8 June 2011

CAD: Chicago Dictionary of Assyrian

After a labour of ninety years the Assyrian dictionary from the Oriental Institute of Chicago University is completed. You can access it here and also read there about its making.

It is a monumental and encyclopedic work, a great and praiseworthy achievement. Akkadian, the usual word, I think, for the Assyrian or Assyrio-Babylonian language, has been extinct for around two thousand years but was spoken in Mesopotamia from the Bronze Age and became the lingua franca of the Middle East. It was written in cuneiform on clay tablets, thousands of which have been retrieved from the desert and ruins. As a spoken language it was replaced by Aramaic and koine Greek but lingered on as a written language into the first century CE.

The dictionary (abbreviated to CAD, Chicago Dictionary of Assyrian) sits alongside the Oxford English Dictionary as a massive intellectual accomplishment of our liberal culture.

Would that Cornish had such a dictionary.

Hat tip: