"Power building and maintenance of power has been a central issue in human society, and understanding this is crucial for comprehending the functioning of any socio-political unit. As the actual power-holders usually form a tiny minority, the obvious question would be what makes the others comply, often perhaps at the expense of their own interests and welfare. What means do the power-holders (leaders, rulers, monarchs) have for building up, enhancing, and maintaining their position and identity? Why and on which conditions are the people loyal to them, either the other members of elite, or the commoners constituting the majority of population? And why do the rulers sometimes fail in assuring the compliance? What are the chances for successful opposition? And on which conditions does this lead to the change of social or political structure instead of simply replacing one ruler or ruling group by another?
These problems involve social framework and political institutions, the relations between centre and periphery, but also moral code and power ideology closely tied to religion. The answers are bound to be essentially different in the variety of the early civilisations, states and societies developing in the Near East and Mediterranean region.
We expect case studies as well as comparative approaches, concerning the societies from Iran to the Mediterranean, from the emergence of statehood to the Late Antiquity (pre-Islamic world). Preference will be given to papers contributing to the understanding of the mechanisms of power."