Assyriology: an Alice in Wonderland house – An interview with Dr. Seth Richardson

By Uzume Wijnsma

Dr. Seth Richardson is a historian who mostly studies the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600 BCE) of ancient Iraq. Among his topics are the ancient state and political legitimacy. In 2017 he gave a guest lecture at Leiden University.

First things first: Why did you choose to go into Assyriology?

That’s a very difficult question. I suppose everybody’s answer will be different. Mine, maybe, is even more different. I was a historian, I knew I wanted to study history, and I took some years to try and figure out what historical discipline I would choose to work on in graduate school. At a certain point I really decided, mostly as a reaction to having done American history, that I wanted something that did not have a lot of boundaries. I didn’t want something very ‘pigeon-holed’, so to say. So I decided I was going to do world history. This was a great, grand idea: there are people who do world history.

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Inaugural lecture by Caroline Waerzeggers

On Friday 1 December, Caroline Waerzeggers presented her inaugural lecture before an audience of family, friends, colleagues and students. “The future of Assyriology is sitting right in front of me,” she concluded.

During the inaugural lecture

With the Persia & Babylonia project team

Vacancy for Research assistants

The Leiden University Institute of Area Studies invites applications for three or four 1.5-year research assistant positions in Assyriology. The assistants will enter data drawn from Babylonian cuneiform sources into a prosopographical database. This relational database is a key research tool to be established within the scope of the ERC-funded project, “Persia and Babylonia: Creating a New Context for Understanding the Emergence of the First World Empire,” directed by prof. Caroline Waerzeggers.

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