The Art of the Ancient Near East

Ref: C3529116

More than 5,000 years ago, cultures of the ancient Near East witnessed the very beginnings of Western civilization. It is here that the development of cities, the establishment of literacy and the births of mathematics and astronomy took place; accompanied by a staggering output of visual arts in all forms from architecture to jewellery. The era is associated with the rise and fall of empires such as those of the Egyptians, Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. Over a period of 3,000 years, these empires struggled for the control of the region before eventually coming into conflict with the powers of Greece and Rome. Barring references in ancient texts, notably the Bible, material evidence of the existence of these great cultures remained largely unknown until archaeologists began to explore sites in the area in the 19th century. Whilst focused upon art, the problems faced by the historian and the archaeologist are also a part of the course.

Course aim

A visual survey of the art and architecture of the Ancient Near East (land bounded by the modern states of Egypt Turkey and Iran) over a period of 3,000 years.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Talk about the cultures of the Ancient Near East in terms of their political and artistic development over the period.
  • Use appropriate terminology to describe and dicuss amcient artworks.
  • Analyse historical objects throgh the photographs.
  • Understand the relationship between art and broader cultural developments.
  • Unerstand the region in relation to contemporary conflicts.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Computer access would be useful (but not essentail) as links to internet resources will be provided, along with all teaching materials assciated with each session on a weekly basis.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

The Art of the Ancient Near East


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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