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67th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale – Eating and Drinking in the Ancient Near East

Date July 12, 2021 - July 16, 2021

The 67th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI), the annual conference of the International Association for Assyriology (IAA), will be hosted by the University of Turin from July 12 to July 16, 2021.

The conference’s main theme is “Eating and Drinking in the Ancient Near East“.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic the 67th RAI will take place on a virtual platform.

A workshop relating to the general theme of REPAC will be organised by members of our team, Nicla De Zorzi, Martina Schmidl and Francis Simons, within the framework of the RAI.

More information about our workshop:

In December 2017 the University of Vienna’s Institute of Near Eastern Studies hosted a conference on Ancient Near Eastern scholarship with the title “Scholarship as Literature: Internal Mechanisms of Text Generation and Rhetorics in Scholarly Texts and Series from Ancient Mesopotamia and Neighbouring Cultures.” The conference aimed to highlight and explore text-internal mechanisms of compilation and expansion in compendia and other types of technical compilations of erudite material in the various fields of Ancient Near Eastern scholarship, i.e. lexical lists, omen texts, ritual and liturgical compositions, and literary compositions. The proceedings of the conference have been published in KASKAL 17 (2020).

Since then, two interrelated research projects on Babylonian scholarship have been established at the University of Vienna. They aim at pursuing new avenues of research in the study of Ancient Mesopotamian scholarly texts by focusing on the micro-structure and the interplay between structure and meaning in these texts.
The project “Bestiarium Mesopotamicum: Animal Omens in Ancient Mesopotamia” (FWF, 2018-2021) in collaboration with the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ÖAW) is developing an online research database which will contain an updated edition of the animal omens from the series Šumma ālu and will allow users to explore the multi-dimensional structure of divinatory lists through the application of computer linguistics to the more “traditional” philological reconstruction.

The ERC starting grant project “Repetition, parallelism and creativity: an inquiry into the construction of meaning in Ancient Mesopotamian literature and erudition” (REPAC) investigates repetition and parallelism as structuring and meaning-making devices in Akkadian literary, divinatory, and magical texts, aiming to demonstrate the grounding of such writings in a culture-specific ‘analogical hermeneutics’ which pervades the core texts of Ancient Mesopotamian culture.

In the context of this workshop, some of the preliminary results achieved by these two projects will be presented by Nicla De Zorzi, Judith Pfitzner, Martina Schmidl and Francis Simons.

The workshop also includes four presentations by guest researchers working on related topics: Beatrice Baragli, Celine Debourse, Gina Konstantopoulos, and Alan Lenzi.

The papers presented within this workshop pay attention to the interrelation between a given text’s form and its function or intention, to the role played by processes of analogical thinking in the development of scholarly-literary creativity in Ancient Mesopotamia, and to the intertextual relations between representatives of different textual genres of scholarly literature.

Beatrice Baragli (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Céline Debourse (University of Helsinki)
Nicla De Zorzi (University of Vienna)
Gina Konstantopoulos (University of California, Los Angeles)
Alan Lenzi (University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA USA)
Judith Pfitzner (University of Vienna)
Martina Schmidl (University of Vienna)
Francis Simons (University of Vienna)



July 12, 2021
July 16, 2021


67th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI)