Letters of the royal correspondence

These letters were first published in the State Archives of Assyria series. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the authors and the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project [http://www.helsinki.fi/science/saa/] (NATCP). Copyright remains with the authors and the NATCP. The letters may not be reproduced for non-educational purposes, beyond fair use, without the permission of the authors and the NATCP.

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Abbreviation Original publication
SAA 1 S. Parpola, The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part I: Letters from Assyria and the West (State Archives of Assyria 1), Helsinki 1987
SAA 5 G. B. Lanfranchi and S. Parpola, The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part II: Letters from the Northern and Northeastern Provinces (State Archives of Assyria 5), Helsinki 1990
SAA 15 A. Fuchs and S. Parpola, The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part III: Letters from Babylonia and the Eastern Provinces (State Archives of Assyria 15), Helsinki 2001
SAA 17 M. Dietrich, The Neo-Babylonian Correspondence of Sargon and Sennacherib (State Archives of Assyria 17), Helsinki 2003

All four original publications were reviewed in specialist Assyriological journals. In general, we have not taken those reviews into account in the online edition but strongly recommend that they be consulted when using this site as a resource for specialist Assyriological research.

» Browse or search the letters [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/corpus]

You may find it helpful to print this page out for reference before you start to explore the letters for the first time. If your browser has problems displaying all the special transliteration characters, you may want to download Steve Tinney's Ungkam font [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/user/fonts/#Ungkam] for Mac, Windows or Linux.

If you're still having trouble viewing these characters, then you'll need to set the character encoding on your browser correctly.

Page View (corpus browser)

The letters are listed in publication order, grouped by volume and chapter, in the main part of the window. The chapter titles and text titles are those of the modern editors, not the ancient scribes. The names of the sender(s) and addressee(s), where known, are given in the right-hand column of the list. Left and right arrows at the top and bottom of the page enable you to move through the listing. You can also jump to another page by typing the page number in the box at the top or bottom centre.

The "CDLI" button on the left-hand side of each entry takes you to the relevant entry in the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative [http://cdli.ucla.edu]'s database. The publication numbers (in blue) link to the item view, which displays the transliteration and translation of a single text (see Item View below).

The left-hand sidebar gives an outline view of the SAA volumes with the Sargon correspondence [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/aeb/corpus] or, if you are using SAA online [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/corpus], of the eighteen SAA volumes, among them the four with the Sargon correspondence, and allows you to select a single volume or chapter to browse by clicking on the appropriate link. Using the links in the blue zone at the top, you can also return to the Assyrian Empire Builders home page (or the Knowledge and Power home page [http://knp.prs.heacademy.ac.uk]), perform a search, or start again with a new browse or search.

» Browse or search the letters. [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/corpus]

Item View (single texts)

The Item View shows the transliteration and translation of a single text, as first published in the SAA series. See the Knowledge and Power page on the cuneiform writing system [http://knp.prs.heacademy.ac.uk/essentials/cuneiformscript/] for an explanation of transliteration conventions. The numbers and letters immediately above the transliteration and translation give technical information about the museum number and place of first publication. Also, the cuneiform script of the text is identified as either Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian.

The left-hand sidebar gives the following information:

CDLI [http://cdli.ucla.edu] catalogue number (external link);
museum number;
place of first publication.
Cuneified: this view is currently only available for texts in Neo-Assyrian script. It offers the text in Neo-Assyrian cuneiform, converted automatically from the transliteration. While restored characters are given in brackets and missing signs are indicated by background shading, partially preserved characters are not marked. In order to be able to use this function, you have to download and install the CuneiformNA font [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/user/fonts/#CuneiformNA] from the Oracc website, where you will find full instructions on how to install it [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/user/fonts/#Installation_Instructions].
textual genre;
textual subgenre, if applicable;
ancient author and addressee (where known);
ancient date BC, if applicable (based on direct evidence from within the text, following ancient month and day conventions in which the new year begins at spring equinox and months have either 29 or 30 days).
list of places of first publication.

In Item View you can hide or show the left-hand sidebar by clicking on [fullscreen] or [splitscreen] at the top of the window.

» Browse or search the letters. [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/corpus]


There are different ways to search the content of the letters in the original Akkadian and the English translation, see searching SAA online. To make the most of the glossary, you should use the Sargon correspondence sub-corpus [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/saao/aeb/corpus] of State Archives of Assyria Online.


When you print a page, either in Page View or in Item View, the left-hand sidebar containing the search box and catalogue data is omitted.

Content last modified: 09 Jul 2012.

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© Mechanisms of communication in the Assyrian empire. History Department, University College London, 2009