M. Diakonoff has gathered the work of Soviet historians in
this survey of the earliest history of the ancient Near East,
Central Asia, India, and China. Diakonoff and his
colleagues, nearly all working within the general Marxist
historiographic tradition, offer a comprehensive, accessible
synthesis of historical knowledge from the beginnings of
agriculture through the advent of the Iron Age and the Greek
colonization in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea areas.
Besides discussing features of Soviet historical
scholarship of the ancient world, the essays treat the
history of early Mesopotamia and the course of Pharaonic
Egyptian civilization and developments in ancient India and
China from the Bronze Age into the first millennium B.C.
Additional chapters are concerned with the early history of
Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, the Hittite civilization,
the Creto-Mycenaean world, Homeric Greece, and the Phoenician
and Greek colonization.
This volume offers a unified perspective on early
antiquity, focusing on the economic and social relations of
production. Of immense value to specialists, the book will
also appeal to general readers.
I. M. Diakonoff is a senior research scholar of ancient
history at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Leningrad
Academy of Sciences. Philip L. Kohl is professor of
anthropology at Wellesley College.