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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Organising an Empire: The Assyrian Way by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)

531 ratings
209 reviews

About the Course

Discover the mighty kingdom of Assyria, which came to be the world’s first great empire three thousand years ago. From the 9th to the 7th centuries BC, during the imperial phase of Assyria’s long history, modern day northern Iraq was the central region of a state reaching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, and incorporating what is now Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as half of Israel, and wide parts of south-eastern Turkey, and Western Iran. In its geographical extent, this state was unprecedentedly large, and the distinct geography of the Middle East, with deserts and high mountain ranges, posed challenges to communication and cohesion. What were the mechanisms that kept the Empire running? This course explores the methods the Assyrian government employed to ensure unity and maintain loyalty across vast distances, using traditional as well as innovative strategies. Some of these imperial techniques have marked parallels in the ways modern multi-national corporations are operating, others will strike you as profoundly alien. This course focusses on how the Assyrians organised their empire by analysing key aspects, namely: · The CEO – the king, a religious, political and military leader, who is charged to govern by his master, the god Assur; · Home Office – the royal palace in the central region and the royal court that form the administrative centre of the state; · The Regional Managers – the governors and client-rulers to whom local power is delegated; · Human Resources – the Empire’s people are its most precious assets, its consumers and its key product, as the goal of the imperial project was to create “Assyrians”; an approach with lasting repercussions that still reverberate in the Middle East today; and finally · The Fruits of Empire – it takes a lot of effort, so what are the rewards? When we explore these topics we will contextualise them with information about the lives led by ordinary Assyrian families. Taking this course will provide you with an overview of the political, social, religious, and military history of the world’s first superpower. It will give you insight into the geography and climatic conditions of the Middle East and contribute to your understanding of the opportunities and challenges of that region. It will present you with a vision of the Middle East at a time when its political and religious structures were very different from today....

Top reviews

Jan 27, 2021

The variety of presentations of a vast amount of knowledge made it engaging. Dr. Radner herself was engaging! The course provided a deep look into a civilization that is a bedrock to the modern world.

Jan 15, 2021

This was my first MOOC and I fully enjoyed every aspect. The knowledge level of the instructors was evident as was their commitment to their students and the varied formats were consistently engaging.

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26 - 50 of 208 Reviews for Organising an Empire: The Assyrian Way

By David W

Nov 17, 2019

My preconceptions of the roots of civilization were challenged in this course - the instructor and interviews with other experts broadened my mind and left me wanting to learn more. I recommend this course as a way to organize a further investigation into this exciting period in the origins of what it means to be human. I went from no knowledge of this period in time to a new understanding of the framework of historical events - a framework from which I can start filling in the details of what interests me most - language and culture of ancient Mesopotamia.

By ellie r e

Jan 24, 2019

Many thanks to Professor Dr. Karen Radner whose dedication, commitment and understanding of her subject shows in every video, and in all the study material she has so carefully prepared for us. Thanks also to all those other archaeologists who kindly gave their time and shared their ideas and experiences with us. It was more like being at a summer school, really it was. And particular thanks to Denise Bolton, whose conversations with Dr Radner added another, very valuable dimension to the study program. I've enjoyed every moment. Thank you all so very much!

By William N

Apr 19, 2020

An excellent course ! Organized and presented in an interesting and very informative manner. It provided a good introduction to a fascinating topic which I knew very little about. Professor Radner presents the material through a variety of teaching methods that helps maintain interest throughout the course. She never presumes pre-knowledge of this subject or related subject areas by the students and utilizes language easily understood by non-practitioners. Thank you for such an enjoyable and rewarding experience !

By Steven M J

Apr 14, 2020

I realize that a course like this and ancient subject matter are not for everyone, but I enjoyed it and appreciate the rare opportunity to learn about one of the great empires of the ancient world. I had learned about Assyria previously only as it related to the Old Testament of the Bible, but now I have so much more background and context, and indeed some of my previous assumptions and "learnings" have been challenged in a very good way. I hope there are more courses like this on Coursera! Thank you Dr. Radner!

By Henrique P

Mar 11, 2018

I think people will be enchanted in many ways with this course: the knowledge of Ms. Radner, the organizition of the videos, the varied approaches in lessons, the integration with a lot of experts all around the world been asked about "daily" subjects (if they were an Assyrian haha), the company of Ms. Bolton, but mainly the excitement of Ms. Radner with everything on those topics! That makes you feel glad about accompaining this course studying this interesting People and sad about leaving it.

By Manuel O

Jun 8, 2020

Excellent background on the management of the Assyrian Empire. This course put the scattered bits of knowledge that I had gained over the years in studies such as bible criticism and the histories of Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt, into a broader perspective. In the course of my studies I read quite a bit on the subject of Assyria, so I was familiar with the name Karen Radner. As soon as I discovered this course on Coursera, I signed up. The course was enlightening, enriching and enjoyable.

By Gerald H

Dec 18, 2020

It was an amazing course and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Karen presented brilliantly with a sharp sense of humor and kept my interest throughout. I knew nothing of the Assyrian empire, and the way the course was structured made me feel as if section by section that I was observing and witnessing life in ancient times. Not through dates or events, but through what life might have been like. It is one of my favorite online courses I have taken and thank you all so much for making it available.

By David G

Mar 12, 2021

This course is outstanding for learning more about the Assyrian empire and about the Ancient Near East in general. Professor Radner does an excellent job of enthusiastically presenting the course material, which has been so refreshing. She also enlists many fellow experts in the field to provide their perspectives of the Assyrian history and culture as well. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about Assyria. Thanks so much, Professor Radner.

By Izzah Z B A

Nov 2, 2020

I finished this Course in just a day (1.5x speed)

What an innovative course!

I love love love the Q&A session especially with the experts- they were having fun answering questions so casual yet so informative! By using maps, colourful dolls and drawing pictures, Prof Radner helped a lot in envisaging the scenes of what had happened during particular times . After covid ends, I wish to fly to the old ruins and cities mentioned to get the feel of

being an Assyrian!

By Marjon V

Jun 24, 2020

Thank you so much for this fabulous course! I love the Middle East and history and Mesopotamia has a special place in my heart. I've visited Iraq several times and I've seen a destroyed Nimrud, Nineveh and Khorsabad. This course has learned me in a very appealing way more about how it all once was and how the people have been living there. Karen Radner's enthusiasm was highly contagious. Beside her video's I loved the lovely and helpful Playmobil video's best.

By Malcolm F

Jul 23, 2019

A great range of information, fascinatingly organised and interestingly presented. Just a couple of suggestions: the interviews would be better as true dialogues - at times it sounds like a question is just dropped in to allow the ongoing talk to continue. Also, it would be nice to see a real artefact or two, and to explore a small detail in greater depth - perhaps a line from the Babylonian chronicles and so on. Really pleased to have done it though.

By Adriano M

Nov 19, 2020

Thank you very much for letting me study with you. It is a real privilege because of all the stimulating ideas I got. It made me rebuild all my ideas about this part of Antiquity. My perception of history, religion and life was very much improved. It was great to listen to so many interesting and agreable voices from the experts. Great idea of teaching in dialogue/interview form. It makes the course all the more interesting. Thank you all again.

By Nickola L

May 19, 2020

This has been such an interesting and rewarding course. Karen Radner's lectures are detailed but easy to follow and rich in information. Her delivery is excellent. Her conversational pieces with the interviewer are also informative. I learned a lot and enjoyed it so much I feel that I want to know more so I will engage in some research of my own to continue building my understanding of this extraordinary period of history.

By Veronique L

Feb 16, 2020

Fantastic course! Great teachers! I learned so much about the Assyrians, empire-building (It seems that they had the same problems as any latter empire - food, maintaining order, status building, infrastructure, communication). They seem to have had respect for new ideas and to have been innovative.

The course itself was fun, with the interviews and the animations...

Please make one about Babylon now or about Mesopotamia.....

By Abed D

Jan 24, 2021

I will take the opportunity to show admiration of the hard work put into this course and it's contents. I am a mid age banker, but this course showed me well how history gives me a thirst for knowledge and I would want to thank Dr. Radner to her passionate way of lecturing knowledge.

In general, the Assyrian civilization is a rich dish with culture and history that keeps you want to study and acquire more knowledge about.

By David H

Nov 18, 2020

I found this course very interesting and full of detail. I never knew that much about Assyria and wish I would've looked into this history before. The lessons were well presented and followed a very logical and rewarding end. I would recommend this course for anyone with the interest.

Professor Radner was very knowledgeable and got the main points across in plain ordinary language and she was a delight to listen to.

By Mike L

Jan 23, 2021

I really enjoyed this course. There were a lot of unique tool used to help promote learning, including links to podcasts, whiteboard sketches and visual aids, and links to digital reconstructions of palaces. This really helps to engage all kinds of learners and learning styles, and I definitely appreciated the creativity that was used to help enrich the learning experience.

By Stephen B

Oct 10, 2019

A nicely presented course. It has a strong focus on the culture and life in the Neo-Assyrian empire, interweaving that with the history of the empire and the kings. A student completing the course should take away a sense of what that empire was, how it fits in to the larger history, and the important ideas and systems that it contributed to our own world today..

By Dr. R M

Jan 25, 2021

An excellent course !! Highly informative, enlightening and thought-provoking !! Prof. Karen Radner is a fantastic teacher, her dedication and passion for the subject are worth emulating, it was simply a joyous journey into the Assyrian civilization. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would recommend it to all the students of ancient civilizations of the world.

By Marianne H

May 21, 2018

I initially enrolled on this course just because at a casual glance, I thought it 'might be interesting.' Within the first video I was absolutely hooked! The subject matter in itself is fascinating, and it is engagingly presented in a variety of ways. 'Interesting' is an understatement, and I would definitely recommend this course to anyone considering it.

By Afreen m

Jul 31, 2020

Great course! I learned a lot and appreciated the varied forms in which the information was presented. Made it much easier to digest. I can't say that I'll remember the names of all the Assyrian kings, but I'll always be interested in learning more. Thank you for igniting this latent interest and I'll keep a look out for other courses by Karen :)

By James H

Aug 22, 2020

Amazingly well-produced course, using different techniques of presenting the information, to give a fascinating introduction to the Neo-Assyrian empire, its politics and daily life. The enthusiasm of the speakers is infectious, and the regular tests make sure that you can consolidate knowledge before moving on to the next section.

By Zeta

Nov 6, 2020

This course is incredible! Thank you all so much for this opportunity. Prof. Karen Radner is so knowledgeable and inspiring and the different teaching techniques used, are extremely fun. It is a very well written short introduction to Assyrian History and it covers a variety of topics. I highly recommend it to everyone!

By Maria E H

Jul 12, 2020

This is a great course! If anyone is planning on taking it I do recommend that you read a quick overall history of Assyria and Mesopotamia. This will provide you with the context you need to truly evaluate the information covered in this course and to make it more enjoyable. The professor is truly knowledgeable.

By Tina T

Mar 18, 2018

Neo Assyrian history made engaging and accessible! The combination of different learning methods (lectures, armchair 'chats', ask the experts, supplementary reading and resources) helped in creating a rounded, memorable learning experience. So looking forward to more from Karen Radner, Denise Bolton and team!