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

By Mario Liverani | Go to book overview

23
Accumulation vs. Circulation

The redistribution and reciprocity patterns dictate different, even opposite, models of behaviour. In that of the first, imports are celebrated but exports are not even considered: the influx of goods from the periphery is an index of power (see Chapter 21) and a prerequisite for the exemplary functioning of the state. In Egypt especially, important literary compositions like the sixth stanza of the ‘Thousand Songs in Honor of Amun’ 1 and significant administrative devices such as the endless lists of incoming items in the Harris Papyrus 2 testify to such a syndrome. Two examples from normal texts are sufficient to illustrate this:

All the lands and all the foreign countries are coming with their gifts, with their sons, with their horses, silver and copper in large amounts, pure ivory, without knowing the roads near their countries. 3

Great is your power, o good god . . . these supplies are larger than those of all lands: never has such a thing been seen since the time of the forefathers, the kings who came before. It happened for you, our lord! 4

In parallel to the emphasis on incoming goods, the complete silence on the question of outgoing goods is also meaningful. No ‘exports’ – apart from the purely ideological one of ‘life’ (see Chapter 25) – are mentioned at all. Since consumption is also ignored, the resulting process is simply one of accumulation. Each incoming good is added to the pile, preserved and displayed. This symbolizes prosperity and power, and ensures a happy future. Texts and iconic representations agree perfectly in the utopian picture that they depict:

Its workshops were filled with slaves of the sons of the rulers of foreign countries, plunder of His Majesty. Its storehouses were filled with

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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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