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Envisioning the Past Through Memories : How Memory Shaped Ancient Near Eastern Societies (Hardcover)
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Memory is an essential factor in the everyday life of social groups and individuals alike: indeed, as human beings, we use practical memory in all actions from the simplest to the most complex sets of activities and combinations of behaviours. When speaking of memory, in general, we think of automatic processes of reasoning, explaining and narration: how does memory work in storytelling? And, as a necessary prerogative, how does memory work in the learning of a known story and an uninterrupted tradition? Is memory such an automatic mechanism?
Indeed, memory is a constructed system of references, in equilibrium, of feeling and rationality. Comparing ancient and contemporary mechanisms for the preservation of memories and the building of a common cultural, political and social memory, this volume aims at revealing the nature of memory, and the attitudes of ancient societies towards the creation of a memory to be handed down in words, pictures, and mental constructs. Since the multiple natures of memory involve every human activity, physical and intellectual, this volume intends to promote analyses and considerations about memory by focusing on various different cultural activities and productions of ancient Near Eastern societies, from artistic and visual documents to epigraphic evidence, and by considering archaeological data (from excavations to surveys of the archaeological landscape).
The chapters of the volume analyse the value and function of memory within the ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian societies, combining archaeological, textual and iconographical evidences following a progression from the analysis of the archaeological landscape, as the container of single and multiple memories, to the material culture (things and objects) that shed light of the impact of memory on individuals and community.