Corner of an ancient building made of stone blocks with inscribed text on the highest block.

The “Sardursburg” and one of the inscriptions of Sarduri First

“Translating Culture”:

Sardur I’s Neo-Assyrian Inscription on the Sardursburg in Ancient Tushpa, Urartu

Beate Pongratz-Leisten


This lecture will take place online; a Zoom link will be provided via email to registered participants.

Registration is required at THIS LINK.

Within the framework of ISAW’s mission statement, which considers the ancient world as an interconnected place, this talk investigates scholarly approaches to intercultural contact. Focusing on what in recent times has been categorized as “translating culture” it takes the Urartian adoption of cuneiform writing as a case study and unravels the cognitive and cultural implications of Sardur I’s adoption of Neo-Assyrian script and language on the walls of the so-called Fortress of Sardur at ancient Tushpa on the shores of Lake Van.

Beate Pongratz-Leisten is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at ISAW. She was trained as a translator and interpreter of French and Spanish at the École Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs, Paris, and the University of Mainz. In 1983 she embarked on a second career in ancient Near Eastern Studies, Egyptology, and Religious Studies at Tübingen University and Harvard University. She received her doctorate and habilitation from Tübingen University. Before joining the faculty of ISAW she taught at Tübingen University and Freiburg University in Germany, as well as at PrincetonYale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

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