Simo Parpola


Current position Professor of Assyriology at the University of Helsinki

Address Institute for Asian and African Studies

POB 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B)

FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

Telephone 00358-9-191-22093, (fax) 00358-9-191-22094



Personal Data and Education

Born July 4, 1943. Citizen of Finland. Studied Assyriology, Classical Philology and Semitic Languages in Helsinki, Rome and London, 1961-67. M.A., 1965. Ph.D., 1971. Married, two children.


Academic Career

1969-72 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, University of Heidelberg

1973-76 Docent of Assyriology and Research Fellow, University of Helsinki

1977-79 Associate Professor of Assyriology (with tenure), University of Chicago

1978-present Professor of Assyriology, University of Helsinki

1982-present Research Associate and Consultant, Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

1986-95 Director, Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, Academy of Finland

1995 Visiting Professor (Professore contratto), University of Padua

1997-2001 Director, State Archives of Assyria Centre of Excellence, University of

1998-2000 Chairman, Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project

1999 Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University

2001-2006 Senior Epigrapher, Ziyaret Tepe excavations (University of Akron)


Academic Honors

Finnish Professor of the Year, 1992. J.V. Snellman Public Information Award of the University of Helsinki, 1996. Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society, 2001. Honorary Member of the Finnish Science Center, Heureka, 2003.


Memberships of Learned Societies

Member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, and the European Academy.




1969a (With A. Parpola, S. Koskenniemi and P. Aalto) Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Inscriptions of the Indus Civilization. Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Special Publications 1. Copenhagen.

1969b (With A. Parpola, S. Koskenniemi and P. Aalto) Progress in the Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Indus Script. Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, Special Publications 1. Copenhagen.

1970a Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, Part I: Texts. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 5/1. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon & Bercker.

1970b Neo-Assyrian Toponyms. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 6, Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon & Bercker.

1970c (With A. Parpola, S. Koskenniemi and P.Aalto) Further Progress in the Indus Script Decipherment. Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies. Copenhagen.

1971 Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, Part IIA: Introduction and Appendices. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon & Bercker.

1973 (With A. Parpola and S. Koskenniemi) A Concordance to the Indus Inscriptions. Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, Series B 185. Helsinki.

1979 Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, Part 53: Neo-Assyrian Letters from the Kuyunjik Collection. London.

1982 (With R. Holthoer and A. Parpola) Bonniers världshistoria 2: Flodrikena. Stockholm. [Also in Danish, Finnish and Norvegian]

1983 Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, Part II: Commentary and Appendices. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 5/2, Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon & Bercker.

1987 The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part I: Letters from Assyria and the West. State Archives of Assyria 1. Helsinki University Press.

1988 (With K. Watanabe) Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths. State Archives of Assyria 2. Helsinki University Press.

1990 (With G.B. Lanfranchi) The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part II: Letters from the Northern and Northeastern Provinces. State Archives of Assyria 5. Helsinki University Press.

1991 (With T. Kwasman) Legal Transactions of the Royal Court of Nineveh, Part I: Tiglath-Pileser III through Esarhaddon. State Archives of Assyria 6. Helsinki University Press.

1993 Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars. State Archives of Assyria 10. Helsinki University Press.

1997a The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. State Archives of Assyria Cuneiform Texts 1. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

1997b Assyrian Prophecies. State Archives of Assyria 9. Helsinki University Press.

1997c (ed. with R. M. Whiting) Assyria 1995. Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

2001a (with A. Fuchs) The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part III: Letters from Media and Babylonia. State Archives of Assyria 15. Helsinki University Press.

2001b (with V. Donbaz) Neo-Assyrian Legal Texts in Istanbul. Studien zu den Assur-Texten, Bd. 2. Saarbücken: Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft 2001.

2001c (with M. Porter) The Helsinki Atlas of the Ancient Near East in the Neo-Assyrian Period. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

2002 (ed. with R. M. Whiting) Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. Compte Rendu de la 47e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Helsinki, 2-6 July 2001. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

2008 (Editor-in-chief) Assyrian-English-Assyrian Dictionary. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.



1966 (With K. Deller) “Neuassyrisch ‘unser Herr’ = bēlīni, nicht *bēlni”: Orientalia n.s. 35, 121-122

1967a (With K. Deller) “Die Schreibungen des Wortes etinnu ‘Baumeister’ im Neuassyrischen”: Revue d’assyriologie 60, 59-70

1967b (With K. Deller) “Progressive Vokalassimilation im Neuassyrischen”: Orientalia n.s. 36, 337-338

1968 (With K. Deller) “Ein Vertrag Assurbanipals mit dem arabischen Stamm Qedar”: Orientalia n.s. 37, 464-466

1969 (With A. Parpola and S. Koskenniemi) “A Method to Classify Characters of Unknown Ancient Scripts”: Linguistics 61, 65-91

1972 “A Letter from Šamaš-šumu-ukin to Esarhaddon”: Iraq 34, 21-34

1974a “The Alleged Middle/Neo-Assyrian Irregular Verb *naşş‚ and the Assyrian Sound Change š > s”: Assur 1, 1-10

1974b “A Note on the Assyrian Census Lists”: Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 64, 64-86

1974c Review of I. J. Gelb, Sequential Reconstruction of Akkadian: Linguistics 140, 122-128

1975a “Transliteration of Sumerian: Problems and Prospects”: Studia Orientalia 46, 239-257

1975b (With A. Parpola) “On the Relationship of the Sumerian Toponym Meluhha and Sanskrit mleccha”: Studia Orientalia 46, 205-238

1975c Review of J. N. Postgate, Taxation and Consctiption in the Assyrian Empire: Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 65, 293-296

1976a “Assyrian ja Babylonian kirjallisuus” [Assyrian and Babylonian Literature]: Otavan suuri ensyklopedia 1, 395-396 (in Finnish)

1976b Review article of J.V. Kinnier Wilson, The Nimrud Wine Lists: Journal of Semitic Studies 21, 165-174

1977 (With A. Parpola and R.H. Brunswig) “The Meluhha Village: Evidence of Acculturation of Harappan Traders in Late Third Millennium Mesopotamia”: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 20, 129-165

1979 Review article of W. von Soden, Akkadisches Handwörterbuch, Bd. II and III/1: Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 74, 23-35

1980a “The Murderer of Sennacherib,” in B. Alster, ed., Death in Mesopotamia (Copenhagen), 171-182

1980b “Collations to Neo-Assyrian Legal Texts from Nineveh”: Assur 2, 109-197

1980c “Assyrialaisten ja babylonialaisten estetiikasta” [Assyrian and Babylonian Aesthetics], in A. Kinnunen, ed., Itämaiden estetiikka (Helsinki: WSOY), 18-51

1981 “Assyrian Royal Inscriptions and Neo-Assyrian Letters,” in F.M. Fales, ed., Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: New Horizons in Literary, Ideological and Historical Analysis (Rome), 117-142

1982a “Naisen asema muinaisessa Mesopotamiassa” [The Position of Woman in Ancient Mesopotamia], in O. Kantokorpi, ed., Taikamatto (Helsinki), 69-82

1982b Tieteen kehitys muinaisessa Mesopotamiassa” [The Development of Science in Ancient Mesopotamia]: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, Yearbook 60 B, 107-118

1982c “In memoriam Professor Jussi Aro, 1928-1983”: Annual Newsletter of the Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies 16, 3-4

1983a “Assyrian Library Records”: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 42, 1-29

1983b (With J. Neumann) “Wind Vanes in Ancient Mesopotamia, About 2000-1500 B.C.”: Bulletin of American Meteorological Society 64, 1141-1143

1984a Likalka ittatakku. Two Notes on the Morphology of the Verb alāku in Neo-Assyrian”: Studia Orientalia 55, 185-209

1984b (With H. Hunger) “Bedeckungen des Planeten Jupiter durch den Mond”: Archiv für Orientforschung 29/30, 46-49

1985a “Si’-gabbar of Nerab Resurrected”: Orientalia Lovanensia Periodica 16, 273-5

1985b “The Royal Archives of Nineveh,” in K.R. Veenhof, ed., Cuneiform Archives and Libraries (Leiden), 223-236

1986a “The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project of the University of Helsinki”: Akkadica 49, 20-24

1986b “Niniven tuhannet sirpaleet” [Nineveh’s thousands of fragments]: Tiede 2000 5/1986, 40-46

1987a “The Forlorn Scholar,” in F. Rochberg-Halton, ed., Language, Literature and History. Philological and Historical Studies Presented to Erica Reiner (New Haven, Connecticut), 257-278

1987b (With J. Neumann) “Climatic Change and the 11th-10th Century Eclipse of Assyria and Babylonia”: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 46, 161-182

1987c “The CNA Project, 1986. Director’s Report”: State Archives of Assyria Bulletin 1, v-viii

1987d “Neo-Assyrian Treaties from the Royal Archives of Nineveh”: Journal of Cuneiform Studies 39, 161-189

1988a “The Neo-Assyrian Word for ‘Queen’”: State Archives of Assyria Bulletin 2, 73-76

1988b “The Reading of the Neo-Assyrian Logogram LÚ.SIMUG.KUG.GI: State Archives of Assyria Bulletin 2, 77-80

1989a “Proto-Assyrian,” in H. Hauptmann and H. Waetzoldt, eds., Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft von Ebla (Heidelberg), 293-298

1989b “Synty ja kuolema muinaisessa Mesopotamiassa” [Birth and Death in Ancient Mesopotamia], in A. Ilmonen, ed., Synty ja kuolema. Tampereen taidemuseon julkaisuja 26, 108-117

1990a “A Letter from Marduk-apla-usur of Anah to Rudamu/Urtamis, King of Hamath,” in P.J. Riis and M.-L. Buhl, eds., HAMA. Fouilles et recherches de la Fondation Carlsberg, II 2: Les objets de la période dite Syro-Hittite (Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet), 257-265

1990b (With H. Tadmor and B. Landsberger†) “The Sin of Sargon and Sennacherib's Last Will”: State Archives of Assyria Bulletin 3, 3-51

1992a “Kaksoisvirranmaan uskonto” [Mesopotamian Religion], in J. and K. Pentikäinen, eds., Uskonnot maailmassa (Helsinki), 227-244

1992b (With Pirjo Puranen) “Enteet – assyrialaisten psykologiaa” [Omina – Assyrian psychology]: Tiede 2000 6/1992, 24-27

1993a “Mesopotamian Astrology and Astronomy as Domains of the Mesopotamian ‘Wisdom’,” in H. Galter, ed., Die Rolle der Astronomie in den Kulturen Mesopotamiens (Graz), 47-60

1993b “Cultural Parallels between India and Mesopotamia: Preliminary Considerations”: Studia Orientalia 70, 57-64

1993c “The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy”: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 52, 161-208

1995a “The Assyrian Cabinet,” in M. Dietrich and O. Loretz, eds., Vom Alten Orient zum Alten Testament. Festschrift für Wolfram Freiherrn von Soden zum 85. Geburtstag (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 240, Neukirchen-Vluyn), 379-401

1995b “Länsimaisen kulttuurin mesopotamialainen sielu” [The Mesopotamian Soul of Western Culture], in J. Rydman, ed., Tutkimuksen etulinjassa (Helsinki), 48-57

1995c “The Construction of Dur-Šarrukin in the Assyrian Royal Correspondence,” in A. Caubet, ed., Khorsabad, le palais de Sargon II, roi d'Assyrie (Louvre, conférences et colloques, Paris), 49-77

1995d “The Imperial Archives of Nineveh,” in R. Mattila (ed.), Nineveh 612 BC. The Glory and Fall of the Assyrian Empire (Helsinki), 15-25

1996a (With D.T. Potts, A. Parpola and J. Tidmarsh) “Guhlu and Guggulu”: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 86, 291-305

1996b “Assyria uudessa valossa” [Assyria in a New Light]: Mitä Missä Milloin/Kansalaisen Vuosikirja 47/1997 (Helsinki), 186-191

1997a “The Man Without a Scribe and the Question of Literacy in the Assyrian Empire,” in B. Pongratz-Leisten, Hartmut Kühne and Paolo Xella, eds., Ana šadê Labnāni lū allik. Festschrift für Wolfgang Röllig (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 247, Neukirchen), 315-324

1997b “Muinaisen Lähi-idän ja Mesoamerikan kirjoitusjärjestelmien vertailu” [A Comparison of the Ancient Near Eastern and Mesoamerican Writing Systems], in Jyrki K. Talvitie and A. Ilmonen, eds., Sulkakäärme ja jaguaarijumala. Meksikon ja Guatemalan intiaanikulttuurit (Tampereen taidemuseo), 240-243

1998a “The Concept of the Saviour and Belief in Resurrection in Ancient Mesopotamia”: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, Year Book 1997, 51-58

1998b “Mayakirjoituksen synty” [The Birth of Maya Writing], in Päivi Heino and H. Westermarck, eds., Studia Exotica/Kadonneet kulttuurit (Helsinki), 77-92 (in Finnish)

1998c “Guidelines of the Transcription System,” in Karen Radner, ed., The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, 1/I (A) (Helsinki), XXII-XXVII

1998d “The Esoteric Meaning of the Name of Gilgamesh,” in Jiři Prosecký, ed., Intellectual Life of the Ancient Near East. Papers Presented at the 43rd Rencontre assyriologique internationale, Prague, July 1-5, 1996 (Prague), 315-329

1999a “Paragons of Virtue”: Ha’aretz, May 28, Week’s End, B7

1999b “Sons of God: The Ideology of Assyrian Kingship”: Archaeology Odyssey 2/5 (November/December), 16-27

1999c “Totuus Betlehemin tähdestä” [The Truth about the Star of Bethlehem]: Konneveden Joulu 37-41

1999d “From Whence the Beast?” Bible Review 5/6, 24

2000a “Monotheism in Ancient Assyria,” in Barbara Nevling Porter, ed., One God or Many? Concepts of Divinity in the Ancient World (Transactions of the Casco Bay Assyriological Institute 1, Casco Bay), 165-209

2000b “The Mesopotamian Soul of Western Culture”: Bulletin of the Canadian Society of Mesopotamian Studies 35, 29-41

2000c “Assyrians after Assyria”: Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society 12, 1-16

2001a “Mesopotamian Precursors of the Hymn of the Pearl,” in R.M. Whiting, ed., Mythology and Mythologies. Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences (Melammu Symposia 2, Helsinki), 181-193

2001b “The Magi and the Star,” Bible Review 6, 16-23 and 52-54

2002a “Le scuole scribali e le biblioteche,” in S. Petruccioli, ed., Storia della scienza, vol. 1: La scienza antica (Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana), 355-360

2002b “Att förstå livets träd” [Understanding the Tree of Life], in R. Gothóni, ed., Att först inom humaniora (Helsingfors: Finska Vetenskaps-Societeten), 236-253

2002c “A Letter to Sennacherib Referring to the Conquest of Bīt-Hā’iri and Other Events of the Year 693,” in O. Loretz et al., eds., Ex Mesopotamia et Syria Lux. Festschrift für Mandried Dietrich zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 281, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag), 559-580

2002d “The Leftovers of God and King: On the Distribution of Meat at the Assyrian and Achaemenid Imperial Courts”: Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies 16, 17-33

2003a “International Law in the First Millennium,” in R. Westbrook, ed., A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law, Vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill), 1047-1063

2003b “Assyria’s Expansion in the 8th and 7th Centuries BCE and Its Long-Term Repercussions in the West,” in W. G. Dever and S. Gitin, eds., Symbiosis, Symbolism and the Power of the Past: Canaan, Ancient Israel and their Neighbors from the Late Bronze Age through Roman Palestine. Proceedings of the Centennial Symposium, W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and the American Schools of Oriental Research, Jerusalem, May 29-May 31, 2000 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns), 99-111

2003c “Sacas, India, Gobryas, and the Median Royal Court: Xenophon’s Cyropaedia through the Eyes of an Assyriologist,” in G. B. Lanfranchi, M. Roaf and R. Rollinger, eds., Continuity of Empire(?): Assyria, Media, Persia (History of the Ancient Near East, Monograph series 5, Padua), 339-350

2004a (with M. Nissinen) “Marduk’s Return and Reconciliation in a Prophetic Letter from Arbela,” Studia Orientalia 99, 199–219

2004b “Mesopotamia, Lähi-itä ja antiikin kreikkalais-roomalainen kulttuuri” [Mesopotamia, the Ancient Near East, and Graeco-Roman Culture], in M. Pesonen and H. Westermarck, eds., Länsimaisen sivistyksen juuret (Studia Generalia, University of Helsinki), 7-24

2004c “The Originality of the Teachings of Zarathustra in the Light of Yasna 44,” in Ch. Cohen, A. Hurvitz and S. Paul, eds., Sefer Moshe. The Moshe Weinfeld Jubilee Volume (Winona Lake), 373-383

2004d “Back to Delitzsch and Jeremias: The Relevance of the Pan-Babylonian School to the Melammu Project,” in A. Panaino and A. Piras, eds., Schools of Oriental Studies and the Development of Modern Historiography (Melammu Symposia 4, Milano), 153-163

2004e “National and Ethnic Identity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Assyrian Identity in Post-Empire Times,” Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies 18/2, 5-49

2004f “Mesopotamian Mysticism,” in Sarah Iles Johnston (ed.), Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press), 643-644

2004g “Desperately Trying to Talk Sense: A Letter of Assurbanipal Concerning his Brother Šamaš-šumu-ukin,” in G. Frame, ed., From the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea: Studies on the History of Assyria and Babylonia in Honour of A. Kirk Grayson (PIHANS 101, Leiden), 227-234

2004h “The Leftovers of God and King: On the Distribution of Meat at the Assyrian and Achaemenid Imperial Courts,” in L. Milano and C. Grottanelli, eds., Food and Identity in the Ancient World (History of the Ancient Near East, Studies 9, Padua), 281-312 [expanded version of 2002d]

2005a “Il retroterra assiro di Ahiqar,” in Ricccardo Contini and Cristiano Grottanelli, eds., Il saggio Ahiqar (Brescia: Paideia), 91-112

2005b Overview of the Tablet Archive,” in T. Matney and L. Rainville, eds., “Archaeological Investigations at Ziyaret Tepe, 2003 and 2004,” Anatolica 31, 20-68

2005c Review of Mario Liverani, Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004): Archaeology Odyssey 8/4, 44-48

2007a “Ramataia,” Reallexikon der Assyriologie 11/3-4, 233-234

2007b “Rāši/u,” Reallexikon der Assyriologie 11/3-4, 255-256

2007c “The Neo-Assyrian Ruling Class,” in Thomas R. Kämmerer (ed.), Studien zur Ritual und Sozialgeschichte im Alten Orient / Studies on Ritual and Society in the Ancient Near East. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Bd. 374. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 257-274

2008a Cuneiform Texts from Ziyaret Tepe (Tušhan), 2002-2003,” State Archives of Assyria Bulletin 17, 1-113, Plates I-XXV

2008b “Salonen, Armas Immanuel”: Reallexikon der Assyriologie 11/7-8, 588-589


2009a Sumerian: A Uralic Language,” in Leonid Kogan et al. (eds.), Language in the Ancient Near East. Compte rendu de la 53e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, 23-28 July 2007 (= Babel und Bibel 4/6), Moscow

2009b “Staatsvertrag. Neuassyrisch,” Reallexikon der Assyriologie 12/1

2010 “Library of Assurbanipal,” in Roger S. Bagnall et al. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Wiley-Blackwell)




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