2. The Domestication of Stranger Kings: Making History by List in Ancient Mesopotamia
Piotr Michalowski [+]
University of Michigan
The long arc of Mesopotamian history provides many examples of texts that not only narrate history, but also create it. One group of such texts conventionally designated as King Lists, is often invoked in discussions of both history and historiography. Even though on first glance they appear to be homogeneous and structurally artless, this simplicity disguises a complexity and heterogeneity that can be subjected to different kinds of analyses. This seeming simplicity was particularly suited for the mediation of certain paradoxes, such as the tension between the celebration of native as well as stranger kings, and the conflicting claims of genealogy. Although it could be argued that the Mesopotamian Kings Lists have been overinterpreted, there is still room for new readings of these compositions.