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Language and Culture of Urartu


Admission requirements

Regular MA admission.


Urartian is the language that was spoken in the mountainous areas to the north of Assyria. Already in the Middle Assyrian period royal inscriptions inform us about Urartian tribes and from the 9th century there existed an Urartian empire that had its center between the Lake Van and Lake Urmia. The empire posed a serious threat to the Assyrian empire, but also to the west and the north the Urartians conquered much land and they founded many new cities that were usually called after their royal founder. The texts that we have are almost all royal inscriptions that tell us about expeditions and the construction of temples and fortresses. We will first study the grammar and then we will read a selection of royal inscriptions.

Course objectives

To give an overview of a proto-science in the Ancient Near East that reached a high level and was borrowed by many other cultures, including the Greeks and the Egyptians. The student will become familiar with science as it was understood and practiced in ancient Mesopotamia.


See Timetable Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Assyriology

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

10 EC = 280 hours

  • Contact hours: 24 h

  • Course preparation: ## h

  • Paper: ## h

Assessment method

  • Active course participation: ## %

  • Paper: ## %


Blackboard will be used for delivery of relevant reading materials and submission of assignments.

Reading list

To be announced


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.


Prof. Dr. W.H. van Soldt