What to Do When the Empire Strikes: Israelites, Judeans & Medes in the Shadow of Assyria (Zoom)

28 June 2020
Sunday 7.30–9pm
Jewish Museum of Australia (Zoom)

In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:3–6).

Toward the beginning of the ninth century BCE, a new kind of power emerged in the Near East when Assyria turned territorial expansion into a core component of their ideology. This gave rise to the succession of empires that would define the Near East and Mediterranean for the next millennium.

As we know from the biblical narrative, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were among the communities impacted by Assyria’s military and political onslaught. Also among their victims were the Medes, pastoralist tribes who inhabited present-day Iran. In this lecture, we will explore the strategies that these communities used to resist, negotiate and survive Assyrian domination.

This event is proudly presented as part of our Close Encounters series with the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. Join us in exploring historical connections and conflicts – and their relevance to the Jewish world today.

Dr Hilary Gopnik is a Near Eastern archaeologist who specialises in the study of Iron Age Iran and the South Caucasus, with a focus on the Medes of the Zagros Mountains. She received her BA in Anthropology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and her MA/PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto.

Since 2008, Dr Gopnik has been the co-director of excavations at the Iron Age citadel site of Oğlanqala, and in 2016 she served as the ceramicist for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France) landscape archaeology project at the capital of Cyrus the great at Pasargadae. She was named an Archaeological Institute of America lecturer in 2014 and has toured the US and Canada delivering popular lectures on Near Eastern archaeology.

Dr Gopnik is currently the Director of the Centre for Ancient Cultures at Monash University.

Image: Relief panel (detail), ca. 883–859 BC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Presenting Partner


$15 Member
$18 Non-Member