Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East

The research project on the Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East examines the cultural, linguistic and literary relations between the Near East and the West, and the interaction between the Near East and ancient Greece in particular. The five-year project (2010–2015), part of the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme and funded by the Academy of Finland, is based in the Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki.

The project is led by Prof. Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila in collaboration with FiDiPro Professor Robert Rollinger (formerly of Innsbruck).

Other team members are Dr Erik van Dongen, Dr Raija Mattila, Inka Nokso-Koivisto (MA), Ilkka Lindstedt (MA) and Saana Svärd (MA).

The multimethodological undertaking draws on Akkadian, Greek and Arabic sources to elaborate on East–West relations. Searching for the historical roots of various dichotomies and controversies, the project analyses the formation of cultural identities in a multicultural environment.

The analysis of relations between three interrelated cultures (Mesopotamia, Greece, the Islamic culture) through millennia from different perspectives (religion; power; literature; philosophy; historiography) makes it possible to create a model for cultural change and identity formation. In order to secure a comprehensive analysis, the project has three research strands focusing on the same phenomena from different viewpoints.

Project members' publications (pdf)

Further information: Prof. Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, jaakko.hameen-anttila(at)