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Does the “uruk” phenomenon merit this term, or do you think it appears during the ur iii or old assyrian periods?

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Anthropology | 0 comments

 

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Beginning with the “Uruk” culture in the 4th Millennium BCE, the region of Mesopotamia is noteworthy during the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages as being home to several successive complex, urban “state-level” societies. These social developments are notable not only for their early appearance relative to other regions, but for their impressive scale, level of organization, and influence over a wide area, well into northern Mesopotamia and western Iran. The spread of Uruk material culture and influence during the late 4th millennium into these regions is so noteworthy that it has been dubbed the “Uruk Expansion,” and a thousand years later, the Third Dynasty of Ur is remarkable for its political organization and bureaucratic control. Finally, the turn of the second millennium represents the appearance of the Old Assyrian trade network, which introduced a remarkable system of trading colonies from central Anatolia to the Iranian plateau.
Each of these phases have at one time or another been labeled an “empire” by scholars. Some see the spread of Uruk influence across a large region as meriting the designation, while others suggest that the region does not witness its first empire until the Ur III period or later, arguing that in order to call a society an “empire” requires that it more clearly display political domination over a region. In 4-5 pages double-spaced (so, at least 1000 words), present an argument about when you see the social phenomenon of “empire” first appear in Bronze Age Mesopotamia, if at all. Does the “Uruk” phenomenon merit this term, or do you think it appears during the Ur III or Old Assyrian periods? Whose views do you agree and disagree with and why? Be sure to support all elements of your argument with evidence from the sources, and be sure to cite them thoroughly.

 

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