Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography (Paperback)

Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography By Mario Liverani, Zainab Bahrani (Translator), Marc Van Van de Mieroop (Translator) Cover Image

Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography (Paperback)


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The essays included in this volume analyze important historical texts from various regions of the Ancient Near East. The distinguished Italian historian Mario Liverani suggests that these historiographical texts were of a true historical nature and that their literary forms achieved their intended results. Liverani focuses on two central themes in these texts: myth and politics.There is a close connection, Liverani finds, between the writing of history and the validation of political order and political action. History defines the correct role and behavior of political leaders, especially when they do not possess the validation provided by tradition. Historical texts, he discovers, are more often the tools for supporting change than for supporting stability.Liverani demonstrates that history writing in the Ancient Near East made frequent use of mythical patterns, wisdom motifs, and literary themes in order to fulfill its audience's cultural expectations. The resulting nonhistorical literary forms can mislead interpretation, but an analysis of these forms allows the texts' sociopolitical and communicative frameworks to emerge.

Mario Liverani is Professor of History of the Ancient Near East at the University of Rome La Sapienza. He is a member of the Italian Academia dei Lincei, the Academia Europaea, and Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society, as well as Director of the Inter-University Research Center for Saharan Archaeology. He is the author of ten books including most recently International Relations in the Ancient Near East. Zainab Bahrani is Edith Porada Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She is the author of Women of Babylon: Gender and Representation in Mesopotamia and Word, Image, and Portrayal: Representation in Babylon and Assyria. Marc Van De Mieroop is Professor of Ancient Near East History at Columbia University. He is the author of many books including The Ancient Mesopotamian City, Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History, and History of the Ancient Near East, c. 3000--323 BC.
Product Details ISBN: 9780801473586
ISBN-10: 0801473586
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2007
Pages: 240
Language: English