Piotrovsky, Boris B. (James Hogarth, trans.)
- The Ancient Cvilization of Urartu
Cowles Book Company, New York, 1969.
Octavo hardcover; beige boards with gilt spine titling and map endpapers; 221pp., colour & monochrome plates. Mild spotting to text block edges and endpapers; illustrated dustwrapper faded along the spine panel with some spotting to edges and rear panel. Very good to near fine and book encased in plain cardboard slipcase with browning at edges. Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I first mention Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi, a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribal states in the Armenian Highland in the 13th to 11th centuries BC which he conquered. Uruartu itself was in the region around Lake Van. The Nairi states were repeatedly subjected to further attacks and invasions by the Assyrians, especially under Tukulti-Ninurta I, Tiglath-Pileser I, Ashur-bel-kala, Adad-nirari II, Tukulti-Ninurta II, and Ashurnasirpal II. Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria, which lay to the south in northern Mesopotamia and northeast Syria. The Nairi states and tribes became a unified kingdom under king Aramu, whose capital at Arzashkun was captured by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser III. Roughly contemporaries of the Uruartu, living just to the west along the southern shore of the Black Sea, were the Kaskas known from Hittite sources. The economic structure of Urartu was similar to other states of the ancient world, especially Assyria. The state was heavily dependent on agriculture, which required centralized irrigation. These works were managed by kings, but implemented by free inhabitants and possibly slave labour provided by prisoners. Royal governors, influential people and, perhaps, free peoples had their own allotments. Individual territories within the state had to pay taxes to the central government: grain, horses, bulls, etc. In peacetime, Urartu probably led an active trade with Assyria, providing cattle, horses, iron and wine. According to archaeological data, farming on the territory of Urartu developed from the Neolithic period, even in the 3rd millennium BC. In the Urartian age, agriculture was well developed and closely related to Assyrian methods on the selection of cultures and methods of processing. From cuneiform sources, it is known that in Urartu grew wheat, barley, sesame, millet, and emmer, and cultivated gardens and vineyards. Many regions of the Urartu state required artificial irrigation, which has successfully been organized by the rulers of Urartu in the heyday of the state. In several regions remain ancient irrigation canals, constructed by Urartu, mainly during the Argishti I and Menua period, some of which are still used for irrigation. From the time of its fall to the Medes in the early sixth century Urartu gradually sank into oblivion. It was not until the excavations of the 1870's (including Sir Henry Austen Layard) that Urartu was correctly identified. Little, however, was known of it until the 1930s when archaeologists - including Boris Piotrovsky - began the systematic excavations that have now made it possible to reconstruct the world of Urartu. This is the first comprehensive history in English of this ancient kingdom.
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