Library of the Month (Ashurbanipal)

Since I’ve devoted January to ‘beginnings’, it’s appropriate that I should choose one of the oldest libraries in the world as the ‘Library of the Month.’ The Library of Ashurbanipal, an ancient Mesopotamian collection of clay tablets, is being recreated in the British Museum. In conjunction with the University of Mosul in Iraq, the team at the BM is building a comprehensive database around the surviving pieces and fragments of the tablets, which include medical, legal, literary and astrological texts.

The database is richly illustrated with digital images  of the tablets, and enhanced with electronic transliterations and translations of the texts. Amongst these is a famous section of The Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient mythological text said to be the first work of world literature. This fragment of the Flood Story featured in the BBC’s History of the World in 100 objects and there is a fascinating account of this available on their website.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is available electronically and in print.


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One response to “Library of the Month (Ashurbanipal)

  1. Brenna

    The book History of the World in 100 Objects is definitely worth reading! The variety of objects is astounding, there are plenty of gorgeous pictures and each of the histories short enough to enjoy in a few spare minutes.