International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.

By Mario Liverani | Go to book overview

19
The Ideology of Protection

Pharaoh, as the ‘wall’ or the ‘shield’ of his own army, as the ‘sleepless’ watcher over the security of the country, is a person who himself needs no help from any human but whose protection is necessary to everyone else. The separation between king and common mankind is sharp: fear, and anxiety for protection or assistance, are quite extraneous to Pharaoh's character. Besides being a ‘lone attacker’ (Chapter 11), he is also a ‘lone defender’, while his people and country can relax and sleep.

The Asiatic system is different, since political relations are an enlargement of the mechanisms of mutual support and protection that are typical of the family and local community. The idea of protection (Akkadian nasāru) is fundamental, and it is a reciprocal concept: protection goes out and comes in from every direction; each element in the system can sustain itself only through a generalized acceptance and support by the others. The king is the centre of the system, all the two-sided relations of protection spring from and converge on him. But his position is dependent on the whole network: he protects but he is also protected, he grants the throne to his vassals in order to secure his own throne, he grants a post to his officials and subjects in order to obtain their loyalty. A passage in the Talmi-Sharruma treaty is most insistent on the reciprocal character of protection and help:

The sons of Talmi-Sharruma shall protect the sons of my Sun Murshili, king of Hatti; and the sons of my Sun shall not depose the sons of Talmi-Sharruma. My Sun, the great king, shall be the aid for Talmi-Sharruma king of Aleppo; and Talmi-Sharruma king of Aleppo, shall be the aid for my Sun, the great king, king of Hatti. The sons of my Sun Murshili shall be the aid for the sons of Talmi-Sharruma; and the sons of Talmi-Sharruma shall be the aid for the sons of my Sun. All of us, we

-128-

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International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 B.C.
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Territory and Borders 15
  • 1 - Inner vs. Outer Territory 17
  • 2 - Universal Control 23
  • 3 - The Boundaries of the World 29
  • 4 - Symbolic Attainment of the World Border 34
  • 5 - The Coexistence of Different States 38
  • 6 - Moving Borders 46
  • 7 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Taxation 52
  • 8 - The Boundary as a Watershed for Responsibilities 57
  • 9 - Runaways and Extradition 66
  • 10 - Messengers and ‘Ambassadors’ 71
  • Part II - War and Alliance 77
  • 11 - The One Against Many 79
  • 12 - War as Elimination of the Rebels 86
  • 13 - Conquest as a Cosmic Organization 91
  • 14 - Peace as Submission 97
  • 15 - Ordeal by War 101
  • 16 - The Rules of War 108
  • 17 - The Battle of Megiddo 116
  • 18 - Peace as Mutual Recognition 122
  • 19 - The Ideology of Protection 128
  • 20 - The Ideology of Brotherhood 135
  • Part III - Circulation of Goods 139
  • 21 - Priority and Continuity of the Redistributive Pattern 141
  • 22 - Intervention of the Reciprocal Pattern 146
  • 23 - Accumulation vs. Circulation 151
  • 24 - Self-Sufficiency vs. Interdependence 155
  • 25 - The Ideology of Life 160
  • 26 - Hatshepsut and Punt: Trade or Tribute? 166
  • 27 - Wen-Amun and Zakar-Ba'Al: Gift or Trade? 170
  • 28 - The Annals of Tuthmosis Iii: Tribute or Gift? 176
  • 29 - The Origins of Tribute 183
  • 30 - Equal vs. Unequal Marriages 189
  • 31 - Conclusions 196
  • Chronologies 203
  • Notes 205
  • Index 233
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