Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 2012-2013

LEIDEN, July 2012. Ten years after the previous RAI in Leiden, the Rencontre 2012 turned out to be a successful revisit. Under the theme “Private and State in the Ancient Near East” we attended great lectures, met with old friends and enjoyed a warm ambiance. The only spoiler was the weather. It did rain for most of the week: Not unknown for the Netherlands but definitely overstaying its welcome. Still, we hope everyone enjoyed their visit!

On behalf of the organizing committee in Leiden: Thank you all for coming and participating!

With the cold winter coming and temperatures dropping, we are gladly looking forward to the next RAI in the summer of 2013. This time the organization will be administered by the University of Ghent in Belgium. Not since 1989 has the Rencontre gathered in this Belgian city and everyone is looking forward to (re)visiting this beautiful location. At that time, the main theme in Ghent was “La Mésopotamie et l’Elam” and the meetings were organized by Rector L. de Meyer and prof. dr. L. Vanden Berghe.

Ghent is the capital of the Belgian province Oost-Vlaanderen and the district Ghent. It has approximately a quarter million residents, which makes it the second largest municipality in Belgium. Favourably set at the confluence of the rivers Leie and Schelde, Ghent thrived in the Middle-Ages thanks to its production of luxury woolen sheets. this convergence of streams probably gave rise to the city’s name: Ghent may be derived from the Keltic Ganda to the Latin Gadavum, which means ‘waterside’ or ‘mouth’.

Today Ghent is known as the flower-town, because of its devotion to the cultivation of flowers and to farming. Famous for its monumental architecture, Belgian delicacies and rich history, Ghent will undoubtedly offer a charming background for the RAI 2013! And not to worry: Belgium may be close to the Netherlands but it lies a good deal further south , so there is hope that Shamash will be smiling on us from On High.

A few words from the organizing committee:

The department of Assyriology and History of the Ancient Near East of Ghent University is very happy to be your host for the 2013 RAI. The theme for the 59th RAI will be: “Law and (dis)order in the Ancient Near East”. Looking over the list of themes of the past Rencontres, it appears that law has never been a central theme. We first thought of “Law and Order”, but bearing in mind  that this is an Assyriological meeting and recalling the natural disposition of a good number of our colleagues we thought it best to also give ‘disorder’ its due. It goes without saying that also papers outside of this theme will be welcome.

The Ghent RAI will be held from 15 to 19 July 2013. We are fortunate to be able to use the recently renovated Emile Braunschool, a former Jesuit building from the 17th century, which is now part of the Faculty of Law, and it is situated in the heart of the ancient city of Gent and thus close to numerous sights, cafes and restaurants. We are looking forward to welcoming you all in Ghent next year!