From ancient Mesopotamia into the 20th century, "the Circle of Justice" as a concept has pervaded Middle Eastern political thought and underpinned the exercise of power in the Middle East. The Circle of Justice depicts graphically how a government's justice toward the population generates political power, military strength, prosperity, and good administration.
This book traces this set of relationships from its earliest appearance in the political writings of the Sumerians through four millennia of Middle Eastern culture. It explores how people conceptualized and acted upon this powerful insight, how they portrayed it in symbol, painting, and story, and how they transmitted it from one regime to the next. Moving towards the modern day, the author shows how, although the Circle of Justice was largely dropped from political discourse, it did not disappear from people's political culture and expectations of government. The book demonstrates the Circle's relevance to the Iranian Revolution and the rise of Islamist movements all over the Middle East, and suggests how the concept remains relevant in an age of capitalism.
A "must read" for students, policymakers, and ordinary citizens, this book will be an important contribution to the areas of political history, political theory, Middle East studies and Orientalism.
Linda Darling is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Arizona.
1. Introduction: The Circle of Justice 2. Mesopotamia: "That the Strong Might Not Oppress the Weak" 3. Persia: "The Deeds God Likes Best are Righteousness and Justice" 4. The Islamic Empire: "No Prosperity without Justice and Good Administration" 5. Politics in Transition: "Curb the Strong from Riding on the Weak" 6. The Turks and Islamic Civilization: "The Most Penetrating of Arrows is the Prayer of the Oppressed" 7. Mongols and Turks: "Fierce toward Offenders, and in Judgements Just" 8. Early Modern Empires: "The World is a Garden, Its Wall is the State" 9. Modernization and Revolution: "No Justice without Law Applied Equally to All" 10. The Middle East in the Twentieth Century: "A Regime Can Endure with Impiety but not with Injustice". Epilogue