The Birth of the State

Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China

Petr Charvát

Petr Charvát

Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

358 pages | 52 halftones | 5 x 8 | © 2013
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9788024622149 Published December 2013 Not for sale in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic
The Birth of the State provides an overview of four of the most significant cultural centers in the ancient world, now in Egypt, the Persian Gulf region, India, and China. Petr Charvát approaches his subjects from a variety of perspectives and offers information on the economy, society, political climate, and religion within each of the empires. Using the most up-to-date research and theories available, Charvát not only delves into each of these nation states individually, but also synthesizes the material to reveal overarching themes in the birth and decline of civilizations.  
Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

 

ANCIENT EGYPT

 

The Natural Environment

The Roots and Origins of All Things: The Productive Economy In Egypt (Neolithic Age, ca. 5500-4500 BC)

The Chalcolithic Age or Building Inequality: The Badari Culture (4500-3800 BC)

Embryonic Signs of the State: Naqada I, II, and III (4th millennium BC)

                Economy

                The embryos of cities

                Social differentiation: the elite and the others

                Egyptian society of the pre-state period in burial rituals

Lower Egypt: Between the Pharaoh and the Red Sea

                Economy

                Settlements

                Burials

                Beyond everyday borders: contact with Asia

Confronting the Enemy: Nubia

The Burial of the Famous and Powerful in the Northern Part of Upper Egypt: Abydos

Burial Grounds Of The Southern Kingdom of Upper Egypt: An Elite Burial Site In Hieraconpolis

“Simple” Egyptians

The Dawn of the Egyptian Writing System

The Birth of the Egyptian State

Stabilization of the Early Egyptian State

Characteristics of the Early Egyptian State

 

ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA

 

The Natural Environment

The Dawn of a More Advanced Social Structure (the Halaf culture, 6000-5000 BC)

Early Historiography: Susa at the Close of the 5th Millenium BC

                Mausoleum of Susa

                Painted pottery of Susa: the people and their communities

                Painted pottery of Susa: the people and their work

                Painted pottery of Susa: deities

                Painted pottery of Susa: Why?

Susa at the Dawn of the Uruk Period: First Reports from the Creation of the State (early 4th millennium BC)

                The sacral face of the age: activating fertility powers

                The secular face of the age: building, protection, tradition

Sumer, the Southern Part of Mesopotamia: While This Was Happening

                Activating the potential of fertility powers

                Writing! Writing?

                The enchantment of cylinder seals

                “You will not be like gods”

Behold, Civilization: The Greater Community of the Late Period of Uruk Culture (3500-3200 Bc) – En, Nin, Nameshda

                Economy: redistribution prevails

                Spiritual and political leaders: EN, NIN, NAMESHDA

                Innovations at the dawn of the 3rd millenium BC: LUGAL, NIN,

                NAMESHDA

                The wise Owl of Minerva flies at dusk: the crisis of the 27th century BC

                and what came of it - LUGAL, ENSI, EN               

“The End of the Beginning”: the Sumerian State at the Close Of The Early Dynastic Period (ca. 2500-2334 BC)

                The king and his court

                The powerful and revered

                Careful and resourceful

                “He who shackles slaves…”

Conclusion

 

ANCIENT INDIA

 

The Natural Environment

Prehistoric Beginnings

The Preparatory Period

The Proto-Indian Culture (2500-1900 BC)

                Economy

                City Life

                Mohenjo-daro

                Harappa

                Town and cities

                Rural Life

                A state organism?

                The spiritual culture

The Demise of Proto-Indian Culture

 

ANCIENT CHINA

 

The Natural Environment

Prehistoric Beginnings: “Mesolithic-Neolithic” – Hunters, Gatherers and Farmers

                The Neolithic Period in southern China

The Chalcolithic Period (We Are No Longer All Equal)

                China’s Northern Regions during the Chalcolithic Period

 The Beginnings of the State

                The Traditional Interpretation of Chinese History

                The Erlitou Culture

                In the cities and peripheral areas of the first state

                Zhengzhou

                Anyang

                Western Zhou

The Economy of the First Chinese State

Society

                Characteristics of the first Chinese state

                A state arises from kinship

                What followed?

                What the elite took with them on their journey to the next world

                The spiritual world

 

HOW THEN IS A STATE BORN?

 

First, a Brief Review

Subsistence

                Agriculture

                Craft

                Trading

                Settlements

                Burials

Society

                Organizational centers of the Chalcolithic societies and their facilities

                Courtiers of the first rulers: clever, resolute and foresighted

                Courtiers of the first rulers: those who speak with the gods

                                Egypt

                                Sumer and Akkad

                                What was the deification of the Mesopotamian rulers like?

                                India and China

                Three societies and the birth of the state

Metaphysics

                The human world, space, time and their nature

                The non-human world

                Is the world around us composed of the elements?

                Powers of the overworld

                Art

Conclusion

 

Appendix: the State in Trouble

                Egypt

                Mesopotamia

                India

                China

 

Bibliography

Index

 

 

 

               

 

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Karolinum Press, Charles University. RSS Feed