The Great Kingdoms in the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age

Spring Semester, Optional module, 10 ECTS

Instructor: Konstantinos Kopanias


This course surveys the great kingdoms and empires that developed in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze and Early Iron Age. We are going to discuss the developments that led to the creation of the first territorial states in the Near East, i.e. the Akkadian and Ur III states, and then focus on the Great Kingdoms of the Hittites, the Mitanni, and the Egyptians during the Late Bronze Age, as well as the Assyrian empire during the Early Iron Age.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be familiar with the main sites and types of the archaeological record.

They should also be able to

  • compare different methods of textual and archaeological data analysis
  • discuss in depth the relevant historical and archaeological evidence
  • work in groups
  • make and express their own opinions about the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in the Eastern Mediterranean both orally and in writing.


Essay (3,500-5,000 words). A list of indicative topics is provided, but students are strongly encouraged to discuss and personalize the essay topic with the course coordinator. In addition, students are asked to study select research papers from the existing bibliography on the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age periods in the Eastern Mediterranean and to discuss them in class.


Bryce, T.R. 2005. The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Morris, I., and W. Scheidel, eds. 2009. The dynamics of ancient empires: state power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford studies in early empires. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Rainey, A.F., and W.M. Schniedewind. 2015. The El-Amarna Correspondence. A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets. Handbook of Oriental Studies 110. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

van de Mieroop, M. 2010. The Eastern Mediterranean in the Age of Ramesses II. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.