(Melammu Symposia 7)

Obergurgl, Tyrol, Austria; 4-8 November  2013

Robert Rollinger, University of Innsbruck/University of Helsinki
Erik van Dongen, Saint Mary´s University (Halifax)


Conference Description


The conference subject is the impact of Ancient Mesopotamian culture (Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrian, Babylonians) on southwestern Asia and the eastern Mediterranean in contemporary times (ca. 3000-1 BCE), and the survival of cultural elements in the same area until after the Arabic Conquest (ca. 1-1000 CE). In Assyriology, as well as in the study of antiquity in general, the study of intercultural connections is a relatively new development (we distance ourselves from the Panbabylonism of the past). To further this burgeoning field, the conference has three aims:

  1. To bring together and improve existing knowledge on the subjects of the conference sessions
  2. To further develop our knowledge of the cultural position of Mesopotamia in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean and southwestern Asia
  3. To provide scholars involved in intercultural studies (who often work in isolation due to the compartmentalisation of research) with an opportunity to discuss their work with colleagues

The conference relevance is not restricted to study of ancient Mesopotamia and of antiquity in general. European culture is generally thought to be based mainly on two pillars, the Classical (Graeco-Roman) world and the society that produced the Bible, to which perhaps a third pillar, Arabic culture, should be added. By exploring the impact of Mesopotamia on these cultural complexes, the conference results will also affect ideas about the background of modern European culture. Moreover, studies into interaction in antiquity provide insights into the early history of the phenomenon of globalisation.

The conference will feature seven sessions. Each will discuss a specific subject, and will consist of an introduction, papers by speakers from different disciplines, a response, and a round-table discussion. The sessions will cover the following subjects:

  1. Mesopotamia and the World: Interregional Interaction
  2. Representations of Power: Shaping the Past and the Present
  3. ‘Fighting like a Lion’: The Use of Literary Figures of Speech
  4. Et Dona Ferentes: Foreign Reception of Mesopotamian Objects
  5. The Near East after Antiquity: Iran and Early Islam
  6. Talking to God(s): Prayers and Incantations.
  7. The World of Politics: ‘Democracy’, Citizens, and ‘Polis’

Additionally, each day there will be an extensive poster session, which will provide the opportunity to provide work on other topics. There will also be a closing panel and discussion on the future of the Melammu Project.