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Of Interest:

Patience is a Virtue

You may have heard about this: the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has finally completed a project they’d begun in 1921 - they have published the final volume in a comprehensive dictionary of the ancient Akkadian language, bringing the project to a close after 21 volumes.

The dictionary covers a huge scope of time, ranging from 2,500 BC to 100 AD, and describes the language that brought the world the Code of Hammurabi, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and which was spoken in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Though usually written in cuneiform, the language is the earliest example we have from the Semitic language family, which includes Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Nabatean, Amharic, Syriac and several others.

Perhaps the most interesting angle to us is the name of the dictionary itself: the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, which was the name by which the language was known when the project started. These days, after a century of scholarship, archeology and argument, the language is known as Akkadian, reflecting the empire run by Sargon the Great from the city of Akkad, commonly held to be the first empire in human history.

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