Democracy's Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective Governance

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 26, 2004 - History - 359 pages
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This volume examines the political landscape of the ancient Near East through the archive of over 3,000 letters found in the royal palace of Mari. These letters display a rich diversity of political actors, encompassing major kingdoms, smaller states and various tribal towns. Mari's unique contribution to the ancient evidence is its view of tribal organization, made possible especially by the fact that its king, Zimri-Lim, was, first of all, a tribal ruler who claimed Mari as an administrative base and source of prestige. These archaic political traditions are not essentially unlike the forms of pre-democratic Greece, and they offer fresh reason to recognize a cultural continuity between the classical world of the Aegean and the older Near East. This book bridges the areas of archaeology, ancient and classical history, early Middle and Near East, and political and social history.

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About the author (2004)

Daniel Fleming has taught and served in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University since 1990, when he received his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. He currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee for NYU's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. The current volume was launched with financial support from a Guggenheim Fellowship (2004). Fleming was also a senior Fulbright fellow to France (1997 8) and recipient of a one-year research fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2004 5). He is author of three books and co-author of a fourth: The Installation of Baal's High Priestess at Emar (1992); Time at Emar (2000); Democracy's Ancient Ancestors (Cambridge University Press, 2004); and, with Sara J. Milstein, The Buried Foundation of the Gilgamesh Epic (2010). Fleming has contributed many articles on topics related to the ancient Near East to a range of professional journals and collected works.

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