Ancient Knowledge Networks

A Social Geography of Cuneiform Scholarship in First-Millennium Assyria and Babylonia

Eleanor Robson

Ancient Knowledge Networks

Eleanor Robson

Distributed for UCL Press

340 pages | 37 color plates | 9 1/4 x 6 1/4
Paper $45.00 ISBN: 9781787355958 Published April 2020 For sale in North America only
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9781787355965 Published April 2020 For sale in North America only

With Ancient Knowledge Networks, Eleanor Robson investigates how networks of knowledge enabled cuneiform intellectual culture to adapt and endure over the course of five world empires until its eventual demise in the mid-first century BC. Addressing the relationships between political power, family ties, religious commitments, and scholarship in the ancient Middle East, Robson focuses on two regions where cuneiform script was the predominant writing medium: Assyria, north of modern-day Syria and Iraq, and Babylonia, south of modern-day Baghdad. In doing so, she also studies Assyriological and historical method, both now and over the past two centuries, asking how the field has shaped and been shaped by the academic concerns and fashions of the day.

Contents
1. Introduction 2. From ‘Ashurbanipal’s Library’ and ‘the stream of tradition’ to new approaches to cuneiform scholarship 3. Trust in Nabu? Assyrian royal attitudes to court scholarship 4. The writing-board was at my house: scholarly and textual mobility in seventh-century Assyria 5. Grasping the righteous sceptre: Nabu, scholarship, and the kings of Babylonia 6. At the gate of Eanna: Babylonian scholarly spaces before and after the early fifth century 7. Conclusions: Towards a social geography of cuneiform scholarship
Review Quotes
Francesca Rochberg, University of California, Berkeley
Ancient Knowledge Networks offers a fascinating portrait of the social and geographical life of cuneiform scholarship, scribal learning, or ṭupšarrūtu. It examines high cuneiform culture in the terms of the texts’ own taxonomies of knowledge, while taking full account of relevant archaeological evidence and employing micro- and macro-geographical analysis.”
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