Studia Orientalia Electronica <p><em>Studia Orientalia</em> is an internationally recognized publication series of Asian and African studies. It is published by the Finnish Oriental Society. In addition to monographs and thematic collections of articles, some volumes have been regularly dedicated to high-quality articles on all fields of Asian and African studies. In fact, the first volume of <em>Studia Orientalia</em> in 1925 was such an article volume.</p> <p>From the beginning of 2013, these article volumes have&nbsp;appeared in this new publication series, <em>Studia Orientalia Electronica</em>. StOrE is a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal with continuous submission. With this new journal we hope to reach a wider audience and also speed up our publication process.</p> Finnish Oriental Society en-US Studia Orientalia Electronica 2323-5209 <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p> <p>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution License</a> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.</p> <p>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g. post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</p> <p>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See <a href="" target="_new">The Effect of Open Access</a>).</p> Editors' Introduction <p>Editors' Introduction to the volume <span lang="en-US">Mesopotamian identities in the last centuries of cuneiform writing by Sebastian Fink &amp; Saana Svärd. </span></p> Sebastian Fink Saana Svärd Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 1 4 10.23993/store.129800 Sources at the end of the cuneiform era <p>The aim of this article is to discuss several groups of sources which are of special interest regarding the question of Mesopotamian identities after 539 bce, towards the end of the use of cuneiform writing. In this late period, several languages and scripts were in use in Mesopotamia; therefore, groups of Akkadian, Aramaic, Greek, and Sumerian texts are discussed. The scripts used are Aramaic letters, cuneiform, and the Greek alphabet. A scholar who is interested in late Mesopotamian identities needs to take all these documents into account. This article aims at giving a brief overview on available textual material and where to find it. The topics of these texts vary from administrative documents to highly literary texts. The authors discuss Aramaic inscriptions, legal and administrative cuneiform texts, the astronomical diaries, the Seleucid Uruk scholarly texts, the late Babylonian priestly literature, Emesal cult-songs from the Hellenistic period, the Graeco-Babyloniaca (clay tablets containing cuneiform and Greek), and finally Greek inscriptions from Mesopotamia.</p> Tero Alstola Paola Corò Rocio Da Riva Sebastian Fink Michael Jursa Ingo Kottsieper Martin Lang M. Willis Monroe Laurie Pearce Reinhard Pirngruber Kai Ruffing Saana Svärd Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 5 29 10.23993/store.129801 Scribal Identities, Renaissances, and Dead Languages: From Barber Sumerian to Kitchen Latin <p>This article is an investigation of the role of the knowledge of dead languages, namely Latin and Sumerian, for scribal or scholarly identities. While at first glance there is no obvious reason why a “dead language” should be part of the curriculum of people who were about to become the foremost administrators of their time, knowledge of one or more dead languages seems to be a pillar of scholarly self-consciousness in many periods. The three groups under study are Mesopotamian scribes in general, especially those of the Old Babylonian schools; the galas/kalûs, professional lamentation singers that became scribes over the course of time; and Renaissance scholars, for whom a perfect grasp of Latin was of utmost importance. Those who did not meet the expectations of their colleagues were accused of speaking “Barber Sumerian” or “Kitchen Latin” and thereby excluded from the exclusive scholarly circles—or, as the Sumerian school texts put it, from becoming a true member of humanity.</p> Delila Jordan Sebastian Fink Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 30 52 10.23993/store.129805 Ezekiel, Ethnicity, and Identity <p>The written sources from the ancient Near East are for the most part authored from the perspective of the dominant group and yield a very limited view on people’s identities from an emic point of view that would correspond to their own self-identification. Self-defined minority groups in Mesopotamia have not left behind written evidence about themselves and their identity strategies. A notable exception to this rule is the book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. This book documents an intense and enduring attempt at reconstructing the identity of a dislocated group of people. The book of Ezekiel is produced by a group that constructed a diaspora identity from the early sixth century onwards, whether in Babylonia or in Jerusalem; in any case, it is written in an environment where the adaptation of a wide array of Mesopotamian linguistic, iconographic, literary, and theological motifs was possible. Wherever and whenever the book of Ezekiel was produced, it presents itself as a document of an explicit identity strategy of a minority group, unique among written sources from any part of Mesopotamia. It can be read as an example of the survival strategy of a group that distinguishes itself from others by way of self-reidentification. The book does not reflect a stable and universally shared identity of the Judeans. On the contrary, it creates and constructs an inner-Judean antagonism between Ezekiel’s in-group and the delegitimized out-group. The book of Ezekiel, therefore, does not convey much about the integration of the Judean minority into Babylonian society but all the more about conflicts among Judeans themselves.</p> Martti Nissinen Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 53 71 10.23993/store.129806 Constructing Identities: Greek names as a marker of Hellenizing identity <p>Even as Babylonia came under foreign rule, cuneiform documentation continued to record traditional activities. In the transition to the Hellenistic period, it is assumed that Greek practices became more prevalent, although documentary evidence for them remains limited. Cuneiform legal texts documented a narrower range of transactions. In Uruk, these were primarily real estate transactions and prebend sales, which continued to be framed in traditional Babylonian formulaic language. However, in those texts, some actors display personal attributes and/or form networks suggesting they are promoting Hellenizing identities. The attributes include the adoption of Greek names, the use of polyonymous Akkadian-Greek names, and of Hellenistic motifs in the iconography of their seals. These practices appear in the records of three groups of individuals, including members of the elite Ah’ūtu family; the Dumqi-Anu/Arad-Rēš family, which held a share in the atû (porter) prebend; and of the ēpiš dulli ša ṭīdi (clay workers) class. The evidence suggests active construction of a Hellenizing identity is most apparent among members of the ēpiš dulli ša ṭīdi, who belonged to the lowest stratum of the groups considered, while the social networks of members of the Dumqi-Anu/Arad-Rēš family often attest to individuals who bridge communities grounded in Babylonian culture and to those who adopt features of Hellenizing identities.</p> Laurie E. Pearce Paola Corò Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 72 108 10.23993/store.129807 Greek Inscriptions in Mesopotamia (and Babylonia) <p>This article provides a short overview on the few Greek inscriptions from Mesopotamia which date to the period between the third century bce and the first century ce. It argues that since the concept of “identity” has certain shortcomings for a historical analysis of an ancient society it might be useful to apply the concepts “commonality,” “connectedness,” and “groupness” for a somehow further and deeper insight. Due to the lack of a larger group of Greek documents in the timeframe mentioned, these concepts are used for some short remarks on the graffiti of the Nebuchelos-Archive from Dura-Europos which dates to the third century ce. The article attempts to show how, in a situation of cultural contact which produced hybrid and ambiguous forms of cultural practices, individuals used different cultural markers and practices of the different societies to demonstrate and publicly display their “commonality” and “connectedness.”</p> Kai Ruffing Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 109 115 10.23993/store.129808 Changing Identities at the Turn of the Common Era: The Case of Semiramis <p>Babylon, a city of shifting identities, was a constant point of reference for the Mediterranean world. This article explores the portrayal of the Babylonian queen Semiramis in Greek and Roman sources, demonstrating how ancient Near Eastern identities were constructed from the external perspective of Mediterranean cultures. Herodotus first mentioned Semiramis in the fifth century bce, associating her with Babylon’s architectural wonders. Ctesias described her as an outstanding, but in many respects flawed military leader. In contrast, during the final stage of the Roman Republic, Diodorus Siculus reshaped Ctesias’ narrative and portrayed her more positively, emphasizing her beauty, virtues, courage, and intelligence. During the Roman Empire, Semiramis remained a remarkable figure who accomplished great deeds, but later authors introduced negative aspects to her story. The Augustan Age portrayed her negatively, with new elements added, such as sodomy and murder, and used her as a stand-in for Cleopatra. Both queens were denigrated as female rulers and foreigners, emphasizing cultural differences between Mesopotamian and Roman identities. The portrayal of Semiramis served to categorize and describe Mesopotamian culture, rather than to understand it. Ultimately, this article shows how Semiramis reflects different perceptions of Babylonia/Assyria and how her portrayal shifted over time in ancient literature, serving as part of Augustan propaganda to pass judgment on Cleopatra and emphasize cultural differences.</p> Kerstin Droß-Krüpe Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 116 129 10.23993/store.129809 Construction of Identities and Late Mesopotamian Archives as Found in the Fragments of the ‘Graeco-Babyloniaca’ <p>This article focuses on the social reality behind the so-called Graeco-Babyloniaca, a small sample of less than two dozen fragments of clay tablets, mainly inscribed with cuneiform signs on the obverse, with alphabetic Greek signs on the reverse. As possibly one of the last signs of life of the time-honored cuneiform script, in a Janus-faced manner they hint at the long tradition of Babylonian scholarship and learning on the one hand, and at its disappearance via script-obsolescence on the other. Notwithstanding the fact that there are only a few tablets, the aim of this article is to trace the social group behind the textual remains of the Graeco-Babylonian tablets and tablet fragments.</p> Martin Lang Copyright (c) 2023 Studia Orientalia Electronica 2023-05-16 2023-05-16 11 2 130 137 10.23993/store.129810