History of the Ancient Near East (i+p) (2017/2018)

Course code
Simonetta Ponchia
Other available courses
Other available courses
Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff
I MODULO PARTE (I) 6 L-OR/01-HISTORY OF ANCIENT NEAR EAST Second half of Semester 1 Simonetta Ponchia
II MODULO PARTE (P) 6 L-OR/01-HISTORY OF ANCIENT NEAR EAST First half of Semester 2 Simonetta Ponchia

Learning outcomes

The knowledge of the cultures, geographical environments, major phases and historical events of Near Eastern history are part of the study of ancient history envisaged in the didactic paths of the MA courses in Literature and Cultural Heritage. The introductory course aims to get acquainted with the main historical sources related to the Near Eastern world from prehistory till preclassical period, the basic methodologies for their analysis, as well as the essential bibliography and some of the most recent historiographic orientations on the topics that have been considered.
The second part of the course ( part p) aims at providing an in-depth knowledge of some periods and themes of the Near Eastern historical documentation, as well as the methodologies and specific bibliography for their interpretation, according to an approach that integrates historical, philological and archaeological data and approaches. At the end of the course the student is expected to acquire the basic tools and the ability to orient himself/herself in this wide sector of ancient history and to find the interrelations with Mediterranean history, to apply the knowledge acquired in order to gain a full understanding of the dynamics that characterized the formation of ancient civilizations and their subsequent heritage


The course (i+ p) presents an overview of the history of the Near East from prehistory to the first millennium BC. It is articulated in a first series of lessons (corresponding to course i) devoted to the general and introductory presentation of main phases, salient events and periodization of Siro-Mesopotamian history. The reference texts for part (i) are general-purpose manuals. They are integrated during the course by presenting sources and discussing some additional examples of secondary literature; a summary of the topics discussed will be uploaded to the e-learning platform.
The second part of the course (p) is devoted to the study of social and institutional structures that characterized various phases and areas of the Syro-Mesopotamian world, through the analysis of some case studies, including both urban and nomadic societies, and the monarchic and imperial organizations characterized by complex administrative and ideological structures. The reference bibliography is addressed to the study of specific questions, according to the indications that will be provided during the lessons. Materials and slides uploaded to the e-learning platform can be used for synthesis and in-depth consideration of the topics.

Assessment methods and criteria

Final oral assessment. Purposes of the assessment are to verify the acquired knowledge; language skills; ability of connecting knowledge; analytical and discussion skills. The assessment will consist of questions on the topics treated during the course, on chapters of the reference books and synthesis provided in slides. The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths. For the students who also attend course (p) final evaluation will be calculated on the average with the evaluation of the course (i). Not attending students and Erasmus students are kindly requested to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course in order to agree on the programme and assessment modalities.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
M. Liverani Assiria. La preistoria dell’imperialismo 2017
J.M. Sasson From the Mari Archives 2015
J.D. Dercksen Old Assyrian Institutions 2004
P. Matthiae Prima lezione di archeologia orientale Laterza 2005 978-8-842-07382-6
S. de Martino (a cura di) Storia dell’Europa e del Mediterraneo. Il mondo antico. Vol. II: Le civiltà dell’Oriente mediterraneo Salerno 2006
L. Turri "Vieni, lascia che ti dica di altre città". Ambiente naturale, umano e politico della valle dell'Oronte nella tarda età del bronzo Forum - Udine 2015