Cover image for The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur: An Epistolary History of an Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdom By Piotr Michalowski

The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur

An Epistolary History of an Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdom

Piotr Michalowski

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$89.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-194-8

7" × 10"

Mesopotamian Civilizations

The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur

An Epistolary History of an Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdom

Piotr Michalowski

The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur is a collection of literary letters between the Ur III monarchs and their high officials at the end of the third millennium B.C. The letters cover topics of royal authority and proper governance, defense of frontier regions, and the ultimate disintegration of the empire and represent the largest corpus of Sumerian prose literature we possess. This long-awaited edition, based on extensive collation of almost all extant manuscripts, numbering more than a hundred, includes detailed historical and literary analyses, and copious philological commentary. It entirely supersedes the Michalowski’s oft-cited unpublished Yale dissertation of 1976.

 

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  • Table of Contents
The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur is a collection of literary letters between the Ur III monarchs and their high officials at the end of the third millennium B.C. The letters cover topics of royal authority and proper governance, defense of frontier regions, and the ultimate disintegration of the empire and represent the largest corpus of Sumerian prose literature we possess. This long-awaited edition, based on extensive collation of almost all extant manuscripts, numbering more than a hundred, includes detailed historical and literary analyses, and copious philological commentary. It entirely supersedes the Michalowski’s oft-cited unpublished Yale dissertation of 1976.

The edition is accompanied by an extensive analysis of the place of the letters in early second-millennium schooling, treating the letters as literature, followed by chapters that contextualize the epistolary material within historical and historiographic contexts, utilizing many Sumerian archival, literary, and historical sources. The main objective here is to try to navigate the complex issues of authenticity, authority, and fiction that arise from the study of these literary artifacts. In addition, Michalowski offers new hypotheses about many aspects of late third-millennium history, including essays on military history and strategy, on frontiers, on the nature and putative character of nomadism at the time, as well as a long chapter on the role of a people designated as Amorites.

The included DVD includes various photographs at high resolution of most of the tablets included in the study.

Preface

Abbreviations

Part 1: The Royal Correspondence of the Ur III Kings in Literary and Historical Perspective

1. Introduction

2. Sumerian Literary Letters

3. The Royal Letters in their Literary Setting

4. The Royal Letters in their Historical Setting 1: (Letters 1-12, 15-18)

5. The Amorites of Ur III Times

6. The Royal Letters in their Historical Setting 2: Great Walls, Amorites, and Military History: The Puzur-Šulgi and Šarrum-bani Correspondence (Letters 13-14 and 19-20)

7. The Royal Letters in their Historical Setting 3: Ur, Isin, Kazallu and the Final Decades of the Ur III State (Letters 21-24)

8. Afterword

Appendixes

Appendix A: The Reading of the Name of the Grand Vizier

Appendix B: The Title galzu unkena

Appendix C: ‘Facing (the) HursaÑ’

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