posted on 15/12/23
Spanning the entire ancient Near Eastern world, from the Sumerians of Mesopotamia through to the Persian empire and incorporating ancient Egypt, Israel and Palestine, Syria, the Hittites, Assyria and Babylon, the topics covered will range from the horse in ancient Egypt and the elaborate palaces of Babylon, to aspects of daily life in Ur. Each week, we will delve into an astonishing array of mysterious and beautiful objects and fragments to examine what they can tell us about the social life and structure of the societies they represent.
Along the way our investigation is supported by theories of material culture, as we enrich our understanding of the ways empires worked and the ideas, motivations and beliefs that connected peoples across vast geographic expanses.
They take place every Thursday from 1–22 February at 4.30pm and, including Q&A, will probably last just under an hour. They are available for viewing for eight weeks after the last episode is streamed (18th April 2024).
This talk focuses on the early origins of civilisation in Mesopotamia and Egypt and explores the lives of shepherds, priests, and monarchs through the material evidence they left behind.
Throughout the Near East, cultures were swiftly developing new skills and technologies while trade was opening new vistas and expanding horizons. This lecture looks at the object world of Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia and Mesopotamia in this international age.
In the early Iron Age a series of superpowers with imperial ambitions left their mark on the Near East. We consider the material remains of the Egyptian New Kingdom and Assyria and their many dominions.
Under Babylon and then Persia the ancient Near East saw its last flurry of brilliance. This exceptional period in history has left a rich legacy of material culture that will form the focus of our final talk.
Chair of Ancient History and Persian Studies at the University of Cardiff and specialist in the history and culture of Iran, the ancient Near East and Greece. He has published widely on Iran, Greece and the history and cultures of the ancient world. Books include Creating a Hellenistic World, King and Court in Ancient Persia, The Culture of Animals in the Ancient World, The Hellenistic Court, Designs on the Past: How Hollywood Created the Ancient World and, in 2022, Persians: the Age of the Great Kings. His latest publication is Ancient Persia and the Book of Esther, Achaemenid Court Culture in the Hebrew Bible and his next publication is about the forgotten queens of Egypt. He has contributed to TV documentaries and BBC radio programmes and is a regular reviewer for The Times and Times Higher Education.
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A recording will be uploaded to a dedicated webpage approximately two hours after the live broadcast. For copyright reasons, these recordings cannot be made available indefinitely; access is granted for eight weeks after the final live broadcast of the series.