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Tribes and Nomads in the Old Babylonian Period (2000-1600 BCE)


Admission requirements

Knowledge of Akkadian grammar and cuneiform writing


Tribes and non-sedentary groups have played an enormous role in the history of the Ancient Near East. Especially for the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600 BCE) we are well informed about tribal names, institutions, religion, and customs. These tribal elements in society have often been gathered together under the heading “Amorite”, but this oversimplifies the matter. In this course we will read first-hand and recently published texts to discover what we can know about these people and how we should approach the issue of tribalism and nomadism in ancient texts.

Course objectives

Students following this course will we able to:
-of tribalism and nomadism during the Old Babylonian period
-of Akkadian language and cuneiform used in the relevant documents
Insight in
-Old Babylonian political history and the role of tribes and non-sedentary people
-the use of Akkadian across the Ancient Near East as a lingua franca
-tribal institutions such as kingship, kinship, and communal gatherings
Skills in
-reading advanced Old Babylonian Akkadian
-presenting results to peers
-writing an advanced reseach paper
-usage of the relevant bibliography


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


-Oral presentation on a topic related to the theme of the course in April/May
-Paper in June


-Oral presentation 20%
-Paper 80%


The resit assignment will be determined in consultation with the lecturer

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Burke, A.A., 2020: The Amorites and the Bronze Age Near East, Cambridge
Durand, J.-M., 2019: Les premieres années du roi Zimri-Lim de Mari, ARM 33, Leuven
Charpin, D., 2004 : “Histoire politique du Proche Orient Amorite” in D. Charpin, D.O. Edzard and M. Stol, Mesopotamien. Die altabylonische Periode, OBO 160/4, Fribourg/Göttingen
Sasson, J.M., 2015 : From the Mari Archives: An Anthology of Old Babylonian Letters, Philadelphia


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal