This Handbook offers a comprehensive survey of ancient state formation in western Eurasia and North Africa. Eighteen experts introduce readers to a wide variety of systems spanning 4,000 years, from the earliest known states in world history to the Roman Empire and its successors. The book seeks to understand the inner workings of these states by focusing on key issues: political and military power, mechanisms of cooperation, coercion, and exploitation, the impact of ideologies, and the rise and demise of individual polities. This shared emphasis on critical institutions and dynamics invites comparative and cross-cultural perspectives. A detailed introductory review of contemporary approaches to the study of the state puts the historical case studies in context. The book transcends conventional boundaries between ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean history, and between ancient and early medieval history.