Urartu: A Unique Case of Empire

Speaker: Dr. Tiffany Earley-Spadoni, Associate Professor of History, University of Central Florida

Date & Time: Thursday, March 30th, 2023 at 7pm Yerevan time (11:00 am-12:30pm EDT)

Language: English

Registration required: https://bit.ly/3INfRO1

Urartu was a powerful kingdom that existed in the ancient Middle East from the 9th to the 7th centuries BCE, although it has been overlooked and misunderstood in various ways since its rediscovery in the modern era. Specifically, the empire is frequently framed as being a minor development resulting from the growth of the Assyrian empire to its south. Dr. Earley-Spadoni will provide historical context for Urartu, which was a thriving expansionary state located in what is now eastern Turkey, Armenia, and western Iran. The empire left behind an impressive array of evidence ranging from vibrant material remains to evocative textual sources. Rather than being centered around large “imperial” cities like other empires which had come before, Urartu relied on a rural, regional network of forts, fortresses, and fire beacon stations to defend against threats and impose sovereignty upon the mountainous landscape. The fortified network allowed for the spread of information and the coordination of military and administrative activities, which helped the kingdom consolidate its power over neighboring regions. The talk will conclude with a call to reframe the way we think about Urartu. Dr. Earley-Spadoni will suggest that this goal can be achieved by studying Urartian materials and texts as independent developments that combined local practices and reinterpreted broader regional traditions. Ultimately, she will argue that Urartu must be understood as a historically specific case, in its own context, rather than as a rival that grew in the shadow of Assyria.

Dr. Tiffany Earley-Spadoni is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida. Her research consists of spatially-oriented investigations of expansionary state development in the ancient Near East. Her current archaeological field projects are the Kurd Qaburstan Project in Iraq and the Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project in Armenia. She received her PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Tiffany Earley-Spadoni is also an ARISC Fellow who had been awarded the ARISC Research Fellowship. Funding for this fellowship is provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). This event is sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). The lectures are free and open to the public. Learn more at www.arisc.org

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