The Database "Babylonian Nineveh Texts": Introduction

The British Museum's Ashurbanipal Library Project focused on the Babylonian texts from Nineveh (Kouyunjik) is investigating the kind of Babylonian compositions the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC) ordered to include into his royal library and their relation to the rest of the Kouyunjik Collection and to the king's collecting activities. This project was conceived with a six months research on the Kouyunjik Collection itself and became reality through the generous funding by the Townley Group of the Friends of the British Museum. In 2005, another three months of research were funded by the same Group for a continuation of the Ashurbanipal's Library Project. During these nine months of research at the tablet collection, I was able to make 145 joins.

To undertake the research on the Babylonian texts from Nineveh I created a database[1] with information on every Babylonian written tablet and fragment of the Kouyunjik collection, including Museum number, category of text, bibliographical references to publication, identification of the text or a short description of the very tablet or fragment, and information about the find spot and the joins. In principle, I created this database during the six months I spent at the Ancient Near East Department of The British Museum (10.3.-9.9.2003) to survey the collection of the Nineveh texts. Additionally, the results of my research on the Bablylonian Nineveh tablet collection conducted in 2005 (10.-12.2005) have been included. Allthough I am updating this database on a regular basis, the database is still in a preliminary state and has many mistakes, not yet checked "questions" and references, and, certainly, incomplete references.

The publication of parts of this preliminary database on the web has two reasons:

- Firstly, I would like to give every scholar of Assyriology the chance of using the information of this database.

- Secondly, I ask everybody who uses this database to email corrections and / or additional information to me.

Various scholars already shared their knowledge and sometimes also their unpublished manuscripts with me to include the new information into the database: Claus Ambos (esp. rituals for building houses), Uri Gabbay (ers'emma), Mark Geller (esp. utukku¯ lemnu¯tu), Nils Heeßel (esp. diagnostic texts), Ulla Koch-Westenholz (esp. liver omens and various omens), W.G. Lambert (esp. religious texts), Wiebke Meinhold (prayers for the Assyrian Is'tar); Julian E. Reade (esp. origin of Old Babylonian texts), Daniel Schwemer (K.00151), Daisuke Shibata (esp. emesal texts), Matthew W. Stolper (late Achaemenid texts), and Lorenzo Verderame (enu¯ma anu enlil VII-XIV).

To help everybody using the database I prepared a description and explanation of all the different fields and a bibliography with all abbreviations used in the files.

In this web version of the database, you can either search for a "Group of Registration Numbers" or for the "Category of Text" - the selection will be sorted in numerical order of the registration number (search for "Group of Registration Numbers") or in the sequence of the category and sub categories and within each (sub) category, again, in numerical order of the registration numbers (search for "Category of Text").

[1]          A first draft of the database was made by Christopher Walker and handed over to me and other scholars. The first draft included the Museum numbers of the Babylonian texts, the genre according to the seven volumes of the "Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyunjik Collection", and a few publications.