The newly published Routledge Handbook of Emotions in the Ancient Near East, edited by Karen Sonik and Ulrike Steinert, is an in-depth, multidisciplinary exploration of emotions in the ancient Near East, combining both literary and material evidence. The book consists of 34 chapters, written by leading international scholars, including Tero Alstola, Heidi Jauhiainen, Saana Svärd, Aleksi Sahala, Krister Lindén and Johannes Bach from the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires. This volume is divided into two parts: the first addresses methodology and theory through thematic analyses, and the second encompasses corpus-based approaches to emotions.
In chapter 3, Alstola, Jauhiainen, Svärd, Sahala & Lindén apply two language-technological methods, pointwise mutual information (PMI) and the fastText implementation of the continuous skip-gram model, to a dataset of 7 346 Akkadian cuneiform texts from the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (Oracc). The study focuses on the analysis of emotion in Akkadian texts using the word râmu, “to love,” as a case study.
In chapter 11, Johannes Bach discusses Assyrian royal narrative texts as accounts of king’s military exploits and architectural achievements. In this paper, emotions are viewed as literary tools that are used to highlight specific emotions and attribute qualities and values.
The Routledge Handbook of Emotions in the Ancient Near East is an accessible and versatile resource for Near Eastern studies and adjacent fields and a must-read for anyone interested in the history and cross-cultural study of emotions.