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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

This article will argue that the period currently known in Mesopotamian research as the Early Dynastic should be altered to that of the Hegemonic Period or Rival City-State Period, following Hans J. Nissen and his periodization. Modifying this nomenclature would more accurately delineate this period of Mesopotamian history and the nature of power possessed by four primary city-states. Far from a stable, unitary succession of dynasties or dynastic houses as was present in Egypt (3200-2686) the so-called “Early Dynastic” period for Mesopotamia was distinctively characterized by conflict and city-states which imposed hegemonic rule over large areas of Mesopotamia in the period between 2900-2350 B.C. The evidence for such hegemonic domination, rather than unitary rule, means alteration of this nomenclature is almost necessary beyond question.

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