posted on 05/12/22
These interactions, sometimes across thousands of miles, stimulated artistic enrichment throughout the centuries. This series focuses on the flowering of arts across boundaries from India to Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf to Europe. Precious objects including virtuoso metalwork and ivories, and expensive commodities discovered on shipwrecks, all reveal connections between the ancient cultures of Egypt, the Mediterranean and the Near East. In these days of international communications these talks look back to periods in antiquity when global exchange played a significant part in the development of art and culture.
They take place every Monday and Wednesday from 24th April to 10th May at 4.30pm (GMT +1) and, including Q&A, will probably last an hour. They are available for viewing for eight weeks after the last episode is streamed (5th July 2023).
Imperial expansion through warfare inevitably leads to cultural dominance in conquered territories. This talk explores how the pharaohs of the Egyptian New Kingdom stamped their identity on the lands they conquered in the Levant and Ethiopia. It also explores maritime trade in the New Kingdom era.
A rich archive of cuneiform correspondence attests to a lively trade between Assyria and Anatolia in the middle Bronze Age. Evidence for an Assyrian trade colony in central Anatolia and its use of textiles as a major trade unit is discussed in this talk.
From c.1200 to 700 BCE the Assyrians dominated the Near East. Economic and cultural exchange between Assyria and its vassal states is expressed in a variety of luxury items. Of particular importance are ivory carving and inlays found in Neo-Assyrian palaces, which we examine in detail here.
The Zagros mountains separate modern Iran and Iraq. Yet in antiquity the Zagros was a major area of cultural interaction, an important zone of contact between various Mesopotamian and Iranian peoples. This lecture looks at the material culture of this unique area of cultural and social exchange.
At all ages in its history Greece had cultural exchange with its eastern neighbours, but in the period c. 900-700 BCE the influence of Near Eastern civilisations on the arts of Greece were profound and deep set. This lecture explores this era – dubbed by archaeologists the ‘Orientalizing Period’.
The Persians ruled the biggest empire the ancient world had ever seen. This talk examines Persian court art, material culture and trade and looks at its spread east in Indian material culture. It also explores the trade in art and material culture of the Ashokan period.
Chair in Ancient History at Cardiff University and Director of the Ancient Iran Program for the British Institute of Persian Studies. He has spent extensive time in Iran, and is a specialist in the histories and cultures of ancient Iran, the Near East and the Classical World. He has often appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, in The Times and other media outlets. His books include Creating a Hellenistic World, Ctesias’ History of Persia: Tales of the Orient and Designs on the Past: How Hollywood Created the Ancient World. A new book, Persians, was published by Wildfire in 2022.
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