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Interviews

The Enigmatic Poison King: Mithradates VI of Pontus (120-63 BCE)

coverWhile relatively unknown today, Mithradates VI of Pontus inspired fear, romance, courage, and intrigue across the Near East during the first century BCE. Claiming descent from Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia, Mithradates challenged the might of late Republican Rome, creating an empire that stretched from the northern reaches of the Black Sea to Syria and Armenia. While loathed by Rome for his massacre of 80,000 Roman civilians in 88 BCE, Mithradates was hailed by Greeks and Persians as a “savior” from oppressive Roman misrule. Mithradates’ ambition, coupled with his advanced knowledge of poisons, make him one of the most intriguing personalities in antiquity.

In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Adrienne Mayor, a Research Scholar at Stanford University, who examines the tumultuous life of this most tantalizing of ancient kings in The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates. Contextualizing his political importance, intellectual brilliance, and complex character, Mayor also shares insights as to why Mithradates has been largely ignored in recent scholarship.

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Behind the Scenes

AHE is listed on Open Education Resources

oercommonsThe Ancient History Encyclopedia is pleased to announce that we are officially listed and registered on Open Education Resources (OER). The creation and use of OER represents a shift in education that facilitates shared teacher expertise and peer-based learning. Free and open content is not only a new economic model for schools and students, but also a primary vehicle for disseminating flexible, adaptable curricula.

OER is a virtual network that brings together over 44,000 tools for sharing educational material. Additionally, OER provides news and training on how to approach and access open education tools. In essence, OER are teaching and learning materials freely available for everyone to use, whether one is an educator or student. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

Since its inception in 2009, AHE has been a non-profit educational company with a global vision: to provide the best ancient history information on the internet for free. Combining different media, subjects and periods, in interactive ways, we strive to help scholars understand both the “big picture” and the minute detail. Joining OER is a privilege, and we are delighted to be part of their expansive and innovative global network.

[AHE Press Release: 25/05/2013. Horsham, UK Headquarters]

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Behind the Scenes

UserVoice is sponsoring us!

uservoice-logo-300pxWe’re happy to announce that the kind people at UserVoice are sponsoring us. We’ve been using their services for quite some time now; it’s the little red feedback tab on the bottom right. They describe themselves in these terms: “UserVoice is the San Francisco-based startup that empowers you to help and understand your users so you can keep them happy with great support and be even smarter about building better products.”

Well, we can honestly say that UserVoice has helped us better understand what our readers want. As they’ve now given us free access to all their services, we can not only improve our feedback forums, but we can now also add contact forms and a knowledge base to the site. Thank you very much for this support, UserVoice! 🙂

Categories
Interviews

Petra: Wonder in the Desert

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Few places on earth have captivated humanity as much as the ethereal city of Petra, which is located in present-day Jordan. Constructed by the Nabataeans–ancient traders who dominated the export of frankincense, myrrh, balsam, and spices from Arabia to the Greco-Roman world–Petra was a beautiful desert metropolis of theaters, temples, palaces, and immense markets. ‘Rediscovered’ in 1812 by an eccentric Swiss adventurer, Johan Ludwig Burckhardt, Petra is the focus of a new show at the Antikenmuseum Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Opened last fall by HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan, Petra: Wonder in the Desert. In the Footsteps of J. L. Burckhardt alias “Sheikh Ibrahim,” showcases nearly 150 artifacts, demonstrating the power, prestige, and sophistication of one of Antiquity’s most alluring cities.

In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia converses with Mr. Laurent Gorgerat, a Co-Curator of the exhibition, and learns how a mysterious kingdom of former nomads created a luxurious, urban oasis in an inhospitable climate.

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