Cities of the Ancient World [TTC Video]
16 August 2014, 12:30
Course No 3723 | WMV, 640x360 | WMA@128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 9.92GB
Jericho: The famous walled city from the story of Joshua, whose conquerors left only rubble for future archaeologists.
Deir el-Medina: Home to the workers who built the tombs of King Tut and other pharaohs in the desert.
Alexandria: The awe-inspiring metropolis that housed wonders of ancient architecture along the North African coast.
Rome: Arguably the most famous and most impressive city of the ancient world, and the seat of one of the world’s most powerful empires.
These and other cities tell us much about the development of civilization: why people settled in cities, how they lived, how they overcame the challenges of urban life, and more. Because we now live in a world of cities—and for the first time ever, the majority of the population lives in an urban environment—reflecting on these ancient models of the “city” as a human phenomenon offers important lessons for our culture today.
Cities of the Ancient World is your opportunity to survey the breadth of the ancient world through the context of its urban development. Taught by esteemed Professor Steven L. Tuck of Miami University, these 24 eye-opening lectures not only provide an invaluable look at the design and architecture of ancient cities, they also offer a flesh-and-blood glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary people and the worlds they created. For instance, you will:
- consider the benefits of living in cities, from mutual defense to trading opportunities;
- compare domestic and public spaces and see what implications these spaces have on politics and society;
- investigate critical infrastructure, including water supply and drainage systems;
- learn about how such common ideas as city blocks and crosswalks were invented; and
- marvel at the elaborate monuments and works of art created in antiquity.
From the world’s first city of Çatalhöyük to the mysteries of the Indus Valley to Constantinople, which served as the hinge between the ancient and medieval worlds, Cities of the Ancient World gives you insight into cities both large and small, famous and obscure. Ultimately, however, this is a course about people, not just buildings. Studying these cities will give you a new appreciation for the remarkable cultures of the ancient world, from the ruins of Uruk to the Golden Age of Athens, and spur you to reflect on what makes a city survive.
Discover a Wide Range of Urban Development
From orderly cities to sprawling suburbs, the ancient world offers the same variety of urban living you find around the world today. By looking at such a wide range of cities, you get a sense of the changing ideas about what it takes to make a city—and it allows you to make connections across time and geography. For example, you’ll trace the development of orthogonal planning, in which cities are constructed in a grid with rectilinear blocks, and find out how it gradually spread around the ancient world.
Using a case-study approach, Professor Tuck shows you the incredible breadth and richness of urban design across the ages:
- Tour the mysterious citadel of Mohenjo-daro, part of the lost civilization of the Indus Valley.
- Consider the Egyptian “company town” of Kahun, which housed paid laborers who built the tombs of pharaohs.
- Explore the Minoan city of Knossos, a labyrinthine metropolis seamlessly integrated into the rocky island landscape.
- Meet Hippodamus of Miletus and find out about his principles of urban design. He is credited with formalizing orthogonal planning.
- View the splendor of Alexandria, the first major city built directly on the seacoast, whose great lighthouse was among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
- Examine Roman infrastructure and find out how building codes helped mitigate fires and other dangers.
Examining the structures of these ancient cities teaches us much about the lives and priorities of their inhabitants. For example, are the city blocks short and walkable? Do zoning laws isolate various ethnic groups and social classes? Do city walls protect from outside invasions? Professor Tuck also demonstrates how ancient peoples dealt with the challenges of infrastructure, waste removal, neighbors, and the environment—issues that will resonate with today’s city dwellers.
Weigh the Evidence to Reconstruct Daily Life
More than anything else, Cities of the Ancient World is a course about human beings—what life was like in these cities and how people lived. Professor Tuck assumes the role of a historical detective and examines the archaeological and written evidence for each city we visit. Some cities such as Mohenjo-daro are incredibly mysterious, so we can only deduce who may have lived there and what their lives might have been like. In other cities, including Athens, Rome, and Constantinople, we have a wealth of official records and written accounts that give us a complete picture of everyday life.
One of the many treats of this course is being able to walk through these cities as if in the shoes of an ordinary citizen. From the gender-segregated symposia in Athens to the array of social classes in the Roman baths to the patriotic citizenry on the frontier edges of the Roman Empire, Professor Tuck gives you a three-dimensional feel for everyday life in the ancient world:
- See how the temples of Çatalhöyük and the ziggurats of Uruk suggest cities first emerged to accommodate religious structures, and that agriculture soon followed.
- Study the layout of Amarna, the revolutionary capital of Egypt, and connect city planning with the ideology of social control.
- Trace the average day of a shoemaker as he travels through the streets of Athens.
- Experience two perspectives of daily life in Rome, first as a well-to-do citizen and then as a poor immigrant.
- Visit the unique Roman satellite community of Ostia, which appears to have been an entirely middle class city, with no extremes of wealth or poverty.
The urban layouts and archaeological records give you a remarkable window into each city, as well as the relationships among the cities—and in some cases, clues about why certain cities failed. As you travel from the Indus Valley in the east to Algeria in the west, and from far-flung outposts to imperial capitals, you’ll learn about trade, economies of scale, and the development of communal identity, which plays an especially important role in an increasingly globalized world.
Case Studies Build on Themselves
Professor Tuck’s approach in this course—presenting each city as a case study—allows you to experience the course in many ways. Each lecture is a self-contained episode, but they build on each other to create a vivid and complete picture of life from the earliest civilizations to the beginning of the Middle Ages. This comprehensive portrait will change the way you look at our modern world.
As you’ll discover, cities are here to stay. Considering the lessons from ancient cities—how they succeeded and why they failed—will make a difference in how we live in communities today or plan new ones for the future. The designs, challenges, and solutions to urban life you’ll encounter in Cities of the Ancient World have been with us for thousands of years, and studying communities in antiquity provides valuable insight into what it means to be human—and makes for good citizenship as we build the cities of the future.
Course Lecture Titles:
- The Lure of the City
- Çatalhöyük—First Experiment in Urban Living
- Jericho and Its Walls
- Uruk—City of Gilgamesh
- Mysterious Mohenjo-daro
- Kahun—Company Town in the Desert
- Work and Life at Deir el-Medina
- Amarna—Revolutionary Capital
- Knossos—Palace, City, or Temple?
- Akrotiri—Bronze Age Pompeii
- Mycenae, Tiryns, and the Mask of Agamemnon
- Athens—Civic Buildings and Civic Identity
- Athenian Domestic Architecture
- Hippodamian Planning—Miletus and Ephesus
- Olynthus—A Classical Greek City Preserved
- Wonder and Diversity at Alexandria
- Pergamon—The New Theatricality
- The Good Life in Rome
- The Lives of the Poor in Rome
- Ostia—Middle-Class Harbor Town
- Timgad—More Roman Than Rome
- Karanis—On the Fringes of the Empire
- Constantinople—The Last Ancient City
- Lessons and Legacies of Ancient Urban Life
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