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A World History of Ancient Political Thought$
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Antony Black

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281695.001.0001

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Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon

Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon

Chapter:
(p.33) 3 Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon
Source:
A World History of Ancient Political Thought
Author(s):

Antony Black (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281695.003.0004

In Sumer government, religion, and culture were based on city-states, ruled by kings who were personally chose by the city god. Unlike Egypt, supreme authority circulated from city to city. Royal absolutism developed when the Akkadians introduced tribal dynastic authority, and, further north, in Assyria. There was a generalized notion of kingship, or the state, which had to perform certain functions: maintenance of the god's estate, of justice and prosperity. Kings were to redress grievances of the poor against the powerful. Some kings issued law codes. There were assemblies of citizens, corresponding perhaps to the gods' assembly. Whether there was primitive democracy has been disputed, but citizens appear to have had some judicial and commercial powers.

Keywords:   city-states, absolutism, the state, redress of grievances, law codes, assemblies, democracy

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