On the Spot: Amanda H. Podany

‘I’d like to have met Baranamtara, the Queen of Lagash in the early 24th century BC.’

Seal of Barnamtarra
Seal of Barnamtarra, Queen of Lagash. Clay, c. 2400 BC. Louvre Musuem/Wiki Commons.

Why are you a historian of the ancient Near East? 

To converse with long-dead people who first wrestled with coexisting amicably in cities. 

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you? 

That we humans are very new to urban living. 

Which history book has had the greatest influence on you? 

The Sumerians by Samuel N. Kramer. 

What book in your field should everyone read?

The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

A meeting between envoys during the late 15th century BC, probably in Egypt, when five great Middle Eastern kingdoms began the process of forging a lasting peace.

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