Ancient History & Civilisation

Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: A New History of the Ancient Near East

Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: A New History of the Ancient Near East

A unique history of the ancient Near East that compellingly presents the life stories of kings, priestesses, merchants, bricklayers, and others.

In this sweeping history of the ancient Near East, Amanda Podany takes readers on a gripping journey from the creation of the world's first cities to the conquests of Alexander the Great. The book is built around the life stories of many ancient men and women, from kings, priestesses, and merchants to brickmakers, musicians, and weavers. Their habits of daily life, beliefs, triumphs, and crises, and the changes that people faced over time are explored through their own written words and the buildings, cities, and empires in which they lived.

Rather than chronicling three thousand years of rulers and states, Weavers, Scribes, and Kings instead creates a tapestry of life stories through which readers will come to know specific individuals from many walks of life, and to understand their places within the broad history of events and institutions in the ancient Near East. These life stories are preserved on ancient clay tablets, which allow us to trace, for example, the career of a weaver as she advanced to become a supervisor of a workshop, listen to a king trying to persuade his generals to prepare for a siege, and feel the pain of a starving young couple and their four young children as they suffered through a time of famine. What might seem at first glance to be a remote and inaccessible ancient culture proves to be a comprehensible world, one that bequeathed to the modern world many of our institutions and beliefs, a truly fascinating place to visit.

Introduction

THE URUK PERIOD, 3500–2900 BCE

Chapter 1. Builders and Organizers

Chapter 2. Colonizers, Scribes, and the Gods

THE EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD, 2900–2300 BCE

Chapter 3. Kings and Subjects

Chapter 4. A Queen, a Reformer, and Weavers

Chapter 5. Royal Couples, Divine Couples, and Envoys

THE AKKADIAN AND UR III PERIODS, 2300–2000 BCE

Chapter 6. A Conqueror and a Priestess

Chapter 7. Brickmakers, Litigants, and Slaves

THE EARLY SECOND MILLENNIUM, 2000–1750 BCE

Chapter 8. Sparring Kings and Their Military Commanders

Chapter 9. Merchants and Families

Chapter 10. Princesses and Musicians

THE OLD BABYLONIAN PERIOD, 1792–1550 BCE

Chapter 11. A Lawgiver, Land Overseers, and Soldiers

Chapter 12. Naditums and Scribal Students

Chapter 13. Barbers, Mercenaries, and Exiles

THE LATE BRONZE AGE, 1550–1000 BCE

Chapter 14. Businessmen, Charioteers, and Translators

Chapter 15. Gift Recipients and Royal In-Laws

Chapter 16. Negotiators, Sea Traders, and Famine Sufferers

THE FIRST MILLENNIUM, 1000–323 BCE

Chapter 17. Empire Builders, Sculptors, and Deportees

Chapter 18. Conspirators, Diviners, and Officials

Chapter 19. Gardeners, Artisans, and a Centenarian Priestess

Chapter 20. Brewers, Rebels, and Exorcists

Cast of Main Characters

Timeline

Abbreviations

Notes

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