X. Present the general idea of the text.

XI. Review the text.

Ø Additional task

a) Some sentences have been extracted from the text and given below. Decide where they suit the best.




The field covers not just Assyria but also that nation's eventual conqueror, Babylonia and the predecessor of both civilizations, Sumer. The large number of cuneiform clay tablets preserved by these cultures provides an enormous resource for the study of the period. The region's (and the world's) first cities such as Ur are archaeologically invaluable for studying the growth of urbanization.


Scholars need a good knowledge of several Semitic languages (including major dialects, aided by such languages as Biblical Hebrew for comparative purposes), and the capacity to absorbthe complexities of writing systems with several hundred core signs. While there now exist many important grammatical studies and lexical aids, many texts remain difficult to interpret accurately. Frequently, this is because the tablets they were written on are broken, or in the case of literary texts, where there may be many copies, the language and grammar are arcane. Moreover, scholars must be able to read and understand modern English, French, and German, as important references, dictionaries, and journals are published in those languages.


Some dialects are indigenous (for example, which found in merchant texts from Anatolia, called Old Assyrian); others appear to be specific "inventions" of certain groups of literati or religious authorities (the Standard Babylonian).


Sumerian has no known cognates, and an entirely different grammatical system. Despite this difference, the adaptation of the writing system, together with many lexical items, as well as possible influence on Akkadian grammar, makes reading any Akkadian text a challenging task. The writing system was also adapted for other languages, including Hittite, Hurrian, and Ugaritic. A related cuneiform writing system also appeared for Elamite.


There are lexical series of a type which reflect a scholarly interest in comparative linguistics, including the preservation of knowledge of the Sumerian language for religious and cultural purposes. In fact, because cuneiform was used for close to 3000 years, the range of records is as naturally diverse as that found in writing today, notwithstanding lower literacy rates in antiquity.


It has also been traditionally close to Biblical studies, though this is less so today. However, the training of Assyriologists has followed a traditional historical-philological path in fact, a PhD apprenticeship, with less attention paid to questions around the philosophy of history, comparative anthropology, or other fields, which in easier circumstances, might be easier to incorporate in both training and publications.

Few universities teach advanced Assyriology, and not that many teach, for example, introductory Akkadian, which at least provides some orientation to the language and culture of the Latin of the Ancient Near East.


The categories of literature which exist are enormous, including documents such as business and legal records, religious texts, canonical literary texts, historical inscriptions of rulers, personal letters, as well as music, mathematical and pseudo-scientific texts.

As an academic discipline, Assyriology presents itself as one of the most demanding fields in the humanities.

Assyriology is the linguistic, historical and archaeological study of ancient Mesopotamia and neighboring cultures which used cuneiform writing.

The writing system is based upon that which was developed in southern Mesopotamia for the Sumerian language.

There are many dialects of Akkadian, the language of Assyria and Babylonia, ranging from the earliest texts in Old Akkadian and related Eblaite in the 3rd millennium BC, down to texts written in the first century of the Common Era.

6. The "creation" of the history of Mesopotamian culture is thus heavily filtered by the technical skills required to adequately understand "what the text means".

b) In each passage there is a word in bold italics. Provide antonyms for them.

c) Find English equivalents for the following:








d) In the text find synonyms for these words and expressions:

inestimable (Passage A)

to comprehend exactly (Passage B)

secret (Passage B)

local (Passage C)

peculiar findings (Passage C)

complicated problem (Passage D)

completely (Passage D)

in spite of/despite (Passage E)

to combine teaching as well as proclamations (Passage F)


E) Some expressions are underlined in the text. Try to explain how you understand them.




I. Look through the words and expressions and learn them:

Ø beyond the material interests of its subjects ;

Ø the main agent of historical change ;

Ø to focus on the actions and lifestyles ;

Ø the driving force of continuity and change in history ;

Ø aggregate of the art and practice ;

Ø through the intercession /;

Ø continuum of events ;

Ø study of ideological differences and their implications / ;

Ø to challenge /;

Ø to drive the internal development of the state ;

Ø the constant apparent movement ;

Ø the more qualitative assessments

II. Read and translate the text:


Political history is the narrative and analysis of political events, ideas, movements, and leaders. It is usually structured around the nation state. It is distinct from, but related to, other fields of history such as social history, economic history, and military history.

Generally, political history focuses on events relating to nation-states and the formal political process. According to Hegel, Political History "is an idea of the state with a moral and spiritual force beyond the material interests of its subjects: it followed that the state was the main agent of historical change". This contrasts with, for instance, social history, which focuses predominantly on the actions and lifestyles of ordinary people, or people's history, which is historical work from the perspective of common people.

Diplomatic history sometimes referred to as "Rankian History" in honour of Leopold von Ranke, focuses on politics, politicians and other high rulers and views them as being the driving force of continuity and change in history. This type of political history is the study of the conduct of international relations between states or across state boundaries over time. This is the most common form of history and is often the classical and popular belief of what history should be.

Diplomatic history is the past aggregate of the art and practice of conducting negotiations between accredited persons representing groups or nations. It is the continuum of events occurring in succession leading from the past to the present and even into the future regarding diplomacy, the conduct of state relations through the intercession of individuals with regard to issues of peace-making, culture, economics, trade and war. Diplomatic history records or narrates events relating to or characteristic of diplomacy.

The first "scientific" political history was written by Leopold von Ranke in Germany in the 19th century. His methodologies profoundly affected the way historians critically examine sources; see historiography for a more complete analysis of the methodology of various approaches to history. An important aspect of political history is the study of ideology as a force for historical change. One author asserts that "political history as a whole cannot exist without the study of ideological differences and their implications". Studies of political history typically centre around a single nation and its political change and development. Some historians identify the growing trend towards narrow specialisation in political history during recent decades: "while a college professor in the 1940s sought to identify himself as a "historian", by the 1950s "American historian" was the designation".

From the 1970s onwards, new movements sought to challenge traditional approaches to political history. The development of social history and women's history shifted the emphasis away from the study of leaders and national decisions, and towards the role of ordinary citizens; "...by the 1970s "the new social history" began replacing the older style. Emphasis shifted to a broader spectrum of American life, including such topics as the history of urban life, public health, ethnicity, the media, and poverty". As such, political history is sometimes seen as the more 'traditional' kind of history, in contrast with the more 'modern' approaches of other fields of history.

Although much of existing written history might be classified as diplomatic history - Thucydides, certainly, is among other things, highly concerned with the relations among states - the modern form of diplomatic history was codified in the 19th century by Leopold von Ranke, a German historian. Ranke wrote largely on the history of Early Modern Europe, using the diplomatic archives of the European powers (particularly the Venetians) to construct a detailed understanding of the history of Europe ("as it actually happened"). Ranke saw diplomatic history as the most important kind of history to write because of his idea of the "Primacy of Foreign Affairs", arguing that the concerns of international relations drive the internal development of the state. Ranke's understanding of diplomatic history relied on the large number of official documents produced by modern western governments as sources.

Ranke's understanding of the dominance of foreign policy, and hence an emphasis on diplomatic history, remained the dominant paradigm in historical writing through the first half of the twentieth century. This emphasis, combined with the effects of the War Guilt Clause inthe Treaty of Versailles (1919) which ended the First World War, led to a huge amount of historical writing on the subject of the origins of the war in 1914, with the involved governments printing huge, carefully edited, collections of documents and numerous historians writing multi-volume histories of the origins of the war. In general, the early works in this vein, including Fritz Fischer's controversial (at the time) 1961 thesis that German goals of "world power" were the principal cause of the war, fit fairly comfortably into Ranke's emphasis on Aussenpolitik.

In the course of the 1960s, however, some German historians (notably Hans-Ulrich Wehler and his cohort) began to rebel against this idea, instead suggesting a "Primacy of Domestic Politics", in which the insecurities of (in this case German) domestic policy drove the creation of foreign policy. This led to a considerable body of work interpreting the domestic policies of various states and the ways this influenced their conduct of foreign policy.

At the same time, the middle of the twentieth century began to see a general de-emphasis on diplomatic history. The French Annales school had already put an emphasis on the role of geography and economics on history, and of the importance of broad, slow cycles rather than the constant apparent movement of the "history of events" of high politics. The most important work of the Annales school, Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, contains a traditional Rankean diplomatic history of Philip II Mediterranean policy, but only as the third and shortest section of a work largely focusing on the broad cycles of history in the longue durée ("long term"). The Annales were broadly influential, leading to a turning away from diplomatic and other forms of political history towards an emphasis on broader trends of economic and environmental change. In the 1960s and 1970s, an increasing emphasis on giving a voice to the voiceless and writing the history of the underclasses, whether by using the quantitative statistical methods of social history or the more qualitative assessments of cultural history, also undermined the centrality of diplomatic history to the historical discipline.

Nevertheless, diplomatic history has always remained a historical field with a great interest to the general public, and considerable amounts of work are still done in the field, often in much the same way that Ranke pioneered in the middle years of the 19th century.

Major works of political historyEdward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in four volumes between 1776 and 1781, was one of the earliest comprehensive works of political history. Gibbon has been described as "the first modern historian of ancient Rome". Leopold von Ranke, often considered the founder of the modern source-based approach to political history, published a number of pioneering works during his lifetime, including History of the Reformation in Germany (published 1881).

III. Find English equivalents for the following:

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;

Ø ;


IV. Study the given below lexical units and provide their Ukrainian variants:

¨ the narrative and analysis of political events;

¨ formal political process;

¨ moral and spiritual force;

¨ people's history;

¨ to focus on politics, politicians and other high rulers;

¨ accredited persons representing groups or nations;

¨ an important aspect of political history;

¨ modern form of diplomatic history;

¨ the insecurities of domestic policy;

¨ creation of foreign policy;

¨ role of geography and economics on history;

¨ general de-emphasis on diplomatic history

V. Give synonyms to the underlined words:

focuses predominantly on;

driving force;

intercession of individuals;

ideological implications;

source-based approach;

apparent movement;

principal cause;

seek to challenge;

comprehensive work


VI. Explain the expressions and sentences in other words:

the driving force of continuity and change in history;

the domestic policies;

an emphasis on broader trends of economic and environmental change;

the quantitative statistical methods;

to conduct negotiations;

to give a voice to the voiceless;

the most common form of history;

the constant apparent movement of the "history of events";

the dominant paradigm in historical writing


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