For anthropologists an 'early civilization' is historically the earliest form of a class-based society. In this original and provocative book, Bruce Trigger places our understanding of ancient Egypt in perspective through a comparative examination of Egypt during the Old and Middle Kingdoms with the early civilizations of the Inkas, the Shang and Western Chou of China, the Aztecs and their neighbors, the classic Mayas, the Yorubas and Benin, and ancient Mesopotamia. Professor Trigger investigates the economic foundations of these early civilizations, their politics and culture, and their religious traditions, drawing some surprising conclusions. His innovative work adds a new dimension to our understanding of early civilizations, charting new courses for their study in the future and indicating for both anthropologists and Egyptologists the value of comparative studies. Enhanced by an important bibliographical essay, the book broadens our understanding of the similarities and differences among ancient civilizations.
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