Ancient Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia coverAncient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization
Amanda H. Podany, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
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This was a most enjoyable course.

I was familiar with some of the material, but I learned a lot. One of the things that Professor Podany made clear was that while we often think of Mesopotamia in terms of the great empires, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, for much of its history Mesopotamia was made up of multiple kingdoms and city-states.

One of the great things about this region in ancient history is the amount of written evidence that we have. The decipherment of the cuneiform script in the nineteenth century provided a wealth of information. Writing was done on clay tablets. Those clay tablets were either intentionally preserved by firing in kilns or accidentally preserved when a city was destroyed by fire.

There is a lot of boring administrative material, but also many other types of documents. We have legal documents such as court records, letters between kings, and even letters from the daughters of kings who were married off to peer or client kings.

Professor Podany’s presentation is engaging and her British accent is a delight to listen to. If the material interests you, you will love this course.

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