Please note that there may be changes in the course descriptions (including the course literature) and the exam dates before the start of the semester in question. If few students are registered for a course, there may be changes in the lecture and examination types.
NB! As a result of the corona situation there may be changes in the assessment forms (course requirements and / or exam) spring semester 2020. Any changes will be announced in the relevant Canvas-room. All students must stay continuously updated on these changes.

PHI2400: Sumero-Akkadian Philology 1

Time schedule | PDF-version for print

General information | Overlapping courses | Course requirements | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Literature 

Person responsible for the course:Jens Braarvig (
Credit points (ECTS):15
Start of studies:Autumn (irregular) and spring (irregular)
Study programme:Bachelor's degree programme - Bachelor in Religion and Society
Department:Department of Education, Religion and Society

General information

This course is a cooperation between MF and The Norwegian Institute of Philology (PHI).
Sumerian and Akkadian are the two great written languages of Mesopotamia in the last four millennia BCE. As Sumerian slowly faded from prominence, Akkadian carried on its legacy by making use of the Sumerian cuneiform system and a wide range Sumerian words and pictograms. The two languages constitute our most important window into the culture and history of the Mesopomia and the wider Middle East through several Millennia.
The course in Sumero-Akkadian Philology builds upon the students’ previous knowledge of one or both of these important languages, allowing for a deeper understanding of the languages and their interrelation.
Procedures and curricula
PHI2400 is both a course for students and a research seminar/reading group for more advanced students and researchers. The curriculum is adapted to current interests of the participants, and can be textual material used by students in their M.A. and Ph.d. theses, or texts of interest to researchers in Islamic history and related subjects.
The PHI-courses in Sumerian or Akkadian constitute a good background for the course/reading-group. Ability to read at least one of these languages is a prerequisite.
This course is also offered at the master level for students with a relevant bachelor’s degree. For more information, see the course description for PHI5400.

Overlapping courses

PHI2400 overlaps with PHI5400.
  • Students who have already completed PHI5400 will receive 0 credit points (ECTS) for PHI2400 on their transcript of records or diploma.

Course requirements

In order to receive a final assessment, the student must:
  • Participate in the electronic evaluation of the course if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term.

Final assessment

The final assessment is based on an essay submitted by the student (2000-2500 words). The topic of the essay will be related to the reading in the course and chosen in cooperation with the course instructor(s). The mark (A-F) is given on the basis of the written exam.

Course objective and content

The student has:
  • A good knowledge of Sumerian or Akkadian
  • A good knowledge of Sumero-Akkadian philology as a discipline
The student can:
  • Work autonomously with Sumer-Akkadian literature in one or more languages
  • Formulate independent research ideas related to Sumero-Akkadian language and literature


Literature relevant to the texts chosen for the given semester.

> PDF version for printing