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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the history of state formation in ancient Mesopotamia, focusing on the Greater Mesopotamia region. It explains the role of territorially defined urban communities and kinship-based polities or tribes in state formation, and provides examples of large states that arose slowly through a cumulative process of smaller polities coalescing into larger ones. The chapter also considers the dynamic shifts between city-state culture and imperial unification during the proto-historical period, and discusses the periods of political unification and fragmentation in Greater Mesopotamia prior to the Persian conquest.

Keywords: Ancient Mesopotamia, state formation, Greater Mesopotamia, urban communities, kinship-based polities, city-state culture, imperial unification, political unification, political fragmentation

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