Igor M. Diakonoff

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Igor Mikhailovich Diakonov
Born 12 January 1915
Petrograd, Russian Empire
Died 2 May 1999 (1999-05-03) (aged 84)
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Residence Russia
Nationality Russian
Alma mater Saint Petersburg State University
Known for contributions to the study of the Ancient Near East and its languages
Scientific career
Fields Ancient Near East and its languages
Institutions Oriental Institute, Saint Petersburg branch

Igor Mikhailovich Diakonoff (Russian: И́горь Миха́йлович Дья́конов; 12 January 1915 – 2 May 1999) was a Russian historian, linguist, and translator and a renowned expert on the Ancient Near East and its languages. His last name is occasionally spelled Diakonov. His brothers were also distinguished historians.

Diakonoff was brought up in Norway. He graduated from Leningrad State University (now Saint Petersburg State University) in 1938. In the same year he joined the staff of the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). In 1949 he published a comprehensive study of Assyria, followed in 1956 by a monograph on Media. Later on, he teamed up with the linguist Sergei Starostin to produce authoritative studies of the Caucasian, Afroasiatic, and Hurro-Urartian languages.

Diakonoff was honored in 2003 with a volume published in his memory, edited by Lionel Bender, Gábor Takács, and David Appleyard. In addition to articles on Afro-Asiatic languages, it contains a five-page list of his publications compiled by Takács.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • 1965. Semito-Hamitic Languages. Moscow: Nauka.
  • 1984. Co-authored with V.P. Neroznak. Phrygian. Delmar, New York: Caravan Books.
  • 1985. "On the original home of the speakers of Indo-European." Journal of Indo-European Studies 13, pp. 92–174.
  • 1986. Co-authored with Sergei A. Starostin. Hurro-Urartian as an Eastern Caucasian Language. Munich: R. Kitzinger.
  • 1988. Afrasian Languages. Moscow: Nauka.
  • 1992. Co-authored with Olga Stolbova and Alexander Militarev. Proto-Afrasian and Old Akkadian: A Study in Historical Phonetics. Princeton: Institute of Semitic Studies.
  • 1995. Archaic Myths of the Orient and the Occident. Acta universitatis gothoburgensis.
  • 1999. The Paths of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • Dandamayev, M.A., Mogens T. Larsen, and J. Nicholas Postgate (editors). 1982. Societies and Languages of the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of I.M. Diakonoff. Warminster: Aris and Philipps.
  • Bender, M. Lionel and Gábor Takács (editors). 2003. Selected Comparative-Historical Afrasian Linguistic Studies in Memory of Igor M. Diakonoff. Munich: Lincom Europa.

External links[edit]