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Showing posts from May, 2020

Episode 34 - Amorite 3 Age of Chaos

It is time to shake things up as the line of peaceful merchant kings of Isin comes to an end thanks to two strong men, firstly Gungunum of Larsa and then Ur-Ninurta of Nippur and his revival of Sumerian Kingship. A lot of other players will start popping their head up as well, beginning properly our age of chaos.

Episode 33 - Amorite 2 A Time of Ritual and Law

This week we look at the somewhat obscure 1900's BCE in Isin, where details will be thin on the ground, but that will just give us more time to focus on the Law code of Lipit-Ishtar and the annual ritual of the sacred marriage between Ishtar and the king. Ishtar, or Inanna's sacred marriage to the kings of Mesopotamia was a major religious rite, and Lipit-Ishtar's law code, especially in comparison with the contemporanious law code of Eshnnuna, tell us a great deal about the daily life and values of the middle bronze age. I haven't really mentioned the chronological difficulties in dating all these events lately. In addition to the usual amount of uncertainty that surrounds really obscure events from four thousand years ago, there is the added bonus of having multiple dating schemes to work around. You see, historians date all these events by determining the dates of specific key points in history, usually based around astronomical observations, then by counting yea

Episode 32 - Amorite 1 Lay of the Land

Today we resume our history with the massive political upheaval which accompanied the collapse of the Ur III dynasty. We are entering a terribly complex period of history, and this episode we are going to do a quick survey of all the major powers of the region circa 2000 BCE. We will be looking at the Amorite kingdoms of Isin, Larsa, Mari, Ebla, and Qatna, the free Akkadian kingdom of Assyria, some of the minor cities of the period, and a brief look at the very fringes of Mesopotamia as far away as India and Egypt. So, after this episode went live, I was in fact persuaded to start a facebook page, which you can find by searching Oldest Stories in facebook if you would be interested in liking or sharing this show. Today's show is a bit of an info dump, but I want to have a point of reference for getting started, even though the fact is that while quite a lot starts in 2000 BCE, we don't actually know much about what is going on. As I go through all these places in future ep

Episode 31 - Wisdom 3 First Men

The legends of Adapa, Enmeduranki, and Etana are the tales of three very early kings, though tales that don't seem to come around until the middle bronze age, and they are in a sense creation myths but most importantly they are moral stories in the broader genre of wisdom literature. They show us how the earth and heaven is ordered in the Mesopotamian world view, and they show us what is good and evil in a person's behavior, though it also seems to show us that sometimes evil doesn't really get punished all that much, if the evil person happens to be useful. Enmeduranki story: