Suggested Readings

This show doesn’t exactly have a bibliography. I have a giant folder of stuff that I have downloaded from various journals and assorted books, and matching anything with anything is at this point more effort than I am interested in. I have gotten a few emails from people who were interested in specific topics, and if you would like me to help point you towards deeper material on certain things, don’t hesitate to email me, entirelyalive@gmail.com, and I would be happy to discuss or point you towards whatever resources I know of.

However, for general topics, I can recommend a few books and sites. Many of these were used extensively in putting the show together. I will be expanding this list as I go.

The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Samuel Noah Kramer – The primary book on the Sumerians, by the single most well regarded Sumerologist of the modern age. If you want to learn anything about the Sumerians, this is where you start. Only thing is that it is a bit old now, and some of the translations in this book have more up to date versions that reflect more fragments that have been uncovered in the last few decades

The Age of Agade: Inventing Empire in Ancient Mesopotamia. Benjamin R. Foster – A self concious emulation of Kramer’s book, but that isn’t to say that Age of Agade is any less valuable for the Akkadian Empire than Kramer’s book is for the Sumerian peoples. Basically, if you want to know about Akkad at all, you start here.

Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. Benjamin R. Foster – Direct translations of things written in Akkadian, focusing on literature, but defining that very, very broadly. This is a massive book, covering the entire era in which any form of Akkadian was spoken or written, meaning a good two millennia or more. The translations are all solid, done by an expert in the field who still keeps them quite readable.

Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Oxford University – This is the number one primary source for things written in Sumerian by Sumerians. Hymns, poems, epics, letters, pretty much anything but administrative and accounting records, though there are even a few of those included for possible cultural significance. If you are interested in Sumerian religion, especially if you consider yourself a Mesopotamia-aligned Pagan, you need to be going through this to learn about the gods you are most interested in.

King Hammurabi of Babylon: A Biography. Marc Van De Mieroop – This is my source for much of the material on Hammurabi himself. Pretty well written, a good read for anyone who just likes historical biographies.

Lexicity.com – I hate to admit it, but I can not speak, read, or write any of the cuneiform languages. I could, if I invested my time into it, and you can too. The best place for this is Lexicity.com, a repository of language learning materials for a large number of ancient languages. Among the cuneiform scripts, it covers Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite, the three main languages that you need, but you can also look through resources for a number of other interesting and dead languages, including Egyptian, Aramaic, Syriac, Sanskrit, Mayan, and many others.

Kingdom of the Hittites and Life and Society in the Hittite World. Trevor Bryce – Properly considered as one large book. Kingdom if the Hittites is the political history, while Life and Society is exactly that, topics relating to who the Hittites were as people. Long, but densely packed with good stuff.

The Rulers of Larsa. Madeleine Andre Fitzgerald – A PhD dissertation which you can probably find online, which is probably the best single source on the history of the Isin-Larsa period, though obviously mostly from the Larsa point of view. I probably couldn’t have written the Isin-Larsa episodes without this paper.

First Dynasty of the Sealand in Mesopotamia. Odette Boivin – A recent book, a bit academic and dry in places, but the mysterious and poorly understood Sealand can’t really be studied any other way. Odette has put together the pieces that no one else seems to have had the patience and expertise to assemble, and the resulting story is still chock full of holes, but at the current state of research this is pretty much your one best stop for learning about Sealand.