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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1998-99 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


Richard Beal

Richard H. Beal spent much of his time checking references and otherwise preparing the first fascicle of the Hittite Dictionary's Sh volume for publication. Beal has been reading entries in this volume to Professor Güterbock, now almost blind, for his invaluable comments, gleaned from some 70 years of experience reading Hittite. His comments are then noted. Minor things are entered directly into the computer manuscript, while Beal takes substantial matters to Professor Hoffner to be hammered out. Meanwhile, he has also been doing a certain amount of copy editing on the texts that he has been reading to Professor Güterbock; this will make the job quicker when these dictionary articles return to his desk. Although some long and difficult Sh-words remain to be written and so have not been discussed, most of the words for this volume have now been written and approved by Professor Güterbock. In and around doing this Beal has finished writing a first draft of the long and interesting word shiu- "god/goddess." In addition Beal has been making transliterations for the dictionary's files of a section of the newly published volume 41 of the series Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi that contains questions to the gods and the gods' answers.

Beal traveled to California to attend the Second Magic in Antiquity Conference. His lecture, "Dividing a God," was based on his research for the Hittite dictionary draft of the verb sharra-. It explained that, with sharra- properly understood, the way to have two separate cult centers for the same deity was to have that deity divide his or her divinity and to have that allomorph of the original physically moved and/or coaxed through ritual actions into the new temple. Closer to home, in February he gave a lecture, "New Discoveries in Hittite Archaeology," to the South Suburban Archaeological Society in Homewood, Illinois. An article, "Hittite POWs," was completed for the Encyclopedia of POWs and Internment. He also completed a review of Trevor Bryce's very useful book The Kingdom of the Hittites for The Historian. He again spent part of his vacation reading Assyrian and Babylonian tablets in the British Museum to assist his wife, JoAnn Scurlock, with her works on Magico-Medical Means of Expelling Ghosts in Ancient Mesopotamia and on The Lost Medicine of Ancient Mesopotamia. They also spent down time photographing the Middle Eastern sections of the British Museum and the Islamic fantasy rooms of the home of Victorian painter Lord Leighton. Beal and Scurlock gave an illustrated talk, "Sultans and Seths, Rajputs and Rabaris," to the Oak Park Council on International Affairs, a talk that was repeated in Kansas City. While in Missouri, they journeyed to Lonejack to photograph the collections of the Nance Museum of the ethnography of Saudi Arabia and surrounding countries. They have also given specially tailored slide presentations on various aspects of the Islamic world to a number of college classes and high schools in the Chicago area.

Beal and Scurlock also spent part of their vacation visiting many magnificent molded mud mosques in Mali. The intention was to extend their ever-growing slide library of Islamic civilization. Djenné's mosque and old town were, of course, the high point of the trip, but every town and village has a uniquely shaped locally constructed smaller version. The trip also included three days and nights sleeping atop very hard sacks of millet on a cargo boat on the Niger River to Timbuktu. An overnight trip to visit the old multi-towered mosque in Bobo Diolosso in Burkina Faso completed this phase of the trip. While in the area they also decided to visit the oasis town of Oualata in Mauritania, where women paint geometric designs on the house walls. Four days of photographing in the Louvre's Near Eastern galleries rounded out the trip.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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