History of the Ancient Near East (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Federico Giusfredi
Federico Giusfredi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Aim of the course is providing a general knowledge of the political, economic, social and cultural history of the civilizations of the pre-classical Ancient Near East, from the earliest phases (III millennium BCE) through the downfall of the Iron age Mesopotamian kingdoms (VI century BCE). It will also provide the critical tools required to study and analyse the documents and sources that are typical of those ages that pre-date the Greek-Roman history, by examining some specific examples that refer to highly significant periods (Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age).


The course will regard the historical and cultural development of the civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Among the main topics, the following phases will receive specific attention:

- IV-III millennium, until the Ur III dynasty
- Birth of the great kingdoms of the Late Bronze Age
- The Amarna archives and the dyplomacy in the Ancient Near East
- The collapse of the Bronze age kingdoms and the Dark age
- The Neo-Assyrian rebirth and the small kingdoms of the Iron age
- From the Late Babylonian Empire to the Persian egemony

Students who do not attend the lessons must contact the teacher to define a specific program.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Giusfredi, Federico Babilonia e le sue storie Bruno Mondadori 2012 9788861596672 Testo facoltativo di riferimento
- Fonti documentarie in traduzione, fornite a lezione dal docente / Translated sources that will be provided by the teacher in class  
Giusfredi, Federico Il vicino oriente antico: breve storia dalle origini alla caduta di Babilonia Carocci 2020 8829002976 Il volume è in corso di stampa e apparirà a ottobre 2020. Lo studente potrà scegliere se usare questo manuale in alternativa a quello a cura di Lucio Milano.
Lucio Milano Il vicino Oriente antico dalle origini ad Alessandro Magno EM Publishers 2012 9788897514091
Mario Liverani, Alfonso Archi, Giovanni Garbini Voce "Vicino Oriente antico. Storiografia" Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani 2001

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral test. Questions will regard the political, economic, social and cultural history of the Ancient Near East. The student will also be asked to critically comment one of the sources discussed in class.
During the test, together with the historical knowledge, the teacher will also judge the skill at critically analyse the sources, and the clarity of the exposition.