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Domain of Pharao, The Structure and Components of the Economy of Old Kingdom Egypt

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Default Title
ISBN: 978-3-8067-8761-0
Description: hardback, 154 pp. (30x21cm)
Condition: new
Weight: 780g.

Hratch Papazian, Domain of Pharao, The Structure and Components of the Economy of Old Kingdom Egypt, Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 52, Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim 2012

The present monograph consists of the expanded and updated version of my doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Chicago in 2005. The original research initiative was aimed at understanding the nature and operations of a prominent economic entity from Egypts Old Kingdom called the pr an. It became evident to me, however, even prior to undertaking the research proper, that the effectiveness of such a study would be diminished substantially had I opted to analyze that particular institution independently, with little or no regard for the larger socio-economic conditions within which it operated. Though mindful of the fact that comprehensiveness in the investigation of a topic as broad as economy remains elusive, this work nonetheless endeavors to examine multiple components of early Egypt in order to offer as complete an economic assessment of the Old Kingdom as the evidence permits. The research has not been restricted to economic matters in their narrowest sense, but accounted for cultural traits, as well as aspects of kingship that had an impact on the economic reality of ancient Egypt. Jac. Janssen has already noted over thirty years ago that the study of the economic history of ancient Egypt is in its infancy. Much progress has since been achieved in that area, although research into the early phases of the Egyptian economy remains at a deficit when measured against the advances with respect to other periods. Additionally, inquiry into the socio-economic attributes of early Egypt has been severely undermined by the restrictive parameters imposed upon it, particularly in terms of chronology and scope. It may be argued that this approach is conditioned by one of the central problems facing the study of the economy and society of the Old Kingdom, namely the presumed paucity of the research material. Though such an estimation may be accurate to a certain extent, an adequate amount of data, some of which have been previously overlooked or deemed irrelevant for socio-economic investigation, remains nonetheless accessible for devising coherent proposals. Furthermore, the proper understanding of several aspects of the Old Kingdom must inevitably take into account periods antedating it, which, over a span of close to half a millennium, have left some textual records that cannot be ignored. Therefore, the artificial chronological boundaries long established between the Early Dynastic and the Old Kingdom have been dismantled for the purposes of the present study. A similar process was adopted for periods beyond the Old Kingdom, as one cannot lose sight of the evidence offered by sources from the Late, Ptolemaic, and Roman eras, which very often supply much needed confirmation for certain proposals, especially when considering the concluding stages in the evolution of a given feature.The importance of positioning the study and the development of various institutions involved in Old Kingdom economy within the greater backdrop of society and culture has occasionally eluded previous scholarship. The consequence has been that the examination of those institutions has been limited to the immediate textual context in which they are attested. Though such a methodology remains indispensable and will be used in the present work, it should not be preferred to the detriment of understanding the nature of those establishments within the overall socio-economic circumstances of the Early Dynastic and the Old Kingdom, because their development mirrored that of other contemporaneous institutions (temples and agricultural domains, for instance), and also that of certain facets of Egyptian social organization and administration. This book is structured along five chapters, with a sixth serving as a recap, each addressing a different aspect of Old Kingdom economy. Individual divisions represent self contained units incorporating their own introduction and conclusions, as well as an outline and discussion of the sources and prior scholarship on the topic, with an analytical perspective preferred over a descriptive one. This approach enables a more focused examination of the subject at hand and allows a particular section to be consulted either independently, or as part of the totality of the work.More than a few individuals over the years have contributed positively and in a variety of ways to this undertaking, from the inception of the original idea to the development of the successive stages that culminated in the current monograph.