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Tutorial Akkadian


Admission requirements

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


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.


See the timetables on the Classics and Ancient Civilisations 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.

  • Tutorials on the topics from the reading list will be given on the basis of students’ needs and interests.

Course Load

Total course load: 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).



Reading list

  • Huehnergard, A Grammar of Akkadian;

  • Caplice, Introduction to Akkadian;

  • Black, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian;

  • Borger, Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon;

  • Roth, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.


Dr. Caroline Waerzeggers


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