Celebrating the culmination of a 90-year project, The Oriental Institute is offering free downloading of its recently completed Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. Work on the dictionary, whose full name is The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, began in 1921 and the first volume was published in 1956. The completed compendium totals 21 volumes (comprising 26 books) and runs to nearly 10,000 pages containing some 28,000 entries and articles written over the years by 88 scholars attached to the Institute and the U of C.
More an encyclopedia than a dictionary, it is based on the deciphering of millions of Assyrian and Babylonian clay tablets containing cuneiform script excavated primarily from what is now Iraq. Scholars of Mesopotamia, described as the world’s first urban and literate civilization, regard the dictionary as a work of major significance that offers insights into the political and cultural history, linguistics, astronomy, math, and medical science of the ancient Near East.
The full bound set sells for $1,995 with a 20% discount available through David E. Brown Publishing. Individual printed volumes range in price from $45 to $150 each. However, all Oriental Institute publications are available as PDFs at no cost at the Institute’s website.