Institut für Iranistik / Institute of Iranian Studies Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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Multilingualism, Communication and Social Reality in Pre-Modern Eurasia:
Linguistic, Ritual, and Socio-Economic Aspects
International Workshop, organized by the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Vienna Linguistic Society and the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press

Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
Seminar room (1st floor), Hollandstraße 11-13, 1020 Vienna  

This is the thirteenth Symposium of the series Multilingualism and the History of Knowledge, after a first meeting held at the Norwegian Institute at Athens (2009), three conferences and panels in Vienna (2009, 2010, 2011, 2016), two symposia at the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin (2010, 2011), three workshops in Einsiedeln and at the Universities of Munich and Verona, as well as three panels in the framework of the Congresses of the German Oriental Society – the 31st at Marburg (2010) and the 32nd at Münster (2013).

The Austrian Academy of Sciences Press published two vol­umes with the Proceedings of these conferences, edited by representatives of the four institutions involved in the Multilingualism Research Group – the University of Oslo (Jens E. Braarvig), the Max Planck Institute of His­tory of Knowledge (Markham J. Geller), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Velizar Sadovski) and the University of Vienna (Gebhard Selz) – “Linguistic Developments along the Silkroad”,  2012 ( and “Buddhism among the Iranian Peoples of Central Asia”, 2013 (

Ancient societies display, in varying degrees, a multilingual environment. Among the numerous studies dealing with this issue the social implications of multilingualism has not yet received much attention. We would like to discuss six major aspects:
(a) cognitive aspects of the relation between language and social experience in the dialectic conditions of a multilingual state.
(b) religious experience and social pragmatics in the context of ancient societies
(c) attempts to impose the language of the elite upon the dependant classes, including its application for "imperialistic" purposes;
(d) studying the relevance of linguistic forms of expression for the questions of social message, institutional communication and ‘invention of traditions’ within a specific socio-political system;
(e) addressing the use and misuse of languages for establishing group identities, focussing on antagonistic social groups on various levels of a society;
(f) social dimensions of literary genres: hymnal poetry vs. epic poetry in the field of tension between social strata such as priests vs. kings-warriors.

The Symposium will be held in Vienna on 13th–15th of December 2016, the conference venue being the Institut für Iranistik of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The papers will be given by internationally renowned scholars from Austria, Germany, Italy, Israel, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the USA. In the framework of the conference the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press shall present the new fascicle of the Grammatica Iranica monograph series, by Rüdiger Schmitt, dedicated to the stylistics of Old Persian inscriptions and published in the Veröf­fent­li­chungen zur Iranistik series of the Sitzungsberichte der ÖAW. The keynote lecture on questions of multilingualism in Bactria will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt, Foreign Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


December 13, 2016

till 16:30 Arrival of the participants
16:30–17:00 Registration

Opening Session - Chairman: Jens Braarvig
17:10–17:10 Florian Schwarz (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Welcome and introduction on behalf of the Institute of Iranian Studies
17:10–17:20 Hans Christian Luschützky (University of Vienna / Vienna Linguistic Society): Welcome and introduction on behalf of the Vienna Linguistic Society
17:20–17:30 Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Rüdiger Schmitts Stilistik der altpersischen Inschriften im Kontext der Grammatica Iranica
17:30–17:45 Rüdiger Schmitt (Laboe, Germany / Austrian Academy of Sciences): Stilfiguren in den achämenidischen Königsinschriften
17:45–18:00 Tea break

Late Afternoon Session - Chairman: Florian Schwarz
18:00–18:15 Hans Christian Luschützky (Vienna Linguistic Society): Vorstellung der Vortragenden: Paola Cotticelli
18:15–19:00 Paola Cotticelli (University of Verona): Die pragmatische Wirkung der Rhetorik in den hethitischen Texten
19:00–19:30 Discussion

December 14, 2016

Early Morning Session - Chairman: Adriano V. Rossi
10:30–11:00 Jens Braarvig (University of Oslo, Norway): Some loan translations in Old Norse
11:00–11:30 Dariush Borbor (Research Institute and Library of Iranian Studies, Teheran): Metaphor, Metonymy and Cognition in Comparative Reduplication

Coffee break

Late Morning Session - Chairman: Hans Christian Luschützky

12:00–12:30 Adriano V. Rossi (University of Naples): Achaimenidika
12:30–13:15 Rüdiger Schmitt (Laboe, Germany / Austrian Academy of Sciences): Onomastica Irano-Aramaica Bactriana. Zu den Personennamen der aramäischen Dokumente aus Baktrien
13:15–15:30 Lunch break

Early Afternoon Session - Chairman: Rüdiger Schmitt
15:30–16:00 Oswald Panagl (University of Salzburg): Stilfiguren und sprachliche Interferenzen Im Dithyrambos Persai  des Timotheos
16:00–16:45 Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Heroic epics “from hero to zero”? Sociolinguistic stratification, politics of discursive au­tho­rity and development of Indo-Iranian poetic genres in Vedic times
16:45–17:15 Tea break

Late Afternoon Session - Chairwoman: Paola Cotticelli
17:15–17:45 Ran Zadok (University of Tel Aviv): Iškūz(a)
17:45–18:15 Gebhard Selz (University of Vienna): Teaching an early writing system in a multilingual society

December 15, 2016

Early Morning Session - Chairman: Ran Zadok
10:00–10:30 Mark Geller (Freie Universität zu Berlin): Multilingualism in Babylonian Lexicography
10:30–11:00 Florentina Badalanova-Geller (TOPOI Excellence Cluster, Freie Universität zu Berlin): Enochiana: from Babylon to Byzantium
11:00–11:30 Coffee break

Late Morning Session - Chairman: Oswald Panagl
11:30–12:00 Roman Gundacker (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Nominal compounds and ancient Egyptian geography. The geographic awareness of the ancient Egyptians in the third millennium BC according to linguistic evidence
12:00–12:30 Klaus Wagensonner (Yale University): Ancient interpreters. Commenting, explaining, and translating in ancient Near Eastern sources
12:30–13:00 Gebhard Selz (University of Vienna) and Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Closing remarks

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Programme (PDF)
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