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One of the civilisations mentioned during the course was the Assyrians, including one of their Kings, Ashurbanipal, and his library. Before the sun never set on the British Empire; before Genghis Khan swept the steppe; before Rome extended its influence to encircle the Mediterranean Sea; there was ancient Assyria. Considered by historians to be the first true empire, Assyria’s innovations laid the groundwork for every superpower that has followed. Marian H Feldman details the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire.

Curator Mathilde Touillon-Ricci shares her research into the letters of Old Assyrian traders and the sometimes surprising ways in which they get around paying taxes

In this episode Curator Mathilde Touillon-Ricci explains the ancient Assyrian postal system and shows a number of rare examples of Assyrian envelopes – which don’t differ all that much from those still used today.