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Born Mar. 26, 1840, in London; died Aug. 19, 1876, in Aleppo, Syria. English Assyriologist and archaeologist. As a young man, Smith worked as an engraver. Later, after mastering cuneiform through independent study, he became a senior assistant at the British Museum. In 1872, while examining tablets from the library of Ashurbanipal, he discovered an Akkadian version of the legend of a flood which was the prototype of the biblical legend of the great flood. He also discovered the epic of Gilgamesh and an epos about the creation of the world. Between 1873 and 1876 he directed excavations at Nineveh. Smith took part in the publication of the Assyrian texts in the series The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia issued between 1861 and 1884.
WORKSThe History of Assurbanipal. London, 1971.
The Assyrian Eponym Canon. London .
The Chaldean Account of the Deluge. London .