2022 1-4955-0974-5 From the Introduction (pg. 9):
"In this book I have made an effort to reconstruct what inequality looked like in three ancient agricultural societies: the kingdoms of Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt. The inequality I consider in these societies was not defined in terms of gold, silver, or property, but in terms of a person's diet and command of excess food and drink. In simple terms, I will argue that elites in these agricultural societies enjoyed an upper-class lifestyle because they served food and drink offerings to gods. Those offerings were produced primarily by non-elites, who believed gods dined on them But the truth is that elites divided food and drink offerings among themselves. Religion disguised the fact that feasting rituals for gods amounted to a redistribution of resources."