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Dr. Marta Pallavidini

Research Interests:


Marta Pallavidini studied Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Pavia (Italy). She obtained a conjoined PhD from the University of Pavia and from the FU-Berlin on the topic of diplomacy and propaganda in the Hittite Empire. Between 2012 and 2014 she was part of the research team of the "Hethitisches Wörterbuch 2" at the LMU- Munich. From 2016 she works at the FU-Berlin: she got a DAAD PRIME grant for the project Political Metaphors in Hittite Diplomatic and Historigraphic Texts and a Volkswagenstifung "Originalitätsverdacht" grant for the project How Did They Think? Conceptual Metaphors in the Hittite Culture. From March to August 2021 she was a fellow at the KFG 2615 "Rethinking – Governance in the Ancient Near East" with the project Eine Einschätzung der hethitischen Regierungsstrukturen und eine Reflexion zur damit verbundenen Terminologie

Project Abstract

(A)synchronic (re)actions: crises and their potential in the Hittite history

The proposed research project aims to investigate the dealing with crises in the Hittite history on three different (a)synchronic perspectives: the Hittite perspective, the interregional perspective and the perspective of the historian who has the task to describe the crises and the exploitation of their potential. The first two perspectives are synchronic in time but can be asynchronic spatially and culturally. The third perspective is asynchronic also in time. The goal is to investigate in which perspective a crisis is considered as such and to describe the measures taken by the Hittite to overcome them.

In particular, the research questions are the following:

  • What are the critical moments in the Hittite history and how are they perceived by the three (a)synchronic perspective? Does (a)synchronicity plays a role in the crisis annd its aftermath?

  • From which perspective is a crisis perceived and how is it described and dealt with?

  • How does the Hittite society restructured itself after a crisis? How do they exploit the potential offered by a crisis? Is the re-structuring synchronic or asynchronich toward other Ancient Near Eastern societies? Is the asynchronicity perceived, and how?

The project aims to identify the critical moments in the Hittite history and to assess them from the different perspectives on the basis of the textual evidence (and with the support of the archaeological data).

The textual evidence comprises texts of political history, international documents (like treaties, letters, administrative as well as reglious and cultic texts (like rituals and prayers).

The project constitutes a preliminary work; therefore three case studies will be investigated: the crisis at the end of the Old-Hittite kingdom at the end of the 16th century BCE (which can be considered a typical crisis with loss of political power and also of territory), the crisis during the reign of Muwatalli in the first half of the 13th century BCE (connected with the tranfer of the capital from Hattusa to Tarhuntassa), and the collapse of the Hittite Empire (End of 13th - beginning of 12th century BCE).

Curriculum vitae


Research Fellow in the research group 2615 “Rethinking – Governance in the Ancient Near East”, Freie Universität Berlin


Project leader of the research project "How did they think? Conceptual Metaphors in the Hittite culture" at Freie Universität Berlin (funded by the programme "Original, isn’t it?" of the Volkswagenstiftung)


Project leader of the research project "Political Metaphors in the Hittite Diplomatic and Historiographic Texts"  at Freie Universität Berlin (funded by the P.R.I.M.E programme of the DAAD)


Visiting Professor at the KU-Leuven


Freelance coach and teacher in Berlin.

Independent researcher in the fields of Hittitology and Ancient Near Eastern History.


Research Assistant in the research project “Hethitisches Wörterbuch 2” at the Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich


Lecturer at the Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich


Tutor at the Dipartimento di scienze dell'antichità, sezione di orientalistica, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy


PhD in Civiltà del Mediterraneo Antico (XXIII Ciclo) [Civilisations of the Ancient Mediterranean] at the Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy; In cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin

Selected Publications

2022 (forthcoming), ed. with L. Portuese. Near Eastern Weltanschauungen in Contact and in Contrast: Rethinking the Terms Ideology and Propaganda. wEdge, Münster: Zaphon.

2021. "„L´État, c´est moi!“ The Hittite King as Embodiment of the State." Res Antiquae 18, 317-330.

2020. "How did they think? Towards use of metaphor theories to research the Hittite conceptual world." In Researching Metaphor in the Ancient Near East, edited by M. Pallavidini and L. Portuese, 85-94. Philippika 141, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 

2015. „Die Terminologie der Bindung und des Eides in der Bronzetafel.“ Die Welt des Orients 45 (2), 200-215.  

2016. Diplomazia e propaganda in epoca imperiale ittita. Forma e prassi. Dresdner Beiträge zur Hethitologie 48. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.  

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