When did humans start fighting each other, and how far back can we trace the history of warfare? This course investigates the origin, nature, and manifestation of military conflicts in the ancient Near East and studies their impact on political, economic, and social developments in the region. Following a review of the relevant terminology (e.g., “warfare” vs “skirmish”) in archaeological literature, we will investigate the archaeological and historical data for a time span that extends from 9,000 to 300 BC. Evidence from archaeological sites (notably violent destructions of ancient settlements) will be compared with available artistic representations of warfare in sculpture, reliefs, inlays, and glyptics, complemented by textual accounts. While the course focuses on Mesopotamia, evidence from Syria, Turkey, Iran, the Levant, and Egypt will also be included.