Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ancient Empires before Alexander

It starts with the fall of Egypt, covers the Minoans, then goes on to Myceneans.
The Mycenians collapsed around the same time as many other empires. The "sea peoples" were part of the reason for the collapse of these empires. However, he postulates that excess "testosterone" in the age of heroes was also a big reason for the fall. They later ended up as "Philistines" - thus Goliath would have been the descendant of a veteran of Troy.

The knowledge and sources for different areas tend to very significantly. Some areas discussed, such as Israel, or based almost entirely on biblical accounts. Other areas (such as the Minoan civilization) are based almost entirely on archeology. The lecturer, however, does a good job of presenting a narrative, tieing together the available sources in to a coherent narrative. He does occasionally mention the source of the information. At times, however, I found myself wishing for more accurate details.

In this section, the Assyrians get most of the coverage for the millennium-long empire. He has some sympathy for the alleged brutality of the Assyrians (they were after all punishing disobedience to the gods, and were fair in the way they handed out penalties.) However, he also gives the brutality as one of the reasons for the eventual fall of the empire. After Assyria over-extended itself, the Babylonians were all too eager to give them everything they thought they deserved.

While the delivery often sounds as if it is poorly read from a script, the content is quite interesting and well organized.

No comments:

Post a Comment