Benno Landsberger

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Benno Landsberger (21 April 1890 in Friedek, Austrian Silesia – 26 April 1968) was one of the most important German Assyriologists.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born on April 21, 1890 in Friedek (Austrian Silesia) and from 1908 studied Oriental Studies at Leipzig. Amongst his teachers were August Fischer in Arabic and Heinrich Zimmern in Assyriology. In 1914 Landsberger joined the Austrian Army, where he fought with distinction on the Eastern Front, winning a golden Distinguished Service Cross. He returned to Leipzig after the war and was appointed to the position of 'extraordinary professor" in 1926. In 1928 he was appointed successor to Peter Jensens at Marburg, but returned to Leipzig in 1929 as Zimmern's successor.

Later career[edit]

Landsberger was dismissed as a result of the Nazi-era Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which excluded Jews from government employment. Landsberger accepted a post at the new Turkish University of Ankara, working especially in the area of languages, history and geography. After 1945 he was appointed to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where he worked until 1955. During this period he became a naturalized American citizen.

Landsberger was an eminent and groundbreaking scholar, editing many important lexical texts and conducting fundamental linguistic studies. He passed on a Germanic academic tradition that continues today in many countries via his students. He was also known for particularly black humor and a love of cigars and beer.


  • The ritual calendar of Babylonia and Assyria Leipzig 1914 (thesis) Leipzig Semitic Studies Bd 6, H, 1 February 1915
  • "Der 'Ventiv' des Akkadischen" Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 35: 113–23 1924
  • Assyrische Handelskolonien in Kleinasien aus dem dritten Jahrtausend (Assyrian Commercial Colonies in Asia Minor from the Third Millennium) Leipzig 1925 (Der Alte Orient, Bd. 24. H. 4)
  • Materialen zum sumerischen Lexikon (Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, ed. with others) Rome 1937-
  • The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (ed. with others) Chicago 1956-