New Podcast Series: The Ancient Near East

Published: 18th January 2024

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It is hard to underestimate the impact that the ancient Near East has had on the history of the world, and the lasting hold it has had on our imaginations.

From the birth of the written word, the wheel and the first city-states to the pyramids and the pharaohs, we find civilisations that transformed human life and experience, empires that would rise and fall, kings and queens that would define leadership for centuries to come.

When we look to the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria, many of the things we take for granted find some of their earliest formations: concepts of kingship, law, and empire, the origin of hero epics, poetry, parables, and religious tales that would echo on and inspire for thousands of years. Innovations in engineering and technology, mathematics and astronomy, art and architecture which influence the developments of the Persian, Greek and Roman worlds.

This was the age of Sargon, Enheduanna, Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Ramsses the Great.

But beyond grand ideas, beyond kings, queens, and empires, we find that it is their texts, their letters and writings that provide us with a window, and an unparalleled opportunity, to meet with real people, real families, and real lives, who speak to us from the distant past of their hopes, desires, fears, and joys, and remind us of our common humanity.

Whether you are a student, a teacher, or someone whose imagination is inspired by history, come with us on a journey and discover, or re-discover, the world of the ancient Near East.

New podcasts will be released from this series throughout 2024.

This series features: Professor Jacob Dahl, Dr Parsa Daneshmand, Dr Shadia Taha, Professor Emeritus John Baines, Dr Mark Weeden and Professor Eleanor Robson. 

  1. An Introduction to Early Mesopotamia (4000-2700 BC)
  2. An Introduction to Cuneiform
  3. Ancient Elam (3200-539BC)
  4. Ancient Egypt – The Old Kingdom (2700-2200 BC)
  5. Ancient Nubia and the Kushite Civilisations (2500BC-400AD)
  6. Ancient Punt – The Land of Punt (2500-980 BC)
  7. The Akkadian Empire (2334–2154 BC)
  8. The Third Dynasty of Ur (2112-2004 BC)
  9. Ancient Egypt - The Middle Kingdom (2181-1650)
  10. Ancient Babylon (1900-619 BC)
  11. The Old and Middle Assyrian period (2025-912 BC)
  12. The Hittites & the Hittite Empire (1650-1190 BC)
  13. Ancient Egypt – The New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC)
  14. Tutankhamun - (1341–1323 BC)
  15. The Neo-Assyrian Period (911-609 BC)
  16. The Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 BC) Chaldean Empire

Maps of the Ancient Near East 2600-600 BC

To enable you to see how the ancient Near East was transformed as civilisations, nations and empires rose and fell, we have put together the following film utilising maps created by Enyavar (you can access all of Enyavar's maps here).

The film aims to show how each of the nations and empires discussed in our podcast series relate to each other.

Can't see the video? Download it here