Given the scale and general lack of evidence, there’s a broad-brush approach; but this is more than made up for by a highly engaging style. The first known city was Uruk, built in 3500 BC. The capital of the Akkadian empire, it was later ruled by Sargon, whose story closely resembles that of Romulus and Remus — ‘though apparently Sargon grew up a gardener, while the founders of Rome began their careers as shepherds’. We still can’t find the city of Akkad — a reminder of the amount of stuff that we will probably never know. But the Akkadians were responsible for how empires were structured, and their imprint looms large.