Contenitori neoassiri: Studi per un repertorio lessicale.

Author:Morello, Nathan
Position:Book review
 
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Contenitori neoassiri: Studi per un repertorio lessicale. By SALVATORE GASPA. Philippika, vol. 67. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2014. Pp. xix + 566, illus. [euro]98.

Containers of different shapes, materials, and functions represent privileged historical sources for the study of material culture. Following the publication of the monumental Hausgerate der alien Mesopotamier nach sumerisch-akkadischen Quellen, Teil II: Gefasse (1966) by A. Salonen, several scholars have produced a series of specialized studies on the terminology for containers occurring in different corpora of the ancient Near East, including W. Sallaberger, Der babylonische Topfer und seine Gefasse (1996), and X. Faivre, "Pots et plats," in Et il y eut un resprit dans I'homme: Jean Botte'ro et la Me'sopotamie, ed. X. Faivre, B. Lion, and C. Michel (2009), with previous bibliography. The most recent example of such studies is the work of S. Gaspa, focusing on the lexical repertoire of the containers in first millennium Assyria (ninth-seventh century B.C.E.).

Following the methodological approach applied in his previous Alimenti e pratiche alimentari in Assiria (2012), Gaspa discusses in detail the terminology for vessels and other types of containers in the three dialects attested in first-millennium Assyria: Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Standard Babylonian. The corpus analysed includes a range of different texts--from administrative documents to royal decrees, from divination texts to royal inscriptions--gathered in the database of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project of Helsinki, with particular focus on the so-called State Archives of Assyria. In specific cases, a number of unpublished texts have also been analysed (see the list on pp. 19-20 n. 41).

The core of the study, the "lexical repertoire" (Repertorio lessicale, pp. 25-375), is divided into three main sections and eighteen sub-sections. The first section ([section][section]1-7) presents 160 entries divided according to function: vessels (Vasellame, [section][section]1.1-1.7, 105 terms), trunks and other containers (Casse e altri contenitori, [section]2, 21 terms); baskets (Ceste e canestri, [section]3, 10 terms); sacks (Sacche, [section]4, 10 terms); skins (Otri, [section]5, 5 terms); braziers and incense burners (Braiceri e incensieri, [section]6, 7 terms); and crucibles (Crogioli, [section]7, 2 terms).

The second section ([section][section]8-12) deals with terms related to specific parts of containers and...

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