Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online

This website presents online critical editions of Mesopotamian rituals and incantations against witchcraft. The text editions and translations are derived from the Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals (CMAwR; vol. 1, Brill: 2011; vol. 2, Brill: 2016). On this website you will also find general information on witchcraft and magic in ancient Mesopotamia and other subsidiary materials to CMAwR.

Cuneiform source of an anti-witchcraft ritual to be edited in CMAwR 2 (hand-copy by D. Schwemer)

Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centres upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient.

Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals

The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals (CMAwR) aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia. CMAwR, vol. 1, was published in 2011. The second volume has now been published (2016). A final third volume is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

For a brief overview of the project in German, go here.

Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online

The website Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online (Opens external link in new windowCMAwRo) presents the texts edited in CMAwR online within the framework of the Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Text Corpus platform (Opens external link in new windowOracc). The website allows you to browse, read and search the texts of CMAwR online; it includes transliterations of the individual sources, transcriptions of a ‘master text’ as well as searchable English translations. The texts are lexically annotated (‘lemmatised’) and linked to glossaries. Currently CMAwRo includes all texts edited in CMAwR, vol. 1; the texts of vol. 2 have been added and will be made public after the expiry of the publisher's restriction period. CMAwRo does not contain the introductory texts and commentary that accompany the editions in CMAwR.

The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals Project

Tzvi Abusch and Daniel Schwemer are collaborating on the preparation of CMAwR since 2001 and are the authors of CMAwR, vol. 1. Since 2012, Schwemer is directing the DFG-funded project Corpus babylonischer Rituale und Beschwörungen gegen Schadenzauber: Edition, lexikalische Erschließung, historische und literarische Analyse. The main goals of this project are the preparation of CMAwR, vol. 2, in collaboration with Tzvi Abusch and the presentation of the CMAwR-texts online. Mikko Luukko and Greta Van Buylaere joined the project as research assistants in 2012. They assist in the preparation of the text editions of volume 2 and have been jointly responsible for the preparation of the CMAwRo-version of the editions and the lemmatisation of the texts.

Extract from a synoptic transliteration of cuneiform sources in CMAwR 1

Copyright statement

The authoritative reference for the text editions is the relevant printed volume of CMAwR.
If you want to quote CMAwRo, use the relevant text number and the following author and title reference:

T. Abusch – D. Schwemer (with M. Luukko – G. Van Buylaere): Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online ( (accessed dd/mm/yyyy).

CMAwRo is published under a Opens external link in new windowCreative Commons (CC) BY-NC-ND license. This means that you may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for non-commercial purposes, giving the authors the credits in the above manner. Furthermore, you may copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based on it. For any other license requests contact the authors Opens external link in new windowTzvi Abusch and Daniel Schwemer and the publisher of CMAwR (Opens external link in new windowBrill).