Assyrian Education Network

The Assyrian & Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project
by Zinda Magazine -
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 09:27 pm CST

The Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage project (MELAMMU) investigates the continuity, transformation and diffusion of Mesopotamian imperial culture in the Mediterranean world from the thirteenth century BC until the advent of Islam. The project is expected to open many new perspectives and significantly contribute to the understanding of cultural evolution in the East and West. A specific goal of MELAMMU is to document the shaping and survival of Assyrian ethnic and cultural identity up to the present day and to trace the continuity of Assyrian cultural elements in post-Empire times, particularly in Graeco-Roman Syria and Mesopotamia and in Syriac Christianity. The project was initiated in 1998 by the State Archives of Assyria Centre of Excellence of the University of Helsinki (SAA). While MELAMMU continues to be supported by SAA and some of its central functions are currently located in Helsinki, it is a completely independent project with no formal ties to SAA. In the opening symposium of MELAMMU held in Tvärminne, Finland, in October 1998, it was decided that the project will be directed by a nine-member international steering committee with chairmanship rotating yearly and that it will have a large interdisciplinary board of consultants and a staff of research assistants located in different countries. For details of the organization of MELAMMU see Appendix 3. Financial support for MELAMMU is currently being provided by SAA only. It was agreed in Tvärminne that a non-profit fund to support the project would have to be established as soon as possible by the institutions represented at the meeting. The support given to the project will be visibly acknowledged on the home page of the MELAMMU database and in all MELAMMU publications. The supporting institutions have a representative on the steering committee, receive complimentary copies of project publications and are informed about the progress of the project, but are not involved in its research nor in its practical realization.

The central objective of MELAMMU is to create an electronic database bringing together the textual, art-historical, archaeological and ethnographic evidence relevant to the study of Mesopotamian imperial culture and its diffusion and continuity in later times. The database will be compiled with international collaboration and will be made available on the Internet. In addition, the project organizes annual symposia focusing on different aspects of cultural continuity and evolution in the Mediterranean world. The theme of the opening symposium in Tvärminne was "The Heirs of Assyria." The second symposium, to be held in Paris on October 4-7, 1999, will deal with "Mythology and Mythologies: Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences." The proceedings of the meetings are published annually in a series bearing the name of the project and issued by SAA. The compilation of the database will take several years, and annual symposia will continue to be arranged for at least this period.

For more information on this year's Melammu gathering in Chicago see CALENDAR OF EVENTS.

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