Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization

Uncover the undeniable legacy that the Mesopotamians left the world.
Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 80.
  • y_2021, m_6, d_14, h_18
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.17
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_3, tr_77
  • loc_en_CA, sid_3166, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getAggregateRating, 6.1ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was my first course on TGC+ and I absolutely loved it. I didn't find the visuals distracting, like some other critics here. I felt they added positively to the lectures. But the highlight for me was the professor. She's incredibly endearing. I loved the personal stories she told, and I love that TGC+ found someone with an absolute passion for the culture of the ancient Mesopotamians. I chose this as my first course because I, too, share her passion. She was able to ignite that passion even more within me. Thank you, Prof. Podany.
Date published: 2021-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This course and the Professor were excellent. Mesopotamia is fundamental to understanding the current culture. I would like a sequel to the course, but it was so beautifully covered there is not much left to say.
Date published: 2021-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fascinatingly new perspective on human nature The lecturer spoke clearly and at a good pace. The course content was delivered coherently, with each lecture focusing on a discrete time or place. The setting, videography, and graphic aids were stimulating enough to help follow along with the lecture. The guidebook was extensive in content and references, and written to be read, rather than spoken aloud. It could have been improved a bit if the annotations were presented along with the references at the end of each chapter. There are so many references; I had to look up each one on Google to see what it was about. This took more time than was necessary. There were a lot of ideas presented in this course. I came away with a new, much enriched, and fascinating understanding of the life of these people. My strongest criticism is similar to that of other courses on this platform, which is that a lot of the ideas presented seem more to be filler rather than points of much interest. I think a more compressed series of 12 lectures could have done the job more efficiently.
Date published: 2021-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I thought the course was excellent. I'm a bit of an ANE nerd anyway but I thought it was very well presented, Dr. Podany spoke very clearly, and was very easy to follow. There are some cinematics in the background but I, personally, did not find this to be a problem. Let me be clear, I am the poster child for easily distracted and short attention span. In some cases I found myself zoning out watching the cinematic but it only captivated my vision; I was still very able to focus on what was being said. I would love to actually take one of Dr. Podany's classes after hearing this.
Date published: 2021-05-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Audio should be adequate The presentation setting for this course mostly distracted from the content. Movements on the set should be supportive of the point the speaker is making but in this case it was frequently in competition for attention. I did appreciate the maps locating the "tribes" under discussion. They would make for better backdrops than some shelves of "items" never brought into the discussion. I’m sure each of us has a preferred style when information transfer is primarily verbal. My choice leans toward speakers who know how to distinguish between the “period sound”, the “question sound”, and the “excitement sound”. In this case, the sentence ending drop off style more appropriate to telling bedtime stories to children seemed overused to me. A little change in emotion would have enhanced emphasis of items of greater significance. There is lots of content covering a very long span of time. It didn’t seem to hinder getting into surprising detail of the “ruler” and “group life” descriptions. The cultural timeline display was nice and could have been another candidate for a longer visible backdrop. I guess the “occupation” evidence is not too plentiful with little to dwell on the “what” and “how” of the average peasant life. Also, the rules of war seem confusing. I would rate this course a do-over candidate but will add an extra star for volume of content. I don’t see the value of video over audio for this course. I’ll be looking for more course offerings focusing on this area between the great rivers. (without that horrible moving arrow computer toy.)
Date published: 2021-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cuneiform offers so much! The detail of what historians know based on writing in clay thousands of years ago is wondrous! I only wish the class was 45 minutes long and went deeper into the subject. Have purchased a couple of books based on the lectures so far.
Date published: 2021-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best Thoughtful, informative presentations. Works well with camera, presentations are transparent and without distractions.
Date published: 2021-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Years and years of knowledge condensed into wisdom
Date published: 2021-02-01
  • y_2021, m_6, d_14, h_18
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.17
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_3, tr_77
  • loc_en_CA, sid_3166, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 4.68ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT

Overview

Explore Mesopotamia, a civilization that flourished for more than 3,000 years. Mesopotamians built the first complex urban societies; developed writing, literature, and law; and united vast regions through warfare and diplomacy. However, much still remains to be discovered about this fascinating place. In Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization, you'll witness a whole new world opening before your eyes.

About

Amanda H. Podany
Amanda H. Podany

The contemporary world shares a great deal with the Mesopotamians. And this is because they created many institutions that still exist today.

INSTITUTION

California State Polytechnic University

Amanda H. Podany is a Professor of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she has taught since 1990. She earned her M.A. in the Archaeology of Ancient Western Asia from the University of London and her Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern History from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Professor Podany’s research specialties include the Hana kingdom in present-day Syria as well as legal practices and international relations in the ancient Near East. Currently she is working on a study of the relationships between kings and their subjects in the Late Bronze Age. In 2013, she received a research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her books include The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, The Land of Hana: Kings, Chronology, and Scribal Tradition, and the award-winning Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East. Her efforts in providing professional development for teachers have earned her a certificate of recognition from the California Department of Education.

By This Professor

Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization

Trailer

Uncovering Near Eastern Civilization

01: Uncovering Near Eastern Civilization

Although Egypt, Greece, and Rome may be better known to the public, in fact more written evidence survives from Mesopotamia, home to many of the great powers of the ancient world. As you embark on a journey through over 3,000 years of history, you will understand the ways we uncover ancient historical knowledge, and learn why Mesopotamia’s “rediscovery” is so valuable.

29 min
Natufian Villagers and Early Settlements

02: Natufian Villagers and Early Settlements

The spread of any technology tends to be slow. While today we may see the enormous value of plant and animal domestication, here you will discover the surprising theories about the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture and the challenges that farming presented. Also, gain valuable perspective on the cultural sophistication of pre-agrarian peoples.

28 min
Neolithic Farming, Trade, and Pottery

03: Neolithic Farming, Trade, and Pottery

Though travel was dangerous, people transported valuable goods, like obsidian for knife blades, across hundreds of miles, perhaps via chains of merchants. Plunge into everyday life in Neolithic Mesopotamia, where homes and villages reflect a simple, unstratified society, but evidence of intricate pottery shows that technology was advancing and people cared about aesthetics.

27 min
Eridu and Other Towns in the Ubaid Period

04: Eridu and Other Towns in the Ubaid Period

The Ubaid people constructed the earliest monumental buildings, standardized some measurements, and must have had some sort of formal leadership to care for and control their populations. See how the people of the Ubaid coordinated their efforts to develop irrigation systems, despite a lack of written language.

26 min
Uruk, the World’s Biggest City

05: Uruk, the World’s Biggest City

Witness the rise of urban civilization 5,500 years ago, a mere 200 generations before modern times. Discover how and why the first writing system developed and examine the earliest-known evidence of warfare.

27 min
Mesopotamia’s First Kings and the Military

06: Mesopotamia’s First Kings and the Military

Why did people accept the rule of monarchs? This lecture reveals the fascinating world of the first kings, including their numerous important duties—from conducting diplomacy to levying taxes—and explores how they believed that the gods supported and chose them.

27 min
Early Dynastic Workers and Worshipers

07: Early Dynastic Workers and Worshipers

In a period where the causes of disease and natural disasters were not widely known, gods were believed to be the cause of, and the solution to, instability in life. Learn how evidence found in tombs suggests a belief in the afterlife, and discover just how large a workforce was employed by the grand temples where the gods were believed to live.

28 min
Lugalzagesi of Umma and Sargon of Akkad

08: Lugalzagesi of Umma and Sargon of Akkad

Meet King Lugalzagesi who controlled several city-states in southern Mesopotamia. His much more powerful successor, Sargon, had a mysterious origin, but was able to build an empire and expand trade over a wider region than ever before.

29 min
Akkadian Empire Arts and Gods

09: Akkadian Empire Arts and Gods

The Akkadian Empire was a high point for artistic achievement in Mesopotamia. Depictions of humans were believed to possess some of the life force of the people they represented. Professor Podany shows how the many gods had differing roles and powers and were as much a part of everyday life as one’s family. Examine an emotional hymn by a priestess, who is the world’s first-known author.

27 min
The Fall of Akkad and Gudea of Lagash

10: The Fall of Akkad and Gudea of Lagash

Learn some of the theories behind the fall of the Akkadian Empire. Major kings during this time run the gamut from Naram-Sin, one of the few Mesopotamian kings who claimed to be a god, to Gudea, a pious and benevolent king who may have served as a model for later leaders.

28 min
Ur III Households, Accounts, and Ziggurats

11: Ur III Households, Accounts, and Ziggurats

Although rulers during this period attempted to create a “cult of the kings,” local leaders, merchants, and especially households performed essential roles in society. Cuneiform records reveal a remarkable level of organization, from taxes to diplomacy.

29 min
Migrants and Old Assyrian Merchants

12: Migrants and Old Assyrian Merchants

An influx of immigrants greatly enriched the Mesopotamian region, and we see other issues that have echoes in today’s world. This was a time of frequent warfare but also of increased literacy and private enterprise. Join merchants on their 800-mile caravans as they delivered tin and textiles in exchange for silver.

28 min
Royalty and Palace Intrigue at Mari

13: Royalty and Palace Intrigue at Mari

Here you’ll gain an intimate glimpse into the lives of royal families in the mid-second millennium BCE, from diplomatic marriages to extravagant gifts to family squabbles. Archival letters show us how royal women served as informants for their fathers, while sometimes dealing with abusive husbands.

29 min
War and Society in Hammurabi’s Time

14: War and Society in Hammurabi’s Time

Meet the mighty King Hammurabi, who ruled for an incredible 43 years. You’ll also discover how the family can be viewed as a microcosm for Mesopotamian society, with each member playing an important role. Delve into the daily lives of families and the laws (both official and unspoken) governing their behavior.

30 min
Justice in the Old Babylonian Period

15: Justice in the Old Babylonian Period

The Babylonians had a sophisticated legal system that emphasized evidence and truthfulness. Two trials provide an insider’s look into the workings of this system. Uncover what court records reveal about the types of crimes prosecuted, as well as the people’s most pressing concerns regarding family and finance.

27 min
The Hana Kingdom and Clues to a Dark Age

16: The Hana Kingdom and Clues to a Dark Age

The kingdom of Hana and an intriguing Kassite text provide clues to a mysterious dark age, which may have lasted for 100 years. Few records survive from this period, so Professor Podany illuminates historians’ detective work to fill in the gaps.

28 min
Princess Tadu-Hepa, Diplomacy, and Marriage

17: Princess Tadu-Hepa, Diplomacy, and Marriage

Discover how the kingdom of Mittani maintained a peaceful relationship with Egypt through the power of diplomacy. Letters between King Tushratta and the pharaoh demonstrate the roles of envoys in transporting letters and gifts over hundreds of miles, negotiating royal marriages, and defusing arguments.

28 min
Land Grants and Royal Favor in Mittani

18: Land Grants and Royal Favor in Mittani

In a world before mass media, learn how Mittanian kings maintained visibility and control across vast distances and large populations without much need for force. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the story of a gold statue reveals the decline of Mittani’s golden era.

28 min
The Late Bronze Age and the End of Peace

19: The Late Bronze Age and the End of Peace

This dramatic installment details the end of a period of peace and stability between great powers, as a result of possible natural disasters, attacks on cities, and movements of the mysterious Sea Peoples. The era that followed was one of smaller kingdoms that left few written records.

30 min
Assyria Ascending

20: Assyria Ascending

Learn about the grand state of Assyria with its huge palaces and iconic winged lion sculptures. The long and stable dynasty of Assyrian kings always longed to expand the boundaries of the empire, believing that their great god, Assur, had instructed them to do so. Their kings could be brutal in putting down rebellions, but they were also effective in administering the growing empire, and were even generous, like throwing a 10-day banquet for almost 70,000 people, for example.

29 min
Ashurbanipal’s Library and Gilgamesh

21: Ashurbanipal’s Library and Gilgamesh

Here, discover the intellectual King Ashurbanipal whose library is one of the first in recorded history. In it, find clay tablets recording omens from the gods, as well as the world’s oldest epic poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh.

28 min
Neo-Assyrian Empire, Warfare, and Collapse

22: Neo-Assyrian Empire, Warfare, and Collapse

Discover how the Assyrian empire was restructured by Tiglath-Pileser III, how the Assyrians struggled to keep Babylonia within their empire, and how they even attempted to conquer Egypt. Hear of the mysterious hanging gardens that sat magically on roofs. Bear witness to the fall of the Assyrian Empire at the hands of angry enemies, including the Babylonians.

30 min
Babylon and the New Year's Festival

23: Babylon and the New Year's Festival

Hear the glory of the Babylonian creation story involving Marduk and the evil goddess Tiamat. Through ancient records, relive the 12-day Akitu religious festival that involved priests, singers, artisans, musicians, and the king. You’ll also explore the ritual humiliation of the king at the heart of the festival.

28 min
End of the Neo-Babylonian Empire

24: End of the Neo-Babylonian Empire

Finally, arrive at the end of the independence of Mesopotamia with the conquest of the Neo-Babylonian empire by the forces of the powerful Persian king, Cyrus the Great. Witness religious changes that were taking place across the Near East. Mesopotamian culture gradually died out, but it left an incredible legacy.

32 min