About

What is this?

These are the Oldest Stories.

In this podcast, you can hear the oldest stories still known, tales that have passed the test of time with flying colors, though usually because they were written down then buried for millennia. This show is focused on the history and myth of the Cradle of Civilization, ancient Mesopotamia, beginning with the dawn of writing. My first episodes feature characters and stories that are literally five thousand years old. Never fear though, for your humble podcast host has taken these literally dusty old stories and breathed new life into them, or at least as much as I am able.

So join me as I re-tell millennia old tales, making this possibly the most derivative podcast you have ever listened to.

The show began with the epic of Gilgamesh and topics in Sumerian myth. It then moved through the history of Sumer and the Akkadian empire, looked at the arrival of the Ammorites and the rise of Hammurabi’s Old Babylonian dynasty. We have most recently looked at the rise of the Hittite Empire, and are into the grand drama of the late bronze age.

You can go over to the Where to Listen page to find various spots to listen to the show, or just search in your favorite podcast app, I should be in most of them. Also on youtube now, too, though it is just a static picture, I haven’t got the patience to do any animations or even to change the pic for each episode.

You can always leave a comment anywhere on this site, or shoot me an email if you have questions or just want to chat about the show.

Also, I hang out at a mythology discussion discord, if anyone wants to come say hi or discuss myth in general: discord.gg/q8XPnpg

Who am I?

I am not an academic historian, I am an enthusiast who is enjoying the process of researching and telling stories. Like so many history podcasters nowadays, I was inspired by Mike Duncan’s History of Rome, and I am putting this show together with pretty much nothing but a microphone and an internet connection. Honestly, I have learned a lot from my earliest days recording, but there is still a lot to go, and I am excited to keep going forward up to the end of Mesopotamian history. I don’t have the highest production values on this show, but honestly all the cosmetic and social media parts of podcasting bore me terribly, and my first priority will always be getting a new episode out each week, not keeping this site or the facebook updated.

19 thoughts on “About”

  1. Thank you so very much for your wonderful work! You gave me some of my most enjoyable moments in these never ending months of qurantine! And, honestly, I just love your voice! (don't wanna sound creepy, but it's true…)

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  2. I love your podcast and have listened to every episode. One thing I was wondering is, who are you exactly? I.e. a professor, student, or just a learned non-academic? Just curious! Also thanks for pointing us to History of English Language podcast (I think that was you), also have listened to that in its entirety. Keep it coming!

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  3. Thanks for all these insights and anecdotes. I enjoy every moment of listening – the only thing stopping me from listening through and through is, that I always need to stop and write down yet another great inspiration. Wish you all the best

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  4. Your podcast is great! Although…5 thousand years being the oldest stories? I understand the emphasis is on written stories here, but Indigenous Australians have been telling their stories for at least 75,000 years.

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    1. You are certainly right that stories are as old as humanity. However, there are two problems with purely oral traditions that make treating them as ancient problematic. First is that despite quite a lot of study, there remains a great deal of disagreement about how stable an oral tradition is. Some have put forward evidence to show that these oral stories can change radically over a few generations, while others believe they are generally quite stable. More to the point, however, an oral story often incorporates the concerns of present day individuals. I know on my island of Saipan, the tales of the native Chamorro people all have clear post-colonial influences, and any attempt to get at the pre-Spanish versions is basically impossible, much less separating out which of the stories came from the earliest Chamorros 4000 years ago and which may have been innovations just before the Spanish arrived. What this means is that whenever an Indigenous Australian, or any other member of an oral tradition is telling a story, there is an element of it which is being told as a reflection of tradition, but also a voice which is distinctly modern.

      Contrast this to a clay tablet which has been sitting in the sand for 5000 years. There is no question that this was somebody’s words, even if we assume it was all invented by the scribes, these were still ancient scribes. We can, with these, confirm a lot of details about thought and behavior patterns that would be obscured over 5000 years of oral tradition even if we assume it was faithfully passed down. This is what originally fascinated me, the ability in these tablets to see exactly what ancient people said and to see that they were human just like us.

      This isn’t to denigrate oral traditions, I think they are fantastic and deserve quite a lot of study. Indeed, if you are interested in oral storytelling traditions, I invite you to a discord group that I hang out with, there are a good number of other myth focused youtubers, podcasters, and writers, many of whom focus much more heavily on oral traditions. It is just the nature of the Mesopotamian region, where oral tradition has completely died out but these clay tablets have survived, that puts my show completely on the written documentation side of things. Anyway, that discord is here: discord.gg/q8XPnpg if you are interested.

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  5. Amazingly well done.
    Good voice with actor-like dramatic tones where appropriate.
    Humble and open about their lack of scientific expertise, though obvious they’ve done hell of a lot of hard work writing their show.
    From disparate sources, knits together narratives that sound right to modern ear and very kindly excises repetitive stuff.
    Excellent contextualization of material in historical events.

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  6. Hey, I just want to say this podcast is great! Your humor is appreciated, and I admire how you’ve duly researched and presented such obscure and fragmented histories—a huge undertaking in itself— while also managing to keep it entertaining.

    Also, it’s not lost on me that you haven’t diluted your content with advertising, and explicit promotion of things connected to the podcast—like social media, asking for reviews, etc.—has been extremely sparse. Related to that, is there a way to donate to the podcast? Because I’d like to do so.

    Finally, lately I’ve been interested in human lifespan and have been taking note of people from non-modern history who lived to be very old. From the bronze age, Ramses II (90-96ish) and Pepe II (100ish) of Egypt come to mind, as does Rim Sin I of Larsa. I remember you saying something like that Rim Sin lived into his 80’s. Do the sources by chance allow for any more specificity, or is his age of death roughly based on a reasonable assumption that he took the throne in his 20s, or something like that?

    Thank you!

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    1. We don’t actually have a birth date for Rim-Sin, but we do have 60 years of year names for his reign, and we know he took the throne as an adult. We make the assumption he was about 20 years old when he took the throne, and could not have been more than a bit younger than that, but we can’t be more specific. It is sadly quite common for us to know almost nothing about the early lives of the Mesopotamian kings, so it is hard to say that many of them lived extraordinarily long lives, but if I spot any other long life candidates, I will be sure to mention them.

      I am glad you are enjoying the show, and you are not the first person to ask about a donation page, so I am setting one up now. But the show will always be free and ad-free, with minimal promotion because I don’t like that stuff in the shows I listen to, so it will be minimized in my show as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. By far one of my favorite podcasts. If you do choose to move to other ventures I know you will find success and prosperity. Thanks so much for the hours of entertainment and the new insights made possible by your hard work!

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  8. I listen to The Age of Napoleon, Thugs and Miracles, The Hellenistic Age, and The Oldest Stories podcasts. Mr. Bleckley with The Oldest Stories is by far the most entertaining. His relaxed, natural, humorous, and informative podcast keeps me coming back. I am sad that I have caught up with all of the episodes because how I have to wait for the next episode to come, out instead of just playing the next one. I must admit that I listen to the other podcasts for the history, and listen to this one because of the host. Much has gone over my head, however I have not yet come across a host so welcoming. Mr. Bleckley says sometimes that his podcast does not have the production value as others. He does not need it. Yes, there are moments that could have been edited. But those who edit every sentence spoken do not compare. Keep it up please. And once you have concluded your podcast, please start another. We want you to succeed and to get paid if possible, even if I contribute little to nothing financially.

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  9. Mr. Bleckley, you can be a voice actor. As a matter of fact, you are one already. Please consider. You will be a natural fit for any animated series.

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    1. No joke, that was a career dream of mine when I was younger. Didn’t work out, but who knows what the future holds. Oldest Stories will run a few more years before we get to the end, and I have a list of podcasts I would love to make after that lol, so no worries about running out for a while.

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  10. I’m Iraqi and so I have a great interest in my nations history. To be honest with you I’ve learned more about the most glorious epoch of it from this podcast than I did from education and growing up in Iraq. For a nonspecialist you have a great command of the subject material and it shows that you have done a lot of research and worked hard on this podcast. I listen to an episode each morning on my 40min drive to work. I try to compare the old people of mesopotamia to my generations and look for common traits/cultural similarities because despite the numerous invasions and migrations there must be a common thread that runs through time and history. For example marriage practices and norms seem to be the same since Babylonian times. I also try to visualise the places and where they would be now. Interestingly Hit seems to be the same place and name since at Akkadian times which must make it the oldest consistent conurbation with the same name in the world. Also interesting to see some words persist in Iraqi culture such as some month names, the word moschino (miskeen in modern day parlance), and hirmatu (hirmah in modern time and essentially means a woman of ill repute). I appreciate my donation will make you a Jeff Bazos but I hope that it will encourage you to continue telling the oldest takes and spreading it to a larger audience.
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Previous comment should read …. not make you a Jeff Bezos.
    Also …. continue telling the oldest stories

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