The City Besieged

Siege and Its Manifestations in the Ancient Near East


Exploring the military, legal, social and literary aspects of ancient warfare, this study examines the multifaceted nature of the siege phenomenon in the Ancient Near East. The book is based on Akkadian and biblical (and, to lesser degree, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian, Hittite and Ugaritic) sources as well as on the depictions on reliefs from Assyrian palaces and Egyptian temples. The analysis incorporates lexical study and military thinking and focuses on the technology of warfare and human behavior in a state of emergency.

This volume is a co-publication between Brill and The Hebrew University Magnes Press.

"...this book serves as an excellent overview of siege practices and their result as seen from the biblical and
Mesopotamian perspective."
Michael G. Hasel, Institute of Archaeology–Southern Adventist University


EUR €107.00USD $132.00

Biographical Note

ISRAEL EP‘HAL is professor emeritus of History of the Jewish People and of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Leut.-Col. (ret.), IDF. He is author of The Ancient Arabs: Nomads on the Borders of the Fertile Crescent, 9th-5th Centuries BC; (with (J. Naveh) Aramaic Ostraca of the Fourth Century BC from Idumaea, and of papers on the history of the People and the Land of Israel in the 9th-4th centuries BC, on epigraphy, and on ancient Near Eastern military history.

Table of contents

Chapter One: Introduction
I. What is iege arfare?
II. Purpose of the Book and Method of Discussion
Chapter Two: Sources
I. Literary Sources
II. Non-literary Documents
III. Artistic Representations of Siege Warfare
IV. Archaeological Evidence
Chapter Three: Military Aspects
I. The Blockade
II. The Breakthrough
Chapter Four: Legal and Economic Aspects
I. Introduction
II. The Babylonian Siege Documents
III. Documents of Siege and Hardship from Emar
IV. The Legal Significance of the Hardship Formulae
V. “Charitable Deeds”
Chapter Five: Social Aspects
I. Between Man and God
II. Public Life


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