PAPVA_33 The Early and Middle Bronze Age of Mesopotamia and Levant

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2018
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Zuzanna Wygnańska, PhD. (lecturer), Mgr. Inna Mateiciucová, Ph.D. (deputy)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Inna Mateiciucová, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Mon 24. 9. 10:00–13:40 B2.33, Tue 25. 9. 8:00–11:40 B2.33, Wed 26. 9. 8:00–11:40 B2.52, Mon 22. 10. 10:00–13:40 B2.33, Tue 23. 10. 8:00–11:40 B2.33, Wed 24. 10. 8:00–11:40 VP
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 6 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
The lecture will cover Mesopotamia and Syria-Palestine from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age until the end of the Middle Bronze Age. The issues highlighted in the lecture will include main historical and cultural phenomena. Major groups and categories of artefacts, from monumental art to small decorative objects will be presented along with architecture - temples, palaces, fortifications and dwellings - as well as funerary rites. Apart from these main topics the lectures will also provide basic information on the peoples, scripts and languages, religion and other features of the Bronze Age cultures.
  • 1. Introduction: - The geographic setting and environment; - People, languages, systems of writing, - Chronological systems and periodisation 2. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Mesopotamia – Early Dynastic Period - Early Dynastic city states – archaeology of cities - Topics: city-states organisation; periodisation; Sumerian King List as a source for historical reconstruction; sacral and secular architecture; art; burial practices – regular customs and curiosities (e.g. the Royal Cemetery of Ur) 3. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Mesopotamia – Early Dynastic Period (CONTINUATION) - Diyala Basin “civilisation” - Mari - North Mesopotamian city state - Topics: origins of Diyala civilisation; periodisation; city-state organisation; sacral and secular architecture; art; burial customs; domestic space in towns; founding of Mari, contacts with Syria and southern Mesopotamia. 4. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Syria– The first half of the third millennium BC. - The Ninevite 5 Culture - Topics: the question of non-urban civilisation; Ninevite 5 pottery, burial customs; art and architecture (monumental buildings, granaries, temples from Tell Arbid and Tell Brak); Piedmont Style seals. 5. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Syria - Urban civilization in Western Syria, - Sites along the middle Euphrates - Topics: transition from nomadism to sedentarism, Ebla city-state; dynastic cult in Western Syria; burial customs (e.g. burial mounds from Ebla); sacral and secular architecture (e.g. temples and palace G from Ebla); art of Ebla; Beidar tablets and seals. 6. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Syria - The mid/ late third millennium – CONTINUATION - Urban civilization in Syrian Jezireh - Topics: SU.BIR; Nagar city-state; Kranzhügel; sacral and secular architecture (e.g. temples from Tell Beidar, Tell Chuera, Tell Mozan, Tell Brak; palace in Tell Chuera, Tell Beidar); art (e.g. Tell Chuera relief, metal objects); Beidar tablets and seals. 7. Levant in the III Millennium B.C. - Sedentary agrarian society of EB I in southern Syria, Lebanon and Palestine region - Emergence of local urban culture in EB II-III - Collapse of the urban EB III culture - Topics: nomenclature of transitional period of III/ II millennium, relations with Egypt; Byblos – gateway for Egyptian influence; burial customs (e.g. Bab edh-Dhra’); town planning; urban architecture; temples and sacred stones; Khirbet Kerak pottery problem. 8. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Mesopotamia: Akkadian and Ur III Periods - The first Mesopotamian empire under rules of the Akkadian Dynasty - The III dynasty of Ur - Collapse of a city state and a problem of interregional crisis; Gutian “invasion” - Topics: Sumero-Akkadian civilisation; deification of rulers; Gutian „invasion”, ”royal correspondence” as a historic source; sacral and secular architecture (e.g. temenos in Ur, temple of Inanna in Nippur, Shu-Sin’s “temple” from Eshnunna); art (e.g. “Sargons’s” head, Naramsin’s stela and rock reliefs, statuary art; seals – repertoire of scenes; 9. Cities, states and cultures of the III Millennium BC. in Syria – Akkadian and Post-Akkadian periods - Akkadian imperialism and the crisis at the end of the III millennium - Topics: Hurrian occurrence in Urkesh/ Tell Mozan; Mesopotamian influence in Syria during Akkadian Period; Post-Akkadian- transitional or final period; crisis theories, architecture and finds (e.g. architectural complex from Tell Brak, palace in Tell Mozan) 10. Amorite dynasties of the MBA in Mesopotamia - Isin-Larsa Period and Old Babylonian Periods - Amorite dynasties and states in Mesopotamia, - City state of Ashur, - Topics: Migration of Amorites; Old Babylonian state organisation; cuneiform sources for reconstruction of history; karum of Kanesh and other Old Assyrian colonies; town planning, sacral and secular architecture (e.g. temples of Tell Harmal, Shaduppum, Ashur, domestic architecture from Ur); „Babylonian” and „bent axis” temple plans; art of the time of Hammurabi. 11. Syria in MBA - Reurbanisation and the emergence of new city states - Amorite states in Syria (Jamchad, Ebla, Qatna, Alalah) - Amorite dynasties in Mari: the time of Shamshiadad the I and the return of Zimri-Lim; - Topics: Amorites in archaeology of Northern Mesopotamia; nomadic chiefdoms, archive of Mari, burial customs, sacral and secular architecture (e.g. Zimri-Lim’s palace in Mari, MB palaces from Ebla, Eblaitic sacral complex); art (e.g. palace wall paintings, West-Syrian statuary, steles); Khabur ware pottery. 12. Beginnings of the MBA in Levant - Transitional period of EB IV/ MB I - MB II A Period: revival of urban life and establishment of “Canaanite culture” - Topics: migration; West-Semitic settlement; dolmens and cemeteries; weapon hoards; metal objects. 13. The MBA in Levant (CONTINUATION) - MB II B: further development of the “Canaanite culture” - Topics: the “Hyksos” question and relations with Egypt; fortifications, urban architecture and temples (Hazor, Tel Dan, Megiddo, Lachisz, Beth Shean, Byblos obelisks temple); burial customs; metallurgy.
  • Akkermans P.M.M.G. & Schwarz G.M., The Archaeology of Syria. From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Early Urban Societies ( ca. 16.000 – 300 BC), Cambridge 2003.
  • Sasson J. M., Civilisations of the Ancient Near East, 4 vols., London 1995.
  • Walker, Cuneiform. Reading the Past., University of California Press 1987.
  • Heinrich E., Die Tempel und Heiligtümer im Alten Mesopotamien, Berlin 1982.
  • Moorey P.R.S., Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries: The Archaeological Evidence, Oxford 1994.
  • Cotterell A., The Penguin Encyclopaedia of Ancient Civilisations, New York 1980.
  • Heinrich E., Die Paläste im Alten Mesopotamien, Berlin 1984.
  • Crawford H., Sumer and Sumerians, Cambridge 2004.
  • Kuhrt A., The Ancient Near East c. 3000 – 330 BC, London-New York 1995.
  • Mazar A., Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, 10.000-586 BCE, New York 1990.
  • Levy Th. E., The archaeology of the society in the Holy Land, London New York, 1998.
  • Roaf M., Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East, Oxford, 2000
  • Orthmann W., Der Alte Orient, Berlin 1975.
  • Klengel H., Geschichte und Kultur Altsyriens, Leipzig 1979; Wien 1980.
Assessment methods
Test- topics: General geographical features in the Near East (map) Ninevite 5 Culture Specific features of MBA culture in LEvant and in MEsopotamia Kranzhugel-type site Mari in EBA and MBA Ebla in EBA and MBA Byblos in MBA The Amorites The Hyksos Moments of flourits and crisess in history of Levant: second urban revolution, EBA Levant crises, Intermediate Bronze Age, Shamshi-Adad's realm Burial customs General temple plans in Mesopotamia and Levant, ziggurats MBA Mari palace
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2010, Autumn 2016.
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