Women in the Ancient Near East : A Sourcebook book cover
1st Edition

Women in the Ancient Near East
A Sourcebook

Edited By

Mark Chavalas

ISBN 9780415448567
Published November 8, 2013 by Routledge
336 Pages

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Book Description

Women in the Ancient Near East provides a collection of primary sources that further our understanding of women from Mesopotamian and Near Eastern civilizations, from the earliest historical and literary texts in the third millennium BC to the end of Mesopotamian political autonomy in the sixth century BC. This book is a valuable resource for historians of the Near East and for those studying women in the ancient world. It moves beyond simply identifying women in the Near East to attempting to place them in historical and literary context, following the latest research. A number of literary genres are represented, including myths and epics, proverbs, medical texts, law collections, letters, treaties, as well as building, dedicatory, and funerary inscriptions.

Table of Contents

Introduction Mark W. Chavalas

1. An exploration of the world of women in third-millenium Mesopotamia Harriet Crawford

2. The feminine in myths and epic Alhena Gadotti

3. Sumerian wisdom literature Alhena Gadotti

4. Akkadian wisdom literature Karen Nemet-Nejat

5. Medicine and healing magic JoAnn Scurlock

6. Women and law Martha T. Roth

7. The Epic of Gilgamesh Karen Nemet-Nejat

8. The Descent of Ishtar to the Netherworld compared to Nergal and Ereshkigal  Karen Nemet-Nejat

9a. Akkadian texts - Women in letters: Old Assyrian Kaniš Cécile Michel

9b. Akkadian texts - Women in letters: The Neo-Assyrian period Sarah C. Melville

10a. Women in Neo-Assyrian texts Sarah C. Melville

10b. Women in Neo-Assyrian inscriptions Karen Nemet-Nejat

11. Women in Hittite ritual Billie Jean Collins

12. Hurro-Hittite storie and Hittite pregnancy and birth rituals Mary Bachvarova


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Mark Chavalas is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he has taught since 1989. Among his publications are the edited, Emar: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Syrian Town in the Late Bronze Age (1996), Mesopotamia and the Bible (2002), and The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation (2006), and he has had research fellowships at Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Cal-Berkeley, and a number of other universities. He has nine seasons of excavation at various Bronze Age sites in Syria, including Tell Ashara/Terqa and Tell Mozan/Urkesh.


"The worthwhile chapters are indeed worthwhile, and the book will prove a useful resource to those interested in the lives of real women in Mesopotamia and ancient Anatolia."

 —Stephanie Lynn Budin, Collingswood, NJ