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Gwendolyn Leick (born 1951) is an Austrian British historian and Assyriologist who has written multiple books and encyclopedias in English about ancient Mesopotamia. She currently works as a senior lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design.



She was born on 25 February 1951 in Oberaichwald, Austria to her parents Reginald and Herta Leick.[1] Her father was a physician and her mother was a social worker.[1]

Leick immigrated from Austria to the United Kingdom when she was twenty-five.[1] She says that she was "lured by the British Museum and the cosmopolitan life in London."[1] She married her husband Charlemagne Konan on 31 July 2001.[1] She has two sons: George Sabastian and Joseph Ibrahim.[1]


She completed her D.Phil at Karl Franzens University in 1977.[1] Leick has stated that she chose to study Assyriology, because she "thought it was a difficult, arcane, and somewhat esoteric subject which would not lead to a normal career."[1] After discovering that she "was not particularly gifted to do epigraphical work", she devoted her career towards "communicat[ing] and transmit[ing] the results of Assyriological scholarship to a wider audience, to make the field more accessible."[1] To this end, she has written numerous encyclopedic dictionaries, which she regards as "the most user-friendly, concise, and straightforward way to access information on matters concerning the ancient Near East."[1]

She has briefly worked as a cultural tour guide.[2] She is currently a senior lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.[3]


Despite her Austrian origins, her books are written in English,[1] which she has described as "the most accommodating, rich, and ecumenical of modern languages which allows so many people, regardless of their original language, to find a worldwide audience."[1] Her notable books include:[4][1]

  • A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture (published by Routledge 1988)
  • A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology (published by Routledge 1991; 2nd edition published 1999)
  • Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature (published 1994 by Routledge)
  • Who's Who in the Ancinet Near East (published 1999 by Routledge)
  • Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City (published 2002 by Penguin Books)
  • Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia (published 2003 by Scarecrow Press)
  • The Babylonians: An Introduction (published 2003 by Routledge)
  • General editor of The Babylonian World (published 2006 by Routledge)
  • Tombs of the Great Leaders: A Contemporary Guide


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Leick, Gwendolyn 1951– - Dictionary definition of Leick, Gwendolyn 1951– - FREE online dictionary". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Gwendolyn Leick". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Gwendolyn Leick". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Gwendolyn Leick". Retrieved 31 May 2018.

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