History of the Ancient Middle East


a) Understand the connection between the time and space dimensions of the Oriental Ancient History and know how to analyze it both in a diachronic and synchronic perspective;
b) Learn the main and more recent historical interpretations about the Oriental Ancient History;
c) Identify and understand the main historical documents of the Oriental Ancient Civilizations;
d) Understand the political, economical, social, cultural and religious context of the Oriental Ancient History;
e) Develop oral and written abilities to expose the different historical problems related to the Ancient Civilizations, using the correct concepts;
f) Learn the right know-how about Ancient History, allowing a future specialization in the field.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Cristina Gomes de Almeida


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language





Akkermans, P. (2009). The Archaeology of Syria. From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to early Urban Societies (ca.16,000-300 BC). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Margueron, J.-C. (1991). Les Mesopotamiens. Paris : Armand Colin.
Sanmartín, J. y Serrano, J. M. (1998). Historia Antigua del Próximo Oriente: Mesopotamia y Egipto. Madrid: Ediciones Akkal.
Pollock, S. (1999). Ancient Mesopotamia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Postgate, J.N. (1992). Early Mesopotamia. Society and Economy at the dawn of History, London /New York: Routledge.

Teaching method

The theorical-practical nature of the sessions intends that students should engage in discussions about specialized literature, as well as written, iconographic and material documents.

Evaluation method

Método de avaliação - and a test where the analysis of sources should be intertwine with the bibliography(50%), The evaluation will have a written essay (50%)

Subject matter

1. Different perspectives both of interpretation and research.
1.1Time and space boundaries: the different historical periods
1.2 The different sources for studying the Ancient Middle East History.
1.3 From the Orientalistic of the XIX century to the specialization in different fields of the present.
1.4 The new research objects and perspectives in the field.
2. Origins of the State and its organization.
2.1 The State: from the city-state to more complex political organizations
2.2 The royal institution: its ideological legitimacy.
2.3 The political limitations of the king.
3.1 The social stratification and its models.
3.2 The social networks
3.3 The urban world vs. the nomad world
4.The Economy
4.1 Economical resources.
4.2 Economical activities
4.3 The long distance trade.
5. Religion as a structural phenomenon
5.1 The different theologies: the Sumerian legacy and the Semitic identity
5.2 The cult and the religious behaviors
5.3 The religious syncretism


Programs where the course is taught: