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I. J. Gelb, Introduction, The Assyrian Dictionary, Volume 1: A, Part 1, pp. vii-xxi

[This article constitutes the Introduction to the first volume (A - 1964) of The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD). That volume is available for purchase from Oxbow Books and David Brown Book Company, and is also available online free of charge from the Oriental Institute. For further information on the history of the CAD see here. The complete CAD is available online free of charge. And also see An Adventure of Great Dimension: The Launching of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, By Erica Reiner]

The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD)

Martha T. Roth
Editorial Board:
Robert D. Biggs, John A. Brinkman, Miguel Civil, Walter Farber, Erica Reiner, Martha T. Roth, Matthew W. Stolper.

Volume Pagination Date ISBN Price
Volume 1, A, part 1 xxxvi + 392 1964 0-918986-06-0 $60.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 1, A, part 2 xx + 531 1968 0-918986-07-9 $80.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 2, B xviii + 366 1965 0-918986-08-7 $60.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 3, D xiv + 203 1959 0-918986-09-5 $50.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 4, E xiv + 435 1958 0-918986-10-9 $70.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 5, G xii + 158 1956 0-918986-11-7 $45.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 6, H [Het] xiii + 266 1956 0-918986-12-5 $50.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 7, I/J xv + 331 1960 0-918986-13-3 $60.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 8, K xix + 617 1971 0-918986-14-1 $80.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 9, L xx + 259 1973 0-918986-15-X $55.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 10, M, part 1 xxiv + 441 1977 0-918986-16-8 $130.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 10, M, part 2 xx + 324 1977 0-918986-16-8 Download Terms of Use
Volume 11, N, part 1 xxiii + 382 1980 0-918986-17-6 $130.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 11, N, part 2 xxi + 357 1980 0-918986-17-6 Download Terms of Use
Volume 12, P xxx + 559 2005 1-885923-35-X $130.00 PurchaseDownload Terms of Use
Volume 13, Q xxiv + 332 1982 0-918986-24-9 $70.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 14, R xxx + 441 1999 1-885923-14-7 $95.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 15, S xxiv + 428 1984 0-918986-40-0 $80.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 16, S [Tsade] xv + 262 1962 0-918986-18-4 $65.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 17, S [Shin], part 1 xxviii + 492 1989 0-918986-55-9 $75.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 17, S [Shin], part 2 xxviii + 453 1992 0-918986-78-8 $70.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 17, S [Shin], part 3 xxxiv + 420 1992 0-918986-79-6 $95.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 18, T xxx + 500 2006 1-885923-42-2 $145.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 19, T [Tet] xxxii + 167 2006 1-885923-43-0 $105.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 20, U/W xxxi + 411 2010 1-885923-78-3 $150.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
Volume 21, Z xv + 170 1961 0-918986-19-2 $45.00 Purchase Download Terms of Use
† sold as set with pt. 1

I. J. Gelb

Forty-three years after the inauguration of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project and eight years after the publication of the first volume, H, the Dictionary has been brought to the stage of preparing the A volume for publication, with the ensuing necessity for a general introduction to the whole project.

The first purpose of this introduction is to acquaint scholars with the past history of the Chicago project, its conception and its progress, its present state and plans for the future. The second purpose, equally important, is to acknowledge the help of and to give credit to all the scholars, both resident and non-resident, who have worked on the Assyrian Dictionary in these years, thus making possible the realization of the project in the form of publication.

A few words are necessary to justify the use of the term "Assyrian" in the title of the project and of the published Dictionary. In the early years of Assyriology the term "Assyrian" was commonly used for the main Semitic language of Mesopotamia, for the well-known reason that most of the cuneiform documents then available had been recovered from sites situated in what was once ancient Assyria. With the recovery of Babylonian sites in the following years, many more tablets came to light, showing not only that the two dialects used in Assyria and Babylonia, respectively, were closely related, but also that their users called their language neither "Assyrian" nor "Babylonian," but "Akkadian," after the Akkadians who had established the first great Semitic empire in the middle of the third millennium B.C. under their renowned leader, Sargon of Akkad. As some of these facts became known, the term "Akkadian" ("Accadian") began to crowd out the term "Assyrian" in good Assyriological usage. However, the term "Assyrian" for the Assyro-Babylonian language continues to be used-though on a much more limited and mainly popular basis-in parallel to such firmly established terms as "Assyriology" and "Assyriologist." The aversion toward the term "Akkadian" ("Accadian") in the popular American circles may be partially conditioned by the existence of the name "Acadian" ("Cajun") for the French Canadians of Nova Scotia (and later, Louisiana).

The term "Assyrian" has been used in the official designation of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project since its inception in 1921. While I used the term "Akkadian" in discussing the Chicago project in the two reports on the Dictionary published in Orientalia n.s. XVIII and XXI, respectively, the Chicago group, in general, preferred to continue with the term "Assyrian" and this is the term which appears in the title of the published Chicago dictionary.

In this Introduction I use the symbol CAD for the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, but the term "Akkadian" when it denotes the language often called "Assyrian" or "Assyro-Babylonian" by others.

The CAD is the fulfillment of the dream of James H. Breasted, Egyptologist and ancient historian, the first Director of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and the man who initiated the CAD project in 1921 and was its guiding spirit until his death in 1935.

The extent to which Breasted was responsible for the organization of the CAD project can be seen from the two preliminary reports on the CAD which he wrote as part of the over-all program of the Oriental Institute, namely, "The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago-a Beginning and a Program," chapter III, "The Assyrian-Babylonian Dictionary," American Journal of Semitic Languages VIII (1921-1922) 288-305 (= Oriental Institute Communications No. 1 [1922] pp. 56-73) and The Oriental Institute (Chicago, 1933), chapter XVII, "The Assyrian Dictionary," pp. 378-400.

The extent to which Breasted was responsible for the supervision of the CAD, both in his capacity as the Director of the Oriental Institute and as its guide and counselor, can now be gathered only from reading the letters and the memoranda in the archives of the Oriental Institute. Time and again it was he who pointed out to the successive editors of the CAD the central aims of the Dictionary and the dangers of being distracted from them. When Luckenbill was proposing grandiose plans for publishing cuneiform sources, when Chiera was anxious to lead archeological expeditions to Iraq, and when Poebel was involving himself and his assistants in extensive grammatical investigations, it was Breasted who never wavered and who induced the editors to pursue the central goal, namely the work on the Dictionary.

As sources of information for the history of the CAD I have used the two Breasted reports, just mentioned, as well as the correspondence files of the Director of the Oriental Institute and my own files. It should be noted that while I have good first-hand knowledge of the history of the CAD for the years since 1929, when I joined the staff of the Oriental Institute, my information for the years 1921-1929 is second-hand and rather fragmentary.

The CAD project is in every sense a joint undertaking of all the scholars who contributed their time and labor to the collection of the materials and to the publication of the Dictionary over a period of more than forty years. It is also a truly international undertaking, involving, as it does, the cooperation of scholars of many different national backgrounds.

The CAD undertaking from the beginning to the present has been financed almost exclusively by the University of Chicago. It is a pleasure, however, to record here that as a result of the internationalization of the CAD in 1951 (see p. xvii) certain institutions under the sponsorship of the Union Academique Internationale provided funds in support of the Dictionary, namely Academie Royale de Belgique, American Council of Learned Societies, The British Academy, Humanities Research Council of Canada, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie, Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie, and Sociedt Suisse des Sciences Morales. The sums provided may have been small in terms of money, but they were large in terms of spirit and international cooperation .


The first report of a new, hitherto unknown, writing found in the ruins of Persepolis, was brought to Europe in 1621 by the renowned Italian explorer Pietro della Valle. A sample of this writing published in della Valle's travel accounts evoked no interest in the scholarly world until 1674, when Jean Chardin of France made public another, and better preserved, inscription from Persepolis. Now it was possible to recognize clearly that the Persepolis writing consisted of signs made up of strokes in the form of wedges. As a consequence, the new writing began to be called "cuneiform." More and better-copied inscriptions from Persepolis were published in 1788 by Carsten Niebuhr, a Danish explorer.

The study of the published Persepolis inscriptions soon led to the discovery that they were written in three different varieties of cuneiform script, of which the first one was called "Persian." At that time nothing certain was known about the identity and character of the second and third varieties. It was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the rediscovery of the ancient sites of Nineveh in Assyria and of Babylon in Babylonia by the English travelers C. J. Rich (1811), J. S. Buckingham (1816), and R. Ker Porter (1818) brought to light a number of Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions, that it became apparent that the third variety of the cuneiform script at Persepolis closely resembled the writing of the Mesopotamian inscriptions.

Of the three varieties of the Persepolis writings, the first one, namely the Persian, was the simplest, as it consisted of only forty-two signs. It was on the decipherment of this Persian writing that the efforts of scholars were first concentrated. The basic decipherment of the Persian writing was achieved independently by a German, Georg Friedrich Grotefend (1802), and an Englishman, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1835).

The decipherment of the second cuneiform variety, spurred greatly by the work of Edwin Norris in 1853, led gradually to the discovery that it was used for writing the Elamite language, spoken mainly in the area of Susa. The decipherment of the third cuneiform variety, the most complicated of the three, is due mainly to the work of Edward Hincks, who in 1846 proved conclusively the syllabic and logographic character of the writing. This is the writing in which the great literature of the Assyrians and Babylonians was produced.

With the successful decipherment of cuneiform writing and the subsequent recovery of the many languages written in cuneiform, such as Old Persian, Elamite, Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian), Sumerian, and others, the need arose for a comprehensive dictionary for each of these languages. The need was felt most in the case of Akkadian, the richest and by far the best represented language in the cuneiform script.

The earliest attempts in Akkadian lexicography were rather limited in scope. F. de Saulcy, "Lexique de l'inscription assyrienne de Behistoun," Journal asiatique 1855 pp. 109-197, was concerned only with the lexicon of the Behistfun inscription, while Edwin Norris, "Specimen of an Assyrian Dictionary," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1868 pp. 1-64 and 1870 pp. 1-80, and H. F. Talbot, "Contributions Towards a Glossary of the Assyrian Language," op. cit. 1868 pp. 1-64 and 1870 pp. 1-80, dealt with words selected from a small number of inscriptions then available. The greatest achievement in Akkadian lexicography of the early period from the point of view of size is Norris, Assyrian Dictionary, published in three parts (1068 pages; London, 1868-1872), which reached the root NST and remained unfinished. The lexicographical production of the early period can be rounded out with E. de Chossat, Repertoire assyrien (traduction et lecture) (184 pages; Lyon, 1879) and the much bulkier J. N. Strassmaier, Alphabetisches Verzeichnis der assyrischen und akkadischen Worter der Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia Vol. II, sowie anderer meist unverofentlichter Inschriften (1184+ 66 pages; Leipzig, 1882-1886).

Several characteristics of the early Akkadian dictionaries, or rather glossaries, can be pointed out. They were usually based on cuneiform writing; either the order of the main entries followed the form of the signs, or the main entries were transliterated in Latin characters but the occurrences were cited in cuneiform. The glossaries were limited largely to late Assyrian sources, and within them mainly to the class of royal inscriptions. The works represented not real dictionaries but glossaries of occurrences, and they included not only words of the language but also different classes of proper names.

Soon after the publication of Strassmaier's Verzeichnis, a much more ambitious work began to appear in Germany. This is Friedrich Delitzsch, Assyrisches Worterbuch zur gesamten bisher veroffentlichten Keilschriftliteratur, unter Berucksichtigung zahlreicher unveroffentlichter Texte (488 pages; Leipzig, 1887-1890). As originally planned, the work was to be issued piecemeal in autographed form in about ten fascicles of 160 pages each, altogether about 1600 pages. As actually published, the three fascicles which appeared in three years contained 488 pages and exhausted not much more than one half of aleph, the first letter of the Semitic alphabet. When the impractical and costly nature of the publication was pointed out by numerous Assyriologists in their reviews, Delitzsch gave up his unrealistic undertaking and decided instead to publish a smaller and much more useful dictionary, namely Assyrisches Handw6rterbuch (728 pages; Leipzig, 1896). The new work by Delitzsch was a masterpiece of its kind and remained a basic tool of Assyriology for over half a century.

Based largely on collections of Paul Haupt, then professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a pupil of his, W. Muss-Arnolt, brought out over several years A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language (1202 pages; Berlin, 1894-1905), with many additions from sources overlooked by or not available to Delitzsch. The forte of Muss-Arnolt's dictionary, compared with Delitzsch's, lies in copious bibliographical references to word discussions in Assyriological literature. Additions to both Delitzsch and the earlier fascicles of Muss-Arnolt were provided by Bruno Meissner, Supplement zu den assyrischen W6rterbitchern (106 +32 pages; Leiden, 1898).

The sources utilized in both Delitzsch's and Muss-Arnolt's dictionaries were still largely restricted to late materials from Assyria and, to a much lesser degree, from Babylonia. In the meantime, the recovery and publication of a tremendous body of new materials from the middle and older periods of Mesopotamian history greatly limited the usefulness of the older dictionaries. To satisfy the arising needs, Carl Bezold initiated a new dictionary project in 1912 under the sponsorship of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. The new project differed in two main respects from its predecessors. First, the collection of materials was done mechanically, imitating the process employed by the Egyptian dictionary undertaking in Berlin. This process involved the typing on a card of a section of an inscription containing about thirty words, reproducing the card in about thirty copies, and writing each of the thirty words on a separate copy. The second characteristic of the project was its planned total coverage of sources, approximating in scope a full thesaurus rather than a selective dictionary. An idea of both the process of collecting materials and the extent of its coverage can be obtained from two preliminary articles published by Bezold in Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos.-hist. Klasse 1915, 8 Abh., and 1920, 16. Abh. In the second article the entry alaku and its derivatives cover 54 pages of text plus 14 pages of indices. The size of the undertaking and Bezold's advanced age forced him to give up the thesaurus idea altogether and to prepare instead a brief glossary based on his copious collections. The manuscript of the glossary, completed by Bezold just before his death in 1922, was edited by a student of his, Albrecht Gotze (Goetze), and published as Babylonisch-assyrisches Glossar (343 pages; Heidelberg, 1926). Though without references and bibliographical discussions, the Glossar has served for many years as a useful tool for students.

Based on second-hand materials is Lexique assyrien-frangais (361 pages; Paris, 1928) written by a certain A. Saubin, an unknown in Assyriology. A. Deimel, Akkadisch-gumerisches Glossar (= Sumerisches Lexikon III/2; 480 pages; Rom, 1937) contains a cross index to the Akkadian words occuring in his Sumerisches Lexikon II plus supplementary entries excerpted from Bezold's Glossar.

About thirty years after the appearance of Delitzsch's Handworterbuch, Bruno Meissner began to collect lexicographical materials for a new Handworterbuch, under the sponsorship of the Prussian Academy of Sciences; cf. the initial report in Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos.-hist. Klasse 1933 pp. liif., and several reports in the subsequent years of the Sitzungsberichte. By the time Meissner died in 1947, the work of preparing the materials for publication was progressing satisfactorily with the assistance of E. Ebeling, G. Meier, and E. F. Weidner. In 1949 all of Meissner's lexicographical materials were transferred to W. von Soden for publication. They included the dictionary material proper, as well as the manuscript of an unpublished supplement to Akkadian dictionaries compiled by Delitzsch, and Meissner's annotated copies of Delitzsch's and Muss-Arnolt's dictionaries and of other books. Ten years later the first fascicle of the new publication edited by von Soden appeared under the title Akkadisches Handworterbuch, Unter Benutzung des lexikalischen Nachlasses von Bruno Meissner, bearbeitet von Wolfram von Soden. To date (1964) five fascicles have been issued, containing vocabulary entries from a to katamum on 464 pages altogether. For preliminary reports on the technical side of the production and on some theoretical points of lexicography, cf. the preface to the first fascicle and von Soden's article entitled "Das akkadische Handworterbuch, Probleme und Schwierigkeiten," Orientalia n.s. XXVIII (1959) 26-33.

Side by side with the publication of the more or less exhaustive dictionaries of the Akkadian language, Akkadian lexicographical work has progressed steadily through the years on a more limited level. Since the aim of this presentation is to give an account of the history of Akkadian dictionaries, not of Akkadian lexicography in general, only the salient achievements of the latter can be summarized here.

First, we should note certain topical, temporal, and local glossaries, either published independently or found at the end of monographs dedicated to a comprehensive treatment of certain groups of cuneiform texts. Such are glossaries of hymns and prayers (Cecil J. Mullo Weir), laws (G. R. Driver and J. C. Miles), flora (R. C. Thompson), chemistry (R. C. Thompson), astronomy (0. Neugebauer), mathematics (0. Neugebauer and A. Sachs, F. Thureau-Dangin), material culture (A. Salonen); glossaries of Old Akkadian (I. J. Gelb), Old Babylonian (A. Ungnad, M. Schorr, P. Kraus), Middle Babylonian (J. Aro), and New Babylonian (E. Ebeling, [M. San Nicolo and] A. Ungnad); glossaries of Akkadian at Mari (J. BottBro and H. Finet), Bogazkoy (R. Labat), Nuzi (C. Gordon) and El-Amarna ([J. A. Knudtzon and] E. Ebeling).

Much lexicographical material is contained in logographic sign lists (R. E. Briinnow, B. Meissner, C. Fossey, G. Howardy, A. Deimel, B. Landsberger), as well as in collections of names, such as personal (K. Tallqvist, H. Ranke, F. J. Stephens, A. T. Clay, B. Gemser, J. J. Stamm, I. J. Gelb, et al.), divine (A. Deimel, N. Schneider), geographical (F. Delitzsch, F. Hommel, R. P. Boudou), and months (S. Langdon). Among the scholars who have devoted their efforts to the clarification of the meanings of individual lexical items in recent years many could be mentioned, but above all B. Meissner, B. Landsberger, and W. von Soden.


The plans of the Oriental Institute for the compilation of a comprehensive Akkadian dictionary were based especially on experience gained in the writing of The Oxford English Dictionary and the Berlin Egyptian Dictionary. At the time these plans were developed, it was evident that the work performed single-handedly by certain devoted scholars, which had led to the production of the Akkadian dictionaries of the past, had to be expanded and carried on by a permanent resident staff, assisted by a group of outside collaborators. The need for adequate mechanical equipment, especially for the manifolding of cards, which would reduce the clerical and manual work to a minimum, was also recognized.

One of the important decisions in the planning of the CAD was based on the realization that, in order to do justice to the meaning of a word, all its occurrences must be collected, and that they must be collected not simply as words, but as words with as much accompanying text as would be needed to determine the meaning of the word within one particular context or usage. Thus the collection of "quotations" would lead to the accumulation and, ultimately, to the publication of a full "thesaurus." The second important decision was that a dictionary must be based on historical principles. Since the meanings of words change from one period to another, it is the duty of the lexicographer to study and to present the development of each word in a certain chronological order.

The work on the CAD began October 1, 1921 in the basement of the old Haskell Oriental Museum of the University of Chicago, under the direction of Daniel D. Luckenbill, then professor of Assyriology at the University of Chicago, with John H. Maynard serving as the secretary of the Assyrian Dictionary Staff. To assist them there were two graduate students in the Department of Oriental Languages and a stenographer, making a resident staff of five people. As non-resident collaborators the Oriental Institute secured the co-operation of Leroy Waterman of the University of Michigan, S.A.B. Mercer, then of Western Theological Seminary, and T. J. Meek, then of Meadville Theological Seminary. All through the years Breasted was proud of pointing out that, with the exception of Mercer, all of the first members of the Dictionary staff were Ph. D.'s or students of the Department of Oriental Languages of the University of Chicago.

Later changes in the composition of the CAD staff in this period were the appointment of F. W. Geers, a former student of the University of Chicago, as the Secretary of the CAD in 1923, replacing Maynard when he left Chicago, and the addition of Raymond P. Dougherty, Ira M. Price, and Mrs. Maude A. Stuneck as part-time non-resident collaborators.

The mechanical process of collecting dictionary materials was described in full in the two Breasted reports mentioned earlier. Briefly this was the process:

Each cuneiform document, which might be as short as three lines or as long as several hundred lines, was provided with a transliteration and translation and divided into a series of sections containing up to about fifty words apiece. Student members of the staff received the subdivided text and transferred it by typewriter to a master card especially prepared for manifolding purposes. Special type shuttles were cut by the Hammond Typewriter Company providing all the signs and diacritically marked letters needed for the full transliteration of the cuneiform. The cuneiform transliteration was typed on the left side of the card and the corresponding translation on the right. The copyists then handed over their typed cards to a resident Assyriologist for careful proofreading in order to avoid clerical errors in copying. After this proofreading, each master card was reproduced about fifty times on a duplicator.

At this point the process of collecting materials was transferred to Assyriological workers for parsing. The parser took each section, now available in about fifty copies, and underscored the first word in the section on the first card, the second word on the second card, and so on to the end of the section. At the same time the word underscored was entered by hand in the blank space in the upper left corner of the card. This key word insured the filing of the card in its proper place in the alphabetical files. Finally the parser checked off the proper space on a grammatical diagram at the bottom of each card, indicating the morphological classification of the word. The process of filing cards in Dictionary files was normally performed by student help.

The process of collecting materials for the Dictionary went ahead full speed in the first half of the period under the direction of Luckenbill. His report of June 28, 1923, lists 270,000 cards in the Dictionary files, including not only the individual word entries, but also all the various proper names. The work on the Dictionary slowed down considerably in the second half of the period owing mainly to Luckenbill's other responsibilities, such as the publication of his books and articles and the Acting Directorship of the Oriental Institute which he was asked to assume during Breasted's frequent absences from Chicago on trips to the Near East. Luckenbill died suddenly on June 25, 1927.


In 1927 Edward Chiera was called to Chicago as professor of Assyriology and editor of the CAD, and by 1929/1930 work on the Dictionary again began to progress.

First, the staff was enlarged to include, in addition to Chiera and Geers, the following persons: Arno Poebel, who was brought to Chicago in 1930 as professor of Sumerology; T. Jacobsen, I. J. Gelb, and Arnold Walther, who became assistants on the Dictionary in 1928, 1929, and 1930, respectively; and Richard T. Hallock, a student at the University of Chicago, who began work as a part-time assistant in 1930. From the end of 1931 on, the supervision of the Dictionary was divided between Chiera, who held the official title of "Managing and Scientific Editor," and Poebel, who held the title of "Scientific Editor."

At the same time a step was taken to expand the production of the Dictionary by inviting non-resident, mainly foreign, Assyriologists to participate in the work. This became necessary when it was found that the task of preparing manuscripts for typing and manifolding considerably distracted the resident staff from its main task, namely the production of Dictionary cards. Producing manuscripts for typing might have been relatively easy with good text editions, as in the case of old Babylonian letters or El-Amarna texts; it was difficult and time-consuming with texts which first had to be put together from sources scattered in different text editions, and then retranslated and annotated, as in the case of epics and legends and most of the so-called "religious" texts.

To ease the situation, Chiera conceived a plan whereby production of manuscripts was to be assigned to non-resident scholars, limiting the production of Dictionary cards to the resident Dictionary staff. With the help of F. W. Geers and T. Jacobsen, all the cuneiform sources which by 1929 had not yet been taken in by the Dictionary were broken up into categories, and a list of scholars all over the world who could provide the CAD with manuscripts containing transliterations, translations, and notes for certain categories of texts was made. An honorarium was established in payment for the manuscripts, with variations dependent on the size of the assignment and the difficulties attending the preparation of the manuscripts for certain categories of texts. The outside time limit for the completion of the assignments was set at two years. The scholars preparing the manuscripts retained full rights of publication in whatever place and form they might choose, and the CAD obligated itself to give credit for the completed work in its final publication. This obligation is now fulfilled on the following pages.

Chiera's plan was put into effect immediately, and some forty Assyriologists were approached with the request that they take over individual assignments for the CAD. Those who accepted the assignments and completed them at least partially were Martin David, Josef Denner, Raymond P. Dougherty, Erich Ebeling, Cyril J. Gadd, Benno Landsberger, Stephen Langdon, Julius Lewy, John A. Maynard, Bruno Meissner, Ellen W. Moore, Otto E. Ravn, Joseph Schawe, Albert Schott, Maude A. Stuneck, and Franz Steinmetzer. Those who accepted the assignment, but were not able to fulfill it were Peter Jensen, Oluf Kriickmann, Otto Neugebauer, and E. A. Speiser. Scholars who were asked to take over an assignment, but who found it impossible, for one reason or another, to accept were Hans Bauer, Viktor Christian, Edouard Dhorme, Hans Ehelolf, Bedich Hrozn:y, F. Notscher, Moses Schorr, Sidney Smith, R. C. Thompson, F. Thureau-Dangin, Arthur Ungnad, Charles Virolleaud, E. F. Weidner, Maurus Witzel, and Heinrich Zimmern. In later years the following scholars accepted and fully or partially fulfilled their Dictionary assignments: Georges Dossin, Wilhelm Eilers, Rudolf Scholtz, and Wolfram von Soden.

With so many foreign scholars collaborating with the Chicago staff, the CAD undertaking acquired for the first time a truly international character.

For a list of non-resident scholars collaborating on the CAD, their assignments, and the relative degree of fulfillment of their assignments, see below .

In 1930 the CAD moved from the Haskell Oriental Museum to spacious quarters on the third floor of the new Oriental Institute, later known as the James H. Breasted Hall in memory of the first director of the Oriental Institute. At the same time the old hectograph was replaced by a much more efficient mimeograph machine for duplicating Dictionary cards.

In 1932 the staff of the CAD was increased considerably by the addition of Waldo H. Dubberstein, S. I. Feigin, Alexander Heidel, S. N. Kramer, Ernest R. Lacheman, and Robert L. Sage. Besides these more or less full-time workers, the Dictionary employed the part-time services of George C. Cameron, Arthur Piepkorn, Ira M. Price, and Alfred Schmitz. During this period the secretarial and clerical staff was supervised by Mrs. Mary S. Rodriguez and Mrs. Erna S. Hallock.

The process of collecting materials was the same as in the previous years; every occurrence of a word, no matter how common, was collected and filed. Some changes were made in the Dictionary cards; the designations on the grammatical diagram at the bottom of the card were omitted, and also, occasionally, was the translation of the text.

Edward Chiera died on June 21, 1933, and the editorship of the Dictionary passed to Arno Poebel. The process of collecting materials went on as before, but under Poebel's leadership a much greater emphasis was placed on grammatical investigations, often only very indirectly connected with the main Dictionary work.

In the second half of the thirties some important changes took place in the composition of the resident staff. Thorkild Jacobsen came back from the field expeditions in Iraq in 1936 and A. Sachs was added to the staff in 1939. On the other hand, the staff sustained serious losses when some members left Chicago to accept positions elsewhere, and others, while staying in Chicago, transferred their interests to areas outside the Dictionary.

This retrenchment of the Chicago staff, caused partly by financial conditions, and the fact that a number of outside collaborators had not fulfilled their assignments to the CAD, were the two main reasons for the slowing down of the progress of the CAD.

The progress in collecting materials for the Dictionary in the thirties can be summarized by the following figures: 477,000 cards collected by June 4, 1930, 634,000 cards by March 2, 1932, 762,000 cards by October 25, 1933, and 1,060,000 cards by June 1, 1936.

The outbreak of the Second World War and the subsequent call of several members of the staff to military service brought the work on the Dictionary to a virtual standstill.


In the course of 1945, soon after the end of hostilities in Europe, John A. Wilson, then the Director of the Oriental Institute, and Thorkild Jacobsen took the initiative in reviving the CAD project. Jacobsen went to Europe, visited a number of European dictionary projects, then talked to several leading Assyriologists, there and in this country, and upon his return to Chicago presented his views on the future of the CAD in a lengthy memorandum full of constructive ideas.

In 1946 I. J. Gelb, after his return from military service, presented another memorandum entitled "The Future of the Assyrian Dictionary," worked out in consultation with Thorkild Jacobsen, F. W. Geers, and A. Heidel.

Gelb's memorandum was accepted as the basic plan for the Dictionary and, after having served one year as acting Editor, he was appointed Editor-in-Charge of the CAD project. The task of implementing the plan began in 1947. Its success depended on a number of factors, chief among them the availability of staff to do the Dictionary work, and strict adherence to the time schedules.

The new plan was reported by Gelb in a short note entitled "Reorganization of the Chicago Akkadian Dictionary" and published in Orientalia n.s. XVIII (1949) 376f. Here are its main points:

"The basic requirement in the planning was that the Dictionary be completed and ready for publication within a ten-year period. The task was to be started in October 1947, when it was planned to have the staff completely gathered at Chicago, and it was to be finished by the end of 1957. The planning of the work involved the division of all the materials which should be included in the final Dictionary into two groups: a) the 'musts' and b) the 'others.' The 'musts' include such important groups of materials as the lexical texts and Old Akkadian texts, which have to be utilized completely. These are the texts in which every word is parsed individually. The group of 'others' includes such materials as the mathematical and astrological texts, in which only the important technical terms are gathered for the Dictionary. "The ten-year period is subdivided into three smaller periods: a) First period of four years: Collecting of materials, including completion of the Dictionary files, etymologies of all Akkadian words, and digest of discussions of Akkadian words in the Assyriological literature. b) Second period of one year: Cleaning up and organization of the Dictionary files in preparation for the c) Third period of five years: Writing of articles. Tentatively we visualize the completed article to include the following: Guide word with etymology and digest of discussions; selected occurrences with translations and references; notes with discussions of semantic development, technical terminology, etc.; signature of the author of the article."

The progress of the Dictionary up to 1952 was reported by Gelb in a note "Present State of the Akkadian Dictionary," which appeared in Orientalia n.s. XXI (1952) 358f.

By 1947 the only full-time members of the pre-war Dictionary staff remaining at Chicago were F. W. Geers, I. J. Gelb, A. Heidel, and R. T. Hallock. In addition, two Chicago scholars, namely Thorkild Jacobsen and S. I. Feigin, were able to devote part of their time to the work on the CAD. The former, occupied with duties connected with his position as Director of the Institute, helped in matters of Sumerian, and the latter, occupant of a chair for Judaic studies, helped in matters of Hebrew. Within two years, the CAD was fortunate in securing the services of the following outside scholars: B. Landsberger, of the Universities of Leipzig and Ankara successively, A. Leo Oppenheim of the Iranian Institute in New York, A. Salonen of the University of Helsinki, and J. Laessoe, a graduate student, of the University of Copenhagen.

During the next two years Salonen and Laessoe left Chicago, and in their places came J.-R. Kupper from Belgium, for two years, and Jussi Aro, a graduate student of the University of Helsinki, for one year. We were also able to avail ourselves of the part-time services of Professor Hans G. Giterbock and of two graduate students at the University of Chicago, Mrs. Rivkah Harris and William H. Hallo. Professor S. I. Feigin died in 1952.

In the years 1952 and 1953 the following persons joined the Chicago Dictionary staff on a full-time basis: Miss Erica Reiner from France, and Michael B. Rowton from England. In addition, two scholars contributed part of their time to the work on the Dictionary: Kemal Balkan from Turkey, for two years, and Giorgio Castellino from Italy, for one year. In 1950 Geers retired from the University, but continued to offer his valuable services to the CAD on a part-time basis, and from 1952 on Heidel was completely occupied with a task outside the Dictionary.

The secretarial and clerical work in this period was under the supervision of Miss Loretta Miller (Davidson) and Miss Arletta Lambert (Smith), successively.

In contrast to the early thirties, only a few non-resident scholars were requested to provide the CAD with manuscripts of certain categories of texts in the post World War II years. Among those who helped with their assignments were E. Ebeling, A. Falkenstein, and A. Leo Oppenheim.

The last count of the cards in the Dictionary files was taken on June 1, 1948, when we reached the total of 1,249,000 cards, each card representing one occurrence, following the process of parsing Dictionary materials described above. After that date an innovation in collecting materials by the process of excerpting materials, rather than of parsing, made an exact count of dictionary cards impossible. While for certain groups of texts the old process of parsing continued, it was found more expedient to excerpt other groups of texts directly from scattered text publications or, whenever possible, from publications containing a comprehensive treatment of certain groups of texts. Even the process of excerpting materials varied from one group of texts to another. Certain groups of texts, such as Old Akkadian, were excerpted so carefully that practically every occurrence was entered on cards. Other groups, such as the more recent Nuzi volumes, were excerpted on a rather eclectic basis. For still other groups of texts, such as the mathematical texts, only the glossaries published in the respective works (by Thureau-Dangin, and Neugebauer and Sachs) were cut up and filed under the individual entries. As a result of mixed procedures in collecting materials, either by parsing or by excerpting, and of excerpting one or as many as ten (and even more) entries on one card, it is impossible to evaluate the present number of entries in the Dictionary files which could be added to the 1,249,000 cards counted on June 1, 1948. If I were to allow myself a rough estimate, I should judge that there are between 1,500,000 and 1,750,000 entries in the files.

In October 1949 a complete inventory of all the materials which remained to be excerpted was made and it was found that the task would require 143 work units. A work unit represented the number of cards one full-time worker could produce in one month. Counting five workers devoting themselves fully to the work, the job of collecting materials could have been completed in less than three years from 1949, that is by 1952. With four full-time workers we thought that the task could have been completed by about 1953. By 1952 a new estimate revealed that we had a little more than over nine-tenths of all the materials in our files. Thus in spite of our strenuous efforts, we found that the realities did not correspond with our planning.

Simultaneously with the task of collecting occurrences of words, the CAD went ahead with the task of collecting auxiliary materials. The digest of discussions of words scattered in Assyriological literature, begun in earlier years by several scholars, including Gelb and Price, was brought to a conclusion by Salonen, Laessoe, and Miss Reiner. In dozens of cases, instead of excerpting discussions, sections containing individual discussions of words were cut out from books bought for the purpose, then pasted on cards, and filed under the appropriate entries. The work on Semitic etymologies, begun by Sachs, was concluded by Salonen. The bibliography of cuneiform sources was from the very beginning the concern of Gelb. This bibliography, containing some 20,000 cards, is divided into two parts. One part lists all the Assyriological publications, books and periodicals, with reference to the topic classifications, such as Royal, Old Akkadian, Sargon, and the other part lists all the cuneiform texts by topic classification with reference to the publications.

Beginning in October, 1947, and all through the period under discussion here, regular meetings of the Dictionary staff were held once a week on Friday afternoon, although under the pressure of time these meetings were sometimes reduced to two a month. The meetings were devoted first to the organization of work and then to the discussion of specific Assyriological or general lexical and grammatical topics.

Following the decision of the senior members of the Oriental Institute, approved by the central administration of the University of Chicago, Gelb was sent to Europe in the summer of 1950 to discuss with European scholars the question of the Akkadian dictionaries, specifically the relationship between the Chicago undertaking and the old Meissner Akkadian dictionary project, which was being revived by the West German academies after World War II under the direction of A. Falkenstein and W. von Soden. At the meeting in Marburg with these two and other German scholars it was agreed that the American and German dictionary projects should be linked together in one international undertaking, the results of which should be published in about seven years in the form of one large dictionary in several volumes prepared by the Chicago staff and a one-volume handy dictionary written by the German scholars. During the period of preparation of the manuscripts, it was planned to exchange materials with the aim of achieving integration to the fullest extent: Chicago was to have the privilege of incorporating the results attained by German Assyriologists, and the German group was to have the right to make full use of the Chicago files and materials.

The proposal to coordinate the American and German Akkadian dictionary undertakings was submitted and approved by the Union Academique Internationale (UAI) at a meeting in Brussels on June 22, 1951; (cf. Union Academique Internationale, Compte rendu de la vingt-cinquieme session annuelle du Comite du 19 et 23 juin 1951 (Brussels, 1951) p. 40, and Gelb in Orientalia XXI (1952) 358f. While the "Marburg Agreement" was given up in October, 1954, as being impractical of execution, the official affiliation of the CAD with the UAI is continuing through the intermediary of the American Council of Learned Societies in New York.

Side by side with the work on the Dictionary proper two auxiliary undertakings were being realized in the form of publication of two series called Materialien zum sumerischen Lexikon (MSL) and Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary (MAD). The former, initiated in 1937 and revived in 1951 with volume II, is directed by B. Landsberger under the sponsorship of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome with the financial support of UNESCO. The latter, published since 1952, is written and edited by I. J. Gelb. Until now (1964) eight volumes of MSL and three of MAD have been published, but many more volumes in both series are planned.

In 1952 for the first time the serious work of planning articles and the publication of the Dictionary began. Questions of dictionary-making were explored from purely scientific and theoretical as well as from practical points of view, in the light of previous experience with Akkadian and Semitic dictionaries, as well as from the point of view of general lexicography. The first articles which were written were those on awlu (incomplete) and Jatiru. As the basis for transliteration and transcription of Akkadian, two pamphlets by Gelb were accepted, namely Memorandum on Transliteration and Transcription of Cuneiform, submitted to the 21st International Congress of Orientalists, Paris (27 pages, mimeographed; Chicago, 1948) and Second Memorandum on Transliteration and Transcription of Cuneiform, submitted to the 161st Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Philadelphia (4 pages, mimeographed; Chicago, 1951).

In working on the sample Dictionary articles, it was soon found that in checking the full context, discussions, etymologies, and references, the original publications had to be consulted. In order to make them easily available to the workers, all the important publications of cuneiform texts, Semitic dictionaries, and Assyriological periodicals were moved from the Oriental Institute Library to the main Dictionary room.

While the planning and the supervision of the work on the CAD was done from the beginning of this period by I. J. Gelb in consultation with the senior members of the Dictionary staff, namely T. Jacobsen, B. Landsberger, and A. L. Oppenheim, as well as with Carl H. Kraeling, the Director of the Oriental Institute, the whole arrangement was legalized in July, 1952, by the creation of the Editorial Board composed of three Associate Editors (Jacobsen, Landsberger, Oppenheim) and one Editor-in-Charge (Gelb).

In 1953 and 1954 the Dictionary work was concentrated on two goals, the writing of articles on Akkadian words beginning with the letter H and the preparation by I. J. Gelb of the preliminary Standard Operating Procedure for the Assyrian Dictionary (SOP). The choice of the letter H for the first volume to be published was based on the consideration that this letter represented roughly the average in its number of Dictionary cards in our files (in contrast to, e.g., the very large A and very small T) as well as the belief that it contained words (or roots) which were thought to offer a relatively small number of phonological problems. The SOP, completed in April, 1954, was sent out to other Assyriologists with a request for comments and criticisms. The discussion of the Dictionary plans took place at two meetings of the International Congress of Orientalists in Cambridge, England, in the summer of 1954.

Toward the end of 1954, the Dictionary was ready to enter its final phase, that of publication. Several basic assumptions had been involved in Gelb's planning of the work of writing articles: that the articles be written by the junior members of the staff, supervised by the senior members; that the junior members be trained in linguistic analysis and strive for a presentation of data on an objective and descriptive basis, rather than through what has variously been called here, in Chicago, the "depth approach," "the high semantic approach," and the "Maximalitat;" and, finally, that the number of resident junior workers be increased considerably with the help of international bodies, Union Academique Internationale and UNESCO, both of which had already been approached on the matter and had offered full support to the plan.

On all these points there were strong disagreements among the senior members of the Chicago staff. Tired of the administrative work and of the dissension, Gelb resigned as Editor-in-Charge of the Dictionary at the end of 1954.


After the resignation of Gelb as Editor-in-Charge, a new Editorial Board was formed with four editors, Gelb, Jacobsen, Landsberger, and Oppenheim, the last placed in charge of administering the project. The original plan called for the selection of one senior member as editor of each volume from year to year.

The staff available in 1955 for Dictionary work consisted of the three senior members, Jacobsen, Landsberger, and Oppenheim, and three junior members, Miss Reiner and Messrs. Hallock and Rowton. Gelb went on a leave of absence for one year, which was prolonged indefinitely due to his inability or unwillingness to adjust to the new spirit prevailing in the Dictionary.

On January 29, 1955, Professor F. W. Geers died at the age of seventy after a long and faithful service of more than thirty years to the cause of the Dictionary. What the Dictionary owes him cannot be gathered from the published preliminary reports, nor from the title pages of the Dictionary volumes. He was a quiet and unassuming scholar, ever helpful to students and professors alike, never seeking credit or recognition. His great contributions lie in the thousands and thousands of cards in the files of the Dictionary.

Several changes in the senior staff have taken place in the years since 1955. Mr. Hallock was editorial secretary of the Dictionary volumes in the years 1955-1957; Miss Reiner was co-opted as associate editor of individual volumes from 1957 on. In 1959 Thorkild Jacobsen resigned from the Editorial Board and from the Dictionary because of disagreements with the policies of the Editorial Board. In 1962 he moved to Harvard University. Miss Reiner was appointed to the Editorial Board in 1962.

In the years from 1956 to the present a number of younger scholars, both American and foreign, worked on the Dictionary, either full time or part time. Listed in approximately chronological order, they are: Mrs. Rivkah Harris, Father W. L. Moran, Ronald Sweet (England), Mrs. Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, Burkhart Kienast (Germany), Hans Hirsch (Austria), Erle V. Leichty, A. Kirk Grayson (Canada), John A. Brinkman, Robert D. Biggs, and Aaron Shaffer (Canada). The editorial and clerical work was first under the supervision of Miss Elizabeth Bowman, who was responsible in large measure for establishing the style and the typographical layout of the articles. She was succeeded in later years by Mrs. Marie-Anne Honeywell, and Mrs. Jane Rosenthal.

The work on the Dictionary consisted of two main parts, the collection of materials and the publication of the Dictionary. The collection of materials, especially of the newly published sources, went on as before, but on a much more reduced scale than in any previous period. The main effort of the CAD was concentrated on the publication of the volumes.

Already in the first planning stage of the publication of the Dictionary (1953-1954), it had become clear that with the limited staff available to the Dictionary it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to write the whole Dictionary at one and the same time and to make it ready for publication in one big effort at a certain time in the not-too-distant future. This realization was supported by the experience of other great dictionary undertakings, such as the Latin Thesaurus and the Egyptian dictionary, all of which had been published piecemeal. As a consequence, it was decided to publish the Dictionary volume by volume, one each year, rather than the whole Dictionary at one certain time in the faraway and indefinite future. The present plan is to publish the Dictionary in twenty volumes, each containing words beginning with a certain letter. The seven volumes published to 1963 are: IH (1956), G (1956), E (1958), D (1959), I/J (1960), Z (1961), and S (1962). The reasons for beginning with the letter H were stated previously. The original plan called for the continuation with the letters G, E, D, B, and A, and thereafter to follow the sequence of the alphabet beginning with the letter I (cf. CAD H p. v). However, several factors of expediency, etc., have caused deviations from that plan.

The procedure used in preparing the manuscripts of the individual volumes, although varying in detail from volume to volume, generally followed a certain sequence. The first step entailed the writing of articles by the junior members and the editor assigned to a particular volume. Normally the junior members prepared most of the articles, while the editor of a volume wrote the more difficult or the longer articles. The next step was for the editor to collect all the articles, rewrite and re-edit the individual articles according to need, and prepare a complete manuscript. In these two stages both the junior members and the editor prepared their articles and manuscripts in continuous consultation with the senior Assyriologists at Chicago. According to the official policy established by the Editorial Board, the manuscript of a volume, once completed, was to be submitted to the Board for approval. The members of the Board individually were supposed to read the whole manuscript and to note their criticisms, corrections, and improvements. If accepted as ready to be printed by the vote of the majority of the Board, the manuscript would go back to the editor of a volume, who would then revise the manuscript in accordance with the suggestions and corrections of the Board, and send the revised manuscript to the printers.

In actual practice, the responsibility placed upon the individual members of the Editorial Board to read and to evaluate the manuscripts submitted to them by the editors of volumes was fulfilled in a manner varying greatly from person to person and volume to volume. The manuscripts of some earlier volumes were studied carefully by some members of the Board. In other cases, only parts of the manuscript were read carefully. With later volumes, the efforts of the Board in fulfilling their obligations became less and less.

It is rather difficult to evaluate the respective contributions of the staff, both junior and senior, in the process of preparation of the articles and manuscripts. The first drafts of the articles were composed by several junior members, including Miss Erica Reiner, Michael B. Rowton, Mrs. Rivkah Harris, Father William L. Moran, Burkhart Kienast, Ronald Sweet, Hans Hirsch, A. Kirk Grayson, and Erle V. Leichty. While the original plan called for alternating editors of individual volumes, from the very beginning of the publication period A. L. Oppenheim has acted as the editor of the volumes, assisted since 1957 by Miss Reiner in her capacity as the associate editor of the volumes. On the editors of the volumes fell the main burden of the preparation of the manuscript and the responsibility for its quality. Richard T. Hallock served as editorial secretary of the first two volumes. The helpful assistance of W. G. Lambert, Hans Hirsch, and Ake Sjoberg, in reading the manuscript, of J. Aro, F. Kocher, W. G. Lambert, A. Sachs, and E. F. Weidner in providing corrections and additions, and of Ronald Sweet, Erle Leichty, Richard Caplice, and J. A. Brinkman in checking the references is acknowledged in the prefaces to the published volumes.

The contributions of the members of the Editorial Board consisted mainly of their being available at all times for consultation on difficult problems, and of their reading of the manuscripts. B. Landsberger contributed freely from his great store of knowledge on all kinds of lexical questions, as well as on matters of comparative Semitic, mainly semantic in character. T. Jacobsen was the main guide on all Sumerian matters and helped greatly in smoothing out details of English translations. I. J. Gelb helped mainly with grammatical problems.

The lemmata (entries) have been listed in the published Dictionary strictly by words, not by roots, and in the order of the Latin, not (West) Semitic alphabet, thus reverting to the arrangement of the CAD as conceived in the early twenties. The original files of the Dictionary listed words in the order of the Latin alphabet. Then, in the late thirties, the files were reorganized by A. Walther, under instructions from A. Poebel, so that that words were listed by roots and in the order of the Semitic alphabet. In 1948-1949 the Dictionary files were again reorganized, this time by A. Salonen and J. Laessoe, following the order favored by I. J. Gelb. The order of the roots was changed to conform with the order of the Latin alphabet, but the arrangement of the words under each root was alphabetical, the only exception being that the prefixed forms were always listed at the end of each root. At the same time, copies of lists of words provided with provisional translations, 630 pages each, were typed and distributed to the members of the resident staff to serve as a convenient index to the collections of the CAD files, or as a glossary based on the texts incorporated in these files. Beginning with 1955, the CAD files were partly reorganized to conform to the order followed in the published volumes of the Dictionary. The original plan to publish supplements containing additions and corrections (cf. CAD H p. v), carried out only in CAD G pp. 149-158, was given up in the following volumes.

For the treatment of the lemmata and for the form and style of presentation, see my comments to be published separately. For the time being, see my article, "Lexicography, Lexicology, and the Akkadian Dictionary," published in Misceldnea Homenaje a Andre Martinet, Estructuralismo e Historia II (Tenerife, 1958) pp. 70ff.

One more important point remains to be discussed here and that is the matter of the byproducts of the CAD. Since the main aim of the undertaking has been the publication of the Dictionary, naturally its principal effort through the years has been concentrated on the collection of materials to be used in the published product, namely lexicographical data gathered in the main Dictionary files. But side by side with this main collection of data a tremendous amount of material has been gathered which could be and is being used for purposes other than the Dictionary proper.

Here is a list of the various files in the CAD collections: Main Dictionary entries; Akkadian entries in the ancient lexical texts; Sumerian entries in the ancient lexical texts; Akkadian entries in the Old Akkadian period; Sumerian entries in the Old Akkadian period; Sumerian entries in the Old Babylonian economic texts; Akkadian pronominal suffixes; Old Assyrian (Cappadocian) file; Susa file; Nuzi file; personal names; geographical names; divine names; names of months; names of temples and gates; cuneiform numbers; digest of discussions and etymologies; additions to Deimel, Sumerisches Lexikon; museum numbers of cuneiform texts; sets of transliterations and translations of texts; bibliography of cuneiform sources; and additions to the published volumes of the CAD.


Resident Staff

Aro, Jussi: Part-time Assistant, 1951-1952.
Balkan, Kemal: Part-time Assistant, 1952-1954.
Biggs, Robert D.: Assistant, 1963 to present.
Brinkman, John A.: Assistant, 1963 to present.
Cameron, George C.: Part-time Collaborator, 1931-1948.
Castellino, Giorgio: Part-time Assistant, 1953-1954.
Chiera, Edward: Editor, 1927-1931; Managing and Scientific Editor, 1931-1933. Died: June 21, 1933.
Civil, Miguel: Part-time Collaborator, 1963 to present.
Dubberstein, Waldo H.: Assistant and part-time Collaborator, 1932-1942.
Feigin, Samuel I.: Assistant and part-time Collaborator, 1932-1950. Died: January 3, 1950.
Geers, Frederick W.: Secretary, 1923-1950; Emeritus, 1950; Collaborator, 1951-1952. Died: January 29, 1955.
Gelb, Ignace J.: Assistant, 1929-1944 (Leave of absence, 1944-1945); Acting Editor, 1946; Editor-in-Charge, 1947-1955; Editor, 1955 to present.
Grayson, A. Kirk: Assistant, 1962-1963.
Guterbock, Hans G.: Part-time Collaborator, 1950 to present.
Hallo, William W.: Part-time Assistant, 1955-1956.
Hallock, Richard T.: Assistant, 1930 to 1941 (Leave of absence, 1941-1947); Assistant, 1947-1955; Editorial Secretary, 1955-1957.
Harris, Rivkah: Part-time Assistant, 1957, 1959, 1961.
Heidel, Alexander: Assistant and part-time Collaborator, 1932-1955. Died: June 19, 1955.
Hirsch, Hans: Assistant, 1960-1961; Collaborator, 1962.
Jacobsen, Thorkild: Assistant, 1928-1929 and 1936-1946; Associate, 1946-1952; Associate Editor, 1952-1955; Editor, 1955-1959.
Kienast, Burkhart: Assistant, 1958-1960.
Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn: Part-time Assistant, 1957-1963.
Kramer, Samuel N.: Assistant and part-time Collaborator, 1932-1942.
Kupper, Jean-Robert: Assistant, 1949-1951.
Lacheman, Ernest R.: Assistant, 1932-1935.
Laessoe, Jorgen: Assistant, 1948-1951.
Landsberger, Benno: Collaborator, 1932-1937; Consultant, 1948-1952; Associate Editor, 1952-1955; Emeritus, 1955; Editor, 1955 to present.
Leichty, Erle V.: Assistant, 1960-1963.
Luckenbill, Daniel D.: Editor, 1921-1927. Died: June 25, 1927.
Maynard, John A.: Secretary, 1921-1923; Assistant, 1928; Collaborator, 1927, 1929-1935.
Moran, William L.: Assistant, 1956-1957.
Oppenheim, A. Leo: Associate, 1947-1952; Associate Editor, 1952-1955; Editor-in-Charge, 1955 to present.
Piepkorn, Arthur: Part-time Collaborator, 1932.
Poebel, Arno: Collaborator, 1930; Scientific Editor, 1931-1933; Editor, 1933-1946; Retired: March 30, 1946. Died: March 3, 1958.
Price, Ira M.: Part-time Collaborator, 1932. Died: 1939.
Reiner, Erica: Assistant, 1952-1957; Associate Editor of volumes, 1957-1962; Editor, 1962 to present.
Rowton, Michael B.: Assistant, 1952 to present.
Sachs, Abraham: Assistant, 1939-1941. Sage, Robert L.: Assistant, 1932-1936.
Salonen, Armas I.: Assistant, 1947-1949.
Schmitz, Alfred: Part-time Assistant, 1931-1932. Shaffer, Aaron: Assistant, 1963-1964.
Sjoberg, Ake: Part-time Collaborator, 1963 to present.
Stuneck, Maude A.: Assistant, 1927-1929, 1932; Collaborator, 1929, 1930, 1932-1935.
Sweet, Ronald F. G.: Assistant, 1956-1959.
Walther, Arnold: Editorial Assistant, 1930-1938; Died: May 18, 1938.
Wilson, James V. Kinnier: Assistant, 1951-1952.

Non-Resident Collaborators and their Dictionary assignments

David, Martin: Middle and New Assyrian economic and legal texts (KAJ 1-156; Johns, ADD 1-805; misc.). Denner, Josef: Liver omens.
Dossin, Georges: Akkadian economic and legal texts from Susa.
Dougherty, Raymond P.: New Babylonian economic and legal texts (BIN I, II; BRM I; YOS VII).
Ebeling, Erich: Bilingual religious texts; medical texts; New Babylonian letters (BIN I; TCL IX; YOS III); Uruanna.
Eilers, Wilhelm: Middle and New Assyrian economic and legal texts (KAV; TCL IX; VAS I;
Falkenstein, Adam: Bilingual religious texts (Lugale and Angim).
Gadd, C. J.: New Babylonian letters (CT XXII).
Landsberger, Benno: Lexical texts. Langdon, S.: Hemerologies; wisdom texts.
Lewy, Julius: Cappadocian texts (about 800 economic and legal texts).
Maynard, John A.: Work assignment unknown.
Meek, T. J.: Work assignment unknown.
Meissner, Bruno: The Shurpu series; King, BMS.
Mercer, S.A.B.: El Amarna letters.
Moore, Ellen W.: New Babylonian economic and legal texts (BRM II; TCL XII, XIII; VAS III, IV, V, VI).
Oppenheim, A. Leo: Old Babylonian economic and legal texts.
Ravn, O.: General omens.
Shawe, Joseph: Kassite letters.
Scholtz, Rudolf: Rituals (very few texts delivered).
Schott, Albert: Astronomical and astrological texts (very few texts delivered).
von Soden, Wolfram: Literary texts (scattered materials).
Steinmetzer, Franz: Kudurrus.
Stuneck, Maude A.: New Babylonian economic and legal texts (Strassmaier).
Waterman, Leroy: New Assyrian letters.


James H. Breasted, "The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago-a Beginning and a Program," Chapter III, "The Assyrian-Babylonian Dictionary," American Journal of Semitic Languages, VIII (1921-1922) 288-305 = Oriental Institute Communications No. 1 (1922) pp. 56-73.

Breasted, The Oriental Institute (Chicago, 1933), Chapter XVII, "The Assyrian Dictionary," pp. 378-400.
I. J. Gelb, "Reorganization of the Chicago Akkadian Dictionary," Orientalia, n.s. XVIII (1949) 376f.
Gelb, "Present State of the Akkadian Dictionary," Orientalia, n.s. XXI (1952) 358f.

Gelb, Standard Operating Procedure for the Assyrian Dictionary (Chicago, 1954; 129 pages, mimeographed).

Gelb, "Lexicography, Lexicology, and the Akkadian Dictionary," Misceldnea Homenaje a Andre Martinet, Estructuralismo e Historia II (Tenerife, 1958) pp. 63-75.

[This article constitutes the Introduction to the first volume (A 1 - 1964) of The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD). That volume is available for purchase from Oxbow Books and David Brown Book Company, and is also available online free of charge from the Oriental Institute. For further information on the history of the CAD see here.]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten years of Open Access Publication at The Oriental Institute

It was ten years ago that a New OI Electronic Publications Policy was announced. It had been approved on October 27, 2004, with a unanimous vote from the faculty of the Oriental Institute, under the direction of Director Gil J. Stein.  The policy was subsequently implemented as The Electronic Publications Initiative of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

In the space of ten years the policy was implemented with respect to all new and back-list titles. By 2014 the project gathered more than 770 titles, 130,991 files, in 546.08 gigabytes, and listed in:
OIC 26. Publications of the Oriental Institute, 1906-2014: Exploring the History and Civilizations of the Near East. Edited by Thomas G. Urban and Leslie Schramer. 2014.
For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online you may consult the Ancient World Online's list:

Monday, June 30, 2014

OI Staff Newsletter

 [First posted in OI History 13 February 2009, updated 30 June 2014]

Beginning in February 1998, with the encouragement and support of Gene Gragg who was then Director of the Oriental Institute, I compiled, edited and distributed by email an internal newsletter for the staff of the Oriental Institute. It chronicled the activities of the departments of the OI, and of individual scholars and senior students at the OI. It was distributed widely in the University of Chicago community by means of a listhost mailing list, but its archive was not publicly available.

It appeared on or about the first Monday of each month of the academic year. All told there are 63 issues which appeared between February 1998 and March 2005. It began at about the time of the completion of the basic construction of the New Wing of the Oriental Institute. It ceased at the time I left the Oriental Institute.

It provides a very interesting monthly snapshot of the activities of the OI over that seven year period, and many of the words appearing in it, reappear in later forms in the Oriental Institute Annual Reports.

In the early 1930's there had been another such effort: "Bulletin to the Staff of the Oriental Institute", of which only a couple of issues appeared.

Unfortunately, as with the old ANE list, the online archive of the staff newsletter no longer exists. It seems now likely that the only remaining digital version is resident on the hard drive of a now failing laptop of my own. Fortunately, there is a hard copy on the shelf in the OI Research Archives.

Thanks to the work of OI Research Archivist, Bibliographer Foy Scalf, who began to scan the had copies and upon discovering that they were incomplete, urging me to try to recover the lost files from a ten year old laptop, we now have a complete set available. So a small piece of Oriental Institute microhistoy in now recovered and preserved. They are available at Oriental Institute Staff Newsletter, and via the links below: