Akkadian is the ancient language of Mesopotamia within the Semitic language family. First finding prominence under Sargon of Akkad (late 3rd millennium BCE), Akkadian became dominant in Mesopotamia in the 2nd and early 1st millennia BCE, for much of which it was also the diplomatic language of the whole Ancient Near East. Written with an intricate system of cuneiform (wedge shapes in clay), we find myths of Marduk, Ishtar and the Babylonian pantheon, epics of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis and the ancient Flood, the so-called “laws” of Hammurabi, the military campaign records and propaganda of Assyrian kings, business accounts recording the sale of slaves, the adoption of children, and much more. This course will explore the basics of the language – grammar, vocabulary, syntax and a small amount of work in the cuneiform writing system. Previous work in a Semitic language (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc.) is an asset, but not required.