Can empires have identities?

The special issue "Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East" presents a variety of papers on ancient Mesopotamian empires, borders, and foreign groups through the concept of identity.

The special issue of Studia Orientalia Electronica, edited by Gina Konstantopoulos, collects papers from the international conference “The Strange and the Familiar: Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East,” held at the University of Helsinki on August 23 and 24, 2019.

The conference examined issues found at the intersection of identity and empire in the ancient Near East during the second and first millennia BCE. There are papers for example considering expressions of empire in the second millennium, focusing on the cultures of Anatolia and the Levant, considering identity as described by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires of Mesopotamia, and going beyond Mesopotamia to examine the construction of empire and identity in primarily Achaemenid contexts. As a whole, the papers in this volume present a range of diverse approaches to the complicated tangle of issues surrounding the topic of the conference.

The conference was supported by funding from the Center of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE), the Center of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions (CSTT), and the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME).

See the volume on the publisher’s website.