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THE POLITICS OF MESHA: SEGMENTED IDENTITIES AND STATE FORMATION IN IRON AGE MOAB

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

The Mesha Inscription (ca. 850 B.C.) is the longest and most informative document from Iron Age Jordan. A close reading of this text shows that it is thematically and syntactically structured in terms of a series of territorially-based social units related to one another in a segmentary manner. This segmentary structure highlights the state-forming strategies of political incorporation pursued by Mesha, the inscription's putative author. It also highlights the limits of the recent characterization of biblical Moab as "tribal," with its assumption that kinship, rather than territory, was the principle organizing metaphor of the state.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156852000511295
2000-08-01
2016-12-02

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