Earlier this year I posted about the completion of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. Now I learn (via frequent commenter Paul) that a major contributor to that dictionary, W. G. Lambert, has died; here’s the Birmingham Post obituary, and I’ll provide a bit from the Times (London) obit, which is not online but which Paul quoted in his e-mail:

Lambert’s standard publications, insights and uncounted references from unpublished cuneiform sources bedeck almost every page of the 21-volume Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, initiated in 1921 and completed — with resounding acknowledgement from the Humanities — only this year. Less apparent is what lay behind, for over the decades Lambert corrected dictionary galleys with red-inked remarks such as “NO! See me after class!” or “Kindergarten stuff!” that were quite familiar to his long-suffering students.


  1. John Emerson says

    The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary deserves some love. In another life I might have been an Akkadianist.

  2. I know from the Assyriologists I know that Lambert’s temper was something to behold. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the details of the anecdotes right now.

  3. The Assyriologist’s temper was something to behold,
    And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, …

  4. And the sand in his gears was like salt in the sea,
    When the blue line rolls nightly o’er embattled Judea and Samaria!

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