An enormous amount of work has been done in recent years on what can be called the political economy of the earliest states in ancient Mesopotamia. These investigations appraise the organization of the great manorial estates of temples and palaces and show that local systems of power and authority coexisted with and often resisted centralized governments. It is also apparent that social institutions were permeable and that individuals played multiple and varied roles, reducing risks, cooperating, and competing as political fortunes changed over time. The interaction of autonomous city-states within a Mesopotamian cultural sphere has been foregrounded in certain work. Studies of production, trade, and consumption are reviewed from ca 3200-1600 B.C.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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