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By Nam C. Kim

The Origins of old Vietnam explores the origins of civilization within the pink River Delta of Vietnam and the way comparable stories can tell our realizing of historic societies, usually, and the principles of Vietnamese tradition, in particular. lengthy believed to be the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, this sector has been referenced by means of Vietnamese and chinese language writers for hundreds of years, many recording colourful stories and legends concerning the region's prehistory. essentially the most enduring debts relates the tale of the Au Lac nation and its capital of Co Loa. based through the 3rd century BC, based on legend, the fortified city's ramparts nonetheless stand at the present time. even if, there are ongoing debates in regards to the origins of the positioning, the validity of the literary bills, and the hyperlink among the prehistoric previous and later Vietnamese societies. The Han Empire's later annexation of the zone, mixed with the problematical money owed present in the chinese language chronicles, additional complicates those questions.

Recent many years of archaeology within the area have supplied new views for reading those matters. the cloth list finds indigenous trajectories of cultural switch in the course of the prehistoric interval, culminating within the emergence of a politically refined society. particularly, new information point out the founding of Co Loa by way of an historical country, centuries sooner than the Han arrival. In The Origins of historical Vietnam, Nam Kim synthesizes the archaeological facts for this momentous improvement, putting Co Loa inside of a much wider, worldwide environment of emergent towns, states, and civilizations.

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Also important to consider is that, despite ample evidence indicating that state formation requires coercive power and either the application of military force or the threat of it, there are cases of state development where the available evidence does not suggest significant pre-state warfare. For instance, Underhill’s research (2006) on early state formation in China shows a general absence of much evidence of warfare prior to centralization. Presently, the hypothesis that warfare was a major causal factor for the initial emergence of states in northern China is not supported by the archaeological data (Underhill 2006: 278).

In other words, while conditions of warfare among non-state polities might represent a necessary condition for political centralization, warfare alone is not a sufficient condition. Warfare among non-state or chiefdom-level societies does not always lead to political consolidation and the emergence of states. Also important to consider is that, despite ample evidence indicating that state formation requires coercive power and either the application of military force or the threat of it, there are cases of state development where the available evidence does not suggest significant pre-state warfare.

As argued by Parkinson and Galaty (2007: 114), the vast majority of ancient state societies were, in some sense, secondary or derivative. Recent research has shifted focus from an earlier concern with primary state formation toward more synchronic analyses of both primary and secondary states (Stein 2001b: 356). In some models, secondary states may have formed as remnants of larger entities that broke up after florescence, or potentially as competing polities that developed at the edge of more mature complex societies (Parkinson and Galaty 2007: 125).

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