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Tribe and State


The Dynamics of International Politics and the Reign of Zimri-Lim


This book analyzes Zimri-Lim’s interactions with sovereigns from the Habur and with Yamut-bal and Numha tribal polities. It describes how Zimri-Lim’s disproportionate dependence on tribal connections left him vulnerable when these alliances began to falter in his tenth regnal year.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0249-1
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: May 13,2014
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 287
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0249-1
$95.00
$57.00

The cuneiform tablets recovered from the ancient city of Mari (Tell Hariri) richly document the socio-political world of ancient Syro-Mesopotamia. The city of Mari flourished as a political capital under the king Zimri-Lim from c. 1775-1762 until Hammu-rabi of Babylon destroyed the city, leaving thousands of cuneiform letters in the ruins.

The letters from ancient Mari reveal how society constrained and catalyzed politics during the reign of Zimri-Lim, the last king of Mari. This book analyzes Zimri-Lim’s interactions with contemporary sovereigns from the Habur as well as his dealings with Yamut-bal and Numha tribal polities. It describes how Zimri-Lim’s disproportionate dependence on tribal connections left him vulnerable when tribal alliances began to fail him in his tenth regnal year. At this time, an Elamite force mounted a sustained offensive against several of the states in southern Mesopotamia and the northern regions of the Habur. The Elamite incursion into the Habur undercut the tribal alliances of Zimri-Lim, making him susceptible to the ambitious expansion of Hammu-rabi of Babylon.

The cuneiform tablets recovered from the ancient city of Mari (Tell Hariri) richly document the socio-political world of ancient Syro-Mesopotamia. The city of Mari flourished as a political capital under the king Zimri-Lim from c. 1775-1762 until Hammu-rabi of Babylon destroyed the city, leaving thousands of cuneiform letters in the ruins.

The letters from ancient Mari reveal how society constrained and catalyzed politics during the reign of Zimri-Lim, the last king of Mari. This book analyzes Zimri-Lim’s interactions with contemporary sovereigns from the Habur as well as his dealings with Yamut-bal and Numha tribal polities. It describes how Zimri-Lim’s disproportionate dependence on tribal connections left him vulnerable when tribal alliances began to fail him in his tenth regnal year. At this time, an Elamite force mounted a sustained offensive against several of the states in southern Mesopotamia and the northern regions of the Habur. The Elamite incursion into the Habur undercut the tribal alliances of Zimri-Lim, making him susceptible to the ambitious expansion of Hammu-rabi of Babylon.

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Contributor Biography

Adam Miglio

Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Wheaton College

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • List of Tables, Maps, and Illustrations (page 7)
  • Note on Dates and the Citation of Texts and Editions (page 9)
  • Symbols Used in Transcriptions (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 13)
  • Ancient Politics: Approaching History at Mari (page 17)
    • The study of ancient politics (page 17)
    • Chronology and sources at Mari (page 23)
    • Reading the letters from Mari (page 26)
    • Design of the current work (page 36)
  • Politics, the State, and Society (page 39)
    • Politics, authority, and the state (page 39)
      • A working definition of the state (page 46)
      • State and tribe (page 58)
    • Conclusion (page 68)
  • A Dynamic Socio-Political Landscape: "Mari and the Land of Mobile Pastoralists" (page 71)
    • Introduction (page 71)
    • "King of Mari" (page 72)
      • The genesis of a political tradition: the precursor to kingship at Mari (page 73)
      • Kingship at Mari and the central Euphrates River Valley (page 77)
      • The central Euphrates Valley and Zimri-Lim's state (page 84)
    • Zimri-Lim and his mobile pastoralists (Hanum) (page 86)
      • The tribes of Zimri-Lim's reign (page 91)
      • Tribal solidarity, mobile pastoralism, and the construction of territoriality (page 92)
      • "King of... the land of the mobile pastoralists" (hanum) (page 97)
    • The Politics of 'enclosing nomadism' and sedentary-mobile pastoralist interactions (page 101)
      • Simal mobile pastoralists' interactions along the central Euphrates (page 107)
      • Simal mobile pastoralists' interactions with populations in the upper Jezira (page 111)
      • Simal's interactions with mobile pastoralists in the land of Apum (page 115)
    • Conclusion (page 123)
  • Zimri-Lim's Conduct of International Politics (page 125)
    • Introduction (page 125)
    • The 'system' of international relations during Zimri-Lim's reign (page 127)
    • Zimri-Lim and international relations with kings in the Habur (page 134)
      • Zimri-Lim's relations with Kabiya of Kahat (page 136)
      • Zimri-Lim's relations with Ibal-Addu, Shadum-Adal, and Adal-shenni (page 144)
    • Inter-tribal politics and Hipsum (page 158)
    • Simal-Yamina relations and the two Yamina revolts (page 172)
      • Simal, Numha, and Yamut-bal relations during the first Yamina revolt and the beginning of the second Yamina revolt (page 175)
    • Conclusion (page 200)
  • The Beginning of the End: Zimari-Lim's War with Elam (page 203)
    • The Beginning of the end? (page 203)
    • Ethnicity, nationalism, and the Amurrite 'problem' (page 205)
    • Reinterpreting Zimri-Lim's war with Elam (page 213)
      • Simal Tribal networks and the war with Elam (page 214)
      • The beginning of the end: the outcome of the events in the upper Jezira (page 235)
    • A concluding proposal: The end of Mari and the looting of the 'archives' at Mari (page 244)
  • Conclusion (page 251)
  • Bibliography (page 257)
  • Index (page 281)
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