Gabor Zolyomi

Senior Fellow
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
Project Title: 
Narrative Conventions and Worldview in Sumerian Royal Inscriptions from the 3rd Millennium BC
Project Abstract: 

The corpus of 3rd millennium Sumerian royal inscriptions consists of approx. 900 texts. The texts designated as royal inscriptions are votive or commemorative texts recording various events (e.g. building or ritual activities, military conflicts etc.). They range from simple one sentence dedicatory inscriptions to complex accounts of military conflicts between neighbouring polities. This type of texts emerged without any known precedent in the middle of the 3rd millennium BC after more than 600 years of literacy in ancient Mesopotamia. The corpus covers a time span of approximately five hundred years, from the middle until the end of the 3rd millennium. In the literature, Sumerian royal inscriptions are treated first of all as historical sources and the characteristics of the way they tell the events have not been discussed comprehensively. The present proposal aims to analyze the corpus of Sumerian royal inscriptions from the 3rd millennium BC from the point of view of their narration in order to disclose and describe the conventions and presuppositions underlying the construction of these texts. The expected outcome of the research is a synchronic and diachronic typology of the texts in the corpus based both on their narrative conventions and functional context; and in connection with this typology an analysis of the worldview and ideology underlying these texts. The research proposed here will be based on the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Royal Inscriptions, a project whose principal investigator is the present applicant ( This is a lemmatized, grammatically and morphologically analyzed, trilingual (Sumerian-English- Hungarian) corpus freely available for use on the Internet.