Prof. dr. W.H. (Wilfred) van Soldt (emeritus)

  • Professor
  • Assyriology

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2034
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SMES Assyriologie
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Witte Singel 25/M. de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 2.04a
Personal Homepage:

Fields of interest

Fascinare: enchanting, that is the effect that Ancient Mesopotamia has on me. Being able to read the cuneiform script with its 600 signs and its 3000 years of history opens the gate to the understanding of at least ten oriental languages, like Sumerian and Akkadian, which have only survived because of their written records. It constitutes a great wealth of material, to which new data are being added continuously. Through these languages one penetrates into the cultures of the peoples who spoke them, deeper and deeper until one reaches the core: sensing how people lived, thought, believed, worked en did science in their own way. And in doing so one gets much respect for these ancient cultures, which look closer to us the better we understand them.

My research is focussed on different subjects, such as the Old Babylonian period (text editions 1990 and 1993), Mesopotamian astronomy (text edition 1995), Middle Babylonian (several articles) and Peripheral Akkadian, in particular the culture of the city of Ugarit (monographies 1991 and 2005). My dissertation also has Ugarit as its subject (defense Leiden 1986).


1971-1977: Semitic Languages at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University
1986: PhD at Leiden University

1978-1980: University of Chicago
1983 - present: Staff member of the Department of Assyriology at Leiden University, first as research assistant, later as assistant professor (1986) and as full professor (2003)
1989: Guest researcher at the University of Chicago
1999-2000: Replacement professor of Assyriology at Heidelberg University

Key publications

Soldt, W.H. van (2012). Why did they write? On empires and vassals in Syria and Palestine in the Late Bronze Age. In W.S. van Egmond & W.H. van Soldt (Eds.), Theory and practice of knowledge transfer - Studies in School Education in the Ancient Near East and Beyond. Vol. 121. Uitgaven van het Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Instanbul (pp. 103-114). Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten.

Soldt, W.H. van (2011). The Role of Babylon in Western Peripheral Education. In E. Cancik-Kirschbaum, M. van Ess & J. Marzahn (Eds.), Babylon : Wissenskultur in Orient und Okzident (pp. 197-211). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Soldt, W.H. van (2011). Akkadian as a Diplomatic Language. In S. Weninger, G.K. Khan, M.P. Streck & J.C.E. Watson (Eds.), The Semitic Languages - An International Handbook (pp. 405-415). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Soldt, W.H. van (Ed.). (2010). Society and Administration in Ancient Ugarit. Vol. 114. Uitgaven van het Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Instanbul, 196 pp. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten.

Soldt, W.H. van (2010). The Akkadian legal texts from Ugarit. In S. Démare-Lafont & A. Lemaire (Eds.), Trois millénaires de formulaires juridiques (Hautes études orientales - Moyen et Proche-Orient, 4) (pp. 85-124). Genève: Librairie Droz S.A.

Soldt, W.H. van (2010). The Ugaritic Suffixes -āyu and -ānu. In D. Shehata, F. Weiershäuser & K.V. Zand (Eds.), Von Göttern und Menschen (Cuneiform Monographs, 41) (pp. 307-327). Leiden/Boston: Brill.

Soldt, W.H. van (2008). The Location of Idu. Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires, 3, 72-74.

Soldt, W.H. van (2008). The Ugarit Version of Syllabary A. In R.J. van der Spek & G. Haaijer (Eds.), Studies in ancient Near Eastern world view and society presented to Marten Stol on the occasion of his 65th birthday, 10 November 2005, and his retirement from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (pp. 255-275). Bethesda Md, USA: CDL Press.

Soldt, W.H. van (2007). Rib-Addi. In M.P. Streck (Ed.), Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archäologie (Reallexikon der Assyriologie, 11) (pp. 344-346). Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Soldt, W.H. van, Kalvelagen, R.K. & Katz, D. (Eds.). (2005). Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia (Uitgaven van het Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten te Leiden, 102). Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten.

Soldt, W.H. van (2005). The Topography of the City-State of Ugarit (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 324). Münster: Ugarit-Verlag.

Soldt, W.H. van (2003). The Use of Hurrian Names at Ugarit. Ugarit-Forschungen, 35, 681-707.

Soldt, W.H. van (2002). Studies on the sakinu-Official (2): The functions of the sakinu of Ugarit. Ugarit-Forschungen, 34, 805-828.

Soldt, W.H. van (2001). Nahish-shalmu, an Assyrian Scribe Working in the 'Southern Palace' at Ugarit. In W.H. van Soldt, J.G. Dercksen, N.J.C. Kouwenberg & Th.J.H. Krispijn (Eds.), Veenhof Anniversary Volume (pp. 428-444). Leuven: Peeters.

(2000) "Syrian Chronology in the Old and Early Middle Babylonian Periods", Just in Time: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Ancient Near Eastern Chronology (2nd Millennum BC), Ghent 7-9 July 2000, D. Homes-Fredericq and L. De Meyer (eds.), publ. in Akkadica 119, 103-116.

(1995) Shamash Omens from Enuma Anu Enlil: Tablets 23 (24) - 29 (30), Leiden, 15 plates, xi + 151 pp.

(1994) Altbabylonische Briefe XIII: Letters in the British Museum, II, Leiden, x + 163 pp.

(1991) Studies in the Akkadian of Ugarit: Dating and Grammar, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 40, xxviii + 805 pp., Neukirchen.

(1990) Altbabylonische Briefe XII: Letters in the British Museum, Leiden, x + 155 pp.

Administration and service to the profession

2001-2006: Chairman of the Institute for Languages and Cultures of the Near East

2006-2008: Chairman and Director of the School for Asian, African and Amerindian Studies CNWS in Leiden

2003-present: Secretary of the International Association for Assyriology and editor-in-chief of the Ancient Near Eastern section of the Handbook of Oriental Studies (Leiden)

Member of the editorial council of the journal Ugarit-Forschungen (Münster) and the series Biblioteca Próximo Oriente Anticuo (Madrid)

Last Modified: 03-02-2014