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Social Studies

Mesopotamia Part 2: The Rise and Fall of the Babylonians (Ca. 2000-550 BCE)

In this 15-week class students will be introduced to the later period of Mesopotamian history, when the Neo-Assyrians and the Neo-Babylonians created two of the most impressive empires and thrived in arts, sciences and literature
Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
691 total reviews for this teacher
4 reviews for this class
Completed by 7 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
60 minutes
per class
Once per week
over 15 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does aMulti-Daycourse work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

In this course the students will be able to appreciate the beauty and importance of the study of history. Having studied myself history at a graduate and postgraduate level, and trained in archaeological excavations, ancient languages, and the use of various aspects of ancient material culture (art, architecture, coins etc), I want to bring this full picture to my classes. 

We will discuss together in class not just about events and personnalities of ancient Near Eastern history, but also about major Mesopotamian monuments, artifacts, literary and scientific texts in English translation, so as to understand the greatness of this region's very long history in its entirety. The epistemological approach according to which History means facts based on reliable primary sources, remains still relevant for me, if not necessary today.
Ancient History means also appreciating ancient cultures, respecting them, learning from their mistakes, and admiring them for their accompishments. History can be also used as a point of reference or a measure of comparison between an ancient pre-modern society and our contemporary post-modern world. 

For students who are taking History classes in general at their school, this class can be used as a supplementary class to strengthen their general knowledge, advance their understading of history and sharpen their critical thinking.   
I have a B.A. and M.A. in Ancient History and Archaeology, as well as an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Religions. I have excavated in ancient sites, I speak ancient languages and I am currently finishing my PhD. 
Homework will be assigned in two forms: 

(a) at certain points students will have to read carefully primary sources from ancient Near Eastern literature in English translation (chosen and distributed by me in advance), related to certain weeks' topic, in order to enrich class discussion, with the purpose of introducing the student in the skill of critical thinking,

(b) an optional Mid-Term quiz for classes 1 to 6 will be distributed during the 7th week, and a second optional Final quiz for classes 7-12 at the end of the course.
I do not believe that a letter grade is meaningful for an one-on-one tutorial. However, as I often do with my camps, which are small classes (up to 7 students), I communicate with the parents and the children directly, providing my personal comments, private feedback and an informal assessment.
If students choose to do the quiz, this is a great opportunity to communicate directly in an indiividual level for personal feedback.
1 hour per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Throughout the class and in the form of homework, students will discuss in class under my guidance and read at home before class illuminating sources that servive in ancient Mesopotamian languages (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian). They are all provided by me in English translations. This is important so that students may understand Mesopotamian history from authentic Mesopotamian sources and the civilization of the Mesopotamian people by its own creators, and not from external sources which are biased and have minimal historical value, like the portrait of some of the Neo-Assyrian and Babylonian kings in the Hebrew Bible.

In addition, archaeology, art, architecture, epigraphy and the study of ancient cylinders and seals will be used, whenever relevant, to enlighten aspects of ancient Near Eastern history that are not so apparent in the Mesopotamian historical accounts listed above. My background in all these fields will guide students through these peculiar sub-fields of history, in order to be abe to "read" them and complete their knowledge. 

The goal is to apprehend the bigger picture of ancient history in the Near East, and open the mind of modern learners by including aspects of so many different cultures and civilizations that shared the same geographical area in ancient Mesopotamia. 

Finally, the class is not only based on my 10-years of experience in the scientific study of this era, but also on a long list of modern sources, of which a good sample is the following one:

A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC by Marc Van De Mieroop (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015)
A History of Babylon, 2200 BC - AD 75 by Paul-Alain Beaulieu (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018)
Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations by Daniel T. Potts (Cornell University Press, 1996) 
The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture by Karen Radner and Eleanor Robson, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation by Mark W. Chavalas (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006)
The Age of Agade: Inventing Empire in Ancient Mesopotamia by Benjamin R. Foster (Routledge, 2015) 
A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology by Gwendolyn Leick (Routledge, 1998)
Babylonian Creation Myths by Wilfred G. Lambert (Eisenbrauns, 2013)
Cosmogony, Theogony and Anthropogeny in Sumerian Texts by de Jan Jw Lisman (Ugarit Verlag, 2013)
Religion and Ideology in Assyria by Beate Pongratz-Leisten (de Gruyter, 2017)
The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture by Francesca Rochberg (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice by Markham J. Geller (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)


Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
Lives in Canada
PhD Candidate, Professional Researcher, Active Scholar, Happy Father
691 total reviews
456 completed classes

About Me

As a father of two young kids, I put a lot of effort so as to entertain them in a productive, and educational way, making sure I feed their natural curiosity and encourage them to keep asking questions. Undoubtedly, television and video games are... 
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