show episodes
 
This show is focused on the 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. New episodes every Wednesday. Online at oldeststories.net.
 
The purpose of this podcast is to provide the larger context to the situation in the Middle East. The history will be provided through audio recordings of my late father, Dr. David Neiman –an expert on the history of the ancient near east and the relationship between the Church and the Jews. He based his theses on historical records, linguistics and a deep understanding of the Bible and its origins.
 
This first season of The Human History Podcast brings us back to the ancients: those earliest civilizations which are responsible for the shape of the world as it is today as much as anything that's happened since. We travel back through time and around the globe as we explore peoples from the Sumerians to the Mayans to the Indus Valley and more. This trip through ancient history is hosted by James Baldwin, who's primary interest is in history, economics, and politics. James is neither a his ...
 
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Nathan Beckord is the CEO of Foundersuite.com and VentureArchetypes.com. On the consulting and advisory side, he mainly works with early stage internet, B2B software, mobile, and consumer product startups. He is also interested in platforms, markets, and networks. Nathan has worked with several crowdfunding companies, such as Kickstarter and Appbac…
 
Today we are talking all about the sort of industry that would have occupied most of the attention of most of the people of the ancient world. That is to say, beer making. But to talk about beer, you have to start with grain, and to talk about grain you have to start with a farmer. So today we will look deep into the life of a generic farmer, we wi…
 
Perhaps the defining material of ancient Mesopotamia was dirt. Buildings were made by mud brick, and those buildings were filled by clay pottery of all sorts. Today we are going to look at the people who made these things and how they made them. It will necessarily be a bit of a summary, sort of taking the whole region and period in generic form, s…
 
Sam Lessin - General Partner at Slow Ventures. He has co-founded two companies, Fin and Drop.io (acquired by Facebook in 2010). Between 2010 and 2014 Sam was a VP of product management at Facebook, where he managed the People, Places, and Things product group and the Identity product group. Sam started his career at Bain and Company and attended Ha…
 
Jenny Feilding, General Partner at The Fund, Adjunct professor at Columbia, and entrepreneur joins us on the Road Untraveled this week. Jenny is a pre-seed investor and mentor to hundreds of founders around the world. She is a 2x entrepreneur herself and knows how challenging it is to build great products, inspire a team and keep the lights on. She…
 
Hunter Walk, Co-founder and Partner at Homebrew. Homebrew is a seed-stage venture firm with investments like Chime, Plaid, Gusto, and many more. Prior to Homebrew, Hunter received his BA from Vasser and MBA from Stanford and then spent time at Youtube as a director of product management. Episode Highlights: Lessons learned at Google and Youtube as …
 
Today we conclude the Baal cycle with the epic final confrontation between Baal Hadad, rightful lord of the Canaanite heavens, and Mot, the deity whose name literally means Death. How can a god fight against death itself? What were the Canaanites smoking when they came up with these stories? What are the theological implications of death facing the…
 
If anyone is on Tiktok, there is a new oldeststories channel over there where I am posting facts each day. If you are on tiktok go check it out. Today we continue the greatest epic of Canaan, the Baal Cycle, with the Feast of Baal. It is easy to think of this perplexing series of feasting and random, pointless dialogue as an interlude between the t…
 
Key Take-Aways Ben Black - Founder and CEO of Akkadian Ventures: 1. "Venture capital requires a level of trust that is unlike any other business because you find out your failures first before you figure out your wins. And if you want to press personal relationships and really put a lot of pressure on them, deal with failure together." 2. Tune out …
 
Valentine's Day Special. This is a bunch of love poetry from the Mesopotamian bronze age, as well as some magical love spells. Translation by Benjamin R Foster in his book "Before the Muses". Some of the original text is damaged, and I have gone in and filled the missing bits with what seems appropriate to make it flow better in audio format. This …
 
Today we begin perhaps the most significant of the surviving myths from Canaan, the Baal cycle. In the Baal cycle, we look at Ba'al Hadad, the mighty storm god, as he battles various foes in a great contest over the kingship of heaven. It is a subject we have seen before, but of course the Canaanites do things a bit differently than their neighbors…
 
I had an insightful conversation with David Fialkow, Co-founder and Managing Director of General Catalyst, a venture capital firm that partners with founders from seed to growth stage to build companies that withstand the test of time. Key Take-Aways From This Episode: 1. David speaks about the importance of connection and the value of working with…
 
On today's episode, I am joined by Barry Eggers, Founding Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Episode Key Takeaways: Barry shares with us his 20+ year journey from a new venture firm in the early 2000s to the global powerhouse that is Lightspeed today. We get Barrys take on the state of venture and his position on acknowledging and preparing fo…
 
Daniel, sometimes called Danel, depending on your translation, is a figure of great wisdom who even gets name dropped in the bible. In this, the main story we have from him, we will see very little of that wisdom on display, as a series of events will occur with very little narrative motivation that will witness a lady grow jealous for no clear rea…
 
The Legend of Kirta, called Keret in some translations, can be a bit hard to understand, especially for a modern audience used to things like the three act structure and protagonists who fit neatly into any sort of moral categories at all. This is the first of our stories from Ugarit, and we are starting with one that we don't even know if it is me…
 
The final century of the Canaanite city of Ugarit is by far the most well documented, and sheds light not only on how things were going in the city, but also on what other Canaanite cities likely looked like. We also get a novel and interesting perspective on how the great powers of the late bronze age looked to their many tiny vassals as the bronz…
 
The Canaan history series continues as we finally look at the city of Ugarit, its rise and significance both in Northern Canaan and in archeology. Ugarit is really fascinating, sitting at the edge of multiple great empires, from the obscure Eblaite empire to the Egyptian, Mitannit and Hittite empires. It is a great window on the Canaanite region an…
 
Our mini series on Canaan continues, as we transition into the period we know most about, the late bronze age. Here, our sources multiply, and we get to dig into the remarkable and extensive Amarna archives, which contain hundreds of letters from the rulers of Canaanite cities to the Pharaoh on a variety of topics. We will look at the history of th…
 
The Oldest Stories Hiatus continues, but I a still inspired to push out some episodes when I get a chance. This is the beginning of a mini series on another culture group that got largely missed in Season 1, the lands of Canaan, or Phoenicia, or the Levant, or any of the other names that are attached to the land. Ultimately, I want to make sure tha…
 
This week we take a look at who the Elamites were at home, or at least how they were up in heavens. The Elamites gods are a tough subject to get deep into, but today we take a look at who the Elamites worshipped, the gods both native and foreign that shaped the moral and cultural life of Elam. This is a guest episode of the Oldest Stories hiatus, b…
 
Elam did not occupy Sumer after conquering Ur and imprisoning King Ibbi-Sin. Instead, the Kings of Shimashki consolidated power in Elamite territory and carried on relationships with the independent cities of Mesopotamia. This began to change when King Ebarti II appointed his son, Shilhahah, to a new high office in command of Susa: The Sukkalmah. S…
 
In the last years of the Akkadian Empire, Elam managed to seize its independence. The first fully independent King of Elam was Puzur-Inshushinak, who went on to rule Elam’s first real empire. He ruled from the Dasht-e Lut and the Persian Gulf to the Zagros Mountains and the Euphrates, taking advantage of the chaotic politics of Gutian Mesopotamia. …
 
The Sumerians did not develop writing and urbanization in a vacuum. To their east, the land of Elam developed both at almost the exact same time. From the start of written history, the great cities and kingdoms of Elam were power players in Near Eastern politics. The premier Elamite cities of Anshan and Susa appear in the earliest Mesopotamian myth…
 
In 1200 BCE, the Hittite Empire fell, its capitol of Hattusa was abandoned and its final king, Suppuliliuma II, was probably dead. The circumstances leading up to that fall, and the reign of Tudhaliya IV, the final significant Hittite king, are as much a roller coaster of ups, downs, and gaps in the historical record as the whole of Hittite history…
 
Western Anatolia is the biggest player in the fall of the Hittite Empire, and those movements begin now, with the later years of Hattusili III. Additionally, the chronic instability that used to afflict the Hittite monarchy on a regular basis returns with a vengeance, as memories of Hattusili's violent rise to the throne resurface as the Great King…
 
This week the Hittite empire hits its high point, as we look at Hattusili III and Ramesses II's so-called Eternal Treaty, the peace treaty which would help define the climate of the bronze age collapse. Additionally, we look at the various other peace deals that Hattusili is able to secure with his vassals, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians. Final…
 
The Battle of Kadesh may be over, but the drama of the Hittite Empire's final century is only just beginning. Muwatalli's final few years give way to the rise of his son, Urhi-Tessub, also called Mursili III, but the young man's unstable regime will face a hefty challenge when his uncle, the man that Muwatalli had granted so much power in the north…
 
Today we have pop culture references! We are going to look briefly at Tiamat, who shows up in some Dungeons and Dragons stuff, and then we are going to look at the god Nergal, who is a popular god in the Warhammer franchise under the name Nurgle, briefly comparing the Mesopotamian god with his fictional counterpart. Then, the meat of the episode wi…
 
Tukulti-Ninurta may have brought the Middle Assyrian empire to its territorial height, but the interal political issues he creates along the way will pull down his rule. After that, Assyria will be mired in a chain of kingly assassinations while the world seems to collapse around them in the Bronze Age Collapse. Meanwhile, Babylon will shake off th…
 
In Babylon, King Kashtiliash IV has a problem. His kingdom is in decline. And so he takes bold actions to shake up the Mesopotamian order, but ends up shaking far harder than he could have ever imagined. Meanwhile, Tukulti-Ninurta takes power in Assyria and spends his early years asserting dominance against the Hittites and Babylonians, but he will…
 
Jean-Pierre Adechi, Founder & CEO, Wheeli Key Takeaways 1. The system isn't merit based- build relationships and a network that can help you build trust in the communities that will allow you to access the resources you need to succeed 2. Lean on advisors and people from the community to better identify folks who want to help you navigate the syste…
 
Today we watch the decline of Kassite Babylon, from which distressingly little survives. We look at the prosperity they have achieved, and the ultimate hollowness of its economic foundations, before the long standing rivalry between Assur and Babylon re-ignites with disastrous consequences for the ancient city of Marduk. --- Send in a voice message…
 
Today we will take a journey through the cultural achievements of Kassite Babylon, which are beginning to reach their famous heights at the cultural intersection of what we would today call science and magic, though of course for the ancients these were one and the same. This will include a look at the remarkably well documented life of Raba-sa-Mar…
 
Finally, the city of Assur wakes up and shakes off the dust of its centuries long obscurity, rising from minor Mitanni vassal to major world player in a single generation, thanks to the personal skill of king Assur-Uballit I. This is an episode of glorious conquest, and also one where we get to take a look at the bitter personal costs of those conq…
 
Huge apologies for the whistling. That is my internal cue to edit that part. and something seems to have happened where the edits reverted or didn't save right. I have fixed that here and on youtube, and if you notice any more editing issues, please please please let me know which episode you hear it on, so I can fix it. Thank you so much to the li…
 
This episode is a good place for new listeners to start if you are interested in the final years of the bronze age and the lead up to the bronze age collapse. Everyone is excited for the buildup to the great battle of Kadesh, but before we get to the battle itself, there is quite a lot going on in the reign of King Muwatalli that often gets oversha…
 
While he can easily be overshadowed by the military accomplishments of his father Suppiluliuma and his son Muwatalli II, Mursili II is one of the most significant kings in Hittite History, and one of the most well documented. Unlike most kings, for whom we have pretty much just state records, we have personal details of Mursili's life and reign, te…
 
We have a bit of a hodge podge here as we finish up the reign of Suppiluliuma and move into his successors, Arnuwanda II and Mursili II. But there is a common thread of vengeance woven throughout. We will see the level of violence rise, both in terms of more combat which has been recorded and in the brutality that gets pulled out to deal with the d…
 
In the aftermath of one of the greatest campaigns of the bronze age, Suppiluliuma's Hittites need to consolidate control over Syria. This is complicated by matters of Egyptian and Mitanni politics, as well as the endless politicking of the tiny Syrian states, but it turns out if you have a massive army and a military genius, than many political pro…
 
Today we will start the great and storied reign of Hittite Great King Suppiluliuma I and his campaigns against the Mitanni. However, because this happens to be the age of Amarna, we are in the unusual position that his opponent in Mitanni is not a faceless non-entity. There is a fair bit we can say about the Mitanni king Tushratta, and so before we…
 
Today the Hittite Empire will fall, pretty much completely, and be replaced by the western Anatolian state of Arzawa. We have seen the Hittites beaten pretty badly before, and this is about as bad at it has ever gotten, with even the capitol Hattusa sacked and burned to the ground. But no matter how hard the Hittites get hit this episode, they have…
 
Magic, science, and medicine are our topic today, focusing primarily one the good number of documents on these topics which survive from the Middle Hittite period. We are going to learn how to cure diseases like impotence and argumentativeness, and we are going to learn which animals are and are not ok to have sexual relations with. The rituals we …
 
Charles Hudson is Founder and Managing Partner at Precursor Ventures Key Takeaways: 1. Volume matters- do you get to meet enough companies in a year. They meet 3-4k companies and make 30 investments. You can't identify high quality founders if you don't see enough of them. 2. Some investors are great product people, some are good at market structur…
 
Things are tough for the Hittite Empire. The vassals who promise to be loyal keep being disloyal, the enemies who promise to attack keep attacking, and we can't even know for certain what the logistical situation looked like, though it was surely quite grim, given the number of folks who appear unwilling to show up to work when called on. That said…
 
We return to Anatolia, where our tale remains just as poorly documented and fast moving as it is in Babylon, thought there is light at the end of the tunnel this week as we finally get into the transition to the Hittite New Kingdom, with all the renewed conquest and court drama that entails. Actually, so little happens in the Hittite Middle Kingdom…
 
The Amarna letters are famous because nowhere else in bronze age history do we have a cache of documents quite like it. Thirteen letters from Kadashman-Enlil, and later his son Burna-Buriash, addressed to Pharoah Akhenaten of Egypt, give us insights into the nuts and bolts of bronze age international diplomacy that even most bronze age folks would …
 
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