Akkadian is the umbrella term that covers all the Semitic dialects spoken in the North (Assyria) and the South (Babylonia) of Ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Akkadian is first attested in the mid 3rd millennium BCE, and it remained in continuous use until the Parthian period (141 BCE–224 CE). During the second millennium BCE (Late Bronze Age), Akkadian became the lingua franca of the Near East, and texts in this language can be found in places as distant as Amarna (Egypt), Hattusa (Turkey), and all over Syria (Ugarit, Emar).
Akkadian is a Semitic language, so it belongs to the same family as Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic. Moreover, the writing system used for Akkadian (Mesopotamian cuneiform) was first used to write Sumerian. Akkadian is the language of the famous "Code of Hammurabi," the "Babylonian Gilgamesh," and a large corpus of royal inscriptions, letters, administrative and economic documents, literary and mythological compositions, religious hymns, and historical chronicles, as well as medical, astronomical, mathematical, and magical texts.
Our department offers Akkadian (CAMS 472) with regularity and Advanced Akkadian (CAMS 521) when there is sufficient demand.