Frances Reynolds


Shillito Fellow in Assyriology (part-time); Fellow of St Benet's Hall 

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / St Benet's Hall


Research Interests:

My broad research area is Babylonian and Assyrian intellectual history, literature and religion, with an emphasis on the late second and first millennia BC. I specialize in the evolution of cuneiform scholarship, particularly in response to cultural and political change in Babylonia. My interests also extend into the wider ancient Middle East.

My forthcoming monograph (in press with OUP) publishes an edition and study of an Akkadian scholarly calendar treatise composed in Babylon in the Hellenistic period. My book explores the use and adaptation of traditional material relating to political history, mythology, astrology, ritual and hermeneutics and situates this in the context of late cuneiform scholarship.

Akkadian hymns focusing on particular cities are another facet of my research. I also work on the transmission of literature and development of religious thought in changing political and cultural contexts.

Current Projects:

Courses Taught:

  • Elementary Akkadian: language and texts
  • Advanced Akkadian: language and texts
  • Mesopotamian cultural and historical topics
  • Religions and Mythologies of the Ancient Near East

Recent and Forthcoming Publications:

  • 2010a. ‘A Divine Body: New Joins in the Sippar Collection’ in Baker, H.D., Robson, E., and G. Zólyomi (eds), Your Praise is Sweet: A Memorial Volume for Jeremy Black from Students, Colleagues and Friends, 291–302. London: British Institute for the Study of Iraq.
  • 2010b. ‘Food and drink in Babylonia’. In Leick, G. (ed.), The Babylonian World. Kindle Edition. London: T & F Books UK.
  • 2011. Thirty-two name entries. In Baker, H.D. (ed.),The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 3/II: Š–Z, 1295, 1388–90, 1415–17, 1425. Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.
  • 2012. The Babylonian Correspondence of Esarhaddon and Letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-šarru-iškun from Northern and Central Babylonia. Revised Online Edition. State Archives of Assyria Online (SAAo), Vol. 18. [State Archives of Assyria, Vol. 18. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2003].
  • Submitted. Text editions of STT 1, 3 (Enūma Eliš 4) and SpTU 3, 59 (Gilgāmeš 5). In Robson, E. (ed.), Scholarly Writings from Assyria and Babylonia [working title]. Writings from the Ancient World. Atlanta, Georgia: Society of Biblical Literature [Selected contributions from ‘The Geography of Knowledge in Assyria and Babylonia: A Diachronic Analysis of Four Scholarly Libraries (GKAB)’ in ‘The Corpus of Ancient Mesopotamian Scholarship (CAMS)’. Directors: E. Robson, University of Cambridge, and S. Tinney, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology].
  • 2017. ‘Prayer and Praise in the City of Assur’. In Heffron, Y., Stone, A.B., and M.J. Worthington (eds),  At the Dawn of History: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J. N. Postgate, 797-811. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.
  • 2018. Contributor, 'Epic of Gilgamesh' in Bragg, M., and Tillotson, S., In Our Time: Celebrating Twenty Years of Essential Conversation, 270-78. London: Simon & Schuster UK.
  • 2019. ‘Cuneiform myths and epics in the Ancient Near East’, in K.J. Dell (ed.), The Biblical World. 2nd revised ed. London and New York: Routledge: ISBN: 9781138932920 (in press).
  • 2019. A Babylon Calendar Treatise: Scholars and Invaders in the Late First Millennium BC: Edited with Introduction, Commentary, and Cuneiform TextsOxford: Oxford University Press: ISBN: 9780199539949 (in press).
  • 2020. 'Mythology and politics in Hellenistic Babylon: Aspects of the transmission history of Marduk and Ti'amat's battle', in A. Kelly and C. Metcalf (eds), Divine Narratives in Early Greece and the Ancient Near East [working title]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (submitted; forthcoming)

Further Info:

Doctoral Students

  • Adam Howe, The Experience and Removal of Impurity in Ancient Mesopotamia. Supervisor. In process, University of Oxford.
  • Bernardo Ballesteros Petrella, Divine Assemblies in Ancient Near Eastern and Early Greek Narrative Poetry. Co-supervisor with Dr Adrian Kelly. Awarded, University of Oxford 2017.
  • L. Selena Wisnom, Intertextuality in Babylonian Narrative Poetry: AnzûEnūma Elish, and Erra and Ishum. Supervisor. Awarded, University of Oxford 2015.
  • Nadia Ait Said-Ghanem, Sentence Types and Word-Order Patterns in Old Babylonian Omen Texts: An Investigation of Akkadian using Arabic Grammatical Theory. Examiner with Professor Philip Jaggar, SOAS. Awarded, SOAS 2019.
  • Eva Miller, Enemy Punishment and the Creation of the Assyrian World: Ashurbanipal's Teumman-Dunanu Narratives in Reliefs, Epigraphs, and Prisms. Examiner with Professor Marian Feldman, Johns Hopkins. Awarded, University of Oxford 2018.
  • Moudhy Al-Rashid, Mental Symptoms in the Akkadian Diagnostic Handbook: A study of patterns in the description of depression, anxiety, and madness. Examiner with Dr Mark Weeden, SOAS. Awarded, University of Oxford 2015.
  • J. Nicholas Reid, Slavery in Early Mesopotamia from Late Uruk until the Fall of Babylon in the Longue Durée. Examiner with Dr Bertrand Lafont, CNRS, Paris. Awarded, University of Oxford 2014.
  • S. Zamazalová, Claiming the World: Geographical Conceptions and Royal Ideology in the Neo-Assyrian Empire, with Focus on the Reign of Sargon II (721-705 B.C.).  Examiner with Dr Mark Weeden, SOAS. Awarded, UCL 2013.
  • J. Tudeau, Assyrian Building Customs and Ideologies according to the Assyrian Royal Inscriptions and State Archives. Examiner with Dr Harriet Crawford, University of Cambridge. Awarded, University of Cambridge 2013.
Photograph of Frances Reynolds
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