Ancient Near East

Module code: AH2037

Module co-ordinator: Dr Naoíse Mac Sweeney

The Ancient Near East stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to the mountains of modern-day Afghanistan, and included a dazzling array of different peoples, states, empires and communities. This module will introduce you to the history of the Ancient Near East from the Late Bronze Age until the Classical period. We will explore the interactions and commonalities that held the region together, as well as the cultural differences and political tensions that pulled it apart. We will consider questions around trade and exchange, cultural interaction and interface, diplomacy and conflict between groups across a broad area encompassing Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia and the Aegean.

You will study the complex international politics and wide ranging trade networks of the Late Bronze Age, before considering the pan-regional transformations at the end of this period. We will look at the expansionism, commerce and diplomacy which characterised the Iron Age, and the cultural interaction stimulated by the spread of early imperial systems. Our sources will include archaeological material, visual representations, literary sources, and also documentary texts.

Topics covered

  • New Kingdom Egypt
  • Hittite Empire
  • Phoenicians and city-states of the Levant
  • Levantine kingdoms: Israel and Judah
  • Neo-Assyrians
  • Neo-Babylonians
  • Emergence of the Greek city-states
  • Kingdoms of Iron Age Anatolia
  • Persians

Learning

  • 14 one-hour lectures
  • 3 two-hour seminars

Assessment

  • 2 x source commentaries, 1,000 words each (20% + 20%)
  • Essay, 2,500 words (60%)