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Oriental Studies – Culture of Ancient Near East

Studies of the ancient Near East at the University of Warsaw began after World War I with classes in Sumerian, Akkadian, and history and archaeology of the ancient Near East taught by Józef Bromski, Moses Schorr, and Stefan Przeworski. In 1937, the Assyriological Seminar was established at the Institute of Oriental Studies. Revived soon after World War II as the Seminar of Ancient Near Eastern Philology, it reorganized several times to finally adopt its present name in 2009. The Department, the only of its kind in Poland, was headed in succession by Rudolf Ranoszek, Krystyna Iyczkowska, Maciej Popko, Jan Braun, and Olga Drewnowska-Rymarz.

At present, three major languages of the ancient Near East – Akkadian, Sumerian, and Hittite – are taught at the Department. We offer a three-year first-cycle course and a two-year second-cycle course during which students acquire competence in the reading of the cuneiform script and become familiar with texts from different periods of ancient Near Eastern history. Next to the language classes, the curriculum includes lectures in archaeology, history, literatures, and religions of the Middle East in the period between the fourth and the first millennia BCE. Graduates can continue their education by joining a PhD programme in one of doctoral schools of the University of Warsaw.

The research pursued at the Department focuses primarily on Mesopotamian and Hittite religions (Olga Drewnowska-Rymarz, Piotr Taracha, Magdalena Kapetus), history and law (Małgorzata Sandowicz), and geography (Adam Kryszen). The Department is actively involved in international academic life. It has organized two major Hittitological and Assyriological conferences (the International Congress of Hittitology in 2011 and the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale in 2014) and run several NCN-sponsored research projects. The Department houses the richest ancient Near Eastern library in East-Central Europe.

The Department of Ancient Near Eastern Studies conducts research in the following fields:

  • Languages and cultures of the ancient Near East
  • Mesopotamian religion
  • Hittite religion
  • History of the ancient Near East
  • Ancient Near Eastern literatures
  • Law and administration in the ancient Near East
  • Geography of Hittite Anatolia

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