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The Birth of the State

The Birth of the State

Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China

Charvát, Petr

subjects: history

paperback, 358 pp., 1. edition
translation: Morgan, Daniel
published: september 2013
ISBN: 978-80-246-2214-9
recommended price: 385 czk

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summary

In the book titled Birth of the State, readers learn what researchers nowadays think about the rise and stabilization of the oldest statehood in the original civilization centres of the Old World - Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. The scholar takes them through essential economic, political and spiritual changes caused in those societies by the rise and stabilization of the first states. The overviews are completed with a comprehensive view of the entire theme, attempting to provide a balanced view of the rise of the oldest states not only as a question of economy, politics or power, but also as exceeding the basic threshold in the spiritual sphere. The book allows the very founders and cultivators of the oldest state units to speak: in the moments when their work seemed to be on the verge of total collapse, they spoke to their contemporaries urging them to defend the ideals that formed the basis of their civilizations. The book is intended for university students as well as others interested in the rise and development of the oldest states of the humankind.

table of contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

ANCIENT EGYPT

The Natural Environment
The Roots and Origin 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 millenium 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 millenium 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, ENSI2, 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
Towns 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 social estates 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