May 8, 2017

Aspects of the Political Anthropology of the Southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age

Emanuel Pfoh
CONICET / National University of La Plata, Argentina
Fullbright Visiting Research Fellow, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
12:00 PM
LaSalle Banks Room of the Oriental Institute

During the Late Bronze Age, the whole region of Syria-Palestine was under Egyptian and Hittite rule. The political scene of the Syro-Palestinian petty kings, especially reflected in the Amarna correspondence (second half of the fourteenth century BCE), was conditioned by their personal subordination to those foreign powers. The political maneuverability of these kings was essentially limited to a context and situations in which personal ability in the 'local game' between peers, but also towards the exterior and the interior of their polities, was their main political capital. As a matter of fact, the small kings of the Southern Levant did not exert an absolute power within society. On the contrary, their political authority seemed to be quite fragile. In this lecture, a characterization of the Syro-Palestinian socio-political structure is offered, sketching in particular the nature and the dynamics of political prestige and authority in the Southern Levant.