This course provides a general introduction to the political history, culture and religion of the ancient Near East, with particular emphasis on the high civilizations of Mesopotamia (Sumer, Babylonia andAssyria). Lectures will cover major developments, from the appearance of the earliest cities in the Tigris-Euphrates flood plain up to the time of the defeat of the Persian forces by Alexander the Great. A variety of topics will be examined in order to introduce to the student the incredible richness of culture and diversity of this important part of the world. Topics include the development of the cuneiform writing system and its decipherment, Mesopotamian political ideologies, the role of royal propaganda, warfare, trade, art and architecture. The course will also discuss Sumerian and Babylonian religion and mythology, and their role in Mesopotamian society.
Text: Van de Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000