18th International Conference for Ancient East-Mediterranean Studies in Tartu (ICAEM 2018): Power and (Op)position in the Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean World

1–3 June 2018

General information

There is no conference fee but those wishing to take part without a paper should register by e-mail due to space limits. If you need information on hotels and other practicalities, please contact the organisers at


All sessions and coffee pauses take place in the main building of the University of Tartu, 18 Ülikooli St (see below for specific rooms)

Tweets: #ICAEM2018

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9.45–10.00 Registration (desk situated in the hallway of the main building, Ülikooli 18)

Hall of the Senate
Chair: Amar Annus

10.00 Introduction

10.15–11.10: First Keynote: Karen Radner (University of München, Germany): Assyrian imperial power and how to oppose it

Coffee pause (Room 228)

SESSION 1: Establishing and confirming power

Hall of the Senate
Chair: Amar Annus

11.30–12.00 Vladimir Sazonov (Tartu): Justification of Usurpation of Power by Members of Royal family in Hittite kingdom: Since Hantili until Kurunta

12.00–12.30 Vladimir Emeljanov (St. Petersburg): What is and who was Ajaru in the Cuneiform Texts from Mesopotamia and Emar?

12.30–13.00 Shana Zaia (Helsinki): “I Made Him More Dead Than Before”: Execution and Royal Death in Assyria

Lunch 13.00–14.30

14.30–15.15 First poster session (Room 228)

  • Andreas Johandi (Tartu), ‘The Role of the God Asalluhi in Old Babylonian Incantations’
  • Farzad Abedi (Izmir), ‘A Persian Satrap and A Persian Architectural Element in the Eastern Mediterranean’
  • Levan Kochlamazashvili (Tbilisi), ‘On phonetic transformation of e > u in Hattian’

SESSION 2: Legitimating power

Room 140
Chair: Ivo Volt

15.15–15.45  Andrew Schumann (Rzeszow): Babylonian Logic for Transparency and Inevitability of Power

15.45–16.15 Eleni Tzovla (Palermo): Compliance and endurance: The Athenian power building through the Melian Dialogue

Coffee pause (Room 228)

SESSION 3: Reflecting on power

Room 140
Chair: Ivo Volt

16.35–17.05 Neeme Näripä (Tartu): The Greek concept of stasis: From opposition to power and back

17.05–17.35 Luca Macale (Roma): «Like an invisible god» (Ctesias 1b §21, 7): the unapproachability of the Near Eastern kings in Greek sources

17.35–18.05 Ália Rosa Rodrigues (London/Coimbra): Neutralising disobedience: Plato’s proposal in the Laws

19.00 Reception for participants at the University Cafeteria (Ülikooli 20).


Room 140
Chair: Mait Kõiv

10.15–11.10 Second Keynote: Lynette Mitchell (University of Exeter, UK): The politics of power: the rise and fall of the Deinomenid dynasty in fifth-century Sicily

Coffee pause (Room 228)

SESSION 4: Regional power and opposition

Room 140
Chair: Mait Kõiv

11.30–12.00  Walter Sommerfeld (Marburg/Leipzig): Sumerian Rebellions against Semitic Dominion

12.00–12.30  Andres Nõmmik (Helsinki), The Egyptian control of the Southern Levant and the Late Bronze Age crisis

12.30–13.00  Salvatore Tufano (Roma/Fribourg): A Weak Hegemony in a Multipolar System. The Opposition to Pelopidas and Epameinondas and the End of the Theban Hegemony

Lunch 13.00–14.30

14.30–15.15 Second poster session (Room 228)

  • Siim Mõttus (Tartu), Telepinu’s edict and its place in Hittite history
  • Kristin Klaus, Agne Pilvisto, Janika Päll, Anneliis Rea, Elo-Mall Toomet (Tartu), The Power of a Woman: different views on Medeia
  • Elena Butti (Pavia), Bodies seeking viewer: power and violence in the Prometheus Bound from Aeschylus to Michel Foucault
  • Maurits S. de Leeuw (Tübingen), Monastic opposition to imperial power in the Eastern Roman Empire from Arcadius to Anastasius (395–518)

SESSION 5: Opposing power

Room 140
Chair: Urmas Nõmmik

15.15–15.45 Vladimir Shelestin (Moscow): Old Hittite opposition in the religious aspect

15.45–16.15 Priit-Hendrik Kaldma (Tallinn), Peisistratids, architecture, and the opposition to the monarchy in the Archaic Athens

Coffee pause (Room 228)

16.35–17.05  Jeroen Wijnendaele (Ghent): “Generalissimos, Warlords and Kings” –  Military Power-Broking in the Late Roman Empire

17.05–17.45  Mait Kõiv (Tartu): Monarchy and opposition in the city-states of the Archaic Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean

17.45–18.00 Closing



Trip to North-Eastern Estonia (Narva). Information and registration at (registration deadline: 31 May 2018, midnight). More details are available in the PDF leaflet.

Conference description

Power building and maintenance of power has been a central issue in human society, and understanding this is crucial for comprehending the functioning of any socio-political unit. As the actual power-holders usually form a tiny minority, the obvious question would be what makes the others comply, often perhaps at the expense of their own interests and welfare. What means do the power-holders (leaders, rulers, monarchs) have for building up, enhancing, and maintaining their position and identity? Why and on which conditions are the people loyal to them, either the other members of elite, or the commoners constituting the majority of population? And why do the rulers sometimes fail in assuring the compliance? What are the chances for successful opposition? And on which conditions does this lead to the change of social or political structure instead of simply replacing one ruler or ruling group by another?

These problems involve social framework and political institutions, the relations between centre and periphery, but also moral code and power ideology closely tied to religion. The answers are bound to be essentially different in the variety of the early civilisations, states and societies developing in the Near East and Mediterranean region.

We expect case studies as well as comparative approaches, concerning the societies from Iran to the Mediterranean, from the emergence of statehood to the Late Antiquity (pre-Islamic world). Preference will be given to papers contributing to the understanding of the mechanisms of power.


The conference is supported by the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Institute of Cultural Research, Institute of History and Archaeology, and College of Foreign Languages and Cultures of the University of Tartu.

Organizing committee 

Mait Kõiv, Urmas Nõmmik, Vladimir Sazonov, Ivo Volt

Research Center of Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Cultures, University of Tartu, Estonia