1st Edition

Syria-Palestine in The Late Bronze Age An Anthropology of Politics and Power

By Emanuel Pfoh Copyright 2016
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    Syria-Palestine in the Late Bronze Age presents an explicitly anthropological perspective on politics and social relationships. An anthropological reading of the textual and epigraphic remains of the time allows us to see how power was constructed and political subordination was practised and expressed. Syria-Palestine in the Late Bronze Age identifies a particular political ontology, native to ancient Syro-Palestinian societies, which informs and constitutes their social worlds. This political ontology, based on patronage relationships, provides a way of understanding the political culture and the social dynamics of ancient Levantine peoples. It also illuminates the historical processes taking place in the region, processes based on patrimonial social structures and articulated through patron-client bonds.

    Map and Figures


    List of Abbreviations



    Chapter 1: An Overview of Political History (ca. 1550-1150 BCE)

      1. Egypt

      2. Ḫatti

      3. Mittani

      4. Babylonia

      5. Assyria

      6. Syria-Palestine

      7. Egyptian Rule over Syria-Palestine

    Chapter 2: ‘International’ Diplomacy during the Late Bronze Age

    2.1. Primary and Secondary Sources

    2.1.1. The El Amarna Archive

    2.1.2. Hittite Archives

    2.1.3. Archives from Ugarit

    2.1.4. Archives from Alalaḫ

    2.1.5. Other Epigraphic Records Documents from Emar Archives from Mari Archives from Nuzi

    2.2. On ‘International’ Diplomacy in the Late Bronze Age

    2.2.1. Egyptian and Asiatic Worldviews

    2.3. On the Late Bronze Age Epistolographic Structure

    2.3.1. Amarna Socio-Linguistics

    Chapter 3: Alliances and Exchanges

    3.1. Anthropology and History: Epistemological Preliminaries

    3.2. Economic Anthropology of the Late Bronze Age

    3.3. Commodities and Exchange of Luxury Goods

    3.4. Exchange of Women

    3.4.1. Marriage as Social and Political Communication

    3.4.2. Hierarchies and Alliances during the Late Bronze Age

    3.5. Exchange of Specialists

    3.5.1. Techniques and Specialization

    3.5.2. Mobility and Hospitality


    Chapter 4: Socio-Politics of Syria-Palestine (I): Analytical Concepts

    4.1. Towards an Historical Anthropology of Syria-Palestine

    4.2. On Statehood and State Practice in Syria-Palestine

    4.3. City-States in Syria-Palestine?

    Chapter 5: Socio-Politics of Syria-Palestine (


    Emanuel Pfoh is a Researcher at the National Research Council (CONICET) and teaches in the Department of History of the National University of La Plata, Argentina. 

    " ... impressive and highly recommended ... this is a very useful book, as it provides an in-depth, theoretically sound and quite innovative understanding of the socio-political structure of Syria-Palestine during the Late Bronze Age specifically and the ancient Near East in general. I highly recommend the book for anyone studying ancient Near Eastern cultures and other historical or traditional cultures."

     - Aren M. Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, the Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    "very well-argued and referenced"

    - Nick Wyatt, Journal for the Society of the Old Testament