SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Literatures of the Ancient Middle East

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1

This module introduces the different literary traditions of the Ancient Near and Middle East and provides an overview of what constitutes "literature" in the region's various ancient civilizations. Study is made of selected central topics of the literary traditions of the area from ca. 3000 BC to ca 600 AD. Through readings of texts in translation students are also introduced to different topics of literary-critical analysis.


  • Students enrol via the on-line Module Sign-up system. Students are advised of the timing of this process via email by the Dept. administrator

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module students will have
1) obtained a clear understanding of the region, its diverse history and literatures during the ancient period
2) achieved an understanding of the scholarship, methodology and research issues that characterize the various fields of study required to engage with these literatures: philology, Assyriology, cultural theory.
3) acquired a keen sense of the scholarly (areas of investigation and range of subjects) and academic (formation of fields and disciplines and relevant investigative methods) aspects of studying ancient Near Eastern literatures
4) Through the close examination of selected topics and texts students develop an understanding of a variety of literary traditions within the ancient Near East together with awareness that several of these traditions are frequently very closely connected to each other.

Method of assessment

AS1 - 1000 word essay (40%)

AS2 - 1500 word essay (60%)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules