Cover image for Ancient Mesopotamia : the eden that never was
Ancient Mesopotamia : the eden that never was
Pollock, Susan, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 259 pages : illustrations, maps, plans ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS73.1 .P65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This is an in-depth treatment of the antecedents and first flourescence of early state and urban societies in lowland Mesopotamia over nearly three millennia, from approximately 5000 to 2100 BC. The approach is explicitly anthropological, drawing on contemporary theoretical perspectives to enrich our understanding of the ancient Mesopotamian past. It explores the ways people of different genders and classes contributed and responded to political, economic, and ideological changes. The interpretations are based on studies of regional settlement patterns, faunal remains, artifact distributions and activity patterning, iconography, texts and burials.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Pollock's excellent monograph explores the background to the rise of ancient Mesopotamia, from c. 5000 to c. 2100 BCE, thus covering the rise of Ubaid, Uruk, Jemdet Nasr, Dynastic Sumerians, and the Akkadians. Two topics Pollock explores well are "feminist anthropology" and "political economy." She examines the role of women more than other good studies of the region in that early period, when the archaeological record and written documents indicate significant female participation. Much of the work is devoted to political economy, i.e., the relation of tribute in kind and taxation to the rise of the early city-states. Pollock's best section is that devoted to the development of writing in Mesopotamia, about which she offers a clear and direct explanation. The monograph includes helpful maps, charts, drawings, excellent bibliographical essays for each of the eight chapters, and an excellent bibliography for further reading. Pollock's writing flows easily and does not obfuscate her materials. All levels. J. M. Balcer; Ohio State University

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Geographic setting and environment
3 Settlement patterns
4 Making a living: tributary economics of the fifth and fourth millennia
5 A changing way of life: the oikos-based economy of the third millennium
6 The growth of bureaucracy
7 Ideology and images of power
8 Death and the ideology of community