Friday, December 21, 2012

Episode 18 - The Three Pillars

In the west, Phoenician mastery of the Mediterranean was challenged by widespread Greek colonization.  Rome’s first kings established the boundaries and institutions of the early state.  In the Near East, Sennacherib was confronted with the return of a Chaldean usurper to the Babylonian throne.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Episode 17 - The Fall of Israel

“Then the King of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the King of Assyria took Samaria.” – II Kings 18:4

Toward the end of the 8th century BC, the Kushite priest-kings of Napata reunified Egypt under Nubian rule.  Sargon II continued to extend Assyrian domination over the Near East, even as Elamite armies bolstered Chaldean resistance in Babylonia.  And a desperate gambit by King Hoshea resulted in the destruction of the ancient state of Israel.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TAW and Mobile Devices

I know, I know, you were probably hoping I’d developed an app for the show or something (which would be awesome!), but no such luck.  A listener recently raised an issue that I realized might be more widespread, and I just wanted to get the word out.  If you’ve been accessing the website (www.ancientworldpodast.com) via a mobile device (as opposed to via a regular computer), there is a part of the web page you may not be seeing.  Specifically, there’s a right-hand column where I post links of images and maps (and, occasionally, photos I’ve taken) applicable to each episode, which can really be helpful in following the action and getting the flavor of some of the cultures.  This right-hand column also has links to TAW on Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, and Stitcher, as well as a list of References and Recommended Reading (at the bottom). 

To access this content from a mobile device, you will need to tell your device to “view web version.”  This may be much ado about nothing, but I want to make sure everyone has access to all the website materials so they get the fullest possible experience.

Thanks again for listening!

Scott C.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Episode 16 - The Assyrian

“And Pul, the King of Assyria, came against the land.” – II Kings, 15:19

In 745 BC, Tiglath-pileser III reformed the administrative and military structure of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and led the armies of Assur in a virtually-unbroken string of regional conquests.

Friday, October 26, 2012

So Here's What's Up

I wasn’t planning to take another extended break so soon, but, well, “man plans, god laughs” and all that.  First off, my wife and I have (surprisingly) just managed to purchase our very first house, and are devoting a fair amount of time to TCB-ing on all related fronts.  If it were only that, I might be able to power through.  BUT it also just so happens that our 5th wedding anniversary is coming up at the end of October, and we’ve decided to celebrate by taking a trip down to Mexico.  Mix in a few additional weeks of work travel, and it looks like it may be mid/late November before I’ll be able to get back into a regular groove again. 

If there’s any way I can pull together a new episode before that, I’ll certainly do so.  Otherwise, have a lovely month (or so), and I’ll be back with new episodes as soon as I can.  In the meantime, thanks again for listening, and please keep spreading the word!

Scott C.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Episode 15 - Holding Action

During the first half of the 8th century BC, Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria all struggled against the forces of entropy and decline.  In the absence of the Aramean threat, Israel and Judah resumed their perpetual struggle.  Urartu expanded its regional influence at the expense of a weakened Assyria.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Episode 14 - In the Midst of the Seas

“I received the tribute of the kings of the seacoast – namely, the lands of the peoples of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Mahallatu, Maizu, Kaizu, Amurru and the city of Arvad, which is in the midst of the seas – silver, gold, tin, bronze, a bronze vessel, multicolored linen garments, a large female monkey, a small female monkey, ebony, boxwood, and ivory of sea creatures.  They submitted to me.” – Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria

Under constant pressure from Assyria, Phoenician merchant fleets aggressively expanded their influence into Sardinia, North Africa and the Tartessian coast of southern Spain.  In the central Mediterranean, they bore witness to the cultural resurgence of Archaic Greece, and the growing power of the Etruscan kingdoms of Italy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Episode 13 - Civil War

“My brother Ashur-danin-apli, in the time of Shalmaneser, his father, acted wickedly, bringing about sedition, rebellion, and wicked plotting, caused the land to rise in revolt, prepared for war, brought the people of Assyria, north and south, to his side, and made bold speeches, brought the cities into the rebellion and set his face to begin strife and battle.” – Shamshi-Adad V of Assyria

Shalmaneser III’s campaigns brought unrivalled wealth and power to Assyria, but internal discord tore the empire apart toward the end of his long reign. Warfare, religious strife, and bloody usurpation continued to roil the volatile states of Syria and Caanan. Meanwhile, the new kingdom of Urartu began to challenge Assyria’s role as sole regional superpower.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Few Updates

Hi TAW listeners!

You may have noticed that I’ve passed the dozen episode mark and still have a few hundred years and a lot of history to cover before I reach 500 BC. In a nod to reality, I’ve changed the blog subtitle from “(around) a dozen” to “(around) twenty” podcasts. The fact that the series has grown since my original outline is definitely a good thing for me, since it means I’ve come across a lot of new and interesting information that I wanted to pass along while researching each culture and period. And if you’re a fan of the podcast, hopefully it’s a good thing for you too, since that means there will be more of the series to listen to!

I also wanted to mention that The Ancient World is now available on Stitcher SmartRadio. With Stitcher, you can listen to episodes on your iPhone, Android Phone, Kindle Fire and other devices. You can find Stitcher in your app store or at stitcher.com. The Ancient World Stitcher link is now included over on the right-hand side of this blog page (along with the Facebook, iTunes and Twitter links).

And lastly (for the moment), I wanted to mention that The Ancient World page on Facebook just got its 100th “Like.” That’s a fun milestone, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for making it happen. If you haven’t had the chance to check out The Ancient World Facebook page yet, it’s the forum I often use for more frequent and informal updates regarding both the podcast series and other related topics. Please feel free to come by for a visit.

Thanks again for listening, and please keep spreading the word!

Scott C.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Episode 12 - Legacies of East and West

The Olmec of Mesoamerica and the Chavin of Peru laid strong cultural foundations that would influence regional civilizations down through the first European encounters with the New World. The longest-lasting Chinese Dynasty, the Zhou, bore witness to eras of unity and conquest, the devolution of power to feudal lords, and the chaos of the Warring States Period.


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Results Are In!

First, let me say that you guys are awesome! Over a hundred of you voted in the Baddest Assyrian Ruler Name poll. For awhile it was a real (saddle-less, paired-rider) horse-race, but in the end the decision was clear. Without further ado, here are top three vote-getters:

Coming in at #3, Tukulti-ninurta!

Definitely one of my perennial favorites, the name itself fairly exudes brutality and malevolence. And that’s even BEFORE you realize that it translates to “My Trust is in (the Warrior God) Ninurta.” The first Assyrian ruler with this name conquered Babylon in the late 13th century BC, built a brand new city named after himself, and then got besieged and murdered in it – by his own sons! That is some serious cojones, and (one assumes) some seriously bad parenting. The second ruler with this name, whom we just covered last episode, spent his free time doing a little something called CONQUERING THE PERSIANS! OK, so the Persians were no great shakes in the early 9th century BC, but still – no one else could really make that claim until Alexander the Great around 600 years later. So take THAT Tiglath-pileser (who, incidentally, he just beat out by a few votes).

At #2, it’s Shalmaneser!*

Sinister is the adjective for this Assyrian ruler name. You know he’s Slytherin before he even gets close to the Sorting Hat. The name is also pronounced “Salmanu-asared,” and translates to “The God Salmanu is Pre-eminent.” Salmanu, by the way, is the Assyrian god of the underworld, fertility and war, which (a) nice grouping, and (b) I’m guessing you know which one Shalmenser’s favorite is. The first ruler with this name put the final nail in the Mitanni coffin when he took incorporated half of their kingdom into Greater Assyria back in the early 13th century BC. He also claimed to have blinded 14,400 prisoners in one eye, making him a definite trendsetter in the realm of Assyrian brutality. And if this wasn’t enough, he was also father of the above-mentioned Tukulti-ninurta I, so I’m guessing the brutal apple didn’t fall TOO far from the malicious tree. The second Assyrian king with this name ruled during the dark age of the late 11th century BC, and in the absence of information we’ll make the pretty safe assumption that he was also a very, very bad man. The third, whom we introduced last episode, is just getting started earning his name. With Shalmaneser, it looks like the third time just might be the charm!

And the winner is…Ashurbanipal!

It’s got Ashur right in the name, so you know it’s hard-core! PLUS only one Assyrian ruler had this name, making it unique. The name is also pronounced “Ashur-bani-apli,” and translates to “Ashur is Creator of an Heir.” Coming late in the Neo-Assyrian game, he will be the last strong ruler before (spoiler alert!) the empire finally falls. Sure, he had a penchant for collecting valuable and important historical documents, but he made up for this by ramping up Neo-Assyrian cruelty to truly over-the-top levels. An example? How about putting a dog chain through the jaw of a defeated king and then making him live in a dog kennel. It’s just that kind of outside-the-box savagery that earns Ashurbanipal the coveted top spot in our list of Baddest Assyrian Ruler Names of All Time!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

*Per contest rules, if the winner is unable to perform his duties with sufficient brutality, the #2 Ruler Name will take his place.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Episode 11 - The Rise of Assyria

“I slew 14,000 of their warriors with the sword. Like Adad, I rained destruction on them. I scattered their corpses far and wide, and covered the face of the desolate plain with their wide-spreading armies. With my weapons I made their blood to flow down the valleys of the land. The plain was too small for their bodies to fall; the wide countryside was used to bury them. With their corpses I spanned the Orontes as with a bridge.” - Shalmaneser III of Assyria

In the early centuries of the first millennium BC, Egypt, Babylonia and the Neo-Hittite states struggled to regain their footing, while Israel, Judah, Aram and Phoenicia continued jockeying for regional power. In 853 BC, the threat of Neo-Assyrian invasion compelled the disparate kingdoms to join forces at the Battle of Qarqar.


Friday, August 10, 2012

First Ever TAW User Poll*

The Kings of Assyria were a group of very bad men. Not “Shaft” bad - just really, truly bad. But they also had some pretty crazy-cool names. In this first-ever TAW user’s poll, I wanted to give you, the listener, the chance to lord over all of the rulers in Assyrian history (Old, Middle and Neo) and choose which one had the baddest (yes, this time, “Shaft” baddest) name of all time!**


(*and totally not a stalling tactic while I continue cranking on the next episode)
(**keep in mind: poll is super-scientific, and results are 100% binding)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Episode 10 - Picking Up The Pieces

At the dawn of the first millennium BC, the collapse of the great Near Eastern powers allowed the cultures of Caanan to flourish.  While the Phoenicians embarked on a bold new era of maritime expansion, the Hebrews and Arameans carved out new Iron Age kingdoms that would have a lasting impact on the region.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Message to Listeners

Hi!  Well, a little over a month has passed since I posted the last episode, and what a busy month it has been.  The longed-for tapering off I’ve been hoping for has yet to transpire, but I’m still working hard toward my self-imposed deadline of getting the next episode posted before the end of July.  Since I’ll be away the better part of next weekend, that puts a little extra pressure on me, but I still think I’ll be able to pull it off.  So keep your eyes out for Episode 10, “Picking Up the Pieces,” coming your way soon!
Also, my ongoing busy-ness is, unfortunately, making the weekly(-ish) podcast schedule untenable, so I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be dropping back to a bi-weekly schedule for at least the month of August, and possibly for the remainder of the podcast.  That’s the only way I feel I can give each episode the time and attention it deserves.  Trust me, you do not want to short shrift the Neo-Assyrians – they tend to take things very personally.
Thanks again for listening, and keep spreading the word!
Scott C.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Episode 9 - The Other 99 Percent

“Regarding what you wrote me before:  ‘Enemy ships were observed at sea!’  If it is true that ships were observed, reinforce yourself.  Where are your troops and chariots?  Are they not with you?  If not, who will deliver you from the enemy?  Surround your cities with walls and bring your troops and chariots into them.  Watch out for the enemy and reinforce yourself well!” – The King of Alashiya, writing to King Hammurabi of Ugarit
The Sea Peoples cut a swath of destruction from Greece to Egypt, while wars, internal conflicts and hostile desert tribes ravaged the civilizations of Mesopotamia.  It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel...like an extended break!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Episode 8 - Look Upon My Works

“…And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”  - Shelley, Ozymandius

The Kassites restored and preserved the ancient culture of Babylon while defending its frontiers against the growing Assyrian threat.  The conflict between Egypt and Hatti over control of Caanan culminated in the Battle of Kadesh.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Episode 7 - Between Lions and Men

“As there are no pacts of faith between lions and men,
nor do wolves and lambs have spirit in kind,…nor for us two
will there be oaths;…
Recollect your every skill.  Now the need is very great
to be a spearman and brave warrior.” – Achilles, the Iliad

The Mycenaean Greeks melded their warrior ethos with Minoan artistry to rule over an Aegean empire extending to the shores of ancient Troy.  The Aryans, distant relatives of the Mitanni, imported their Vedic culture into Northern India by chariot and sword.  Meanwhile, China’s Shang Dynasty, after ousting the corrupt Xia to build a mighty Bronze Age kingdom, saw the Mandate of Heaven pass to the Zhou.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Episode 6 - The New Kingdoms

After expelling the Hyksos, the rulers of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty led their New Kingdom in an unprecedented drive for territorial expansion.  In Syria and the Levant, they were forced to contend with powerful new states forged by the Hurrians and the Hittites.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Message to Listeners

First off, thanks for listening!  I really enjoy making this podcast, but it makes the effort all the more rewarding to see the subscription numbers slowly climb.  So if you know anyone else who might be interested in The Ancient World, please feel free to spread the word.  For those who don't know, the podcast is also up on iTunes, which makes it super-easy to subscribe.  You can also post a review there if you'd like.  If you have any other feedback, you’re welcome to post (or message me) at the Facebook contact link.  Either way, I’d love to hear from you!
Now a bit of logistics:  Remember April?  Ah, that was a lovely month, with every weekend free so I could get some traction getting this thing off the ground.  Unfortunately, such things never last.  The next few months have just enough work and personal travel to throw me off my weekly podcast schedule.  My plan is to get the next episode up on May 20, then hopefully post additional episodes on May 27 and June 3, which (again, I’m hoping) should take us up to the Bronze Age Collapse – you know, that period around 1,200 BC when the hand of fate picked up the regional etch-a-sketch and gave it a good, hard shake.   After that, I’ll probably be a few weeks before I’m able to post again.  But never fear, I am 110% committed to completing this project, so please stay subscribed and await further updates.
On the brighter side (for those of you who enjoy this podcast):  I don’t think 12 episodes are quite going to do it.  As I proceed through this effort, I’m finding that my nice, tidy 12-episode outline is slowly expanding and re-shuffling as I come across more new information I want to include and different ways I want to approach the material.  So, 12 will probably become more like 15 by the time things are done.  But I’m happy to keep making them as long as you keep listening!
Thanks again for supporting the podcast, I really appreciate it!
Scott C.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Episode 5 - Blind-sided

“I was asleep upon my bed, having become weary…like a snake of the necropolis. As I came to, I awoke to fighting, and found that it was an attack of the bodyguard. If I had quickly taken weapons in my hand, I would have made the wretches retreat with a charge! But there is none mighty in the night, none who can fight alone.” – Amenemhet I

In the turbulent period between 2,000 and 1,500 BC, Egyptian rulers were not the only ones caught off guard. After rising to new heights, Minoan Crete, Hammurabi’s Babylon and Middle Kingdom Egypt all fell victim to disaster and foreign invasion.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Episode 4 - The Pyramid Builders

“From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

The power of Egypt’s Old Kingdom rulers was reflected in their awe-inspiring monuments.  The Harappan civilization of the Indus River valley traded across Central Asia, the Near East, and beyond.   In the Far East, Great Yu controlled the waters and founded the first Chinese dynasty, the Xia.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Episode 3 – “Wherever I Went, Let Him Go!”

“Now any king who wants to call himself my equal, wherever I went, let him go!”  - Sargon the Great

In 2,334 BC, Sargon of Akkad forged the world’s first empire and created a legend that would inspire Near Eastern rulers for millennia.   The Third Dynasty of Ur built its smaller but more centralized structure on Akkadian foundations.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Episode 2 - Circles and Labyrinths

Contemporary with early Sumer and Egypt, the Norte Chico thrived along the Peruvian coast, while the Neolithic Britons built their mysterious stone circles. The first European civilization, the Minoans of ancient Crete, exerted a strong cultural influence over the eastern Mediterranean.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Episode 1 - "Climb the Stone Staircase"

"more ancient than the mind can imagine" - The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Sumerians of Mesopotamia, the Elamites of the Persian plateau, and the Egyptians of the Nile River valley were among the first civilizations to emerge in the ancient world.