The Earliest Semitic Literature: Ebla and Early Dynastic Mesopotamia

Project: Research project

Project Details


The aim of this project is to produce a book containing a detailed study, editions, and translations of the complete corpus of the earliest literary compositions in any Semitic language. This literature is attested in cuneiform clay tablets from Ancient Syria and Mesopotamia and dates to the mid third millennium BCE (the Early Dynastic period). The sites that have yielded these texts are Ebla (northern Syria), Abu Salabikh (southern Iraq), and, to a lesser extent, Mari (on the Syrian border with Iraq). The tablets from Ebla, discovered in 1975, constitute the lion's share of the project. To date, this whole corpus is available mostly in copies and photographs, only a handful of which have been the object of very preliminary studies or translations. Thus, this literature is currently the exclusive territory of a minute group of scholars. This project will finally make these compositions available, in a more definitive and comprehensive fashion, to a much wider audience.
Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/13


  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $50,400.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.