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Department of Archaeology



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.


  • Babylonian and Assyrian grammar
  • Mesopotamian literature
  • Mesopotamian medicine
  • Quantitative methods
  • The study of ancient languages

For my current book projects see here.


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.
[2] 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.
[3] Worthington M.(2010). A new phonological difference between Babylonian and (Neo-)Assyrian. Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie und Vorderasiastische Archaeologie, 100(1), 86-108.
[4] 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: 



[1] 2010. Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian (London: Hodder and Stoughton). (Reviewed at
[2] 2011. (Co-edited) Narratives of Egypt and the Ancient Near East: Literary and Linguistic Approaches (OLA 189; Leuven: Peeters).
[3] 2017. (Co-edited) At the Dawn of History: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J. N. Postgate (2 vols; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns).
[4] 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.



[1] 2015 (with Michela Piccin): ‘Schizophrenia and the Problem of Suffering in the Ludlul Hymn to Marduk’, Revue d’Assyriologie 109, 113-124.
[2] 2013a ‘Style, Syntax, and Gilgamesh XI’, Babel und Bibel 7, 309-317.
[3] 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.
[4] 2012 (with Richard North) ‘Gilgamesh and Beowulf: Foundations of a Comparison’, KASKAL 9 (2012), 177-217.
[5] 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.
[6] 2011b. (with L. Kogan) ‘Accusative Casus Pendens: Some Further Examples’, Babel und Bibel 6, 487–494.
[7] 2010a. ‘A New Phonological Difference Between Babylonian and Assyrian’, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 100/1, 86–108.
[8] 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.
[9] 2010c. ‘“mamma(n) ... ul” and its alternatives in Babylonian literature’, KASKAL 7, 123–142.
[10] 2010d. ‘Medicine, Comedy, Power and their Interconnections in Babylonia and Assyria’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 15, 25–39.
[11] 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.
[12] 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.
[13] 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.
[14] 2006a. ‘Edition of BAM 3’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 7, 18–48.
[15] 2006b. ‘Dialect Admixture of Babylonian and Assyrian in SAA VIII, X, XII[I], XVII, XVIII’, Iraq 67, 59–84.
[16] 2006c. ‘Clause Grouping in Neo-Assyrian on the Evidence of ’, Orientalia 75/4, 334–58.
[17] 2005. ‘Edition of UGU 1 (=BAM 480 etc.)’, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes 5, 6–43.
[18] 2004a. ‘Aspects of Mesopotamian Witchcraft: remarks on a Book by Tzvi Abusch’, Bibliotheca Orientalis 61/3–4, cols. 259–77.
[19] 2004b. ‘The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh: A Review Essay’, Ancient Near Eastern Studies 41, 223–39.
[20] 2004c. ‘Planets, Livers and Omens in Mesopotamia’, Early Science and Medicine 9/2, 136–43.
[21] 2004d. ‘Question and Answer in Middle Kingdom Dialogues’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 90, 113–21.
[22] 2001. ‘Einiges über die Paläographie des Papyrus Rollin’, Göttinger Miszellen 183, 93–98.



Teaching and Supervisions



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.


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.


Job Titles

Senior Lecturer in Assyriology
Fellow of St John's College
Director of Studies, St John's College

General Info

Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Assyriology and Mesopotamian Languages


Person keywords: 
Mesopotamian Languages
Mesopotamian Literature
Near East
Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East