The Age of Agade: Inventing Empire in Ancient Mesopotamia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Age of Agade

Inventing Empire in Ancient Mesopotamia, 1st Edition

By Benjamin R. Foster


438 pages

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The Age of Agade is the first book-length study of the Akkadian period of Mesopotamian history, which saw the rise and fall of the world’s first empire during more than a century of extraordinary political, social, and cultural innovation. It draws together more than 40 years of research by one of the world’s leading experts in Assyriology to offer an exhaustive survey of the Akkadian empire.

Addressing all aspects of the empire, including its statecraft and military, territory and cities, arts, religion, economy, and production, The Age of Agade considers what can be said of Akkadian political and social history, material culture, and daily life. A final chapter also explores how the empire has been presented in modern historiography, from the decipherment of cuneiform to the present, including the extensive research of Soviet historians, summarized here in English for the first time. Drawing on contemporaneous written and artifactual sources, as well as relevant materials from succeeding generations, Foster introduces the reader to the wealth of evidence available. Accessibly written by a specialist in the field, this book is an engaging examination of a critical era in the history of early Mesopotamia.


"Foster offers rich references and well-documented endnotes for graduate students and specialists who desire to dive into Assyriology, provides a comprehensive and updated bibliography, and draws ample evidence from Mesopotamian sources (inscriptions, tablets of administrative records, artifacts, literature) and modern scholarship. Summing Up: Highly recommended"

- H. Chang, Elon University, USA, in CHOICE

"Needless to say, Benjamin R. Foster’s comprehensive overview of the Akkadian Empire, The Age of Agade, is indispensable. Beyond important summaries of Soviet historians in the book, Foster’s wealth of knowledge as a leading scholar in Assyriology marks The Age of Agade as a must-read, especially for beginning scholars or those beginning to research the period … I highly recommend this work to scholars working in the field of Assyriology or Mesopotamian history and to non-specialists looking for an comprehensive understanding of the Akkadian era."

- William Brown on The Biblical Review (, 2016

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Rise and Fall of the Akkadian Empire 2. The Land and People of Akkad 3. Akkadian Centers and Settlements 4. Works and Days 5. Industries and Crafts 6. Religion 7. Statecraft and the Military 8. Trade, Business, and the Economy 9. Arts, Letters, and Numeracy 10. Akkadian Human Values 11. The Akkadian Period in Retrospect 12. The Akkadian Period in Modern Historiography Appendix I: Akkadian Royal Inscriptions Appendix II: The Works Attributed to Enheduanna Appendix III: Two Sumerian Poems about the Akkadian Period Bibliography

About the Author

Benjamin Foster is Professor of Assyriology at Yale University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General