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Regular version of the site

About the Institute

The HSE Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies (IOCS) is engaged in researching Asian-related subjects and providing high quality instruction to undergraduates in conjunction with studies of classical antiquity, as well as teaching many subjects related thereto. As part of such activities, special attention is paid to the following matters:

    bringing together, within the same academic body, specialists in Oriental Studies, Classical Philology and Ancient History, which allows us to advance and promote a wide range of interdisciplinary research;

    all-round mutual connection between classical Oriental Studies and contemporary research on Asia at all levels of study and instruction;

    the widest possible geographical coverage of regions, languages and traditions under study;

    a broad range of research areas (from linguistics to cultural studies);

    incorporation of teaching processes into scholarly research;

    close cooperation with Russian and international research centres;

    the latest publishing techniques.

Fields of Study

In terms of regions, the work of the Institute’s research fellows covers, for the most part, the traditional areas of Oriental and Classical studies, including:

China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, Mongolia and Tibet, Iran, ancient India, the Muslim India and Pakistan, the languages and cultures of Dravidian India, Turkey and Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia, the Arab world, Africa—Ethiopia and Eritrea, ancient Mesopotamia, the Old Testament and its world, the Christian Orient, Syriac and Neo-Aramaic studies, ancient Greece and Rome, the archaeology of the ancient East, the eastern and south-eastern regions of Russia.

In regards to the subjects of research, the following principal fields may be specified:

  • edited and commented translations of the recorded heritage of the East (e.g., the long-term research and publishing project ‘Orient and Graeco-Roman Antiquity in Classical Texts’);
  • research on the ancient and medieval literature of the Orient;
  • research on poetics in medieval Oriental literatures (Iran, India, China and Japan)
  • comparative studies of cultures of the East and West (antiquity — the Middle Ages — modernity)
  • synchronic and comparative-historical descriptions of languages of the ancient and modern East and Africa (Semitic, Indo-European, Altaic, Indochinese and Sino-Tibetan languages);
  • folklore studies, research into the mythology and popular religions of Asian countries (fieldwork, publication and analysis of results)


The Institute’s research fellows have considerable experience with publications in international academic journals, which are indexed in such bibliographical databases as Web of Science and Scopus. Their monographs are put out by major world publishers as Brill, de Gruyter and Oxford University Press.

The Institute’s projects include the ongoing ‘Orientalia et Classica’ series, many volumes of which have already been published, as well as an international scholarly magazine of the same name, collections of academic papers, and individual books written with the direct involvement of renowned experts and released by both Russian and foreign publishers. For instance, in conjunction international Eisenbrauns Publishers, the Institute has been published the ‘Babel und Bibel’ sub-series – its materials are indexed in the Web of Science and Scopus databases. Furthermore, the IOCS issues, together with the international academic publisher Gorgias Press, the Journal of Language Relationship (its contributions are mostly in English).

Educational Activities

General information on teaching at IOCS can be found on the pages of the following departments:

The Institute realizes the following majors:

  • Language and Literature of China;
  • Languages and Literatures of Indochina and South-East Asia;
  • Language and Literature of Japan;
  • Language and Literature of Korea;
  • Languages and Literatures of Ancient Mesopotamia;
  • Languages and Literatures of Ancient Syria and Palestine (Aramaic Studies);
  • Biblical Studies and History of Ancient Israel;
  • Ethiopic and Arabic Philology;
  • Language and Literature of Arab Countries;
  • Indian Languages and Literature;
  • Languages and Literatures of India (Tamil and Sanskrit);
  • Languages and Literatures of India and Muslim South Asia (Urdu and Persian);
  • Languages and Literature of Iran;
  • Languages and Literatures of Mongolia and Tibet;
  • Languages and Literatures of Turkic-Speaking Peoples;
  • History of Ancient Greece and Rome;
  • Classical Philology.

Our future plans include new programmes in such areas as Egyptology, Indonesia and Malaysia, the countries and cultures of Africa (in addition to the aforementioned Ethiopic and Arabic Philology curriculum) in conjunction with studies of related languages and literary traditions.

Languages studied and taught:

Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, ancient Aramaic (several varieties), Syriac, Modern Aramaic dialects (including Turoyo), Hurrian, Hittite, Classical Ethiopic (Ge’ez), Literary (‘Standard’) Arabic and Arabic dialects, Amharic, Tigrinya, Soqotri, Sanskrit, Hindi, Pali, the Prakrits, Ladakhi, Tamil, Contemporary Persian, Classical Persian, Urdu, Chinese, Old Chinese (Wenyan), Japanese, Classical Japanese (Bungo), Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, Khmer, Mongolian, Tibetan, Chagatai, Old Turkic, Old Ottoman Turkish, Turkish, Ancient Greek, Latin, Anatolian and Altaic languages, Tocharian, Caucasian, Sino-Tibetan, Austroasiatic, Dravidian, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, Yeniseian and Khoisan languages.


Academic Activities



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