179 episodes

History and myth of the Cradle of Civilization, bronze age Mesopotamia, beginning with the dawn of writing. The show will cover the full history of Mesopotamia, from Gilgamesh to Nabonidas, a span of some 2500 years, with myths of heroes and gods, and tales of daily life peppered throughout. Sumer, Akkad, Old Babylon, Hittites, and Israel have all been covered in depth, current episodes get deep into the Assyrian Empire. New episodes every other Wednesday. Online at oldeststories.net.

Oldest Stories James Bleckley

    • History
    • 4.6 • 87 Ratings

History and myth of the Cradle of Civilization, bronze age Mesopotamia, beginning with the dawn of writing. The show will cover the full history of Mesopotamia, from Gilgamesh to Nabonidas, a span of some 2500 years, with myths of heroes and gods, and tales of daily life peppered throughout. Sumer, Akkad, Old Babylon, Hittites, and Israel have all been covered in depth, current episodes get deep into the Assyrian Empire. New episodes every other Wednesday. Online at oldeststories.net.

    OS 143 - Assurnasirpal Has Too Much Energy

    OS 143 - Assurnasirpal Has Too Much Energy

    Is Assurnasirpal II, king of Assyria, a relentless narcicisstic psychopath? Or is he a profoundly competant, ruthless tyrant? Can he be both, and does it really matter? Today we begin the first set of great conquest narratives of the Assyrian empire, unrivalled in their detail and shock value by any previous Mesopotamian king. We are deep into the Royal Inscriptions today, with a look at his listing of titles, and then a long tour as we see the Assyrian army really at work. There are a lot of place names today that aren't really that important, but we want to cover all of them because we really see how the empire grew from month to month in these many details.



    If you like the show, consider sharing with your friends, leaving a like, subscribing, or even supporting financially:



    Buy the Oldest Stories books: https://a.co/d/7Wn4jhS

    Donate here: https://oldeststories.net/

    or on patreon: https://patreon.com/JamesBleckley

    or on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCG2tPxnHNNvMd0VrInekaA/join




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    • 38 min
    OS 142 - The Assyrian Empire Takes Shape

    OS 142 - The Assyrian Empire Takes Shape

    King Tukulti-Ninurta II slows down the pace of conquest for a crucial decade. Conquest still happens, and at a breakneck pace, but compared to what we have seen and will see, it is much slower. More importantly, Tukulti-Ninurta spends a lot of his time focused on really establishing what has already been built, constructing more buildings, conducting diplomacy, building out the administration, and that sort of groundwork that will keep the empire stable and strong going forward. Also, Tukulti-Ninurta goes camping, and seems to have a great time doing it. Being an Assyrian king, his version of camping involves razing towns, but cheerfully razing towns rather than being all mean about it. Razing towns and raising spirits, if you like.



    If you like the show, consider sharing with your friends, leaving a like, subscribing, or even supporting financially:



    Buy the Oldest Stories books: https://a.co/d/7Wn4jhS

    Donate here: https://oldeststories.net/

    or on patreon: https://patreon.com/JamesBleckley

    or on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCG2tPxnHNNvMd0VrInekaA/join




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    Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/oldeststories/message

    • 39 min
    OS 141 - The Unintended Aramization of Assyria

    OS 141 - The Unintended Aramization of Assyria

    Today we see Adad-Nirari bring huge quantities of Arameans into the Assyrian empire. This will change the linguistic fabric of the entire near east in time, but as we will see, at the time it just seemed like a set of good decisions, or at least imperialistic decisions. We also discuss what it is to be an Assyrian, and why no one was overly concerned about the sort of ethnic conflicts that seem to dominate nowadays. The main feature today is the Temannu war, which spanned perhaps 6 to 8 years and shows Adad-Nirari's strategic flexibility, as well as the full range from brutality to generosity in victory.


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    • 42 min
    OS 140- The Dawning of a New Assyrian Empire

    OS 140- The Dawning of a New Assyrian Empire

    The king today is Adad-Nirari II, but we have a lot to discuss in the background as well. The Nairi get their spotlight right before they get destroyed, and we look at the dating system for the Neo-Assyrian period and why it is so reliable, compared to the earlier parts of ancient history. And we also ask what an Empire is and whether or not the Neo-Assyrian Empire counts as one, which it does. Adad-Nirari is a conquering king, and though we know little about the army at this point, we know it is doing quite well under his leadership.


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    • 38 min
    OS 139 - An Iron King for an Iron Age

    OS 139 - An Iron King for an Iron Age

    Today we talk about iron working, economics and climate change. Then we watch Assur-Dan II flay his enemies alive and hang their skins from the city wall. The doldrums of the Bronze Age Collapse are now officially over and a new age is rising - an age of iron and an age of empire. The most exciting and historically important period of Mesopotamian history begins now. Also, check out the spin off channel by searching Christ and Questions, or going here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/entirelyalive5/episodes/Gods-Theory-of-Government-e2h21t3 or seeing it on youtube here: https://youtube.com/@ChristandQuestions

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    • 48 min
    OS 138 - Erra and Ishum Threaten Destruction

    OS 138 - Erra and Ishum Threaten Destruction

    Most of our modern end of the world literature is set in the future, but the Babylonians, in the midst of a dark age, set their end of the world literature right in their own times, since for them it may have seemed like the world itself was ending. Erra, also called Nergal, wants to destroy a bunch of stuff because that is his nature. He tries protecting the universe, but gets frustrated with that, so he destroys the universe instead. Interestingly, this story may have become extremely popular in Babylonia because it predicted that Babylon would rise again, and in due course of the centuries is sure enough did, in fashion similar to that predicted in the text.


    I have books! About Ancient Mesopotamia! And more on the way! Check them out here!


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    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

nonickname13): downdbdyeb ,

Amazing podcast

Cheerful and witty podcast that introduces the history of bronze-age Mesopotamia and the Levant. The host balances comprehensibility and comprehensiveness, and has clearly poured hundreds of hours into researching the content matter. Others may complain that the host isn’t a credentialed Assyriologist and occasionally slips up. I invite the critics to convince someone in this tiny field to put in the massive amount of time necessary to generate a comparably well-written podcast. Until then, I’ll keep listening to this one with pleasure.

Elie Mac ,

Old Testament

This is a great Podcast if you love the Old Testament.

cloudland 111 ,

Great stories

Well presented, with wit. Not overly academic, but well researched,

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