A message from the Director of the Master Degree AEWA, Marilina Betrò

Dear students,
I warmly welcome you to Pisa and our Master Degree in Ancient Egypt and Western Asia: Archaeology, History and Languages (AEWA).
In the Etana Epic, already circulating in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BCE, the protagonist, Etana, one of the earliest kings of the Sumerian city of Kish, ascends to the heavens on the wings of an eagle, to find there the magical “plant of birth”, that will be able to fulfill his wish of generating an heir. The text quoted below - a free re-elaboration from the edition by C. Saporetti, Etana, Palermo1990 - reports the eagle's words to Etana, while in flight, and the king's replies:

“…Come, let me take you up to heaven,
On my chest put your chest,
On my wings put your wings (=arms),
On my arms put your arms”.
On his (= the eagle) chest he(= Etana) put his chest,
On his wings he put his wings,
On his arms he put his arms.
Great indeed was the burden upon him.
When he lifted him up one league,
To him, to Etana, the eagle said:
“Look my friend at how the land seems,
Gaze at the sea, look for its boundaries.”
“The land is hills… The sea has become a stream”.
When he had lifted him a second league,
The eagle said to him, to Etana said:
“Look my friend, how the land seems!
“The land is …”
When he had lifted him a third league,
The eagle said to him, to Etana said:
“Look my friend, how the land seems!”
“The sea has become a gardener’s ditch”…


Etana's journey enables him, thanks to his bird's-eye perspective in the progressive stages of his ascent and departure from the earth, to become aware of the world, its true dimensions and boundaries, its features.
My wish is that, as with Etana, the journey you will undertake through your study in this Master's Degree will enable you to acquire a new vision, from the heights of time, of the world and the peoples who lived in the distant centuries and millennia and our contemporary age.

Marilina Betrò
Director of the Programme