Einfuhrung in die urartaische Sprache.

Author:Campbell, Dennis
Position:Book review

Einfuhrung in die urartaische Sprache. BY MIRJO SALVINI and ILSE WEGNER. Wiesbaden: HARRASSO-WITZ VERLAG, 2014. Pp. ix + 124, illus. [euro]28 (paper).

The study of Urartian has its roots in the early nineteenth century, yet after all this time it remains on the fringes of ancient Near Eastern studies. This is due to numerous factors: the relatively short duration of the Urartians as a significant power, the short diachronic coverage of the small amount of extant textual material, and the "exoticness" of the language are among the most important. Mirjo Salvini has devoted a considerable portion of his career to the Urartians, from philological work to the exploration of sites and discovery of new inscriptions. In many ways the past six years have represented a culminating experience for his research. In 2008, the first three volumes of his Corpus dei testi urartei (CTU) were published. In these volumes he has collected all known Urartian rock inscriptions and provided new transcriptions and translations for them. A fourth volume has been published in 2012, covering inscriptions on bronze and other material as well as general paleographic concerns. The work under review is a valuable companion piece, presenting the grammar of Urartian in a clear, concise manner. This short work will be a valuable addition for anyone interested in this fascinating language.

The grammar is co-written by Ilse Wegner, who, while focusing on Hurrian, has also worked on Urartian. More importantly, Wegner brings her experience from her Hurrian grammar (2000, revised 2007), and this Urartian grammar follows closely the format that she has developed in these earlier works. The book begins with a short introduction providing background information on Urartian chronology and the basics of how Urartian scribes used the cuneiform script to write the language (pp. 1-11). The second part of the book is devoted to grammar (pp. 13-62). This is followed by the third section, which includes a large sample of Urartian passages with translations and some philological commentary (pp. 63-106). This section is useful but also problematic as will be explained below. The book concludes with a short glossary of Urartian words (pp. 107-15), a list of abbreviations (pp. 116-18), and five photos showing various Urartian inscriptions (pp. 121-24). The photos are all of good quality. Topic-specific bibliographies appear throughout the work (pp. 10-11, 64-66). The remainder of this review will focus on the second and third part of the grammar.

In chapter II.B (pp. 14-16)...

To continue reading