The Ancient Near East in the 2nd Millennium BC: Nations on the Rise (Middle Bronze Age)

During the second millennium BC, the many cultures of the Ancient Near East stake out their territory and begin to expand, overlap and merge. What prompted this process and where does it lead? This course focuses on the kingdoms and nations of the Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1500 BC). What do we know of Hammurabi and his times and how does his Old Babylonian kingdom evolve in comparison with those of his contemporaries in Assyria, Anatolia, Syria and the Levant? Migrations and trade cut across cultural and political boundaries. To what extent are these reflected in the exchange of materials, technologies and iconography? With reference to evidence from Anatolia, Egypt and the Aegean, we will examine the cross-influences between the Near East and its neighbours, focusing on key sites such as Kanesh (Kültepe), Ebla (Tell Mardikh), Alalakh and Avaris (Tel Dab'a).

Indicative module syllabus

  • Conflict and Conquest in Mesopotamia: Hammurabi and his Contemporaries
  • Court Life and Ritual at Mari
  • Daily Life at Ur and Mashkan Shapir
  • Babylonian Law and Religion
  • Old Assyrian Trade and Bronze Age Anatolia
  • Expanding Kingdoms in Syria: Ebla and Qatna
  • Consolidation of Control in the Levant
  • Canaanites in Egypt: the Hyksos and their Capital Avaris
  • Imitation and Emulation: the Major and Minor Arts
  • Museum visit (British Museum or Ashmolean)

15 credits at level 4

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First class: Thu 05-Oct-17 6.30pm-8.30pm

Class location Central London
Class code SSHC303H4ACB

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