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18:00 - 20:30 26 March 2015
The shape of ancient civilisation
Institute of Archaeology Lecture Theatre |
UCL Institute of Archaeology
31–34 Gordon Square | London | WC1 | United Kingdom
Ian Morris, Professor of Classics, Stanford University
Kevin Macdonald, UCL African Archaeology
Corinna Riva, UCL Mediterranean Archaeology
Since modern scholarship began in the eighteenth century, it has focused not on 'ancient civilisation' but 'ancient civilisations'. Researchers divided the world up into Classics, Egyptology, Assyriology, Indology, Sinology and a host of other regional specialities. Focusing on the details of particular languages and cultural traditions, they emphasized the uniqueness of ancient civilisations rather than global patterns.
In this lecture, Ian Morris argues that we are now in a position to tell a coherent story about ancient civilisation at the global level, tracing a ten-thousand-year tale of rising scale, development, peace, and prosperity--to be weighed against a parallel tale of rising inequality. Global antiquity culminated in a massive series of crises that rocked the Old World and then the New. Until we can make sense of ancient civilisation at a global scale, we cannot hope to make sense of the human story as a whole.
Followed by a reception in the Anthropology Common Room.
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