Conference Scholars and Scholarship in Late Babylonian Uruk – 2015

2015-03-24 11.33.47

March 23-24, 2015, Université Paris Diderot,
Building Condorcet,  4 rue Elsa Morante 75013 Paris or 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet 75013 Paris. Room 646A Mondrian. Maps and directions can be found here.

The  International conference is co-organised by Christine Proust and John Steele and supported by the European project SAW (CNRS & Université Paris Diderot) and the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology at Brown University.


The city of Uruk was a major centre of scholarship in Late Babylonian Mesopotamia (second half of the first millennium BCE). Excavations in Uruk have provided a rich variety of docu-ments, often available with some archaeological information, on the individuals and groups who practiced a range of scholarly activities such as mathematics, the astral sciences, medicine and rituals. Most of these documents were part of scholarly libraries. The goal of this confer-ence is to understand mathematical practices in the broad context of scholarship in Uruk. To that end the contributors examine the interrelation of different genres of scholarship and the circulation of knowledge between individuals or communities of scholars (professions, fami-lies, clans, generations, etc) inside Uruk, and from Uruk to other scholarly centres. We expect cases studies grounded on well-delimited collections of tablets which also address broader questions which might include: Who were the scholars who wrote mathematical and other scholarly texts in Uruk? How do we identify and characterize mathematical practices in astral sciences, medicine, and rituals? Which relations can be established between these practices and those documented by mathematical texts? What are the specificities of erudition in Uruk? How did scientific texts fit into the organization of scholarly libraries and of professions? What was the influence of Urukean science in the Hellenistic world and vice versa?

List of Speakers

March 23, 2015
Philippe Clancier (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France), The Urukean scholars from the end of the Achaemenid period to the beginning of the Arsacid era
John Steele (Brown University,USA), Astronomical Activity in the ‘House of the āšipus’ in Uruk
Christine Proust (SPHERE, CNRS & Université Paris Diderot, SAW Project), Mathematical texts from the “House of āšipus” in Uruk
Mathieu Ossendrijver (Humboldt Universität, Germany), Mathematical Practices in the Rēš temple

March 24, 2015
Hermann Hunger (Universität Wien, Austria), Astrological Texts from Late Babylonian Uruk
Julia Krul (Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands), “Star Anu, Lord of Heaven”: The influence of the celestial sciences on temple rituals in Hellen-istic Uruk and Babylon
Paul-Alain Beaulieu (University of Toronto, Canada), Cross-fertilization between Greek and Babylonian Thought in Seleucid Uruk
Alexander Jones (New-York University, USA), Uruk and the Greco-Roman World

Full programme with abstracts