Whether the realm of the Medes may be--or should be--classified as an empire depends not only upon perspective, of course, but also on the types and range of evidence considered, general and specific.
The first part of the review focuses on those articles that deconstruct our previously conceived notions of a Median empire; the second part highlights those that hold close to (if they do not perpetuate) the traditional view of the Medes as a powerful, centralized state parallel to Assyria and Persia; and the third covers a number of those essays that deal with closely related issues.
Liverani's approach, with which the reviewer is entirely sympathetic, is to assess the Medes against the model of the earlier structure that pertains to their origins (i.
The Medes assumed the dirty job of destruction, while the Babylonians assumed the role of the restorers" (p.
6) Liverani notes the "quite peculiar" role of Medes under later Achaemenid rulers.
From the beginning the Medes are referred to as living in fortified settlements, and there is no indication of a tribal organization.
For example, she notes the consistent description (in text and image) of the Medes on horseback (p.
Radner marks the next phase of Assyrian contact with the Medes as beginning with the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (744-727).
Distinct from the country of the Medes under Shalmaneser III, under Sargon Harhar was clearly perceived as Median territory.
On the basis of further consideration of Sargon's campaigns (especially the one that culminated with suicide of Rusa in 714), Radner de-emphasizes the singular reference to the Medes "that roam the desert and mountains like thieves" (p.
58), an appellation that Radner assumes indicates Medes living beyond Assyrian-controlled territory.