Akkadian & Ugaritic


Akkadian was the major Semitic language of ancient Mesopotamia. It was written in the cuneiform script, which was also used to write Sumerian, Elamite, Hurrian, and Hittite. Akkadian is attested in writing from the mid-third millennium BCE until the early first millennium CE, and during this long span of time it became the vehicle for literature and scholarship as well as for practical record-keeping, legal documents, correspondence, and public inscriptions. The Akkadian language and the cuneiform script were adopted as the international medium of written communication throughout the ancient Near East, from Iran to Egypt, during the second millennium BCE.

Akkadian cannot be used to fulfill the CLA language requirement.

Courses in Akkadian

Akkadian is offered every few years.

  • AKKA 5011 – Elementary Akkadian I (3 cr., fall)
  • AKKA 5012 – Elementary Akkadian II (3 cr., spring)


Ugaritic, which belongs to the northwestern branch of the Semitic language family, was the language of the ancient city-state of Ugarit, located on the coast of Syria. This language is only attested in texts from the last two centuries of the Late Bronze Age (14th–13th centuries BCE), when, as well as writing in the Akkadian language using the Mesopotamian cuneiform script, the scribes and literati of Ugarit used a cuneiform version of the alphabet to write in their own language on clay tablets. They wrote myths, epics, ritual texts, letters, accounting records, and contracts in the Ugaritic language. Their mythic and epic compositions are precious testimony to the Syro-Canaanite religion reflected in the Hebrew Bible, and these texts are therefore of great interest to scholars of the Bible and the ancient Near East.

Ugaritic cannot be used to fulfill the CLA language requirement.

Courses in Ugaritic

Ugaritic is offered every few years.

  • CNES 5713 – Introduction to Ugaritic (3 cr.)

For more information on courses in Akkadian or Ugaritic, contact Eva von Dassow.