 2nd Millennium BCE (Leipziger Altorientalistische Studien 4): Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 2016.
E. Zomer, Corpus of Middle Babylonian and Middle Assyrian Incantations (Leipziger Altorientalistische Studien 9): Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 2018.
N. Wasserman, The Flood: The Akkadian Sources. A New Edition, Commentary, and a Literary Discussion (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 290): Peeters Publishers, Leuven, 2020.
N. Wasserman and E. Zomer: Akkadian Magic Literature: Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian Incantations: Corpus – Context – Praxis (Leipziger Altorientalistische Studien 12), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2022.
A. Pohl: Old Babylonian Hymns, in progress.
- The Authority for Research and Development, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- The German Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (G.I.F.) Research Grant Agreements Nos. I-890-183.4/2005 and 1022/2008
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Mercator Gastprofessur an der Universität Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Nathan Wasserman)
SEAL is a joint scientific project run since 2005 by Prof. Dr. Michael P. Streck (Leipzig) and Prof. Dr. Nathan Wasserman (Jerusalem). This database is a result of a collaborative effort of the two P.I.s, of their students, with much-appreciated help from other colleagues and institutions. SEAL is a scientific source made accessible on the Internet for the benefit of the entire Assyriological community – scholars and students alike – and for interested people in tangential fields.
No commercial use is allowed.
Michael P. Streck – Nathan Wasserman, Sources of Early Akkadian Literature. Published under a Creative Commons (CC) BY-NC-ND license.
Citation and Credit
For citing a specific SEAL text, use its fixed SEAL no. nnnn. The URL of every text is permanent.
For referring to the site, use: Michael P. Streck and Nathan Wasserman, Sources of Early Akkadian Literature: http://seal.huji.ac.il.