The Melammu Project

marzo 25, 2007

The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in East and West

The Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project (Melammu) investigates the continuity, transformation and diffusion of Mesopotamian culture throughout the ancient world from the second millennium BC until Islamic times. A central objective of the project is to create an electronic database collecting the relevant textual, art-historical, archaeological, ethnographic and linguistic evidence and making it easily accessible on the Internet. In addition, the project organizes annual symposia focusing on different aspects of cultural continuity and evolution in the ancient world.

This is the website of the Melammu Project. It features information about its symposia and proceedings, the Melammu Database and bibliographies of Melammu-related themes:


The Name and Logo of Melammu
by Simo Parpola

The name Melammu and its logo were chosen to illustrate essential aspects of the cross-cultural processes that the Project investigates. The word melammu, which means “divine radiance, splendour, nimbus, aura,” is an Akkadian loanword from Sumerian. It thus concretely attests to the transfer and continuity of a centrally important doctrinal concept from an ideological system to a later one. In Mesopotamia alone, this concept has a documented continuity of over 4500 years, from the earliest cuneiform religious and historical documents (ca. 2600 BC) till the present day. The iconography of the concept has gone a long way from the radiance surrounding Mesopotamian gods to the halos surrounding the heads of Byzantine angels and saints and the loops hovering over the heads of Christian angels, but the concept itself has survived amazingly well and spread far beyond its original home.