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Advanced Sumerian


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of Sumerian grammar and the cuneiform script.


Sumerian was the primary written language of Southern Mesopotamia until about 1700 BC. It is known to us from more than 100,000 inscriptions and clay tablets that cover a wide range of topics. Apart from large numbers of administrative records, we have many thousands of texts with a historical, legal, religious, or literary content. Studying them gives access to arguably the best documented culture from the third millennium BC.

During this course, students select and study under supervision a corpus of Sumerian texts, present this corpus to their fellow students, and write a paper on it. Students also participate in the BA seminar 'Sumerian Literary Texts', where they will read and discuss a selection of literary texts from the Old Babylonian period. The texts treated during the seminar tie in with the research specialization of the instructor (dr. Julia Krul): mythology, ritual, liturgy, and other aspects of ancient Mesopotamian religion. This will allow the students to deepen their understanding of the texts' cultural context and to practice analysing ancient sources from an historical perspective.

Course objectives

Students will be able to read, translate, and interpret Sumerian texts independently and put them into their historical and cultural context.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Tutorials on the basis of the student’s needs and interests

Assessment method


Assessment will be in three parts:

  • an oral presentation about the selected text corpus;

  • a written exam on the subject matter of the seminar;

  • a final paper of c. 5000 words on the selected text corpus. The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: the paper of MA students will be mainly descriptive, with translations of and commentaries to selected texts from their corpus; the paper of ResMA students will also present an innovative and well-argued literary and/or historical analysis of the corpus.


  • Oral presentation: 20%

  • Written exam: 30%

  • Final paper: 50%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the Final Paper must always be sufficient.


Both the written exam and the final paper must have a grade of at least 5.50 and can be repeated if their grade is lower.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

To be provided at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.

Not applicable.


Dr. J.H.E. Krul