Preface

In the present volume we offer only those Kuyunjik letters that were written in the Neo-Babylonian dialect and that belong to the correspondence of Sargon II (721-705) and Sennacherib (704-681) with their subjects in Babylonia.

The text of these letters was compiled in the mid- l 960s. The majority of them, published for the first time a hundred years ago by R. F. Harper in the collection Assyrian and Babylonian letters belonging to the Kouyunjik collection of the British Museum (ABL) (London - Chicago 1892-1914), were subjected to a thorough epigraphical comparison of the cuneiform texts with the original clay tablets, and as a result of this examination sometimes considerably corrected. The remaining part of the letters, still unpublished at the time, were copied and presented in the volume Cuneiform texts from Babylonian tablets in the British Museum (Part 54), Neo-Babylonian letters from the Kuyunjik collection (London 1979). The wording of these texts was confirmed by repeated collations throughout the following years. In the last quarter of the 20th century I focused my research in

In the last quarter of the 20th century I focused my research in Akkadian studies in the area of North-West Semitic, Ugaritic and the history of religion in the ancient Near East. It was due to this focus that work on the Kuyunjik letters had to be reduced to one day a week on average. This has naturally delayed the edition of the Neo-Babylonian corpus of letters. While the work on these letters took a secondary role during the subsequent years, scholarly exchanges with colleagues in seminars, colloquia, and workshops helped to avoid a threatening standstill. Two names come to mind in this context: Simo Parpola of Helsinki, with whom I became friends while working on the Kuyunjik tablets in the British Museum; and Charlotte Schulz-Kampthenkel (21 May 1913 - 24 August 1993) of Hamburg, who made researching the culture and history of Babylonia during the Sargonid period the focal point of her interests for the last decades of her eventful life. To her I am dedicating this volume, whose completion she did not live to see, as a way of thanking her both for her engagement, and in remembrance for her weekly trips to Munster after 1974 in rebus neo-Babyloniaca, carrying heavy luggage and giving new impulses to Babylonian studies.

Simo Parpola provided invaluable assistance for preparing the volumes of letters of Sargon and Sennacherib: he included the corpus of the Neo-Babylonian letters using a system for electronic data processing which he had developed for his State Archives of Assyria Project. His KWIC index of Neo-Babylonian letters provided me and my co-workers with a major step forward for further progress. It allowed us to connect words in texts in a way that an old fashioned paper based datafile could not have done. Thus we also participated in one of the most successful projects of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in our times and were able to push ahead with our work on the corpus of Neo-Babylonian letters.

In addition, I want to thank Simo Parpola especially for his personal dedication during the prepartion of this volume for printing. As a master of his field, he not only deciphered my handwriting, but also identified mistakes and inaccuracies. Finally, a special thanks is owed to Inka Parpola and Ronald Mayer-Opificius for their pains in translating my German original into English.

Manfried Dietrich

Münster, April 2003

Manfried Dietrich

Manfried Dietrich, 'Preface', The Neo-Babylonian Correspondence of Sargon and Sennacherib, SAA 17. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 2003; online contents: SAAo/SAA17 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/saa17preface/]

 
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