Research Project

In connection with the principal topic of scholars at the university, I would like to work on the religious literature of ancient Mesopotamia, to be more precise on Sumerian literature and, in particular, on that part of this literature which one could almost call popular or folkloristic: first of all, the Mesopotamian story in which the hero Adapa, the servant of Ea the god of wisdom, is placed before the celestial court and only narrowly fails to gain immortality. The story appears in various fragmentary Akkadian versions which have already been subjected to many investigations and interpretations, but also in a Sumerian version, which I have committed myself to editing.

I also intend to study the mythological elements that appear in liturgical texts and lamentations, both with regard to their own meaning, insofar as light can be shed on this, and in view of their literary use. This topic is connected in highly concrete manner with a text edition: I would like to bring out a large Sumerian tablet containing the (in part as yet unpublished) second half of a large-scale Sumerian lamentation that enjoyed great popularity in Mesopotamia over a considerable period.

Finally, I would like to trace the course of Sumerian literature also with respect to the exorcist corpus, which contains not only magical formulae but also a considerable number of narrative and mythological parts. One might think of the «Wicked Utukku», for example. This study has a link – albeit a distant one – with our first research topic, the hero Adapa, who was regarded as a mythical forebear of the exorcists in Mesopotamia.
I look forward to the exchange of ideas with the colleagues in Göttingen.

Selected Publications

Cavigneaux, A., Die sumerisch-akkadischen Zeichenlisten ; Überlieferungsprobleme, München 1976.

Cavigneaux, A., Textes Scolaires du Temple de Nabû ša Ḫarê, Baghdad, 1981.

Cavigneaux, A., Altbabylonische Texte aus Pe 16, nach Kopien von A. Falkenstein herausgegeben, mit einem Beitrag von R. M. Boehmer, Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka, Endberichte 23, Ph. von Zabern, 1996.

Cavigneaux, A., Gilgameš et la Mort (avec F. N. H. Al-Rāwī), Leyde, Styx, 2000.

Cavigneaux, A., Le mythe du 7.VII. Les jours fatidiques et le Kippour mésopotamiens, Orientalia 76 (2007), 293-335.