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History and Civilisation of the Ancient Near East

Code: 104193 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies FB 1 1


Jordi Vidal Palomino

Teaching groups languages

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Objectives and Contextualisation

The aim of the subject is to study the history of the Ancient Near East, from the appearance of the first cities to the Hellenistic world. The study, beyond addressing the political development of the different states of the region, will also analyze social, economic and cultural history of the Ancient Near East.


  • Apply the main methods, techniques and instruments of historical analysis.
  • Demonstrate the basic skills needed to participate in an archaeological excavation and be able to interpret its findings.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Understand and interpret the evolution of ancient societies in the Mediterranean from Egyptian civilisation to the disbanding of Western imperial Rome through analysis of the political, historical, social, economic and linguistic factors.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the political, social and economic reality of the peoples of the Near East in antiquity.
  2. Identify and assess the different stages in the historical evolution of the civilisations of the ancient Near East and their main cultural achievements.
  3. Identifying the specific methods of history and their relationship with the analysis of particular facts.
  4. Interpret ancient societies from an analysis of the surviving material vestiges of these.
  5. Interpret material sources and the archaeological register.
  6. Interpret textual and iconographic documents as sources for learning about the political, socioeconomic and cultural history of the ancient Near East.
  7. Organise and plan the search for historical and archaeological information.
  8. Organising and planning the search of historical information.


Theme 1: Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Studies

History and historiography of the Ancient Near East. Periodization and chronology. Geography


Theme 2: Origin of the State

Process of Neolitization. Rise of the first states


Theme 3: Third millennium BCE

Sumer and Akkad. Political and religious aspects. Social and economic aspects.


Theme 4: Second millennium BCE (I)

The Amorite dynasties. Political and literary aspects. Social and economic aspects.


Theme 5: Second millennium BCE (II)

The club of the great powers. Political, diplomatic and military aspects. Social and economic aspects.


Theme 6: Second millennium BCE (III)

The Canaanite world. The cultural and religious background of the Bible. Social and economic aspects.


Theme 7: The Sea Peoples

The crisis of 1200 in the Ancient Near East. Disappearance of the Mycenaean world and the Hittite Empire. The fall of Ugarit and the restructuring of the Canaanite world.


Theme 8: First millennium BCE 

The great empires: Assyria and Babylon. Political and military aspects. Social and economic aspects.



The teaching methodology will consist of the combination of lectures, presentation of reviews and papers, reading of specialized bibliography, classroom practices and resolution of exercises.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures 90 3.6 1, 3, 2, 5, 4
Type: Supervised      
Classroom practices, resolution of exercises 30 1.2 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4, 8, 7
Type: Autonomous      
reviews, readings 30 1.2 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4, 8, 7


The evaluation of the subject will consist of three activities.

(1) Exam (50%)

(2) Commentary on primary sources (25%)

(3) Bibliographic comment (25%)

In order to make an average between the three activities it will be necessary to have obtained a minimum qualification of 4 in the exam.

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.


Students will obtain a “Not assessed/Not submitted” course grade unless they have submitted more than 30% of the assessment items.

In order to participate in the re-evaluation, it will be necessary to have presented at least two of the three programmed evaluation activities.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives.

Single evaluation

This evaluationmodality consists of three evaluation activities, which will be delivered on the day of the exam: 1. Exam (50%) 2. Review of a book (the list of the selected books will be provided) (25%) 3. Text commentary (25%)




Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essay on primary sources 25% 0 0 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4
Exam 50% 0 0 1, 3, 2, 7
Reading of a paper 25% 0 0 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4, 8, 7




Klengel, Horst, 1992: Syria, 3000 to 300 BC. Berlin.

Kuhrt, Amelie, 2000: El Oriente Próximo en la Antigüedad (2 vols.). Barcelona.

Liverani, Mario, 1995: Antiguo Oriente. Barcelona.

Liverani, Mario, 2003. Relaciones internacionales en el Próximo Oriente antiguo, 1600-1100 a.C. Barcelona.

Liverani, Mario, 2005: Más allá de la Biblia. Barcelona.

Liverani, Mario, 2022: Asiria. La prehistoria del imperialismo. Madrid.

Margueron, Jean Claude, 1995: Los mesopotámicos. Madrid.

Oppenheim, A. Leo, 2003: Antigua Mesopotamia. Madrid.

Postgate, Nicolas, 1999: La Mesopotamia arcaica. Madrid.

Radner, Karen / Robson, Eleanor (eds.), 2011: The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture. Oxford.

Sanmartín, Joaquín / Serrano, José Miguel, 1998: Historia Antigua del Próximo Oriente: Mesopotamia y Egipto. Madrid.

Van de Mieroop, Marc, 2020: Historia del Próximo Oriente Antiguo (ca. 3000-323 a.C.). Madrid.