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Dr Martin Worthington

Dr Martin Worthington

Senior Lecturer in Assyriology

Fellow of St John's College

Martin Worthington is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: 01223 333525


Born in York and raised in Italy, Martin studied Ancient Near Eastern History and Egyptology at UCL, then spent a year in Leipzig, where he began to learn Akkadian.  Fascinated by the language, he did an MPhil and PhD in Oriental Studies at Cambridge, followed by four years as Junior Research Fellow at St John's College.  He was then, prior to moving back to Cambridge, a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow for two years at SOAS.  He has been a member of the Department of Archaeology since 2012.

Martin has taught Akkadian by invitation at the University of Udine and the Russiant State University for the Humanities.  In 2006 he spent three months at the Altorientalisches Institut, Leipzig University, with a DAAD re-invitation scholarship.  In 2014 he taught a course on “Ancient Myths of the Western World” as part of the University Immersion Programme at Sichuan University, China.

In 2017-2018 he is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, in New York.  In Michaelmas 2018 he will be an Early Career Fellow at CRASSH, in Cambridge.

Subject groups/Research projects

Urban Society and the State:

Research Interests

Babylonian and Assyrian grammar, Mesopotamian literature, Mesopotamian medicine, Quantitative methods and the study of ancient languages.

For my current book projects see here.

Research Supervision

Currently supervising PhD students Peerapat OuysookChristoph Schmidhuber and Lynette Talbot.  I am open to supervising MPhil dissertations on most Mesopotamian text-based topics, and PhD dissertations which relate to my areas of interest and/or to methods which I am experienced in.  Prospective supervises are encouraged to contact me directly.


I teach Akkadian and Sumerian language, and courses on Mesopotamian literature, religion and scholarship.  

I supervise MPhil theses on a broad range of Mesopotamian topics. Current and recent ones include: Verse Structure in Ludlul, Space in Akkadian Literature, The Sumerian of Old Babylonian Royal Inscriptions, Reading the Babylonian Theodicy, Women as Heirs in Bronze Age Mesopotamia, and Characterisation in Akkadian Literature.

Other Professional Activities

See here for the Poor Man of Nippur film project.

I am on the editorial board of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes and the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.  I am a committee member of the London Centre for the Ancient Near East.

2011 Sir George Staunton Prize (awarded jointly; Royal Asiatic Society).

2009 Jonas C. Greenfield Prize for Younger Semitists (American Oriental Society).

2008-2009 Fellow of the ‘Advanced Seminar in the Humanities: Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome and the Near East’ (Venice International University).


  • The Near East
  • Early Literacy

Key Publications

2012. Principles of Akkadian Textual Criticism (SANER 1; Boston/Berlin: De Gruyter). (Reviewed at;;;; also D. Longacre, Revue de Qumrân 27 [2015] 146-151).


Selected publications


Worthington M. (2012). Principles of Akkadian Textual Criticism. (SANER.) Berlin: De Gruyter.


Worthington M.J.V.(2011). On names and artistic unity in the standard version of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 21(4), 403-420. DOI: 10.1017/S1356186311000423.


Worthington M.(2010). A new phonological difference between Babylonian and (Neo-)Assyrian. Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie und Vorderasiastische Archaeologie, 100(1), 86-108.


Worthington M.J.V.(2010). Some new patterns in Neo-Assyrian orthography and phonology discernible in nouns with monosyllabic stems. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 69(2), 179-194.

Other Publications


2010. Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian (London: Hodder and Stoughton). (Reviewed at

2011. (Co-edited) Narratives of Egypt and the Ancient Near East: Literary and Linguistic Approaches (OLA 189; Leuven: Peeters).

2017. (Co-edited) At the Dawn of History: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J. N. Postgate (2 vols; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns).



2015 (with Michela Piccin): ‘Schizophrenia and the Problem of Suffering in the Ludlul Hymn to Marduk’, Revue d’Assyriologie 109, 113-124.

2013a ‘Style, Syntax, and Gilgamesh XI’, Babel und Bibel 7, 309-317.

2013b ‘Literatures in Dialogue: A Comparison of Attitudes to Speech in Babylonian and Middle Egyptian Literature’, in R. Enmarch and V. M. Lepper (eds), Ancient Egyptian Literature: Theory and Practice (The British Academy), 261–292.

2012 (with Richard North) ‘Gilgamesh and Beowulf: Foundations of a Comparison’, KASKAL 9 (2012), 177-217.

2011a. ‘On Names and Artistic Unity in the Standard Version of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 21/4, 403–420.

2011b. (with L. Kogan) ‘Accusative Casus Pendens: Some Further Examples’, Babel und Bibel 6, 487–494.

2010a. ‘A New Phonological Difference Between Babylonian and Assyrian’, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 100/1, 86–108.

2010b. i-ba-aš-šu-ú vs. i-ba-aš-šu from Old to Neo-Babylonian’, in L. Kogan et al. (eds), Language in the Ancient Near East (Eisenbrauns), 661–706.

2010c. ‘“mamma(n) ... ul” and its alternatives in Babylonian literature’, KASKAL 7, 123–142.

2010d. ‘Medicine, Comedy, Power and their Interconnections in Babylonia and Assyria’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 15, 25–39.

2010e. ‘Some New Patterns in Neo-Assyrian Orthography and Phonology Discernible in Nouns with Monosyllabic Stems’, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 69/2, 179–194.

2010f. ‘The lamp and the mirror, or: Some comments on the ancient understanding of Mesopotamian medical manuscripts’, in A. Imhausen and T. Pommerening (eds), Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Rome, and Greece (De Gruyter), 189–199.

2009. ‘Some Notes on Medical Information Outside the Medical Corpora’, in A. Attia and G. Buisson (eds), Advances in Mesopotamian Medicine from Hammurabi to Hippocrates (Cuneiform Monographs 37; Leiden: Brill), 47-77.

2006a. ‘Edition of BAM 3’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 7, 18–48.

2006b. ‘Dialect Admixture of Babylonian and Assyrian in SAA VIII, X, XII[I], XVII, XVIII’, Iraq 67, 59–84.

2006c. ‘Clause Grouping in Neo-Assyrian on the Evidence of ’, Orientalia 75/4, 334–58.

2005. ‘Edition of UGU 1 (=BAM 480 etc.)’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 5, 6–43.

2004a. ‘Aspects of Mesopotamian Witchcraft: remarks on a Book by Tzvi Abusch’, Bibliotheca Orientalis 61/3–4, cols. 259–77.

2004b. ‘The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh: A Review Essay’, Ancient Near Eastern Studies 41, 223–39.

2004c. ‘Planets, Livers and Omens in Mesopotamia’, Early Science and Medicine 9/2, 136–43.

2004d. ‘Question and Answer in Middle Kingdom Dialogues’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 90, 113–21.

2001. ‘Einiges über die Paläographie des Papyrus Rollin’, Göttinger Miszellen 183, 93–98.




Hagen F., Johnston J., Monkhouse W., Piquette K., Tait J. and Worthington M. (2011). Narratives of Egypt and the Ancient Near East: Literary and Linguistic Approaches, (OLA.) Leuven: Peeters Pub & Booksellers.


Articles & Chapters


Worthington M.J.V. and Kogan L. (2011). Accusative Casus Pendens: Some further examples. Babel und Bibel, 6, 487-494.


Worthington M.(2010). Medicine, comedy, power and their interconnections in Babylonia and Assyria. J Med Cuneif


Worthington M.J.V.(2010). “mamma(n) ... ul” and its alternatives in Babylonian literature. KASKAL, 7, 132-142.


Worthington M.J.V.(2010). i-ba-aš-šu-ú vs. i-ba-aš-šu from Old to Neo-Babylonian. L. Kogan, N. Koslova, S. Loesov and S. Tishchenko (eds.), Language in the Ancient Near East. Eisenbrauns. 661-706.


Worthington M.J.V.(2010). The lamp and the mirror, or: Some comments on the ancient understanding of Mesopotamian medical manuscripts. A. Imhausen and T. Pommerening (eds.), Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Rome, and Greece. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 189-199.