17: Tell Brak: Mesopotamia’s first city, 4500-3600 BCE (Antigone & the death of Enkidu)

The Drumbeat Forever After

09-03-2022 • 40 mins

Guest: Annika

First, Antigone gets caught burying her brother, a foolish judge arraigns her folly, and we wonder whether the good might actually desire a like portion with the evil.

Then, we visit Tell Brak in northeastern Syria (most famous for its "eye idols"), as it becomes southwest Asia's first city and the world's largest settlement (130 hectares, maybe as many as 24,000 people) in the early 4th millennium BCE. What did climate have to do with its sudden rise and gradual decline?

More relevantly, what did climate and the city's gradual decline have to do with the dozens of disarticulated corpses and skulls defleshed with tools made from human bone in several mass graves around town?

Then: Gilgamesh grieves for Enkidu, and we talk about one very specific lion-based metaphor common to both the Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh (although, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that these elements are spread out across two different scenes in the Iliad).

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Works cited