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Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations

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Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this ground-breaking work, Norman Yoffee shatters the prevailing myths underpinning our understanding of the evolution of early civilisations. He counters the emphasis in traditional scholarship on the rule of 'godly' and despotic male leaders and challenges the conventional view that early states were uniformly constituted bureaucratic and regional entities. Instead, by illuminating the role of slaves and soldiers, priests and priestesses, peasants and prostitutes, merchants and craftsmen, Yoffee depicts an evolutionary process centred on the concerns of everyday life. Drawing on evidence from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Mesoamerica, the author explores the variety of trajectories followed by ancient states, from birth to collapse, and explores the social processes that shape any account of the human past. This book offers a bold new interpretation of social evolutionary theory, and as such it is essential reading for any student or scholar with an interest in the emergence of complex society.

Book News Annotation:

Applying social evolutionary theory to the analysis of the development of the earliest states, Yoffee (Near Eastern studies and anthropology, U. of Michigan) contends that much of what has been written about early states is factually wrong and implausible, especially the "myth" that the earliest stats can be uniformly described as "large territorial systems ruled by totalitarian despots who controlled the flow of goods, services, and information and imposed true law and order on their subjects." He describes the variety of trajectories towards ancient cities and states, examines cases of how people constructed their social lives in different early states, considers constraints on state formation and mechanisms of early state collapse, and sketches out the evolution of Mesopotamian states and civilization.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Applying social evolutionary theory to the analysis of the development of the earliest states, Yoffee (Near Eastern studies and anthropology, U. of Michigan) contends that much of what has been written about early states is factually wrong and implausible, especially the "myth" that the earliest stats can be uniformly described as "large territorial systems ruled by totalitarian despots who controlled the flow of goods, services, and information and imposed true law and order on their subjects." He describes the variety of trajectories towards ancient cities and states, examines cases of how people constructed their social lives in different early states, considers constraints on state formation and mechanisms of early state collapse, and sketches out the evolution of Mesopotamian states and civilization. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Presents a new multi-layered model for the evolution of ancient societies.

Synopsis:

Norman Yoffee challenges the classical archaeological theory that a state's evolution reflects universal forces by presenting more complex models for the evolution of civilizations. A ground-breaking work that challenges the definition of the prehistoric state, explores questions of agency and examines the new direction that archaeological theory is taking.

Synopsis:

Classical archaeology promotes the view that a state's evolution reflects general, universal forces. Norman Yoffee challenges the model in this book by presenting more complex and multi-linear models for the evolution of civilizations. Yoffee questions the definition of the prehistoric state, particularly that which heralds "the chiefdom" as the forerunner of the ancient state and explores case studies on the role of women in ancient societies.

About the Author

Norman Yoffee is Professor of Mesopotamian Studies and Anthropology at the Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His various publications and edited works include Archaeological Theory: Who Sets the Agenda? (0521440149 HB; 0521449588 PB) and The Collapse of Ancient States and Civilizations (co-editor with George L. Cowgill) (University of Arizona Press, 1988).

Table of Contents

1. Evolution of a factoid; 2. Dimensions of power in the earliest states; 3. The meaning of cities in the earliest states and civilizations; 4. When complexity was simplified; 5. Identity and agency in early states: case studies; 6. The collapse of ancient states and civilizations; 7. Social evolutionary trajectories; 8. New rules of the game; 9. Altered states: the evolution of history.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780521521567
Author:
Yoffee, Norman
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Author:
Norman, Yoffee
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
General
Subject:
Archaeology
Subject:
Civilization, ancient
Subject:
State, the
Subject:
Archaeology-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Evolution of the Ear
Publication Date:
20050231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 tables
Pages:
292
Dimensions:
9.74x6.88x.41 in. 1.28 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » General

Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations New Trade Paper
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Product details 292 pages Cambridge University Press - English 9780521521567 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Presents a new multi-layered model for the evolution of ancient societies.
"Synopsis" by , Norman Yoffee challenges the classical archaeological theory that a state's evolution reflects universal forces by presenting more complex models for the evolution of civilizations. A ground-breaking work that challenges the definition of the prehistoric state, explores questions of agency and examines the new direction that archaeological theory is taking.
"Synopsis" by , Classical archaeology promotes the view that a state's evolution reflects general, universal forces. Norman Yoffee challenges the model in this book by presenting more complex and multi-linear models for the evolution of civilizations. Yoffee questions the definition of the prehistoric state, particularly that which heralds "the chiefdom" as the forerunner of the ancient state and explores case studies on the role of women in ancient societies.
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