First Kings of Europe: From Farmers to Rulers in Prehistoric Southeastern Europe

ISBN: 978-1-950446-24-7
Publication Date: Nov 2022
Price: Hb $75.00
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Attila Gyucha and William A. Parkinson

Over several millennia, early agricultural villages in southeastern Europe gave rise to tribal kingdoms and monarchies, replacing smaller, more egalitarian social structures with complex state organizations led by royal individuals invested with power. In this book, which accompanies an international exhibition, scholars analyze and interpret data and artifacts from the most important museum collections from the region to illustrate the evolution of political hierarchy, power, and status in this region from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. Echoing from antiquity are hints of how we got to the social and economic disparities of today. 

From the rich burials of the famous Copper Age necropolis at Varna to the lavish tombs of Thracian kings and the Illyrian elite, troves of gold and silver ornaments, bronze and iron weaponry, rich metal hoards and magnificent ceremonial vessels reveal the roles of technology, trade, ritual, and warfare in developments toward marked sociopolitical inequalities. Many of the objects in the associated exhibition have never been displayed outside their countries of origin, and in this volume they come together in a wonderfully illustrated co-publication with Chicago’s Field Museum. 


First Kings of Europe Exhibition Venues 

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, New York, NY, USA -- September 21, 2022 through February 19, 2023 

 Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL, USA -- March 31, 2023 through January 28, 2024 

 Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada -- April 4, 2024 through January 19, 2025 


First Kings of Europe was featured in a CIoA Press Author Spotlight series - watch the recording here.


Table of Contents

Section I: The Evolution of Leadership and Inequality in Southeast European Prehistory

Chapter 1: Introduction: From Farmers to Rulers in Prehistoric Southeastern Europe. Attila Gyucha and William A. Parkinson

Chapter 2: Social Change and Elites in the Prehistoric Central and Southern Balkans. Goce Naumov and Eleonora Petrova Mitevska

Section II: Neolithic and Copper Age: First Farmers, Herders, and Leaders

Chapter 3: Communities and Monuments in the Making: Neolithic Tells on the Great Hungarian Plain. Attila Gyucha, William A. Parkinson, András Füzesi, and Pál Raczky

Chapter 4: The Emergence of a New Elite in Southeast Europe: People and Ideas from the Steppe Region at the Turn of the Copper and Bronze Ages. János Dani, Bianca Preda-Bălănică, and János Angi

Section III: The Age of Bronze: Warriors and Chiefs

Chapter 5: Treasures of the Warlords, Bronze Smiths, and Farmers of the Late Bronze Age: Hoard Deposition in Hungary and Transylvania. Gábor V. Szabó and Botond Rezi

Chapter 6: Peace and War in the Bronze Age on the Eastern Frontier of the Carpathian Basin: The Evolution and Manifestation of Social Stratification. Florin Gogâltan and Corina Borș

Chapter 7: Weapons and Warriors in the Late Bronze Age of the Northern and Central Balkans. János Gábor Tarbay and Jovan D. Mitrović

Section IV: The Age of Iron: Traders and Aristocrats

Chapter 8: Tribal States or Stately Tribes? The Origins of the ‘Barbarian’ Kingdoms of the Southern Balkans. Michael L. Galaty and Rudenc Ruka

Chapter 9: Kings of Crossroads: Warriors and Traders of the Hallstatt World of Central Europe and the Iron Age Balkans. Hrvoje Potrebica and Adrijana Pravidur

Chapter 10: Arrayed in Gold and Silver: The Lavish Kings of Ancient Thrace. Peter Delev