Introduction To The Guide

There are a few things about the Guide and its contents that I'd like to mention. Much of it is standard, and familiar to you if you've read even a few books on the ancient Near East. However, some of the things discussed here are conventions particular to the Guide, and I'd like to cover them for the sake of making life a little bit easier...


In reading the Guide you will encounter abbreviations, such as BPO2 or CT. These abbreviations are useful when discussing a relatively well-known book without actually citing it. If you come across an abbreviation that is unfamiliar, you can look it up in the Abbreviations page. At present, these abbreviations are not linked.


As you may have already noticed, all citations found in the Guide are linked to the bibliographic entry to which they refer. However, because many of these entries are cited in several places throughout the guide, there are no links from within the bibliography to the citations. As a result, if you follow a citation link to the bibliography, you will need to hit the "back" button to return to your place in the Guide.

The same holds true for certian terms used in the Guide that may not be familiar to many readers. For example, when I mention the Enuma Anu Enlil I also provide a link to it in the Primary Sources page where the text is given a general description. As with the bibliography, there are no links back out from the Primary Sources page. Again, you will need to hit the "back" button to return to your place in the Guide.

Once I have finished getting online everything I plan to include in the Guide, I intend to create a searchable index for the convenience of anyone looking for something specific. I know this would be useless to people with browsers that do not support forms, so if my free time permits I may also do an actual, book-like, hypertext index. For the time being, I hope you find the Guide's present setup to be sufficiently navigable.


I have made every attempt to provide an accurate transliteration of the Sumerian and Akkadian, confined as I am to the specifications of HTML. Unsuprisingly, HTML does not support the character. Therefore, all instances of are rendered simply as sh. Please let me know if you find something to be incorrect.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the conventions involved in transliteration, here's the overall gist. Sumerian and Akkadian is written in cuneiform which, in antiquity, was written by pressing a wedge-shaped stylus into wet clay. The resulting script looks like this: . Transliteration is a method of rendering this script in our present alphabet. Thus, the transliteration of is shamû.

The words you see transliterated into all caps, such as GIR.TAB, represent Sumerian words, and words shown in italics, such as shamû, are Akkadian words. Occasionally you will see words with a lowercase d before them, as in the case of dIMIN.BI. The d stands for the Sumerian word DINGIR, which means "god", and is used to indicate the name of a particular deity.

For a better discussion of Akkadian, please see the Akkadian Language Server.

Enjoy your visit to the Guide! If there's something I haven't covered that you'd like to know more about, please let me know!


[Index] Go back to the Index

[scorpion with moon and star] A Guide to Ancient Near Eastern Astronomy

Comments Are Very Welcome

Hope Anthony
February 13, 1996