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Oxford University Press
Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East

Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East

by Amanda H. Podany


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Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East

Amanda Podany here takes readers on a vivid tour through a thousand years of ancient Near Eastern history, from 2300 to 1300 BCE, paying particular attention to the lively interactions that took place between the great kings of the day.

Allowing them to speak in their own words, Podany reveals how these leaders and their ambassadors devised a remarkably sophisticated system of diplomacy and trade. What the kings forged, as they saw it, was a relationship of friends-brothers-across hundreds of miles. Over centuries they worked out ways for their ambassadors to travel safely to one another's capitals, they created formal rules of interaction and ways to work out disagreements, they agreed to treaties and abided by them, and their efforts had paid off with the exchange of luxury goods that each country wanted from the other. Tied to one another through peace treaties and powerful obligations, they were also often bound together as in-laws, as a result of marrying one another's daughters. These rulers had almost never met one another in person, but they felt a strong connection—a real brotherhood—which gradually made wars between them less common. Indeed, any one of the great powers of the time could have tried to take over the others through warfare, but diplomacy usually prevailed and provided a respite from bloodshed. Instead of fighting, the kings learned from one another, and cooperated in peace.

A remarkable account of a pivotal moment in world history—the establishment of international diplomacy thousands of years before the United Nations—Brotherhood of Kings offers a vibrantly written history of the region often known as the "cradle of civilization."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199858682
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/20/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 802,778
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Amanda H. Podany is Professor of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She has published a number of books and articles on topics in ancient Near Eastern history, including The Ancient Near Eastern World.

Table of Contents

A Word about Chronology and Translation
Cast of Characters
Time Line
Part I: The Early Dynastic Period and Akkadian Empire, 1500-2000 BCE
Ch 1: The First Evidence for Diplomacy ("I am your brother and you are my brother")
Ch 2: Traders and Ships from Different Lands ("At the wharf of Akkad he made moor ships")

Part II: The Old Babylonian Period, 2000-1595 BCE
Ch 3: War and Allegiance ("I have always done good things for him and his heart knows the good deeds that I have done for him")
Ch 4: Long Journeys away from Home ("Who is there who would sell lapis-lazuli?")

Part III: A Time of Crisis and Change, 1595-1400 BCE
Ch 5: Attack on Babylon by a Distant Enemy ("I sent to a far-off land")
Ch 6: A Clash between Expanding Empires ("Prepare yourselves! Make your weapons ready! For one will engage in combat with that wretched foe in the morning")
Ch 7: Diplomatic Overtures between the Great Powers ("A notable event! The like of this occurrence had not been heard of since the time of the demigods"

Part IV: The Amarna Age, 1400-1300 BCE
Ch 8: Brother Kings United and at Peace ("My brother, whom I love and who loves me")
Ch 9: Diplomatic Marriages ("We, between us, are one, the Hurrian land and the land of Egypt ")
Ch 10: Luxury Goods from Eveyrwhere ("The gold is much. Among the kings there are brotherhood, amity, peace, and good relations")
Ch 11: A Crisis in the Brotherhood ("My father became hostile")
Ch 12: The End of an Empire and the Restoration of Peace ("My ancestors and your ancestors made a mutual declaration of friendship")
Further Reading

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