Mesopotamian Empires

Gojko Barjamovic

in The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780195188318
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Mesopotamian Empires

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This chapter examines the history of state formation in ancient Mesopotamia, focusing on the Greater Mesopotamia region. It explains the role of territorially defined urban communities and kinship-based polities or tribes in state formation, and provides examples of large states that arose slowly through a cumulative process of smaller polities coalescing into larger ones. The chapter also considers the dynamic shifts between city-state culture and imperial unification during the proto-historical period, and discusses the periods of political unification and fragmentation in Greater Mesopotamia prior to the Persian conquest.

Keywords: Ancient Mesopotamia; state formation; Greater Mesopotamia; urban communities; kinship-based polities; city-state culture; imperial unification; political unification; political fragmentation

Article.  19227 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Law ; Classical History

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