Asia Minor: A 3500-Year History

March 3, 17, 24, 31

In the week before and three weeks after Coe’s Spring Break, Physics Professor Ugur Akgun will provide a historical overview of the civilizations in Asia Minor. Today’s Turkey, also known as Anatolia, has been the center of known human history since early Neolithic Ages.

The forum will start March 3 with the Hittites, the first known great civilization located at the center of Anatolia. Participants will review the culture and interactions with Egypt and Mesopotamia. Then, we will welcome the Greeks into Anatolia, focusing on the Greek city-kingdoms along the Aegean coast – Ephesus, Troy, Miletus and Priene.

Two weeks later on March 17, the series resumes with the amazing history of Constantinople, the capitol of the Roman Empire and the center of Christianity for over 11 centuries. The third lecture covers the origins of Turkic people in middle Asia, and their 2,000-year-long migration to the west, Seljuk Empire and eventually Ottoman Empire.

The fourth session will start in 1922 with the foundation of the modern Turkish Republic. Participants will review the revolution led by Ataturk, which transformed a Muslim population into a secular society for the first time in history. Turkey's integration with the west via NATO, its role in the Cold War, as well as its struggle with the transition to democracy will be discussed.

Ugur Akgun
Ugur Akgun
Assistant Professor of Physics