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Oldest Stories

143 EpisodesProduced by James BleckleyWebsite

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 … read more

143 Episodes | 2019 - 2023

OS 112 - Israel's Conquest and Integration in Canaan

March 15th, 2023


When did Joshua conquer Canaan for Israel? Did Joshua even exist, as described in the Book of Joshua? We continue our march through the Old Testament as the people of Israel march through Canaan. We spend some good time …

OS 111 - Israel's Wandering and Settlement

March 1st, 2023


What does it mean that the people of Israel are the biggest whiners in recorded history? It may mean that a lot of the people were not actually on …

OS 110 - Israel and the Hebrews

February 15th, 2023


Today we obsess over the word Hebrew and go deep into what it means, who was and was not a Hebrew, whether it was a social or ethnic designation, …

OS 109 - Israel's Numbers Problem

February 1st, 2023


Today we look at possibly the oldest section of the entire Bible, Exodus chapter 15, the Song of Moses, as well as the issues with the census listed …

OS 108 - Israel's Formation and the Historical Exodus

January 18th, 2023


We begin our big series on the historicity of the bible with Genesis. Unfortunately, nearly the entire book is beyond the purview of history, for reasons we will discuss. But with the tale of the Exodus, we have a …

OS 107 - The Bible as History and Skeptical Views

January 4th, 2023


Here it is, the part of ancient Near Eastern history that excites the most passion and interest. There is no doubt that there were kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and there is no doubt that after they were conquered by …

OS 106 - The Fate of Anatolia

December 21st, 2022


After the Hittite Empire fell during the bronze age collapse, Anatolia became a Mad Max style wasteland with tribes crossing the hills and fighting …

OS 105 - Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad

December 7th, 2022


Animals in ancient Mesopotamia. From sheep, goats, horses, and other domesticated animals to wild beasts like lions, elephants, insects, birds and fish, the ancient world was surrounded by animals. But in our history we …

OS 104 - Arameans Everywhere

November 23rd, 2022


Today we look at pretty much everything we know about the Mesopotamian dark age following the bronze age collapse, and manage to cover about 120 …

OS 103 - The Babylonian Aristotle, Esagil-Kin-Apli

November 9th, 2022


Today we are going to look at the reign of Adad-Apla-Iddina, the fact that he was hit by some brutal Aramean invasions and that he built a ton of …

OS 102 - A Bit More Tiglath-Pileser

October 26th, 2022


This week, Tiglath-Pileser is going to kill more people, just like last week. But now he is going to branch out into killing animals, too! But when he pauses to catch his breath between killing, he is also going to …

OS 101 - A Short Assyrian Burst of Activity

October 12th, 2022


Today we see Assur rise mightily with Tiglath-Pileser I, and we see the seeds of another century of decline sown in the climate change that drives the Aramean invasions. Meanwhile, Babylon has to deal with the same set …

OS 100 - The Babylonian Theodicy

September 28th, 2022


For a Babylonian polytheist, the gods are worshipped with the explicit expectation that divine veneration will avert bad fortune and attract good …

OS 99 - The Legend of Nebuchadnezzar

September 14th, 2022


Nabu-Kudurri-Usur, the first Nebuchadnezzar, rescued the statue of Marduk from Elam after a grueling adventure beset by intense heat, low supplies, …

OS 98 - Nabu-Kudurri-Usur

August 31st, 2022


In Babylon rules Nebuchadnezzar the first. He isn't the Nebuchadnezzar that we remember today, but he was certainly the more famous king of that name …

OS 97 - Ashur-Dan and the Isin Dynasty

August 17th, 2022


Welcome to the iron age. Though the international system of the late bronze age has collapsed under the weight of countless invaders, the Babylonians …

An Overview of Bronze Age Mesopotamia

August 3rd, 2022


This is a summary of the bronze age in ancient Mesopotamia, covering the years about 3000 BCE to 1200 BCE. This is a review of about 119 episodes of …

Industry 5 - The Bronze of the Age

July 20th, 2022


Today we have a history of metals, mining and metalworking in the bronze age near east. The story telling style of the last few industrial episodes didn't really work out here, so it is more of a bird's eye overview. We …

Industry 4.5 - Last Century's Fashions (pt 2 of 2)

July 6th, 2022


This is part 2 of our look at clothing and how it was manufactured in the bronze age near east. If you haven't yet listened to part 1, The Fabric of Civilization, I recommend that you check out that episode first. In …

Industry 4 - The Fabric of Civilization (pt 1 of 2)

June 29th, 2022


Clothing is foundational to civilization. In the bible, it is humanity's first invention. In Mesopotamian philosophy, it is the thing which separates humans from animals. But as we will see today, even the simplest of …

Shamash, the Sun

June 15th, 2022


Nowadays we tend to give Shamash, the Mesopotamian sun god, a bit less respect than he is probably due. After all, for modern folk, the category of …

Passionate Daughter Ishtar

June 1st, 2022


Ishtar, the passionate goddess of love and war from ancient Mesopotamia has had a long life, historically speaking, and she continues to be a popular …

Industry 3 - Liquid Bread

May 18th, 2022


Our tale of daily life continues. The harvest is over, but the work continues, as there are many steps required to transform boring, nutritious grain …

Industry 2 - The Stuff of Life

May 4th, 2022


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 …

Industry 1 - The Earthen World

April 20th, 2022


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 …

Listener Questions

April 6th, 2022


A long time ago I asked for listener questions, and also posted a call for questions over on tiktok, and here they are finally getting answered. This is theoretically the hundredth episode special, but depending on how …

Sumer in Genesis

March 23rd, 2022


Here by popular demand and my own personal interest, an overview of the first eleven chapters of the biblical book of Genesis, alongside the ancient …

Canaan 9 - Baal and Mot

March 9th, 2022


Today we conclude the Baal cycle with the epic final confrontation between Baal Hadad, rightful lord of the Canaanite heavens, and Mot, the deity …

Canaan 8 - The Feast of Baal

February 23rd, 2022


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. …

Songs 1 - Ancient Akkadian Love Songs

February 13th, 2022


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 …

Canaan 7 - The Baal Cycle

February 9th, 2022


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 …

Canaan 6 - Aqhat and Daniel

January 26th, 2022


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 …

Canaan 5 - The Legend of Kirta

January 12th, 2022


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 …

Canaan 4 - Ugarit's Final Century

December 29th, 2021


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 …

Canaan 3 - The City of Ugarit

December 15th, 2021


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. …

Canaan 2 - The Amarna Age in Canaan

December 1st, 2021


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 …

Canaan 1 - Bronze Age Levant

November 17th, 2021


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 …

The Oldest Games

November 3rd, 2021


Play is older than humanity, but among the ancient Mesopotamians, a handful of games are attested throughout the ancient period, from all the way to …

Elamite 4 - Elamite Religion

October 20th, 2021


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 …

Elamite 3 - The Grand Regents of Elam

October 6th, 2021


Elam did not occupy Sumer after conquering Ur and imprisoning King Ibbi-Sin. Instead, the Kings of Shimashki consolidated power in Elamite territory …

Elamite 2 - Elamite Renaissances

September 22nd, 2021


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 …

Elamite 1 - Back to the Beginning

September 8th, 2021


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 …

OS 96 - Fall of the Hittite Empire

September 1st, 2021


In 1200 BCE, the Hittite Empire fell, its capitol of Hattusa was abandoned and its final king, Suppuliliuma II, was probably dead. The circumstances …

OS 95 - Hattusili Secures His Legacy

August 25th, 2021


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. …

OS 94 - Hattusili the Peace Maker

August 18th, 2021


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 …

OS 93 - Hattusili's Palace Drama

August 11th, 2021


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 …

OS 92 - Nergal and Ereshkigal

August 4th, 2021


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 …

OS 91 - A Muddy Mesopotamian Mess

July 28th, 2021


Tukulti-Ninurta may have brought the Middle Assyrian empire to its territorial height, but the interal political issues he creates along the way will …

OS 90 - Tukulti-Ninurta's Victories

July 21st, 2021


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 …

OS 89 - The Peaceful Decline of Kassite Babylon

July 14th, 2021


Today we watch the decline of Kassite Babylon, from which distressingly little survives. We look at the prosperity they have achieved, and the …

OS 88 - The Destruction of Mitanni

July 7th, 2021


Today we will take a journey through the cultural achievements of Kassite Babylon, which are beginning to reach their famous heights at the cultural …

OS 87 - Rebirth of an Old City

June 30th, 2021


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 …

OS 86 - The Battle of Kadesh

June 23rd, 2021


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 …

OS 85 - New Cities and New Villains

June 16th, 2021


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 …

OS 84 - Mursili's Plague

June 9th, 2021


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 …

OS 83 - Vengeance, Mortal and Divine

June 2nd, 2021


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 …

OS 82 - Suppiluliuma Irritates Egypt

May 26th, 2021


In the aftermath of one of the greatest campaigns of the bronze age, Suppiluliuma's Hittites need to consolidate control over Syria. This is …

OS 81 - King Tushratta Begs and Runs Away

May 19th, 2021


Today we will start the great and storied reign of Hittite Great King Suppiluliuma I and his campaigns against the Mitanni. However, because this …

OS 80 - The Storm Before The Calm

May 12th, 2021


Today the Hittite Empire will fall, pretty much completely, and be replaced by the western Anatolian state of Arzawa. We have seen the Hittites …

OS 79 - Magic and Medicine in Hattusa

May 5th, 2021


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 …

OS 78 - Foreigners and Vassals of Hatti

April 28th, 2021


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 …

OS 77 - Idrimi's Adventure and Tudhaliya's Invasion

April 21st, 2021


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 …

OS 76 - The Amarna Mailbag

April 14th, 2021


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 …

OS 75 - Building Babylonia

April 7th, 2021


The growth of Kassite Babylonia, also called Karduniash, continues apace. Just like last week, Kassite Babylonia is very poorly documented, and thus we are going to cover all the way from Pharaoh Thutmose III to Pharaoh …

OS 74 - A New Dawn for Babylon

March 31st, 2021


Babylon is reborn! Following the decline and sack of Babylon, the entire region was devastated for decades. However, even in these ashes lay the …

OS 73 - Corruption in Nuzi

March 24th, 2021


True crime! Corruption in city hall! A gang of thugs terrorizing a town! One of the most interesting finds in the town of Nuzi is a series of court documents which contain testimony about a large number of criminal …

Bonus 4 - Akitu New Year Special

March 17th, 2021


Happy Mesopotamian New Year! Akitu was celebrated at the start of the year from Sumerian times until the end of Babylonian civilization, and naturally the details changed significantly over the course of thousands of …

OS72 - Lawyers of Nuzi

March 10th, 2021


Today we have a very real discussion about some very real people, hearing from the Hurrians in their own words by looking at the goings on in a town …

OS 71 - Hurrian Wisdom

March 3rd, 2021


The Hurrian Song of Release is an odd text. Part wisdom, part legend, the best we can guess is that it was a set of rituals, cultural memories, and …

OS 70 - Mighty Monsters of Mitanni

February 24th, 2021


Finishing up the Kumarbi Cycle with the biggest of monsters, the Song of Hedammu and the Song of Ullikummi are the two tales that see some actual character development, as Ea, god of wisdom, slowly moves out of …

OS 69 - Kumarbi Strikes Back

February 17th, 2021


The Song of Lamma and the song of Silver, two further adventures in the Kumarbi cycle. Tessub may be the Hurrian king in heaven, but Kumarbi still …

OS 68 - The Song of Kumarbi

February 10th, 2021


Today we begin the great epic of the Hurrians, the Kumarbi cycle, which in multiple fragmentary episodes discusses the multiple conflicts over …

OS 67 - Late Bronze Age Warfare

February 3rd, 2021


This may be the late bronze age, but it is the golden age of chariot warfare. To a great degree, the power of the great kingdoms is all built upon …

OS 66 - Enter the Arena

January 20th, 2021


The world of the Late Bronze Age is expanding, and today we introduce the two final players to the near east battleground. Egypt is probably familiar to many, though worth a bit of an introduction to see what exactly …

OS 65 - Disorder in the Court

January 13th, 2021


The Hittites are not going to exceed the heights of king Mursili for a long, long time, if indeed they ever do. Today we are going to look at a dark century of decline, as the Kaskans and Hurrians press on the ever …

OS 64 - Village Economics

January 6th, 2021


Part two of daily life in Anatolia under the Hittites continues where we left off last time. And also doesn't get as far as I had planned this time …

OS 63 - Village People

December 30th, 2020


Daily life for the average anatolian living under the Hittites was not all that terrible, and though much of it is poorly documented, there are still …

OS 62 - The Man Who Changed The World, Mursili I

December 23rd, 2020


Mursili I destroyed two empires, plundering Aleppo and Babylon, and ruled for thirty of the best years in Hittite history. His conquests would pave …

OS 61 - The Conqueror's Triumph and Death

December 16th, 2020


Hattusili I has already shown himself to be a cut above the Anatolian kings that have come before him, but like all the most ambitious of men he has …

OS 60 - Telipinu, the Vanishing God

December 9th, 2020


A god is furious, and in his fury he has abandoned the people and the kingdom to suffer one catastrophe after another. Today we look at the myth, the …

OS 59 - The Conquering Lion, Hattusili I

December 2nd, 2020


The first king of the Hittites, Hattusili I, thought of himself as a conquering lion. Given his military record, this isn't a completely inappropriate boast. His accomplishments in establishing the Old Hittite Kingdom …

OS 58 - Rise of the Hittites

November 25th, 2020


This is a good place for new listeners to start, particularly those interested in the late bronze age, the Hittites, and the Kassites. The legendary, …

OS 57 - Ancient Anatolia

November 18th, 2020


We begin our series on the Hittites by looking at what came before the Hittites. This episode is a survey of the geography, cultures, and history of …

OS 56 - Obscure Struggles in Assyria

November 11th, 2020


Assyria is deep in a dark age following the fall of Babylon. Struggling to hold on and fighting over its identity, the Assyrians didn't appear to …

Bonus 3 - Lament for Ur

November 4th, 2020


An interlude in our story. Today, a poem of passionate despair. With the collapse of Sumerian civilization in 2000 BCE, five great laments were …

Bonus 2 - Fanciful Notions of Antiquity

October 27th, 2020


An interlude in our story. We pause today to read a story by HP Lovecraft, the Nameless City, which brings us back to how absolutely incredible it …

OS 55 - Days of Quiet Prosperity

October 21st, 2020


In a sense, not much happens in this episode. Covering a bit over a century, the borders of Babylon are going to remain more or less stable for most of this episode, and the people are going to enjoy a century of …

OS 54 - Soldier of Babylon, Ubarum

October 14th, 2020


Ubarum was just a man living in a small village in north Babylonia, one among possibly a few million. He was a soldier by trade, but also managed a …

OS 53 - Poem of the Righteous Sufferer

October 7th, 2020


The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer, or Ludlul-Bel-Nimeqi, is one of the oldest works of theodicy in history, and part of a long running philosophical …

OS 52 - Theogony of Dunnu and The Education of Scribes

September 30th, 2020


Incest and Patricide are the highlights of today's tale, sometimes also called the Dynasty of Dunnum or the Harab Myth. The ancient Mesopotamian religious tradition was far from unified, and from an obscure town …

OS 51 - The New Order

September 23rd, 2020


Finally, we have finished with Hammurabi, and it is time for his successor Samsu-Iluna to take over. At first, things are much the same as they were under his father, but the appearance of a strange new enemy with …

OS 50 - Hammurabi's Code of Laws

September 16th, 2020


The entire code of Hammurabi, start to finish. This is the show's fiftieth episode, and will run quite long as something of a special edition. I am going to go through the entire law code of Hammurabi, start to finish, …

OS 49 - Hammurabi's Death and Legacy

September 9th, 2020


The final decade of Hammurabi's life would be peaceful and prosperous, and was in many ways the foundation of the rest of the Old Babylonian Empire. …

OS 48 - Hammurabi's Women and Slaves

September 2nd, 2020


Thus far this show has largely ignored over half of the population, though in my defense, the ancient scribes on whom we rely upon for so much of our …

Bonus 1 - The Slaying of Illuyanka

August 30th, 2020


Bonus episode! Dragon slaying myths are about as old as myth itself, but one of the oldest is the tale of the Hittite Storm God's battle against …

OS 47 - Hammurabi's Rebels and Oracles

August 26th, 2020


Hammurabi's final conquests are almost perfunctory, but his responses to the subsequent rebellions is anything but. Much of the episode however is …

OS 46 - Hammurabi's Northern Conquests and Agricultural Power

August 19th, 2020


Hammurabi's power rises as the cities of the north begin to grow suspicious of his ambitions, and then have those suspicions proven correct when he goes to war with them. But amid all the devastation of war, we have a …

OS 45 - Hammurabi's Medicine and Justice

August 12th, 2020


Hammurabi conquers Larsa in another lightning campaign displaying his strategic and diplomatic cunning. But once it is conquered, he needs to bring this massive new territory into his growing empire. This will give us …

OS 44 - Hammurabi's Military and Elamite War

August 5th, 2020


Today we follow the course of the Great Elamite War, the turning point in Babylon's history when it will beat the odds and establish itself as the …

OS 43 - Hammurabi's Siegecraft and Diplomacy

July 29th, 2020


We have actual letters from Hammurabi that show off the diplomacy and statecraft for which the king was celebrated, and in the chaotic years leading up to the Great Elamite War, he will have many opportunities to employ …

OS 42 - Hammurabi's Kingdom and Character

July 22nd, 2020


What was Hammurabi like, and what did the kingdom of Babylon look like in the earliest days? Today, we are going to look at the man himself, Hammurabi, and what he did when he inherited the kingdom from his father. …

OS 41 - Shamshi-Adad and the Upper Mesopotamian Empire

July 15th, 2020


From a refugee in Babylon to the king of the largest empire Mesopotamia has seen since the fall of Ur, and the first Assyrian empire at that, …

OS 40 - Barbarian Kingdoms and Biblical Patriarchs

July 8th, 2020


The Amorites swept through Syria and held the region in a dark age longer than any other part of Mesopotamia. But when the dust finally does settle, …

OS 39 - The Merchants and Families of Assyria

July 1st, 2020


We know very little about the kings of early Assyria, so our introduction to the north will be bottom up by necessity. We know about merchants and farmers and pastoralists and slaves, men and women who worked the land …

OS 38 - Rim-Sin the Pretty Good

June 24th, 2020


Today we see the near collapse of Larsa, and its sudden and unexpected rescue by an Amorite from Elam. After the failure of Nur-Adad's line, …

OS 37 - Petty Kings

June 17th, 2020


The multi-polar Isin-Larsa period continues this week, covering the period from the 1860s to the 1830s BCE. This week is a bit easier that the mess …

OS 36 - The Founding of Babylon

June 10th, 2020


This week we continue to watch as Isin and Larsa fight each other and the many other rising dynasties over the chaotic period from 1905 to 1865 BCE. Only slightly notable at the time, though soon to be much, much more …

OS 35 - Middle Bronze Age Warfare

June 3rd, 2020


The main narrative of the Isin Larsa period is full of battles both stated and implied, but what do those battles actually look like? What sort of …

OS 34 - Age of Chaos

May 27th, 2020


It is time to shake things up as the line of peaceful merchant kings of Isin comes to an end thanks to two strong men, firstly Gungunum of Larsa and …

OS 33 - A Time of Ritual and Law

May 20th, 2020


This week we look at the somewhat obscure 1900's BCE in Isin, where details will be thin on the ground, but that will just give us more time to focus on the Law code of Lipit-Ishtar and the annual ritual of the sacred …

OS 32 - Lay of the Land

May 13th, 2020


This is a good place for new listeners to start, particularly those interested in Hammurabi and the middle bronze age. Today we resume our history …

OS 31 - First Men

May 6th, 2020


The legends of Adapa, Enmeduranki, and Etana are the tales of three very early kings, though tales that don't seem to come around until the middle bronze age, and they are in a sense creation myths but most importantly …

OS 30 - The Tablet of Destinies

April 29th, 2020


Ninurta the action hero god returns, this time in an adventure to recover the stolen Tablet of Destinies. In doing this, we will wrestle with Semitic …

OS 29 - The Enuma Elish

April 22nd, 2020


The Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish, tells the story of the creation of the world and how it was a terrible mistake immediately regretted by its parents. Said parents then attempt a late-term abortion, but the …

OS 28 - The Chamorros of Saipan

April 15th, 2020


Special Episode. This week is a break from normal as we discuss the Chamorro people of the Marianas islands, A four thousand year oral culture in the …

OS 27 - The Study of Sumer and Ancient Aliens

April 8th, 2020


There were some very important and talented people who have dug up the once lost civilization of Sumer and given their stories new life. Then there are the ancient aliens people. We will pay our respects to the giants …

OS 26 - The Oldest Debates

March 31st, 2020


Today we return to Sumerian Wisdom literature and see some of the oldest philosophy ever recorded, with the debates on creation and the oldest …

OS 25 - The Last Sumerian, Ibbi-Sin

March 25th, 2020


Sumer is in a bad state, with enemies on all sides, and just as they are crying out for good fortune they instead receive Ibbi-Sin, a blustering …

OS 24 - The Rebirth of Sumer

March 18th, 2020


The Sumerian Renaissance, a fruitful period of literary achievement and military conquest. We are going to see the first Sumerian kings in 250 years …

OS 11 - Instructions Manual

March 17th, 2020


Note that this episode has moved in the ordering to better fit its position in the timeline. This week we look at the wisdom literature of Ancient Sumer with a genre called instructions which are just that, instructions …

OS 10 - King Shulgi's Mailbag

March 16th, 2020


Note that this episode has moved in the ordering to better fit its position in the timeline. Today we will look at the actual words of a man 4000 years gone as he sends letters struggling to forge an empire. Online at …

OS 23 - The Fall of Akkad

March 11th, 2020


Today the Akkadian empire will collapse, brought low by climate change, foreign invasion, and civil war. A dark age of Gutian domination will descend …

OS 22 - Slanderous Legends of Naram-Sin

March 4th, 2020


Today the fall of Akkad begins. We start with how the Mesopotamians themselves remembered the fall of their first great empire, with the Curse of Agade and the Cuthean Legend, and see that they slanderously put all the …

OS 21 - Surpassing Sargon with Naram-Sin

February 26th, 2020


Who was the greatest king of the Akkadian Empire? Today I make the case for Naram-Sin, who brought the empire to the high water mark and really …

OS 20 - Sargon, the Next Generation

February 19th, 2020


Sargon had two sons and both will sit on the throne. Rimush will do all the work, while Manishtushu will enjoy all the rewards. Both are fairly interesting on their own, but suffer from being the interlude between two …

OS 19 - Sargon at war

February 12th, 2020


Here is the meat of the Sargon Legend, his conquests. But he wasn't just conquering for the sake of conquest, his empire was formed from a vision which shows his very deep understanding of logistics, international …

OS 18 - Sargon at Peace

February 5th, 2020


What did Akkadian power look like on the ground, and what did daily life look like for the average Sumerian during this period? Today I will use the occasion of the rise of the Akkadian Empire to pause and look at the …

OS 17 - Sargon Rising

January 29th, 2020


Today we look at the rise of the world's first empire, following the story of Sargon of Akkad's rise from the son of a gardener to the king of Sumer …

OS 16 - Reform and Corruption in Lagash

January 22nd, 2020


Last time was the rise, this time is the fall of the city of Lagash, into corruption and military defeat. Can the hero of the people, great reformer Urukagina, save his city from certain destruction? No, he can't, but …

OS 15 - Kings and Wars in Lagash

January 15th, 2020


This is a good place for new listeners to start, particularly those interested more in history than myth. War; war never changes. Forty five hundred …

OS 14 - Ea, Tales from Creation

January 8th, 2020


The god of wisdom and crafting is the chillest of the gods, that is when he is not turning his family tree into a family telephone poll. The most …

OS 13 - The God of Action Heroes Ninurta

January 1st, 2020


The mountains will crumble and cities will tremble as Ninurta comes to put down a rebellion with maximum casualties and no Geneva Convention. Then he …

OS 12 - Enlil, Lord of Wind

December 25th, 2019


He is a little bit creepy and king of the gods. He is Enlil, lord of wind, and today's episode is focused on the him as the head of the Sumerian …

OS 09 - Ishtar and Dumazid

December 4th, 2019


This week, we follow the twists and turns of an odd love story, Ishtar and Dumazid, who despite the sometimes questionable nature of their …

OS 08 - Ishtar Gains Power

November 26th, 2019


Today we are going to weave a few separate tales of Ishtar together to get a picture of her character and power as  the Goddess of Love and War. …

OS 07 - Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim, and Immortality

November 20th, 2019


Today we finish the epic of Gilgamesh with the story of the mysterious hermit Utnapishtim, a tale that goes all the way back to when the earth was …

OS 06 - Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven

November 20th, 2019


In the penultimate episode of the Epic of Gilgamesh, we see the height of action and adventure. Gilgamesh is going to scorn a beautiful woman, then …

OS 05 - Gilgamesh Has Adventures

November 13th, 2019


In today's episode we cover two side stories of Gilgamesh. First he will fight off an invasion of Uruk in Gilgamesh and Aga, and then he will aid the …

OS 04 - Gilgamesh vs Humbaba

November 10th, 2019


Here we continue the adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, as they travel far from their city to battle the lord of forests, the fearsome force of nature, the Humbaba itself. This is part two of the Epic of Gilgamesh. …

OS 03 - Gilgamesh Tames Enkidu

November 4th, 2019


Here we finally begin the Epic of Gilgamesh by recounting the opening tablet and a half, the taming of Enkidu. In this episode we have it all, …

OS 2.5 - Before the Beginning

October 31st, 2019


The History part of the Oldest Stories begins here. Where did Enmerkar, Lugalbanda, and Gilgamesh come from, and how did civilization arise between …

OS 02 - Lugalbanda's Adventures

October 30th, 2019


In this episode, we continue the oldest still existing narrative of human warfare. Aratta has gone back on their agreement from last time and King …

OS 01 - Enmerkar and Aratta

October 28th, 2019


In this, the first episode of the Oldest Stories podcast, we go all the way back to the very beginning with about the oldest story ever to be written …

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