University of Innsbruck

Alex­an­der Stei­ner

Short Biography

  • 2015 – 2019: bachelor of arts in Classica et Orientalia at Innsbruck University, focus on ancient Oriental philology, ancient near East archaeology and historic linguistics
  • Winter semester 2018/ 2019: semester abroad at Rikkyo University in Tōkyō (Japan)
  • 2019 – 2021: master of arts in ancient history and ancient near East studies at Innsbruck University, focus on ancient Oriental philology and historic lingustics (thesis: The Semasiological Field of the Accadian Lexem dayyālu. A Study on Semantics and Shift of Connotation)
  • Winter semester 2021: lecturer at Kassel University, Germany (seminar “The Ancient Near East in the 2nd and 1st Millennium BC”)
  • Since winter semester 2021/ 22: doctoral studies at Innsbruck University (department Classics)
  • Since winter semester 2021/ 22: bachelor of science in Bachelorstudium earth sciences

Scientific Interests

  • Ancient Oriental philology
  • Cultural contacts in antiquity
  • Ancient spatial perception
  • Lexicology
  • Historic linguistics
  • Interaction of language and thought

Prizes and Awards

  • Scholarship for good performance by Innsbruck University (academic year 2015/ 2016)
  • Scholarship for good performance by Innsbruck University (academic year  2019/ 2020)
  • Scholarship for good performance by Innsbruck University (academic year 2020/ 2021)
  • Award to foster studies by the German circle of friends of the universities at Innsbruck (2021)

Language Skills

  • Modern: English (C1), Japanese (A1+/ A2)
  • Ancient: Accadian (excellent knowledge), Sumerian (excellent knowledge), ancient Persian (good knowledge), imperial Aramaic and Syrian (good knowledge), biblical Hebrew (good knowledge), ancient Ethiopian (basic knowledge), ancient Greek (basic knowledge), Gothic (basic knowledge), Hittite (basic knowledge), Latin (basic knowledge)

Lectures and Chairs

  • “Conceptualising Space in Mani Texts“ at the doctoral programme Ancient Cultures of the Mediterranean (AKMe) in Innsbruck, 12th – 13th November 2021
  • Chair to Section 7: Contingency and Imperial Claim at the international online conference “Empires Through the Ages: Short-Term Empires – Rule or Exception?“ at Innsbruck University, 30th November – 2nd December 2021

Dissertation Project

My dissertation deals with issues of connectivity and language contact in the Iranian empires. This will be exemplified by linguistic realisation of knowledge concerning physical and mythical space. The working title is “The Old and Middle Iranian Space Vocabulary. A Contribution to Spatial Perception in Iranian History from the Perspective of Language History”. The dissertation will be divided into two main parts with different methodological approaches. Part one will deal both with historic issues regarding the emergence of spatial knowledge in the context of imperial communication networks and the occurrence of perceptions of real and mythical spheres which is connected to the former. These networks are the basis for the dissertation’s second main part, i.e. the linguistic realisation of the perception of space which is the so-called space vocabulary. Although this very space vocabulary unfolds quite differently in every language in terms of lexicology a rather similar linguistic mechanism lies behind it. Thus, one can detect powerful similarities in the structure of space vocabulary of two different languages from separate world regions as the landscape surrounding the speakers shows similar properties. The dissertation aims to assess the space vocabulary of the old and middle Iranian languages both lexically and semantically and diachronically and synchronically. Further, this corpus is to be contextualised into the history of the Iranian empires of the 1st millennium BC and AD and their borderlands. The result is a comprehensive study on the development of the perception of space of Iranian empires, their connectivity via paths of communication and reciprocities of language and thought (i.e. perceptions) on the basis of the specific term of reference to space.