'This is an important and impressive work ... What emerges from this study is a picture that is much more complex, nuanced, and to some extent confusing than those traditionally drawn of Mesopotamian societies and states. It is thus certain to be received with great interest by a number of disciplines beyond Assyriology (such as history, political science, and anthropology) and to stimulate intensive discussions on a wide range of issues. Not least, it makes a serious contribution to an old debate, triggered more than a half-century ago by Thorkild Jacobsen, on whether certain traits in Mesopotamian mythical and literary traditions can be interpreted as evidence for the existence of 'primitive democracies' in an early period, before the emergence of the great empires led by centralized monarchies. In this respect the book is certain to attract the interest of classicists and ancient historians as well.' Kurt A. Raaflaub
Anticipating Ancient Democracy examines the political landscape of the ancient Near East through the archive of over 3000 letters found in the royal palace of Mari. These letters display a rich diversity of politics, encompassing major kingdoms, smaller states and various tribal towns. This book bridges several areas of interest, including archaeology, ancient and classical history, the early Middle and Near East, and political and social history. These archaic political traditions are not unlike pre-democratic Greece, offering reason to recognize a continuity between the Aegean world and that of the older Near East.