Gonzalo Rubio

Gonzalo Rubio

Associate Professor of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and History
324 Weaver
Office Phone: (814) 863-4946


Licentiate, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1992
Licentiate, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1993
MA, The Johns Hopkins University, 1997
PhD, The Johns Hopkins University, 1999


Dr. Rubio is an Assyriologist whose work focuses on the languages (Sumerian and Akkadian) and civilization of Ancient Mesopotamia. His research and publications deal with Sumerian grammar and literature, early Semitic languages and comparative Semitics, the cuneiform writing system, Mesopotamian history, and various aspects of Ancient Near Eastern cultures, from Anatolia to Mesopotamia and Iran.

In 2012-13, Dr. Rubio was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his project on Early Dynastic (mid-third millennium BCE) literary and ritual texts from Ebla and Mesopotamia (“The Earliest Semitic Literature”). In 2015, he delivered the Rostovtzeff Lecture Series at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), at New York University, on “Sumer in the Mesopotamian World”; a book based on these lectures will be published by Princeton University Press. Dr. Rubio also continues work on his edition and study of the Sumerian literary corpus from the period of the Third Dynasty of Ur (2100-2000 BCE), a corpus that was the subject of his PhD dissertation. He is currently coordinating and editing a large handbook of Ancient Mesopotamian studies to be published by De Gruyter.

Dr. Rubio is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, at New York University, and the President of the International Association for Comparative Semitics (IACS). He is also the general editor of the monograph series Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records (SANER, published by Walter de Gruyter) and the editor-in-chief of the series Languages of the Ancient Near East (LANE, published by Eisenbrauns). From 2006 to 2012, he served as Chair of the Ancient Near East section of the American Oriental Society‎. Moreover, he also serves on the boards of several scholarly journals and research institutions.

At Penn State, Dr. Rubio regularly teaches courses on Ancient Near Eastern languages (Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite), as well as on the history, cultures, religions, and literatures of the Ancient Mediterranean, including comparative and cross-cultural seminars on early writing systems, ancient law and economy, early states, and language history.

Recent Publications:

“The Sitting Moon and the Goats of Gilead: A Rare Akkadian Astronomical Term and a Hapax in Song of Songs,” in From Mari to Jerusalem: Assyriological and Biblical Studies in Honor of Jack Murad Sasson (ed. A. Azzoni et al. Eisenbrauns, 2020), 275-285.

“Phoenicians in the Iberian Peninsula and the Matter of Tartessos,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 140 (2020): 219-226.

The First Ninety Years: A Sumerian Celebration in Honor of Miguel Civil (co-edited with L. Feliu & F. Karahashi). Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records, 12. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.

“Sumerian Temples and Arabian Horses: On Sumerian e2-gal,” in The First Ninety Years: A Sumerian Celebration in Honor of Miguel Civil (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), pp. 277-292.

“The Inventions of Sumerian: Literature and the Artifacts of Identity,” in Problems of Canonicity and Identity Formation in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (ed. K. Ryholt & G. Barjamovic. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2016), pp. 231-257.

“Time before Time: Primeval Narratives in Mesopotamian Literature,” in Time and History in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 56th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013), pp. 3-17.

“Reading Sumerian Names, II: Gilgameš,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies 64 (2012): 3-16.

“Gods and Scholars: Mapping the Pantheon in Early Mesopotamia,” in Reconsidering the Concept of Revolutionary Monotheism (ed. B. Pongratz-Leisten. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), pp. 87-112.

“Sumerian Literature,” in From an Antique Land: An Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Literature (ed. C.S. Ehrlich. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), pp. 11-75, 446-462.

“Semitic Influence in the History of Latin Syntax,” in New Perspectives on Historical Latin Syntax, I (ed. P. Cuzzolin & P. Baldi. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2009), pp. 195-239.

“Sumerian Morphology,” in Morphologies of Asia and Africa (ed. A.S. Kaye. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2007), vol. 2, pp. 1327-1379.

“Writing in Another Tongue: Alloglottography in the Ancient Near East” (with a postscript), in Margins of Writing, Origins of Cultures (ed. S. Sanders. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 33-70.

Awards and Services:

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2012-2013)
Resident Scholar, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Pennsylvania State University (2010)

Recent Courses:

CAMS 105 - History of the Ancient Near East

CAMS 405 - Law & Economy in the Ancient Near East

CAMS 471 - Sumerian

CAMS 472 - Akkadian

CAMS 109 - Writing Systems

CAMS 400W - Early State Formation