2. The first states

  • When, where and why did the first states arise?
  • How were the first states organized? Political organization, rituals of legitimation.
  • Agriculture and state-formation.
  • State-building and architecture.
  • What, if anything, is the “Axial Age”?

Required material:

  • James C. Scott, “Agro-ecology of the First States,” Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017.
  • Barbara Somervill, “Part One,” in Empires of Ancient Mesopotamia. Chelsea House Publishers, 2010.
  • Petr Charvat, “Ancient Egypt,” The Birth of the State: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. Karolinum Press, 2013.
  • Karl Jaspers, “The Axial Period,” The Origin and Goal of History. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1953. pp. 1-22.

Additional material:

In Our Time, “Babylon”

In Our Time, “Akhenaten”

YouTube, “The Hittites”

Seminar notes: