A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism. In this enthralling talk Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object.


  1. #1 PaulG
    February 24, 2012

    If you’ve got 25 hours to spare, you can also hear him do “A History of the World in 100 Objects” as a series of 100 15-minute podcasts.


  2. #2 MikeB
    February 26, 2012

    The podcasts were first broadcast last year in two ten week series, last year. Excellent series (although someone did complain that they really wanted to see the objects, which is a bit of a challenge for a radio programme), and the Beeb also gave a chance for people to choose their own object http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/

    There is even a book to accompany the series.

    One of my favourites is Hinton St Mary, with the mosiac (I’m a Romanist and I was brought up in Dorset), but probably the most emotional was was the Olduvai handaxe – I’d just handled one at the BM a couple of weeks before – there was something very special about it.