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Ancient societies were more complex

Conference on near eastern history will highlight ancient interactions and multiculturalism

Here you have the Babylonians, here you have the Egyptians, here you have the Phoenicians, and here you have early Islam. And this is what they were about. Possibly the normal way to look back at Near Eastern ancient history.

But now a conference organised by the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Canon and Identity Formation intends to show how these different civilisations interacted with each other.

The conference will »illustrate the cultural encounters and the social dynamics spurred on by multi-culturalism in Near Eastern History,« explains post doc Thomas Klitgaard Hertel, one of the organisers of the conference, to the University Post. It runs Thursday to Friday, 10-12 May.

Series of case studies

The period ranges from 2000 BC to 1000 AD, spanning in time from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to Islam.

»In the normal simplistic explanation of history, we have Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians etc. portrayed as uniform entities and civilizations. The aim of the conference is, on the basis of a series of case studies, to show that cross-cultural interaction and cooperation was an ordinary circumstance within and between ancient societies,« says Thomas Hertel.

»We try to work from the bottom-up, and based on the case studies, to see which methods and theoretical explanations are applicable.«

The conference includes a range of speakers in the fields of archaeology, Assyriology, Egyptology, anthropology and history. See the programme here.

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