Igor M. Diakonoff

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.

Igor Mikhailovich Diakonoff
Igor M. Diakonoff (1915–1999).jpg
Born(1915-01-12)12 January 1915
Died2 May 1999(1999-05-02) (aged 84)
Known forContributions to the study of the Ancient Near East and its languages
Academic background
Alma materSaint Petersburg State University
Academic work
InstitutionsOriental Institute, Saint Petersburg branch
Main interestsAncient Near East and its languages

Life and careerEdit

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 festschrift 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.


Diakonoff's family members are known for their contributions to various fields of knowledge, both sciences and humanities. His wife and two sons became well-known researchers and achieved ranks of full professors.

Brother's familyEdit

  • Igor's brother Mikhail Mikhailovich Diakonoff was an authority[1] in Iranian studies.
  • Mikhail Diakonoff's daughter Elena Diakonova is a translator[1] from Old and Modern Japanese.


Igor's wife Nina Dyakonova (1915-2013), historian and critic of English literature with a special interest in English Romantic poetry of early 19 century (Keats, Byron, Shelley) and its reception in European and Russian literature. A student of Professors Viktor Zhirmunsky and Mikhail Alexeyev. Professor of her Alma mater Saint Petersburg State University and, later, teacher-training Herzen University.


Igor's sons became prominent physicists.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • 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.


  1. ^ a b "www.russ.ru Елена Дьяконова. "Я занялась японским на волне детского романтизма"". old.russ.ru. Archived from the original on 2019-02-25. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  2. ^ "Школа-семинар "Спиновая физика полупроводников",приуроченная к 75-летию почетного члена ФТИ им. А.Ф.Иоффе М.И.Дьяконова". www.ioffe.ru. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  3. ^ "Michel I Dyakonov | Université de Montpellier (UM1) | ResearchGate". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  4. ^ "D.I.Diakonov". thd.pnpi.spb.ru. Retrieved 2017-12-22.

External linksEdit