Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHi. Welcome to the course. This is week one, and our first culture that we're going to look at in detail is ancient Egypt, one of most visibly prominent cultures that we can see in the ancient Near East. Now, ancient Egypt are right on the cusp of a very important time. They're just about to explode out into the ancient world, into an international age. But before they do, they've got some internal problems of their own they need to sort out. And that's what we're going to focus on this week. We're going to see how they take care of their own house, and then start to move out and exert their influence further into Syria, Palestine, and beyond.

Welcome to Week 1

Now that you have met me and heard a little about what to expect this week, here’s a little more detail.

Together, over this four week course, we will immerse ourselves in the world’s first international age, three and a half thousand years ago (c. 1500-1200BCE) in the ancient Near East. We will look at four areas, and as the weeks progress, we’ll try to build a picture of how those areas interacted with each other:

In this opening week we will start by taking a closer look at our first ancient Superpower, Egypt. In week 2, we’ll investigate ancient Syria-Palestine (into which we see the Egyptians expand). In week 3, Egypt’s forays into Syria-Palestine bring them into contact with another Superpower: the Mitannians. Finally, in week 4, we’ll see what happens when the Hittites enter the international arena, and join the Superpowers club.

Each week is set out with the following regular slots: Part 1. Introduction to the week’s content. Part 2. The Main Event: this is the history section of the course. We also speak to a politician, who will invite us to discuss how more modern events might shed light on past actions (or not). Part 3. A Soldier’s Story: here is where we engage with real ancient artefacts. We’ll meet an Egyptian soldier and imagine aspects of his life from the objects that he was likely to have engaged with. Part 4. Communicating with the Past: in this section, we’ll look at aspects of language for each culture. This is where you can expect to learn the very basics of Hieroglyphs this week. Part 5. Wrap Up: at the end of the week, we’ll reflect on what we have covered, and look forward to the following week.

The course itself is designed to be a basic introduction to some of the key events and features of this particular period of time. I’d really like to see you using the discussion boards to develop themes, to introduce related issues, to ask questions, and to help each other out if you find anything particularly tricky.

Lead Educator

I’m Glenn Godenho, and I am the Lead Educator.


Contributors have created materials for the course, but aren’t directly involved with the day to day running of it. If you are interested in finding out more about our contributors, you can click on the names below which will take you through to their various profile pages.

Dr. Ashley Cooke

Professor Christopher Eyre

Richard Dumbrill

Dr. Roland Enmarch

Dr. Alan Greaves

Dr. Bruce Routledge

Dr. Ian Shaw

Dr. Steven Snape

Dr. Magnus Widell

Your turn to introduce yourself

Now you have met us, I’d love you to introduce yourself using the comments section below. You can ‘like’ what other learners have written about themselves and if you find someone interesting you can ‘follow’ them, to help you keep in touch as the course progresses. The comments of anyone you follow will appear in your activity feed.

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Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

University of Liverpool