Oldest Stories

Oldest Stories

By James Bleckley
From the dawn of human civilization, the oldest myths, legends, histories and tales recorded by ancient peoples. Focusing on stories written down in bronze age Mesopotamia, join me as we revive the oldest oral storytelling traditions. New episodes every Wednesday. Each episode is self-contained, even the ones that feature recurring characters, so feel free to listen in any order or no order. Online at oldeststories.net. I hang at a discord at discord.gg/q8XPnpg
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Sargon at war
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 trade, economies of scale. And all this, as we will see, is what makes his kingdom the world's first empire. Online at oldeststories.net
36:51
February 12, 2020
Sargon at Peace
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 human condition below that of gods and kings, since there are now enough sources to put together that we can at least sketch these things for the first time in human history. Not much story this week, just discussion of how things were. We will return to the story of the grand sweep of the empire next week. Online at oldeststories.net
30:42
February 5, 2020
Sargon Rising
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 and Akkad. His rise and empire is bigger than can be fit into a single episode, but the Legend of Sargon's rise to power should be enough to whet your appetite for the coming Akkadian series. Online at oldeststories.net
28:39
January 29, 2020
Reform and Corruption in Lagash
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 he will try. The three big names today are Enmetena, Urukagina, and Lugalzagesi as witness the dramatic end of an era. Online at oldeststories.net
30:56
January 22, 2020
Kings and Wars in Lagash
War; war never changes. Forty five hundred years ago the men of Lagash made war against the city of Umma over water rights, the very first battle for which we have recorded details. This episode begins the history of the city of Lagash and looks at the rough reality of ancient battle. Online at oldeststories.net
26:47
January 15, 2020
Ea, Tales from Creation
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 generous and the most distressingly criminal of the gods, Ea has some of the most unique stories. Online at oldeststories.net
31:21
January 8, 2020
The God of Action Heroes Ninurta
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 will teach us geology. The Sumerians are a funny bunch, which is why their four thousand year old stories still have the capacity to surprise us. Online at oldeststories.net.
29:08
January 1, 2020
Enlil, Lord of Wind
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 pantheon. Online at oldeststories.net
31:57
December 25, 2019
Instructions Manual
This week we look at the wisdom literature of Ancient Sumeria with a genre called instructions which are just that, instructions for how to live, from the ethical to the deeply practical. We will learn how to live a good life and how to farm barley, as well as other things. Online at oldeststories.net
26:07
December 18, 2019
King Shulgi's Mailbag
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 oldeststories.net
31:33
December 11, 2019
Ishtar and Dumazid
This week, we follow the twists and turns of an odd love story, Ishtar and Dumazid, who despite the sometimes questionable nature of their relationship were considered the archetype of lovers in ancient Mesopotamia. Online at oldeststories.net
31:35
December 4, 2019
Ishtar Gains Power
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. Apologies for the poor audio quality, my set up was flawed today, but the story is still audible. Online at oldeststories.net
33:31
November 26, 2019
Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim, and Immortality
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 young. We will see labor disputes and quite a lot of geological investigation while learning three ways for a mortal to gain immortality. Online at oldeststories.net
29:02
November 20, 2019
Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven
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 pay dearly, fighting a mighty battle and going on a great journey. Online at oldeststories.net
27:46
November 20, 2019
Gilgamesh Has Adventures
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 goddess Ishtar, become obsessed with golf, and learn about the afterlife in Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Underworld. Two very different tales, but both say a lot about Gilgamesh and ancient Sumerian society. Find us online at oldeststories.net.
30:54
November 13, 2019
Gilgamesh vs Humbaba
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. Find us online at oldeststories.net
26:39
November 10, 2019
Gilgamesh Tames Enkidu
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, tyranny, power, lust, and violence, the grand opening of the tale that more than any other has stood the test of time. This is part one of the Gilgamesh series, it will continue in future episodes. Find us online at oldeststories.net.
24:34
November 4, 2019
Lugalbanda's Adventures
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 Enmerkar finally rallies an implausibly large number of soldiers to put him down for good. Of his eight storied generals, literally the only one who even still has a name remembered by history is Lugalbanda, and in this tale we will hear a sampling of his fantastical, super-powered adventures as he dramatically fails to make it to the battle. Find us online at oldeststories.net
28:10
October 30, 2019
Enmerkar and Aratta
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 on clay tablets. This is the story of the city of Uruk and it's king Enmerkar as they threaten the rival city of Aratta. Find us online at oldeststories.net
33:04
October 28, 2019