Democracy's Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective by Daniel E. Fleming

By Daniel E. Fleming

This quantity examines the political panorama of the traditional close to East in the course of the archive of over 3,000 letters present in the royal palace of Mari. those letters exhibit a wealthy range of political actors, encompassing significant kingdoms, smaller states and numerous tribal cities. Mari's detailed contribution to the traditional facts is its view of tribal association, made attainable specially via the truth that its king, Zimri-Lim, used to be, firstly, a tribal ruler who claimed Mari as an administrative base and resource of status. those archaic political traditions should not basically not like the varieties of pre-democratic Greece, and so they supply clean cause to acknowledge a cultural continuity among the classical international of the Aegean and the older close to East. This e-book bridges the parts of archaeology, old and classical background, early heart and close to East, and political and social historical past.

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All the categories of this study suffer the same inadequacies. The “tribe” is a loose term applied especially to groups of non-European origin, except in secondary use to describe large extended families. In theoretical terms, “tribal” social organization must be distinguished sharply from “pastoralist” subsistence by flocks of sheep and goats, and pastoralist subsistence in turn from mobile or “nomadic” patterns of residence. In the Mari archives the ubiquitous word hanˆum (Hana) can make it difficult to maintain these ˘ hanˆum, ˘ most often written ha-na, probably means distinctions.

Richard Blanton, working from early Mesoamerican archaeology, states bluntly that he views “as problematic the assumption that political centralization is the central process in the evolution of states” (1998, 138). ”35 Even more recently, Susan McIntosh has suggested that the anthropological study of Africa has long demanded a shift in the theoretical discussion of how “complex” societies may be structured (1999b, 4): I suggest that Africa challenges deeply embedded evolutionary notions of complexity as differentiation by political hierarchization and provides an instructive counterpoint to formulations that locate power centrally in individuals and focus analysis primarily on the economic strategies used by these individuals to maintain and expand operational power.

31 Iˇsme-Dagan survived in greatly ˘ reduced circumstances at Ekallatum, where he outlasted Zimri-Lim and may even have contributed to his defeat. Hammurabi’s final seizure of Mari took ˘ carefully reviewed the contents of place without a siege, and his scribes his onetime ally’s archives, apparently removing the most important correspondence with Hammurabi himself and with other major rulers, and then ˘ destroy the palace, entombing the thousands of remainfinally deciding to ing tablets in the rubble (Charpin 1995a).

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