The Pre-Islamic Middle East

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Всего страниц: 231

Sicker explores the political history of the Middle East from antiquity to the Arab conquest from a geopolitical perspective. He argues that there are a number of relatively constant environmental factors that have helped condition-not determine-the course of Middle Eastern political history from ancient times to the present. These factors, primarily, but not exclusively geography and topography, contributed heavily to establishing the patterns of state development and interstate relations in the Middle East that have remained remarkably consistent throughout the troubled history of the region.

In addition to geography and topography, the implications of which are explored in depth, religion has also played a major political role in conditioning the pattern of Middle Eastern history. The Greeks first introduced the politicization of religious belief into the region in the form of pan-Hellenism, which essentially sought to impose Greek forms of popular religion and culture on the indigenous peoples of the region as a means of solidifying Greek political control. This ultimately led to religious persecution as a state policy. Subsequently, the Persian Sassanid Empire adopted Zoroastrianism as the state religion for the same purpose and with the same result. Later, when Armenia adopted Christianity as the state religion, followed soon after by the Roman Empire, religion and the intolerance it tended to breed became fundamental ingredients, in regional politics and have remained such ever since. Sicker shows that the political history of the pre-Islamic Middle East provides ample evidence that the geopolitical and religious factors conditioning political decision-making tended to promote military solutions to political problems, making conflict resolution through war the norm, with the peaceful settlement of disputes quite rare. A sweeping synthesis that will be of considerable interest to scholars, students, and others concerned with Middle East history and politics as well as international relations and ancient history.


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The Middle East in Early Antiquity
Egypt and Asia
The Rise and Decline of Assyria
The Rise and Fall of Media
The Empire or the Achaemenids
The PersianGreek Wars
The Macedonian Conquest
The RomanParthian Conflict
The Struggle over the Euphrates Frontier
The RomanPersian Stalemate
The Era or Snapur II
The Struggle for Persias Frontiers
End or the Sassanid Empire

The Dissolution or Alexanders Empire
Reconfiguration or the Middle East
Rome Enters the Middle East

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MARTIN SICKER is an independent consultant who has served as a senior executive in the United States government and has taught political science at American University and George Washington University. He has written widely in the fields of political science and international affairs and is the author of numerous books on Middle East history and politics. His latest publications are Reshaping Palestine: From Muhammad Ali to the British Mandate, 1831-1922 (Praeger, 1999) and Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State (Praeger, forthcoming 2000).

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