We live in a world of cities - for the first time ever, the majority of the population lives in an urban environment - and reflecting on 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.
Cities of the Ancient World gives you insight into cities 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. 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.
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Do People Make a City or a City Make the People?
Archaeology generally explores what can be learned about people based on their personal or cultural objects, but this lecture series explores what can be learned about a group of people based upon their physical surroundings.
Why does a population to plan and design their city in a certain way? What do those choices tell us about the people? How does the design continue to influence and impact the population living there? How do cities from different eras compare? How do cities from the same civilization differ from each other? How do different social and economic classes differ within the same city?
The professor looks at things like geographic location, building materials, civil engineering, socio-economics of neighborhoods, zoning issues, municipal infrastructure and resource accessibility to gain knowledge about its inhabitants.
Each city lecture illustrates an aspect or universal theme of city living or lessons about the evolution of urban planning, or gives us insight about the inhabitants and what we can learn about them based on how they lived.
The professor’s lecture style is more conversational than academic and occasionally he is more enthusiastic than organized. Even so, I thought his delivery worked well with the subject matter, which might be very dull with the wrong type of narrator. I found his enthusiasm contagious and enjoyed thinking about how my modern city life compares and contrasts with those in some of the ancient cities.
Ancient Cities Featured In This Course
Çatalhöyük—First Experiment in Urban Living
Jericho and Its Walls
Uruk—City of Gilgamesh
Kahun—Company Town in the Desert
Work and Life at Deir el-Medina
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
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