State Correspondence in the Ancient World: From New Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire

ISBN : 9780199354771

Karen Radner
320 Pages
163 x 241 mm
Pub date
Mar 2014
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This book introduces the reader to the state correspondences of centralized states and empires of the Mediterranean and the Middle East from the 15th century BC to the 6th century AD, and analyses their role in ensuring the success and stability of these geographically extensive state systems. Letters play an important role in the cohesion of early empires, by enabling reliable and confidential long-distance communication and by facilitating the successful delegation of power from the central administration to the provinces - challenges that in the absence of major technological advances remain constants of government throughout this long period. State Correspondence in the Ancient World brings together primary sources from New Kingdom Egypt, the Hittite kingdom, the Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid empires, the Hellenistic world and the Imperium Romanum. This study's goals are twofold: Firstly, to describe the available material and its original context and transmission: what do we have and what don't we have - and why? And, secondly, to highlight these correspondences' role in maintaining empires, using a comparative approach in order to draw out similarities and differences. The volume is an edited collection of nine chapters written by established scholars with first-hand expertise in working with the source materials: papyri, clay tablets, inscriptions and law codices written in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Aramaic, Egyptian, Greek, Hittite and Latin. This unique collection will be enormously useful to students and scholars of ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, and Mediterranean history.


Introduction: Long-Distance Communication and the Cohesion of Early Empires
Karen Radner
1 Egyptian state correspondence of the New Kingdom: the letters of the Levantine client kings in the Amarna correspondence and contemporary evidence
Jana Mynarova
2 State correspondence in the Hittite World
Mark Weeden
3 An imperial communication network: the state correspondence of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Karen Radner
4 The lost state correspondence of the Babylonian Empire as reflected in contemporary administrative letters
Michael Jursa
5 State communications in the Persian Empire
Amelie Kuhrt
6 The king's words: Hellenistic royal letters in inscriptions
Alice Bencivenni
7 State correspondence in the Roman empire from Augustus to Justinian
Simon Corcoran

About the author: 

Karen Radner is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at University College London.

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