Mesopotamia: The Land Between Two Rivers

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Taught by Andrew Coletti

Andrew Coletti is an educator and lifelong history/mythology/fantasy nerd who has been known to throw ancient dinner parties just for fun. Besides cooking and teaching he loves traveling, writing, and keeping a variety of pets. Follow his recreations of ancient recipes on passtheflamingo.com, or @passtheflamingo on Instagram and Twitter.

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Mesopotamia, the “Land Between the Two Rivers” in present-day Iraq, is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization. The ancient peoples of this region developed the first cities and multicultural societies, invented writing and the wheel, and left behind incredible works of art and a rich and varied literature. Yet despite their amazing contributions to history, the Mesopotamians are often overlooked while the ancient societies of Greece, Rome and Egypt hog the spotlight. In this class, we’ll aim to rectify that a little.

Together, we will travel through almost three thousand years of ancient history, from the rise of the Sumerians around 3500 BCE to the fall of the mighty Assyrian Empire and the end of Mesopotamia’s global power. Along the way, we’ll navigate a strange and sometimes brutal landscape of conquest and conflict, trade and innovation, hanging gardens and treasure-filled tombs, studded with familiar names: Ishtar, Babylon, Gilgamesh, Nebuchadnezzar. And we’ll meet some individuals who changed the world, from the ex-cupbearer who forged the first empire and his daughter, the first known author, to the victor who picnicked beneath his enemy’s head and the princess who founded the first museum.

This cIass is a general introduction to Mesopotamia, featuring an overview of its history and culture. No previous knowledge of the subject matter is required!


 

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