In this ground-breaking work, Norman Yofifee challenges prevailing myths underpinning
our understanding of the evolution of the earliest cities, states, and civilizations.
He counters the emphasis in traditional scholarship that the earliest states were large
and despotically controlled and their evolution can be adequately modeled by ethnographic analogies.
By illuminating the creation and changes in social roles –
not simply of male leaders but also of slaves and soldiers,
priests and priestesses, peasants and prostitutes, merchants and craftsmen –
Yoffee depicts an evolutionary process centered on the concerns of everyday life.
Drawing on evidence from ancient Mesopotamia as well as from Egypt, South Asia, China,
Mesoamerica, and South America, the author explores the changes in human societies
that created the world we live in.