Oxford University Press, 2013. — 576 p.The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean offers a comprehensive survey of ancient state formation in western Eurasia and North Africa. Eighteen experts introduce readers to a wide variety of systems spanning 4,000 years, from the earliest known states in world history to the Roman Empire and its immediate successors. They seek to understand the inner workings of these states by focusing on key issues: political and military power, the impact of ideologies, the rise and fall of individual polities, and the mechanisms of cooperation, coercion, and exploitation. This shared emphasis on critical institutions and dynamics invites comparative and cross-cultural perspectives. A detailed introductory review of contemporary approaches to the study of the state puts the rich historical case studies in context. Transcending conventional boundaries between ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean history and between ancient and early medieval history, this volume will be of interest not only to historians but also anthropologists, archaeologists, sociologists, and political scientists. Its accessible style and up-to-date references will make it an invaluable resource for both students and scholars.Peter Fibiger Bang is Associate Professor at the Saxo Institute of the University of Copenhagen. Walter Schiedel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University.
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