Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History

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9780415008433: Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History

Old World civilization began in the Near East, in the Nile Valley and in Mesopotamia, where two very different cultures prospered. Egypt, isolated as it was within the Nile Valley, largely failed to export its culture. Early Mesopotamia, however, exerted its influence throughout the Near Eastern world. Postgate's book assesses the influence of this fascinating culture, examining modern scholarship in the light of archaeological discovery. Early Mesopotamia has left us with an abundance of inscribed clay tablets from a wide variety of sources, from government institutions and diplomatic correspondence, to legal proceedings and private correspondence. With the help of illustrations and quotations from these documents, Postgate reveals the organization of the world's first urban society. Surprisingly modern at times, this ancient culture was technologically and socially innovative, as well as acutely self-analytical and dominated by bureaucracy and commerce. One of the strengths of this book is the integration of historical and archaeological data which until now has been largely scattered in specialist literature.

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About the Author:

Nicholas Postgate was Professor of Assyriology at the University of Cambridge from 1994 to 2013 and Fellow of Trinity College. He directed excavations at the Sumerian city at Abu Salabikh in South Iraq from 1973 to 1989, and at the Bronze and Iron Age settlement at Kilise Tepe in South Turkey from 1994 to 2012. His articles have been published in Iraq, Revue d'Assyriologie, the Journal of Cuneiform Studies, the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Sumer, and Anatolian Studies. He is author of Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the Dawn of History, editor of several volumes of Assyrian documents, and co-editor of A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian.

Review:

"This discussion is not just an excellent introduction to the subject: it is full of insights and evidence of the breadth of Postgate's scholarship."
-"History Today
"Postgate has written the finest available introduction to the ancient world of Mesopotamia. . . . Postgate successfully accomplishes what few others have achieved, namely, a narrative depiction of the lifeways of the people of early Mesopotamia: their law, warfare, crafts, trade, technological achievements, and their political and religious ideologies. . . . Essential reading for all interested in the ancient past."
-"Choice

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