Empire and Village: Imperial Control Strategies and Local Responses in the Babylonian Countryside

Project: Adacemy of Finland: Postdoctoral Researcher

Project Details

Description (abstract)

The project investigates rural life under imperial rule in Babylonia in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. Previous research has focused on the ways empires control local elites, but less is known about their impact on the common people. Using clay tablets written in cuneiform script as its sources, the project combines careful study of historical documents with social network analysis, a powerful computational method to map the patterns of human interaction. The key question of the project is: how did the Babylonian and Persian Empires exercise power in the countryside and how is this reflected in rural social structures? The project expects to track changes in imperial policies over time and observe different local responses to imperial control. The project shifts our view from the elite to the common people, leading to a better understanding of people’s lifeways in the ancient Near East. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland (Postdoctoral Researcher funding) in December 2020 - November 2023.
Short titleEmpire and Village
Effective start/end date01/12/202030/11/2023


  • SUOMEN AKATEMIA Vähäkylä Leena: €208,465.00

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Assyriology
  • 614 Theology
  • Biblical Studies