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Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)


The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) engages in the interdisciplinary humanistic study and teaching of the cultures of the Near East (often called the Middle East) as they express themselves in languages and texts, including both written and oral sources, as well as art, architecture, archaeology and material culture. These cultures encompass the geographic region that stretches from North Africa through the eastern Mediterranean, Arabia and Iran.


NELC's programs focus on the civilizations of Mesopotamia/Iraq, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Anatolia/Turkey and Persia/Iran. We teach Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and other languages of the region, from ancient through modern.



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NELC People

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  • Emeritus Faculty
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    See News & Events for...

    Hebrew Placement Exam

    Fall 2016 Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative Visiting Fellow a 2005 NELC grad!

    Dr. Frame honored to host 62nd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Annual Assyriological Conference) at PENN

    Josef Wegner and Jennifer Houser Wegner's new book "The Sphinx That Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum"