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New online course

The Assyrian Empire – The First Superpower

München, 01/10/2018

LMU’s new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) enables participants to explore the history of the Assyrian Empire, which can lay claim to having been the world’s first superpower.

The MOOC, entitled “Organising an Empire: The Assyrian Way”, reveals how, over 3000 years ago, the Assyrians fashioned an empire that dominated the Near and Middle East from the 9th to the 7th century BCE. It extended from the Mediterranean coast of the Levant to the Persian Gulf, and encompassed the territories of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and half of Israel, as well as large parts of what are now southeastern Turkey and western Iran. Its sheer size presented its rulers and administrators with formidable challenges, and the course will focus on how these challenges were confronted.

It will, for instance, describe how the Assyrians managed to maintain the political unity of the empire and retain the loyalty of the inhabitants of such a large geographical area. In addition to providing participants with a firm grasp of the political, social, religious and military history of the world’s first superpower, the course will shed light on the geographical and climatic factors that characterize the environments of the Near East, which continue to play a significant part in the turbulent history of the region in our own times.

The online course on the age of Ashurbanipal and Sennacherib has been designed by Professor Karen Radner, an acknowledged expert on the Ancient Near East and a Humboldt Professor at LMU since 2015.

Since 2013, LMU has developed several Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for presentation on the Coursera platform, as a new form of collaborative learning. The lectures are open to all those interested, no matter where they live, irrespective of their prior knowledge – and free of charge.

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