23 August 2012: The Politics of Ancient Mesopotamia

Prelude to Democracy?

Dr Benjamin Isakhan

On 23 August 2012, Dr Benjamin Isakhan gave a lecture at Melbourne Museum on the politics of ancient Mesopotamia.

Conventional wisdom asserts that the empires of ancient Mesopotamia were ruled by blood-thirsty tyrants with a penchant for megalomania and a lust for power.

However, archaeological work conducted during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has begun to unearth a more sophisticated political landscape. Many of the empires of ancient Mesopotamia can be seen to have practised forms of governance remarkably similar to the democratic systems employed by the Greeks many centuries later.

This lecture will examine the democratic tendencies of various Mesopotamian empires and trace their influence on later Grecian developments.

Speaker Biography
Dr Benjamin Isakhan is Australian Research Council Discovery (DECRA) Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University. He has published widely on the politics and history of Iraq and his current research includes the ARC-funded project ‘Measuring the Destruction of Heritage and Spikes of Violence in Iraq’.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

Listen now to a recording of this lecture (52:45 minutes):

Download audio file (mp3, 24MB)

Download transcript (Word doc, 72KB)