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Tutorial Akkadian


Admission requirements

This course is open to MA and research MA students in Classics and Ancient Civilisations.

The course will be taught in Dutch or English, depending on the first language of participating students.


Akkadian was the Semitic language spoken in Ancient Mesopotamia by Babylonians and Assyrians. It is recorded almost uninterruptedly from c. 2300 BCE to 75 CE on clay tablets written in cuneiform script. This course will introduce students to the grammar and vocabulary of Akkadian, the basics of the cuneiform script, and the principal research tools in the field of Assyriology. We focus on the Old-Babylonian dialect of Akkadian and will use, among other samples, excerpts from the Code of Hammurabi as a means to practice and test reading skills.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to read basic Akkadian texts in the original script. The Tutorial Akkadian is specifically designed as a crash-course for students with little prior language training. It will equip them with the grammatical, orthographic and bibliographic tools required to proceed to more advanced language modules.


The timetable is available on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Students are expected to attend the weekly seminars of the BA course ‘Inleiding Akkadisch en Spijkerschrift’;

  • Students will be given a reading list for self-study, extra tutorials may be scheduled depending on students’ needs and interests.

Course Load

Total course load 10 ec x 28 hours= 280 hours:

  • attending seminars: 48 hours (2×24);

  • preparing coursework: 144 hours (6×24);

  • revising for written exams: 20 hours;

  • independent study of reading list: 68 hours.

Assessment method

  • Written exam (language and script): 50% (midterm and final combined);

  • Reading list (independent study of Code of Hammurabi): 50% (with oral examination).


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two subgrades.


The resit will consist of a written exam covering all sections of the course, including the reading list.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss the written exam and the oral exam individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published


Blackboard will be used for:

  • course material, communication.

Reading list

  • Huehnergard, A Grammar of Akkadian;

  • Caplice, Introduction to Akkadian;

  • Black, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian;

  • Borger, Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste;

  • Snell, A Workbook of Cuneiform Signs.

Students are advised to contact the teacher if they experience difficulty purchasing some of the books listed.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.


Dr. Jonathan Valk