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Middle Eastern history

The Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire was founded by Cyrus II in the 6th century B.C.E., and it became an empire unlike any the world had seen up to that point.

Unearthed in 2015, Part 1

As has become an annual tradition on the show, we're capping off 2015/starting 2016 with a roundup of things that have been unearthed, either figuratively or literally, over the year. Read the show notes here.

The Gallipoli Campaign

One of the most infamous aspects of World War I was its long, brutal stalemate along the enormous system of trenches known as the Western Front. The powers involved all expected the war to be over quickly, but it reached an impasse almost immediately.

King Djoser and Egypt's First Pyramid

The pyramids at Giza are iconic Egyptian landmarks, but they weren't the first to appear. Djoser and his vizier Imhotep are credited with starting the pyramid trend.

Unearthed in 2014! Part 1

It's time to look at some of the stuff that was literally or figuratively dug up in 2014. This episode includes: connections to past episodes, some extreme serendipity, shipwrecks, a couple of Holocaust-related unearthings, and lots of Oldest Things Ever.

Suleiman the Magnificent and the Siege of Vienna

The Ottoman Empire's Suleiman the Magnificent was a head of state, a poet, a reformer of the military and a goldsmith. His reign had a significant impact on the law, literature and art of the Ottoman Empire.

Algebra's Arabic Roots

Algebra doesn't have one single origin point -- it developed over time and in multiple places, with many mathematicians contributing. One of those contributors was an 8th-century scholar from Baghdad named Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. Read the show notes here.

Avicenna

You may never have heard of him, but Avicenna was one of the first, and probably the most influential, Islamic philosopher-scientists. He's listed among the great philosophers in Dante's Inferno and is mentioned in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales.

Embalming and Mummification Rituals of Ancient Egypt

So how did Ancient Egyptians actually embalm their dead? Thanks in large part to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, we have some great descriptions of what happened to the deceased.

Zenobia and the Roman Empire

Our focus today is on a woman who was actually covered in the podcast several years ago. But she's a figure so mythic and with so many variations to her story that we wanted to give her another look and a little more time.