Ancient Mesopotamia

Join us in discovering the mysteries and wonders of Mesopotamia - the cradle for the world's great ancient civilisations; Sumeria, Babylon and Assyria. Now long dead, we owe these civilisations a cultural debt. Many of the basic principles of mathematics and astronomy were invented in Mesopotamia, and some English words can even be traced back to its languages.

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Teacher Date Day Time Sessions Fee Enrol
Paul Howles 10 October Tuesday 6-8pm 6 $250 Enrol now

Course outline

  • Part 1: will constitute an introduction to the physical geography, chronology (including how it has been established), languages and writing of ancient Mesopotamia.
  • Part 2: will concentrate on providing a chronological survey of Mesopotamian history from the Neolithic revolution about 10,000 years ago in the surrounding Fertile Crescent until the Sassanian era prior to the Islamic conquest. Topics to be discussed include: the rise of agriculture and civilization in the region, the Sumerians, and the brilliant Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations. Emphasis will be given to how textual sources, both those derived from archaeological excavation in the region and the Classical Greco-Roman authors, as well as the Bible, have been used to reconstruct this history
  • Part 3: will be concerned with a summary of some of the most important sites that have been the subject of archaeological excavation in Mesopotamia and the adjacent regions of modern Syria, which was culturally interlinked to the Euphrates-Tigris plain. The sites studied will include: Babylon and Nineveh, which were capitals of the two great civilizations - the Babylonians and Assyrians, respectively - and Ur, Mari, Ebla, Ugarit, Dura Europos, and Palmyra, which represents a cross-section of Mesopotamian civilization from 3000 BC until the early Christian centuries, and are of importance in regards to historical studies of Mesopotamia.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should:

  • appreciate the importance of written sources in the reconstruction of history
  • understand the chronology of ancient Mesopotamia and how it was been established
  • know the different languages that were spoken in the ancient Near East and the scripts with which they were written
  • understand the role of Akkadian as a lingua franca in the 2nd millennium BC (Amarna period) and likewise Aramaic in the 1st millennium BC
  • appreciate the importance of the expansion of Assyria in the 1st millennium BC and its replacement by the Neo-Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar
  • know some sites that were either significant in the history of the region, or simply through the findings of archaeology have proved significant.

Who should enrol

Anyone desiring an introduction to the history and culture of ancient Mesopotamia.

Updated:  13 June 2017/ Responsible Officer:  CCE Manager/ Page Contact:  CCE Webmaster