I picked up Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia from the Great Courses. I don’t find Dr. Alexis Q. Castor as good of a lecturer as Dr. Jennifer Paxton or Dr. Kenneth Harl, but the lectures are engaging and I am quite enjoying them. The discussion of temples and the role of the gods got me thinking of an old project of mine: Immortals of Bronze.
Immortals of Bronze had the kings of the ancient Mesopotamian city-states and empires as immortal wizards, but listening to a discussion of temple as the literal house of the god and the transition of religious to political power made me think: why not have the kings as the gods, except they are immortal wizards. Cut out that middle-person. Take the ancient religion for its word and have the temple as the centre for religious and secular power for the ancient states.
I’m unlikely to get back to that project, but Between the Rivers is both very interesting and filled with inspiration for writers and gamers.
You can find Between the Rivers here.
My favourite Dr. Paxton lecture is the Story of Medieval England, which you can find here.
My favourite Dr. Harl lecture is Rome and the Barbarians, which you can find here.
You can find a quick encapsulation of my Immortals of Bronze idea here.