Special Full-Day Symposium

Women at the Dawn of History

Yale Babylonian Collection

February 29, 2020

Kline Geology Laboratory

9:30 am - 4:30 pm


Ticket price: $15


In the patriarchal world of ancient Mesopotamia, women were often represented in their relation to men—as mothers, daughters, or wives—giving the impression that a woman’s place was in the home. But, as we explore in this symposium, they were also authors and scholars, astute business-women, sources of expressions of eroticism, priestesses with access to major gods and goddesses, and regents who exercised power on behalf of kingdoms, states, and empires. This full-day symposium features talks, discussions, and museum displays exploring the roles and representations of women in ancient Mesopotamia. Zainab Bahrani (Columbia University), author of the acclaimed book Women of Babylon, will deliver the keynote address.


Ticket price includes the newly released book, Women at the Dawn of History, edited by Agnete W. Lassen and Klaus Wagensonner. Tickets also include a light breakfast and lunch, as well as exclusive tours of the exhibits Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks at the Yale Peabody Museum and Women at the Dawn of History at the Yale Sterling Memorial Library.


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9:30 - 10:00 am


Coffee & Pastries


10:00 - 10:15 am


Opening Remarks


10:15 - 11:00 am



Amy Gansell (St. Johns University)

The Beauty and Power of Ancient Assyrian Queens at Nimrud's Northwest Palace


11:00 - 11:15 am




11:15 - 11:45 am



Eckart Frahm (Yale)

From Sammu-ramat to Semiramis and Beyond: Metamorphoses of an Assyrian Queen


11:45 am - 12:15 pm



Klaus Wagensonner (Yale)

Between History and Fiction: Enheduana, the First Woman Poet in World Literature


12:15 - 1:30 pm




1:30 - 2:00 pm



Agnete Lassen (Yale)

Women and Seals in the Ancient Near East


2:00 - 2:45 pm



Zainab Bahrani (Columbia University)

Accompanied by Her Own Image: Gender and Representation Revisited


2:45 - 3:15 pm


General Discussion


3:15 - 4:00 pm


Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks exhibit viewing 


4:00 - 4:30 pm


Guided tour of “Women at the Dawn of History,” Sterling Memorial Library