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Evans, Richard George (1982) Aspects of diplomacy of Assyria, Babylonia and Persia with their neighbours, eighth to fourth centuries B.C. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the diplomacy of the middle first millennium B.C. Near East, a subject which has received less scholarly attention than the diplomacy of earlier periods of near eastern history. It falls into two parts : Part I is concerned with the diplomacy of the Assyrian Kings from c750 - 630 B.C. and, to a lesser extent, of the neo-Babylonian dynasty c 620 - 540 B.C. Cuneiform documents, in particular the royal inscriptions and administrative archives of neo-Assyria furnish most of the evidence for this part. Part II investigates the diplomacy of the Persian Kings with the Greeks c550 - c360 B.C. and is based on almost exclusively classical sources. The aim is to isolate and analyse significant aspects of diplomatic theory and practice in Assyria and then to study Persian diplomacy in the light of these findings. By this method it is possible to establish whether there were elements of continuity in diplomacy from the Assyrian to the Persian period and whether a more reliable view of Persian diplomacy, which has up to now been studied in the context of Greek rather than near eastern diplomacy, can be achieved. Part I, by analysis of selected events in their historical context and by discussion of important diplomatic terminology, establishes for the first time some important aspects of Assyrian diplomacy including : i) the emphasis on the subordination of foreign rulers to Assyria and the concomitant reluctance to concede parity- status, ii) the conflict between this political ideology and the exigencies of diplomacy, iii) the distinction between 'friendly' and 'hostile' states with no Intermediate 'neutral' category. In Part II Persian diplomacy is shown to reflect several features of Assyrian diplomacy, particularly the conflict between ideology and the requirements of practical diplomacy with the Greeks whose political ideas were markedly different.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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