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Ancient Mesopotamia

Life in the Cradle of Civilization
Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: History, World
4.8 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

Non-member price: $48.69

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Publisher's Summary

When we imagine what life might have been like thousands of years in the past, the images we often conjure are primitive ones: reed and mud huts or plain brick dwellings, cooking pits, villagers, and simple farms. That was indeed what life was like in the earliest settlements, but by 5,000 years ago, life in some places had become much more sophisticated than we might think. Impressive achievements - like stepped temples that towered like mountains, elaborate palaces (some with bathrooms and plumbing), and complex houses - were also a part of life for people who lived in cities that arose thousands of years ago, particularly in the fertile region that emerged along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Welcome to Mesopotamia, the ancient name for the region that is now Iraq, a remarkably advanced civilization that flourished for two-thirds of the time that civilization has existed on Earth. Mesopotamians mastered irrigation agriculture; built the first complex urban societies; developed writing, literature, and law; and united vast regions through warfare and diplomacy. While civilizations like Greece and Rome have an unbroken tradition of written histories, the rich history of Mesopotamia has only been recently rediscovered, thanks to the decipherment of Mesopotamia's cuneiform writing less than 200 years ago. In this 24-lecture course taught by Professor Podany, you'll fill in the blanks of your historical understanding as you witness a whole new world opening before your eyes.

Riveting stories about kings and priestesses as well as ordinary people from all walks of life transport you back in time, giving you invaluable insights into the history of a landmark region that has long been known as the cradle of civilization.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio. 

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Ancient Mesopotamia

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Stunning

By far the best audio book on Mesopotamian history. This audio book deserves to be highly praised. Excellent historian, beautifully narrated, puts you in the shoes of ancient Mesopotamians. I highly recommend it and will listen to it again right now :)

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It is good but a bit of a re-hash. And mis-named.

This somewhat negative review is probably my fault because I was expecting some new information on Mesopotamian lifestyles. Sadly (for me) it didn't reflect the lifestyles of those 5K BCE people but rather became a recitation of already well known history of the elete. I was hoping for a 'What the workers ate, how they slept, where they shit, how did they deal with teenager daughters". If you espouse 'Life in the' ....' you should deal with the life of the locals. It is a bit like stating a series of "Life in the USA 2020" and concentrating of the life style of Donald Trump. It is not a bad ancient history series of lectures but miss-named. Mark freeman.

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  • Happy Shopper
  • 04-08-2018

Excellent - I've learnt so much

This is a brilliant set of lectures, I feel like my time has been very well spent and I now am eager to learn more about ancient Mesopotamia, a time I knew nothing about. I'm a historian but lecture on 19th century British history so this was several millennia out of my comfort zone, but have enjoyed it so much I'm planning to listen again and read around the subject.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-01-2019

Sparkling overview of a fascinating era

This is a great course. Prof Podany is a brilliant lecturer who really brings to life a period that is very poorly taught (if at all) in general education despite being the literal cradle of civilisation. A civilised world before the Egyptians, before the Greeks and Romans, it is replete with brilliant characters, jaw-dropping cultural development and astonishing clarity of documentation. I found myself googling throughout to follow-up. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Tierney
  • 15-03-2019

really enjoyed

really enjoyed it made history interesting and opens up a window into the past that opens up a vista to the present.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Roy foley
  • 19-01-2019

another great look into the past.

the great courses content is always informative and easy to listen to, much better than some others I've tried.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Josie G.
  • 07-08-2020

Informative, but Boring

This was very informative, but I struggled with it a bit. The lecturer clearly knows her stuff, but I couldn't help but think that she was reading directly from her notes. Because of this, I had wanted to quit this course quite a few times. I am sure it does not help that I am listening to this course just after the Ancient Egypt lecture series. The lecturer for that series is a lot more passionate, and clearly was not reading from notes.

1 person found this helpful

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  • iain ramponi
  • 08-06-2020

Entertaining History

I really enjoyed this well read and interesting book, it reinvigorated my interest in this period of history.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ramya Kirtisinghe
  • 26-05-2020

immersive

Enjoyed every minute of this lecture. Easy to absorb and very interesting. Definitely would recommend.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-2020

very good

a very good course, well delivered by the author, who was not just well informed about her subject, but passed on her enthusiasm as well as the facts. interesting information about the archeological history as well as general overview of the history of the region. thoroughly enjoyed and recommend.

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  • KK
  • 21-08-2020

Excellent

A really excellent introduction to a civilization I knew almost nothing about (I once read "Gilgamesh The King" to my children). The professor introduces us to this fascinating civilization from begining to end, in the scholarly, yet no less entertaining, style typical of The Great Courses, which I relish. Her enthusiasm and expertise shines through. Historical knowledge, and a compelling narrative, achieved with none of the "fluff" you find in many other media. I'd recommend this to anyone with a general interest, like myself. The discussion in the earlier lectures, about the beginnings of agriculture was the most convincing I have heard. (I had vaguely wondered about why anyone would do such a thing!)

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  • hadis
  • 30-05-2020

Highly recommended!

At first, I was really sceptical of learning anything from an audiobook in this format, i.e. lectures. I thought the course would be as boring as listening to the podcast of a lecturer teaching in a classroom. But I was wrong! This course was really engaging. Both the content and the lecturer were amazing. The lectures corrected many misconceptions I had about Mesopotamia.