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Cosmos, Politics, and the Ideology of Kingship in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia
For almost three thousand years, Egypt and Mesopotamia were each ruled by the single sacred office of kingship. Though geographically near, these ancient civilizations were culturally distinct, and scholars have historically contrasted their respective conceptualizations of the ultimate authority, imagining Egyptian kings as invested with cosmic power and Mesopotamian kings as primarily political leaders. In fact, both kingdoms depended on religious ideals and political resources to legitimate and exercise their authority. Cross-cultural comparison reveals the sophisticated and varied strategies that ancient kings used to unify and govern their growing kingdoms.
Experiencing Power, Generating Authority draws on rich material records left behind by both kingdoms, from royal monuments and icons to the written deeds and commissions of kings. Thirteen essays provocatively juxtapose the relationships Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings had with their gods and religious mediators, as well as their subjects and court officials. They also explore the ideological significance of landscape in each kingdom, since the natural and built environment influenced the economy, security, and cosmology of these lands. The interplay of religion, politics, and territory is dramatized by the everyday details of economy, trade, and governance, as well as the social crises of war or the death of a king. Reexamining established notions of cosmic and political rule, Experiencing Power, Generating Authority challenges and deepens scholarly approaches to rulership in the ancient world.
Contributors: Mehmet-Ali Ataç, Miroslav Bárta, Dominique Charpin, D. Bruce Dickson, Eckart Frahm, Alan B. Lloyd, Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia, Ludwig D. Morenz, Ellen Morris, Beate Pongratz-Leisten, Michael Roaf, Walther Sallaberger, JoAnn Scurlock.
The Rise of Peisistratos and "Democratic" Tyranny at Athens
The sixth century is a very contentious time; Fame, Money, and Power unambiguously advances our understanding of Peisistratos and archaic Athens. No one else has tackled so many of the difficult issues that Lavelle has taken on. --David Tandy, University of Tennessee "Well researched and engaging, [Fame, Money, and Power] painstakingly builds [its] case for how the various phases of Peisistratos's career developed." --Tony Podlecki, University of British Columbia The Athenian "golden age" occurred in the fifth century B.C.E. and was attributed to their great achievements in art, literature, science, and philosophy. However, the most important achievement of the time was the political movement from tyranny to democracy. Though tyranny is thought to be democracy's opposite and deadly enemy, that is not always the case. In Fame, Money, and Power, Brian Lavelle states that the perceived polarity between tyranny and democracy does not reflect the truth in this instance. The career of the tyrant Peisistratos resembles the careers and successes of early democratic soldier-politicians. As with any democratic political system, Peisistratos' governance depended upon the willingness of the Athenians who conceded governance to him. This book attempts to show how the rise of Peisistratos fits into an essentially democratic system already entrenched at Athens in the earlier sixth century B.C.E. Emerging from the apparent backwater of eastern Attika, Peisistratos led the Athenians to victory over their neighbors, the Megarians, in a long, drawn out war. That victory earned him great popularity from the Athenians and propelled him along the road to monarchy. Yet, political success at Athens, even as Solon implies in his poems, depended upon the enrichment of the Athenian d?mos, not just fame and popularity. Peisistratos tried and failed two times to "root" his tyranny, his failures owing to a lack of sufficient money with which to appease the demos. Exiled from Athens, he spent the next ten years amassing money to enrich the Athenians and power to overcome his enemies. He then sustained his rule by grasping the realities of Athenian politics. Peisistratos' tyrannies were partnerships with the d?mos, the first two of which failed. His final formula for success, securing more money than his opponents possessed and then more resources for enriching the d?mos, provided the model for future democratic politicians of Athens who wanted to obtain and keep power in fifth-century Athens.
Public Taxation and Social Relations
To meet the enormous expenses of maintaining its powerful navy, democratic Athens gave wealthy citizens responsibility for financing and commanding the fleet. Known as trierarchs—literally, ship commanders—they bore the expenses of maintaining and repairing the ships, as well as recruiting and provisioning their crews. The trierarchy grew into a powerful social institution that was indispensable to Athens and primarily responsible for the city's naval prowess in the classical period. Financing the Athenian Fleet is the first full-length study of the financial, logistical, and social organization of the Athenian navy. Using a rich variety of sources, particularly the enormous body of inscriptions that served as naval records, Vincent Gabrielsen examines the development and function of the Athenian trierarchy and revises our understanding of the social, political, and ideological mechanisms of which that institution was a part. Exploring the workings, ships, and gear of Athens' navy, Gabrielsen explains how a huge, costly, and highly effective operation was run thanks to the voluntary service and contributions of the wealthy trierarchs. He concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of the relationship between Athens' democracy and its wealthiest citizens. "This is a marvelous book: an original, well-researched, and compelling treatment of the financial organization of the Atheniannavy, from which Gabrielsen expands our understanding of the functioning of Athens' democratic government. In particular, he addresses the topic of how democracy induced its richer members not to hide their money but to spend it on behalf of Athens. Gabrielsen has mastered a rich body of unusual—and fundamental—material which he presents with clarity and intelligence. This book is a major contribution to Athenian social history."—Robert Wallace, Northwestern University.
While the remains of its massive aqueducts serve as tangible reminders of Rome’s efforts to control its supply of drinking water, there are scant physical reminders that other waters sometimes raged out of control. In fact, floods were simply a part of life in ancient Rome, where proximity to the Tiber left a substantial part of the city vulnerable to the river's occasional transgressions. Here, in the first book-length treatment of the impact of floods on an ancient city, Gregory S. Aldrete draws upon a diverse range of scientific and cultural data to develop a rich and detailed account of flooding in Rome throughout the classical period. Aldrete explores in detail the overflowing river’s destructive effects, drawing from ancient and modern written records and literary accounts, analyses of the topography and hydrology of the Tiber drainage basin, visible evidence on surviving structures, and the known engineering methods devised to limit the reach of rising water. He discusses the strategies the Romans employed to alleviate or prevent flooding, their social and religious attitudes toward floods, and how the threat of inundation influenced the development of the city's physical and economic landscapes.
Scholars have long recognized the relevance to Christianity of the many stories surrounding the life of Alexander the Great, who claimed to be the son of Zeus. But until now, no comprehensive effort has been made to connect the mythic life and career of Alexander to the stories about Jesus and to the earliest theology of the nascent Christian churches. Ory Amitay delves into a wide range of primary texts in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew to trace Alexander as a mythological figure, from his relationship to his ancestor and rival, Herakles, to the idea of his divinity as the son of a god. In compelling detail, Amitay illuminates both Alexander’s links to Herakles and to two important and enduring ideas: that of divine sonship and that of reconciliation among peoples.
The Black Experience of Ancient Egypt
In From Slave to Pharaoh, noted Egyptologist Donald B. Redford examines over two millennia of complex social and cultural interactions between Egypt and the Nubian and Sudanese civilizations that lay to the south of Egypt. These interactions resulted in the expulsion of the black Kushite pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty in 671 B.C. by an invading Assyrian army. Redford traces the development of Egyptian perceptions of race as their dominance over the darker-skinned peoples of Nubia and the Sudan grew, exploring the cultural construction of spatial and spiritual boundaries between Egypt and other African peoples. Redford focuses on the role of racial identity in the formulation of imperial power in Egypt and the legitimization of its sphere of influence, and he highlights the dichotomy between the Egyptians' treatment of the black Africans it deemed enemies and of those living within Egyptian society. He also describes the range of responses—from resistance to assimilation—of subjugated Nubians and Sudanese to their loss of self-determination. Indeed, by the time of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, the culture of the Kushite kings who conquered Egypt in the late eighth century B.C. was thoroughly Egyptian itself. Moving beyond recent debates between Afrocentrists and their critics over the racial characteristics of Egyptian civilization, From Slave to Pharaoh reveals the true complexity of race, identity, and power in Egypt as documented through surviving texts and artifacts, while at the same time providing a compelling account of war, conquest, and culture in the ancient world.
Odysseus in Ancient Thought
Praise for Silvia Montiglio "[A] brilliant and important book. . . . " ---Journal of Religion, on Silence in the Land of Logos "[A]n invigorating reevaluation of both the ancient symbolic landscape and our preconceptions of it." ---American Journal of Philology, on Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture Best known for his adventures during his homeward journey as narrated in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus remained a major figure and a source of inspiration in later literature, from Greek tragedy to Dante's Inferno to Joyce's Ulysses. Less commonly known, but equally interesting, are Odysseus' "wanderings" in ancient philosophy: Odysseus becomes a model of wisdom for Socrates and his followers, Cynics and Stoics, as well as for later Platonic thinkers. From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought follows these wanderings in the world of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, retracing the steps that led the cunning hero of Homeric epic and the villain of Attic tragedy to become a paradigm of the wise man. From Villain to Hero explores the reception of Odysseus in philosophy, a subject that so far has been treated only in tangential or limited ways. Diverging from previous studies, Montiglio outlines the philosophers' Odysseus across the spectrum, from the Socratics to the Middle Platonists. By the early centuries CE, Odysseus' credentials as a wise man are firmly established, and the start of Odysseus' rehabilitation by philosophers challenges current perceptions of him as a villain. More than merely a study in ancient philosophy, From Villain to Hero seeks to understand the articulations between philosophical readings of Odysseus and nonphilosophical ones, with an eye to the larger cultural contexts of both. While this book is the work of a classicist, it will also be of interest to students of philosophy, comparative literature, and reception studies.
Galen is the most important physician of the Roman imperial era. Many of his theories and practices were the basis for medical knowledge for centuries after his death and some practices—like checking a patient’s pulse—are still used today. He also left a vast corpus of writings which makes up a full one-eighth of all surviving ancient Greek literature. Through her readings of hundreds of Galen’s case histories, Susan P. Mattern presents the first systematic investigation of Galen’s clinical practice. Galen’s patient narratives illuminate fascinating interplay among the craft of healing, social class, professional competition, ethnicity, and gender. Mattern describes the public, competitive, and masculine nature of medicine among the urban elite and analyzes the relationship between clinical practice and power in the Roman household. She also finds that although Galen is usually perceived as self-absorbed and self-promoting, his writings reveal him as sensitive to the patient’s history, symptoms, perceptions, and even words. Examining his professional interactions in the context of the world in which he lived and practiced, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing provides a fresh perspective on a foundational figure in medicine and valuable insight into how doctors thought about their patients and their practice in the ancient world.
Private Water Rights in Roman Italy
Gardens and Neighbors will provide an important building block in the growing body of literature on the ways that Roman law, Roman society, and the economic concerns of the Romans jointly functioned in the real world. ---Michael Peachin, New York University As is increasingly true today, fresh water in ancient Italy was a limited resource, made all the more precious by the Roman world's reliance on agriculture as its primary source of wealth. From estate to estate, the availability of water varied, in many cases forcing farmers in need of access to resort to the law. In Gardens and Neighbors: Private Water Rights in Roman Italy, Cynthia Bannon explores the uses of the law in controlling local water supplies. She investigates numerous issues critical to rural communities and the Roman economy. Her examination of the relationship between farmers and the land helps draw out an understanding of Roman attitudes toward the exploitation and conservation of natural resources and builds an understanding of law in daily Roman life. An editor of the series Law and Society in the Ancient World, Cynthia Jordan Bannon is also Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her previous book was The Brothers of Romulus: Fraternal Pietas in Roman Law, Literature, and Society (1997). Visit the author's website: http://www.iub.edu/~classics/faculty/bannon.shtml. Jacket illustration: Barren Tuscan Fields in Winter © 2009 Scott Gilchrist. Image from stock.archivision.com.
The Genesis of East Asia examines in a comprehensive and novel way the critically formative period when a culturally coherent geopolitical region identifiable as East Asia first took shape. By sifting through an impressive array of both primary material and modern interpretations, Charles Holcombe unravels what “East Asia” means, and why. He brings to bear archaeological, textual, and linguistic evidence to elucidate how the region developed through mutual stimulation and consolidation from its highly plural origins into what we now think of as the nation-states of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Beginning with the Qin dynasty conquest of 221 B.C. which brought large portions of what are now Korea and Vietnam within China’s frontiers, the book goes on to examine the period of intense interaction that followed with the many scattered local tribal cultures then under China’s imperial sway as well as across its borders. Even the distant Japanese islands could not escape being profoundly transformed by developments on the mainland. Eventually, under the looming shadow of the Chinese empire, independent native states and civilizations matured for the first time in both Japan and Korea, and one frontier region, later known as Vietnam, moved toward independence. Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, this study of state formation in East Asia will be required reading for students and scholars of ancient and medieval East Asian history. It will be invaluable as well to anyone interested in the problems of ethno-nationalism in the post-Cold War era.