If you enjoy Thin End of the Wedge, why not explore the wonderful world of the ancient Middle East a bit more? I’ve gathered some useful links to help you find quality content.
- Karen Radner’s Ancient Assyria: A Very Short Introduction is an excellent introduction to, er, ancient Assyria. In the same series, try Amanda Podany’s The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, or Trevor Bryce’s Babylonia: A Very Short Introduction.
- For an introduction to cuneiform, there’s Cuneiform by Irving Finkel and me. It won’t teach you how to read or write cuneiform, but it will help you explore the world of the scribes. There’s also a US printing (with a lovely cover), and a French translation, Le Cunéiforme.
There are other reliable sources of information about the ancient Middle East out there.
- The International Association for Assyriology: an international scholarly organisation. Their site contains links to many useful resources. You might like their regular newsletter Mar Shiprim (“the messenger”), which contains interviews with specialists and a look at projects, events and institutions around the world.
- Digital Hammurabi: digital channel run by Megan Lewis and Dr Josh Bowen. They offer a mix of their own knowledge and interviews with subject specialists. Available on YouTube and as a podcast.
- Fall of Civilizations: a researched podcast run by Paul Cooper. Episode 8 discusses the Sumerians.
- Digital Nomads: podcast hosted by Maggie Freeman. July 6th 2021 episode features Ellie Bennett on ‘The ‘Queens of the Arabs’ during the Neo-Assyrian Period’
- History Extra: podcast. 29th November 2020 episode features Zainab Bahrani on ‘‘Everything you wanted to know: Ancient Babylon’
- You’re Dead to Me: podcast hosted by Greg Jenner. Episode 22nd January 2021 features Moudhy Al-Rashid on ‘The Ancient Babylonians’
- The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago: YouTube channel with lots of excellent talks. You can find more online talks listed by the IAA here.
- The Nahrein Network has a podcast with relevant episodes, many by Iraqi experts.
- The British Institute for the Study of Iraq posts recordings of lectures.
Not all non-factual videos or news stories are misleading. This section lists some artistic works designed to educate and/or entertain. I love these.
- The Onion: this satirical “news” outlet regularly publishes stories based loosely on the ancient Middle East. They are intended to be funny, not educational.
- Ancient Mesopotamia song, by Mr Nicky: an educational song (and video), parodying “Crank That” by Soulja Boy. Mr Nicky is a professional who specialises in teaching school age children how to make such videos.
- The Mesopotamia Song, by Jam Campus: an educational song (and video), parodying the song “Disturbia” by Rihanna.
- If you like those, you might also enjoy the Hammurabis Codes of Law Song – Poker Face Parody by The Singing History Teachers.
- The Mesopotamians: a song by They Might Be Giants: not educational and not a parody, but intended to be fun. Even more loosely related to ancient Mesopotamia is Mesopotamia, by the B52s.
You can find some experts and organisations on social media platforms.