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Aššur and His Friends: A Statistical Analysis of Neo-Assyrian Texts

University of HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiUniversity of Helsinki

Large digital datasets of cuneiform sources lend themselves to computational analysis that can complement and improve upon traditional philological work. The present article applies social network analysis to an electronic corpus of 1,532 texts to study the god Aššur and his position in divine networks in the Neo-Assyrian period. Our results show that the performance of social network analysis can be improved by using a small window size and calculating tie strengths with pointwise mutual information. This allows us to study the co-occurrences of gods in semantic contexts. From a network perspective, Aššur is not a very central god in our corpus despite his importance in Assyrian royal theology, but he rather joins the existing networks of gods without altering them.