- JACOBSEN, Thorkild
- (1904–1993)Danish-born archaeologist and Assyriologist. Having gained his PhD at the Oriental Institute of Chicago, he joined the Institute’s excavations in the Diyala valley in the 1930s as an epigraphist and archaeologist, working with Henry Frankfortand others. In 1937 he began his 23-year tenure at the Oriental Institute, becoming its director in 1946. He was instrumental in bringing several important German Assyriologists to the United States who were fleeing from Nazi persecutions, such as Benno Landsberger, A. Leo Oppenheim, and Hans Gustav Guterbock. He set up joint excavations at Nippur with the University of Pennsylvania. From 1962 until his retirement in 1974, Jacobsen had a professorship at Harvard. His main research interests were in the fields of Sumerianand Akkadian lexicography and grammar, and the history and institutions of the third and early second millennia. He is best known for his translations and interpretations of Sumerianliterature, religion, and mythology. His publications (Towards the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture [ed. by W. L. Moran], 1970; The Treasures of Darkness:A History of Mesopotamian Religion, 1976; Harps that Once . . . Sumerian Poetry in Translation, 1987) reached a wide public beyond the academic confines of Assyriology.See also ISHCHALI.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.