ANDRÉ-SALVINI, Beatrice - see under SALVINI, Mirjo
Two lists inform us about the Eblaite dynasty. The first one lists, in regressive chronological order, ten deceased personages defined as "deified kings." The second, a writing exercise which opens with the name of the last king, Ishar-Damu, mentions the ten names of the first list and adds a further fifteen. Four of the latter are names of people to whom offerings are made in two versions of the ritual for the marriage of the royal couple (P. Fronzaroli, ARET XI, 1 and 2).
It is possible that not all of the fifteen names reflect a dynastic sequence and the transmission of royal power from father to son. However, if we attribute from ten to fifteen years to each of these dynasts, and even supposing some of them were alive at the same time, we arrive at roughly the halfway point of the 27th century BC, more or less the same date as the first kings who reigned after the deluge.
Historiography has its origins, in the ANE, in the will of the king to leave a memory of his own achievements. The interest in a farther past arises from the need for legitimacy. A king is such because he belongs to a particular lineage. The cult of the royal dead, and consequently the interest in the memory of the lineage, is a manifestation of this ideology (cf. the Amorite king list and the Ugaritic list KTU 1.113).
"Text linguistics" (the American term is "Discourse Analysis") focuses on the blocks of a text above the sentence level and all the way up the scale to the text as a whole. Thus, it is especially concerned with the (syntagmatic) hierarchy of sentences that make up the texts, and the relationship between that textual hierarchy and the (paradigmatic) linguistic code of the language in which any particular text is written. As such, text linguistics pays special attention to the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic dimensions of languages and texts above the level of the sentence.
The meaning and significance of certain elements of the linguistic code of many languages, including Sumerian, tend to be especially dependent on the combinations of, and the relationships between, these elements in actual texts on the discourse level. In particular, the text linguistic study of Sumerian literary texts suggests a way forward, for example, in the ongoing discussion of the Sumerian verb as well as the relationships between the clauses, sentences, paragraphs, sections, etc., that make up whole Sumerian literary compositions.
Archaeological remains are gender specific only when combined with additional information provided by other disciplines (the metric studies of fingerprints; metric and DNA studies of skeletal material of physical anthropology; the gender-linked patterns of activity of ethnography; the gender depictions of art history; and the textual evidence of Sumerology and Assyriology). By using art historical, ethnographic, and textual evidence, some activities, such as cooking, spinning and weaving, can be gender-linked to women. At most sites, the pottery and spindle whorls used for these activities constitute the majority of movable artifacts, emphasizing the importance of gender in analyzing material culture. Two examples illustrate this point: the site of Kültepe = Kanesh, Turkey, dating to the beginning of the second millennium BC, and my own research of the fourth millennium BC levels of Godin Tepe, Iran. At both sites, the presence of foreigners (Old Assyrian merchants at Kültepe = Kanesh, and people from Late Uruk sites to the south of Godin Tepe) is indicated by significant numbers of certain types of foreign artifacts such as tablets, cylinder seals and sealings, and at Godin Tepe, Late Uruk administrative pottery types such as beveled rim bowls and four lugged jars. At both sites, there are incomplete foreign domestic assemblages with major groups of foreign pottery and artifacts (such as cooking pots and spindle whorls) either absent or rare. Kültepe texts indicate that while Assyrian men were present in all periods, Assyrian women were absent in the earlier periods, and later present only in relatively small numbers. One explanation for the profusion of foreign administrative artifacts and the incomplete foreign domestic assemblages at both sites is the presence of foreign men and the absence of foreign women. Gender is an important factor which needs to be considered in the study of ancient material culture.
This paper will examine the role of archaeological illustration in disciplines of Near Eastern antiquity and argue that a historiography of the visual image can be as informative as a historiography of texts when considering the construction of Mesopotamia.
This paper seeks to examine the sealing practices of the restricted group of Neo-Babylonian notaries who drew up formal documents such as land-sale contracts at Babylon and Borsippa during the 6th century BC.
In the first half of the eighth century BC the statue of the goddess Ishtar, the patron goddess of Uruk and resident of the Eanna temple, was abducted from her sanctuary. She apparently returned there only at the time of Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BC), while during the intervening two centuries or so an image of the goddess was worshipped in Uruk which many considered inappropriate, if not sacrilegious. This traumatic event in the late history of Uruk is reflected in no less than six sources, each of which belongs to a distinct genre of cuneiform writing: royal inscriptions (the Istanbul stela of Nabonidus and Nebuchadnezzar's building inscriptions); literature (Erra and Ishum); literary prophecy (the Uruk prophecy); polemical pamphlet ("the Crimes and Sacrileges of Nabu-shuma-ishkun); and archival administrative records (Eanna temple archive). Interestingly, all these sources report the same event from different points of views, offering in some cases substantially different versions. In addition they span a period of four hundred years, from the end of the 8th century until the beginning of the Seleucid period. This affords us a unique opportunity to study the formation and development of a historiographic tradition centered on a single event. Two interrelated questions merit special attention: how each source reflects the interests of those who produced those narratives, and how the possibilities and limitations of each source dictated the type of information it contains.
Models used to explain the presence of fragmentary cultic material buried with the Mesopotamian temples often include looters and plunderers who are said to have broken the artifacts and flung them about with abandon, while pulling down walls and setting fires. Starr used this model to interpret the remains of the last "Ishtar" temple at Nuzi. Fortunately, his published reports are sufficiently detailed to allow for a different depiction of the burial of this temple, viz., that any "destruction" was more likely to have been a deliberate activity accompanying the religious "de-commissioning" of the building. Specific aspects of the archaeological data will be analyzed in support of this hypothesis. General parallels with the burial of other Mesopotamian temples will be cited, along with suggestive fragments of literary material, to indicate that such artifactual evidence belongs, not to any history of looting activities, but to the history of Mesopotamian religion.
This standardized, electronically searchable SGML corpus is currently being prepared at Oxford University. Based to a large degree on published materials, it will comprise approximately 400 literary compositions, presented in single-line composite text format with English prose translations, and a full bibliographical database, thereby making available for the first time collected works of Sumerian literature. 10% of the corpus will be presented with all manuscript sources individually tagged in SGML.
The corpus will be freely available to anyone who wishes to use it via a World Wide Web site. It will become available gradually, as each composition is completed, and will be regularly updated. Print publication is also envisaged.
SGML makes it possible to search a literary corpus in complex ways for words, phrases, or other features. Users will communicate with the SGML files via an enquiry form accessible at the Web site. Their enquiries (in HTML) will be transmitted by CGI in the form of scripts written in the programming language Perl, but they need have no technical skill in these computer languages and in fact will be unaware of the technical process.
The Babylonian Collection houses large and important groups of sealed tablets from early second millennium Babylonia. A short overview will be given. Selected examples from these groups show the highly individual, non-regulated character of the seals dating from the first two centuries of the second millennium. However, underlying characteristics that connect these expressions of individuality can be found.
My work on the tablet to be discussed here (YBC 8623) is part of a larger project of preparing an edition of the Sumerian model contracts in the Yale Babylonian Collection. This tablet contains fourteen lines of inscription on the front and no writing on the back. The language is Sumerian. The provenance is unknown. The date is Old Babylonian.
My paper will address the question of how model contracts may be distinguished from real contracts. That this text is a model contract is indicated by the absence of witnesses and a date and by the fact that the tablet is inscribed on one side only.
The transaction involves the purchase of an orchard from one individual by another individual. The orchard's location is indicated as adjoining two other properties, one and probably both being orchards as well. The language of sale contracts is used, not that of exchange contracts, but the price is set at three slaves, one female and two male. There follows a renunciation of the right to bring legal action in the future on the part of both parties, and an oath.
The earliest narratives of Assyrian archaeology that circulated in Western Europe presented themselves in a positivistic scheme of hypothesis, excavation, and discovery. The aim of this paper will be to open these narratives -- with a brief account of the discoveries of Botta and Mohl, and the more extensive writings of Layard -- onto a larger institutional, cultural, and political context.
In such a context, these ostensibly progressive, linear narratives can also be circular and tendentious, imbricated with the means and motives of French and British imperialism, as well as a demand for fixing the Greco-Roman origins of Western history. The antiquarian value of the Assyrian artifacts was thus positioned within competing projects of global and temporal acquisition and assertion.
At the same time, the differences in the functioning of the imperialist projects in France and England are as important as their similarities for understanding the different fortunes of ancient Assyria in mid-nineteenth century France and England. The historiographic differences of their accounts reflect how Layard and Botta were employed in very different ways by their respective governments. Further, the aesthetic merits of ancient Assyrian artifacts were argued for (and against) in different ways in the two countries, illuminating very different structures of public and audience.
The passage from the Late Bronze to the Iron Age -- the so-called Dark Age -- is marked by a wide set of transformations which in particular conditioned the diffusion of a late model of urbanization in the north-Syrian and southeast-Anatolian area. This local process is documented by the Luwian and Aramaean new foundations. The stable structure of their city-state formation emerged from a historical course, reflecting the linking of different cultural substrates, regional features and socio-political factors, to be labeled here as Syro-Hittite.
As a typical feature, Syro-Hittite iconography can be singled out in this structure. In conveying Amorite, Hurrian and Hittite traditions of the 2nd millennium BC it was to innovate the visual propaganda in the newly founded or renewed royal city-centers. A decisive role in this process was assigned to the decorative schemes on the reliefs of the city-walls and gates and the façades of the public buildings but also on the three-dimensional statuary and free-standing stelae, including the considerable number of funerary monuments. Their compositions vary between static, phatic and narrative representations, conditioning a visual effect which for modern spectators remains mostly incomprehensible. But obviously, the intention supporting this concept of representation is to be connected to a mythological and historical sense serving the consolidation and self-projection of the new city formations and the local dynasties. That is why iconography may be labeled as a mnemohistorical means of renewing a collective memory in the social and political entities of the area.
In this example, visualized mnemohistory is the way that the process of collective remembrance was impressed on Syro-Hittite culture. That is not only talking about remembrance of the past, it is also a history of remembrance.
Why do we find statements such as "Babylonian mathematics, 4000 BC" in popular, but otherwise well-researched, books on the history of science (Michael White's 'Isaac Newton, the Last Sorcerer' (1997), p. 66)? Does the truth make for less interesting reading? Has a critical mass of misinformation accumulated during this century's recovery of cuneiform science, or can we blame the Ancient Greeks or even the Mesopotamians themselves? The fact is, cuneiform astronomy and mathematics are difficult, and to make matters worse both must be studied in their cultural contexts before any history of the Mesopotamian Exact Sciences can be written. Despite the efforts of scholars such as Neugebauer and Sachs, the understanding outside of Assyriology of the history of one of Mesopotamia's most important legacies is utterly different from that written by those in the field. Is this more than relativism? Are not all accounts equally valid, and does not any history of the exact sciences reveal more about today than about the past? I argue that we ignore the rewriting of this history at our peril. This paper explores the reasons why such misinformation persists and offers solutions.
Occasionally the Assyrian King List contains descriptions of non-standard situations regarding the succession to the throne in Assyria. This paper focuses on the following passage dealing with the accession of the Middle-Assyrian ruler Ninurta-apil-Ekur: "Ninurta-apil-Ekur, son of Ili-pada, offspring of Eriba-Adad went to Karduniash. He came up from Karduniash (and) seized the throne. He ruled for 3/13 years." As opposed to the highly standardized textual pattern of the AKL, the rendering of this specific situation seems to reflect the particular political and dynastic circumstances of Ninurta-apil-Ekur's claim to the throne.
The Near Eastern tradition puts in evidence some of the elements of connection between the historical condition and the mythical perspective, wherein many personages take a leading part in a "heroical dimension." Its peculiar character and function in the realization of the historical condition can offer very interesting elements for reflection.
This paper will demonstrate how the concept of the "other" contributed to the formation of historiographic writing in Hatti. This will be done by the examination of the Hittite expression natta ara (not right) in Hittite texts.
The initial step that must be taken towards historiographic writing is the development of a sense of self-consciousness. This degree of reflexiveness is achieved by forming a counter-identity, a negative image of the self. Thus it is the prohibited, the marginalized, the abhorred, which establish the ideal criteria for the image of the self. For example, both in the Hebrew Bible and the Assyrian royal inscriptions, a key theme, which led ultimately to the composition of distinctive traits, is the rejection of the other. In Hatti, it is the natta ara expression which defined the border between correct and incorrect social behavior. It was employed in various genres, ranging from religious texts (e.g., Kantuzili's Prayer), through myth of self-definition (the Zalpa tale), to historiography (e.g., the Telepinu Edict). In these texts we find that any forces disruptive to Hittite society, such as the Babylonian queen residing in Hatti, or vassals practicing incestuous marriage, were deemed natta ara. Juxtaposed with the desired Hittite royal ideology they set up a counter-image of behavior and norm. An elucidation of this concept contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms at the core of history writing in Hatti and offers material for comparative study of historiography in the ancient Near East.
Among the many Babylonian incantations that treat illness are nine incantations against "various illnesses," of the type first edited by A. Goetze in JCS 9 (1955): 8-18. Incantations against various illnesses are so-called because, while most other Babylonian incantations that treat illness focus on one particular illness, incantations against various illnesses list a number of different illnesses. I believe that the reason the incantations do so is because they were meant to treat not a particular illness, or even every illness, but rather illness specifically as it afflicts infants or livestock. A characteristic shared by infants and livestock is that when they are sick they are unable to communicate their symptoms; a magician casting an incantation to remedy an ill infant or livestock animal thus often could not have been certain what illness he was seeking to remedy. Using a technique for expressing unknown information that is also found in other kinds of Babylonian texts, the magician compensated for this uncertainty about what illness he was seeking to remedy by listing a number of different possibilities.
The archaeological evidence indicates that seals were worn suspended from the pins or, later, from the fibulae used to fasten garments, they were worn round wrists and they were attached to belts. Only rarely (except in Cyprus) is there clear evidence that they were worn as part of a necklace. There is much evidence of votive seals but little indication (other than textual) as to how they were displayed or stored. The evidence of the seals themselves is the best source of information. Very large seals and seals with a handle may have been used as desk seals. Seals in precious materials would have been indicators of prestige or rank and were presumably worn to be seen despite the dearth of iconographic evidence. Seals with metal caps occur from Akkadian times onwards and, in the Levant, are associated with a variety of settings: loops, hoops and rings. The presence of settings, sometimes with elaborate granulation, is apparent from seal impressions and the absence of settings is also worthy of attention. Breakage is more frequent in some categories of seals than others, perhaps indicating that the wearers had a particularly active lifestyle. The depiction of being worn or carried is scant and ambiguous with the exception of Cyprus.
In recent years there has been a revival, in certain quarters, of the notion that many classical Sumerian literary compositions can be understood as responses to specific historical conditions in the Akkad period. This paper seeks to demonstrate that the proposed imaginative interpretations of the "Curse of Akkade," "Inanna and Shukaletuda" and other compositions are implausible and that we must look elsewhere in our quest for meaning in Sumerian literature.
The campaign accounts of late Assyrian kings scaled new heights of literary excellence. Palace relief sculptures are their visual counterpart, still vivid when Assyria fell from power, when the texts could no longer be read. Where is the literature they inspired? Increasing evidence is found for Aramaic narratives loosely based upon actual historical events. Some are extant only in translations and later adaptations. The number known in Aramaic and Hebrew is augmented by tales told in Aramaic but written in Egyptian demotic script. None is anti-Assyrian. Emphasis is placed on personal, individual qualities of heroism and endurance among foreign princes and deportees. Fictitious accretions multiplied as the tales were transferred to later historical settings, or rewritten for new audiences. Some fictions arose because the conventions of Assyrian palace sculptures were misunderstood. With a better understanding of the genre and its development, we can separate the factual remnants from distortions which were mistaken for factual history by later writers.
The Assur collection in Istanbul, besides its main category of Middle-Assyrian tablets, for the greater part houses a group of some Neo-Assyrian tablets in small quantities of diverse contents. In addition to these two main categories of documents it also contains some other types of texts in small quantities which seem to have originated from other sites, and at times were arbitrarily assigned Assur excavation numbers with no reference to their context. A few of them were already communicated by us when they were identified. It seems that the Babylonian tablets excavated from Babylon itself, and those scattered elsewhere in other collections, as well as Assur tablets, have also been assigned Babylonian sigla. Whether this was done by the excavators or the former curators we cannot be sure. As a result, 23 Neo-Assyrian tablets originating from Assur -- most of them with Assur excavation numbers -- were placed in the Babylonian collection, and more than half a dozen Neo-Babylonian tablets have been found in the Assur collection (again, with Assur excavation numbers). This might otherwise be regarded as a simple case of misplacement, but the Babylonian tablets found in the Assur collection cannot be written off so simply because, besides their excavation numbers, they are written in Babylonian script and style, and in a few cases they bear year dates of certain Babylonian rulers. The aim of the paper is to introduce these documents. Two of them will be treated in full.
Almost seventy percent of the sealed tablets known from the sixth century Eanna archives are housed in the Yale Babylonian Collection. The tablets span some one hundred years, from the time of Nabopolassar into the early reign of Darius I, and the impressions are a major source of information on sixth century Babylonian iconography. In addition to the prototypical composition of a worshiper before symbols, the repertoire includes scenes of both contest and adoration of a sacred tree, dependent on earlier first millennium models, as well as unique motifs. Contrary to the notion that Late Babylonian seals are primarily cursorily worked stamps, the impressions reveal that well-carved stamps and also cylinders were favored for sealing purposes. Sealers are not readily identifiable, but office does not seem to have been a factor determining imagery choice. Sealing iconography and practice exhibit no discontinuities after Cyrus' conquest of Babylonia, a testament to Persian adoption of local custom and appreciation of Babylonian taste.
Excavations this season at Tell Brak in northeastern Syria have focused on Middle-Late Uruk occupation on and around the mound, as well as on a newly discovered public building of the late Early Dynastic period. This paper will present the new finds along with a preliminary discussion of their relevance for the chronology, history, and sociopolitical development of northern Mesopotamia in the fourth and third millennium BC.
As is well known, the main ancient sources about the Flood disagree about its exact time. It falls within the mysterious "second month" in the Old Testament, while late Hebrew tradition names the VIIIth Babylonian month Arahsamnu/Marheshwan (our October-November). The sacred book of the ancient Persians, the Avesta, tells of the lord of the Flood named "the magician Markusan," which, to our thinking, resembles the name Marhashan-Marheshwan. Some information on the Flood is available in the Berossus extracts, where the date of the Flood falls on the Macedonian month Daisios (our April-May). But there are no sources for the Babylonian Flood date. This paper attempts to reconstruct that date from all three versions of the Babylonian Flood myth, in addition to data from the Babylonian menologies. Together, these sources suggest a probable date for the Babylonian Flood in winter, ca. January-February.
The paper will concentrate on joint efforts in Berlin and Los Angeles to digitalize original tablets, photos and hand copies. I will discuss the problems posed by copyright in internet databases, and will review our progress in preparing uniform transliterations of third millennium administrative texts for internet usage.
Since 1981, date of publication of the congress volume Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: New Horizons in Literary, Ideological and Historical Analysis, a number of important editorial results and discussions on crucial issues concerning Assyrian Royal Inscriptions (ARI) have appeared. The purpose of this paper is twofold:
Beginning with the year 1927, four seasons of excavation at Yorgan Tepe (Nuzi) were undertaken by the joint expedition of the Semitic Museum and the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University and the American School of Oriental Research in Baghdad with the additional collaboration of the University of Pennsylvania Museum during the last two seasons (1929-30 and 1930-31).
All the tablets unearthed during these campaigns were brought to the Harvard Semitic Museum for publication. The Old Akkadian, Sumerian, and Cappadocian tablets of the site (at that time called Gasur) are all edited within one volume of the Harvard Semitic Series (HSS 10 = EN 3 [Excavations at Nuzi]). But with regard to the Nuzi tablets the situation is different: although there are already nine volumes (AASOR 16, EN 1, 2 4-9} and various articles with text editions, the project of publishing the Nuzi tablets is far from finished. In the meantime, according to the terms of excavation, in general, half of the published tablets and fragments have been given back to the Iraq Museum, Baghdad.
This paper will summarize the history of the Nuzi tablet collection of the Harvard Semitic Museum and describe the present situation of the corpus. Special attention will be given to the unpublished material.
In 1828, the French artist Delacroix presented his famous painting of the death of Sardanapal's at the Salon in Paris. His representation was based on classical stories about the end of the last Assyrian king which were related in a very peculiar way to the historical Ashurbanipal. With the excavations in Assyria, starting in the middle of the 19th century, primary sources from the reign of this king began to emerge. Accordingly, new "images" of Ashurbanipal were created, and sometimes found their way from the scholarly debates to popular culture. This paper aims at a discussion of these images, trying to connect them with the political and cultural environment in which they were embedded.
The Zagros road that ran from ancient Madga to Arrapha was the highway exploited by the Ur III kings Shulgi and Amar-Suena in their prolonged struggle to establish Ur's hegemony over the eastern lands of Kimash and Huwurtum. This communication uses the evidence of Ur III period year names and royal inscriptions, and economic documents, combined with the evidence of historical geography in an attempt to chart the progress of the Ur III kings in their Zagros Campaigns.
The curriculum of the school in the Neo- and Late Babylonian periods is divided into two parts which can be distinguished not only by their contents but also by the format of the tablets used for writing exercises. While one part is concerned with religious and more "academic" matters, the other one deals with the education of pupils who are to learn writing economic texts but also of those who intend to serve the king at his court. The curriculum displays many elements pointing to a special interest in history and historiography. The pupils have to get familiar with texts featuring the ideal ruler, other historical texts, and also with letters from old times. On the other hand, the pupils are enabled to read ancient texts and to write elaborate inscriptions in an archaizing script widely attested in Late Babylonian times. It is clear that historiographical knowledge was not limited to a few specialists. Some aspects of history were already in the elementary education.
The chronology of the Amarna letters has become a much-debated issue among historians and philologists alike. Nearly all of the discussion is directed to relate the events mentioned in the correspondence with known historical events recorded elsewhere. In a number of places, however, the peculiar language and especially the idiosyncratic usage found in the letters have given rise to conflicting interpretations. This paper deals with the chronological issues of the events mentioned in Aziru's letters EA 156-161; 164-168; 171 from the point of view of discourse-linguistics. In particular, the discussion attempts to reformulate some basic issues of the interpretation of the time reference in these letters, namely, whether Aziru was talking about some past events or saying something about the future or speaking about the present. Considerations from the pragmatics of tense, aspect, and modality may further improve the understanding of the chronological sequence of the letters. This presentation will thus highlight the bearing of discourse studies on the interpretation of historical texts in general.
The Y Trench at Kish, with its hundreds of graves, including royal burials, should have furnished the key sequence for Mesopotamia from the Jemdet Nasr through Akkadian times. Besides the presentation by the excavator, Watelin, three other attempts have been made to reconstruct the stratigraphy of the trench. My cleaning of the face of the trench in 1978 showed that all reconstructions, including my own, were incorrect. The evidence from the cleaning has important implications for our understanding of the Flood Stratum and the burials below it, as well as for the nature of occupation in this area after the Flood.
Durch eine Reihe von Beiträgen, die in den 70er und 80er Jahren und besonders nach dem Bekanntwerden der hurritisch-hethitischen Bilingue aus Bogazköy entstanden sind, ist die traditionelle Darstellung des hurritischen Kasussystems an einigen Punkten zu revidieren. Neben einer Skizze der wichtigsten Etappen, die zum heutigen Forschungsstand in diesem Bereich geführt haben, will der Vortrag nicht nur eine Übersicht über die hurritischen Kasusendungen bieten, sondern auch auf einige Probleme hinweisen, die weiterer Untersuchungen bedürfen.
Parmi les historiens, les divins tiennent la première place pour des raisons obvies; tout acte public nécesssite leur interpellation. Deux aspects retienent notre attention: leur perception du temps historique et l'usage qu'ils font des sources.
Sargon II claimed to have subjugated Iadnana, as the Assyrians called Cyprus, in the late eighth century BC. His boast is embodied both in royal annals from Assyria and in an inscribed stele found allegedly on the island. This stele, the lone artifact of undoubted Assyrian manufacture from Cyprus, raises a host of questions, not only about Sargon's conquest of the island, but also about the nature of Assyrian imperial rule there.
Aside from Sargon's stele, nothing in the island's archaeological record can be construed as evidence for a late eighth century BC Assyrian armed invasion, military occupation or civil administration of Cyprus -- no seals or seal impressions, no cuneiform archives, no architecture, tombs, nor even any pottery. In short, there is no material evidence that Assyrians ever set foot on the island at all. There is little reason to expect otherwise. Sargon did not actually claim to have invaded and occupied the island after the manner of his conquests on the mainland. He stated only that he subdued its seven kings and forced them to pay him tribute.
Modern interpretations of Sargon's account have sought in the Cypriot archaeological record evidence for a full-scale Assyrian military campaign on the island. This evidence has not been forthcoming and it is unlikely to be supplied by future investigations in the relevant (and already well explored) Cypriot-Archaic I levels throughout the island. This should not, however, be viewed as grounds for dismissing Sargon's claim as mere fabrication. Rather it should point the way to a reassessment of the variable archaeological reflexes of late Neo-Assyrian imperial domination. This paper proposes such a reassessment of the Cypriot archaeological record in order to demonstrate that Assyrian domination of Cyprus took not a military course, but a more subtle political and diplomatic one, mediated by the Phoenicians.
In the debate over the admissibility of evidence for the reconstruction of ancient Near Eastern history, the notion of privileging contemporaneous records (archives and monuments) at the expense of later literary formulations (canons) is questionable on several counts. This will be illustrated for the case of the collapse of empires in general and of the Ur III Dynasty in particular.
Seals and Seal Impressions
It has been repeatedly asserted that excavations have turned up examples of seal impressions made from the very seals which have also been recovered. The likelihood of such a coincidence is statistically infinitesimal, and indeed most of the alleged cases have proved to be otherwise on closer inspection. A review of the evidence suggests why. The few cases that stand up to such scrutiny may be exceptions that prove the rule.
I will discuss both sealed and unsealed Ur III sale documents which were published by P. Steinkeller in his Sale Documents of the Ur-III Period (1984). Those which were from Nippur can be classified by the shape of the tablets and the way seals were applied to them. The resulting typology seems to correspond to the purpose of the documents, as we know it from their texts. The typology, which was abstracted from physical features, may further suggest uses of tablets that would not be understood simply by reading their texts.
When the newly founded Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft decided, in 1898, to do archaeological work in Babylon, Germany was a latecomer on the scene of imperialist powers digging in the Near East. On the other hand a number of German universities already had chairs in Assyriology, and even outside the famous Babel-Bibel-controversy the history of the ancient Near East was a topic of debate in the early 20th century. Nevertheless, when archaeological work ceased with World War I, a phase of forty years of growing interest in Near Eastern cultures came to a halt.
Although the Weimar Republic, despite a desolate financial situation, sponsored not only the building of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, with the famous reconstruction of Babylon's Ishtar gate, but also opened or planned new departments of the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul, Cairo, Tehran and Baghdad, Near Eastern archaeology and history came under threat during the 1920s.
More and more, the importance and value of knowledge of ancient Near Eastern cultures was questioned. On the other hand, classical Greek culture, as a model for and as part of Germany's national character, was strongly emphasized, e.g., within the Third Humanism movement. At the same time, the idea of a superior Aryan race, as opposed to Semites, gained ground. Both served to reestablish a negative image of Near Eastern cultures, whose history was regarded as irrelevant.
In this paper I will try to show how these discussions led to the still prevailing gap between the fields of Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, resulting in the near exclusion of the latter from history books until now.
It has always been a major interest of scholars dealing with Babylonian scientific texts to trace the historic development of various texts on omens, medicine, astronomy, etc. Very little of definite value, however, could be said about a topic like serialization due to the extreme scarcity of texts treating this question. For the majority of first millennium texts not even the names of their author or editors are known.
This paper traces the motives for serializing the Diagnostic Handbook, and the ways in which this was achieved, by utilizing a highly unorthodox text by one Esagil-kin-apli.
This paper will present a detailed chronological account of the acquisition of the Western Asia Collection. Materials in this collection include cuneiform plaques and seals, ceramics, and miscellany from the Museum's excavations in Urartu.
The gishkakki Asshur occurs seven times in published Assyrian royal inscriptions, all instances limited to a fifty-year span (745-696). In six of the seven examples, the introduction of this object/institution follows the violent inauguration of a provincial city. Although an Old Assyrian "weapon of Assur" and various divine weapons used in promissory oaths may explain its origins, the lack of mention of the gishkakki Asshur in the extensive Sargonid state archives is a powerful argumentum e silentio against equating it with the introduction of the Assyrian state cult into newly minted provinces. In particular, the lack of agreement between Sargon's narratives of the reorganization of Kishesim and Harhar indicates that something more than a crude display of Assyrian divine images occurred. The correspondence of Mannu-ki-Ninua, the governor of Harhar/Kar-Sharrukin, together with passages from the Assyrian royal inscriptions and other Sargonid letters suggests that the gishkakki Asshur was a shorthand designation for the administration of loyalty oaths in the presence of Assyrian divine standards, and in the absence of corroborative evidence, such citations should not be understood as allusions to an imposition of the Assyrian state cultus in provincial areas.
Many of classical antiquity's economic practices, including interest-bearing debt, can be traced back to southern Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC. Yet by the time most historians pick up the thread of Western civilization in classical Greece and Rome, the long dynamics set in motion in Mesopotamia had evolved half way to the present.
Tracing and explaining these "long dynamics" requires assyriologists to begin filling in many of the blanks with plausible scenarios. Unfortunately, decades of unwarranted speculation by economists, political theorists and historians about archaic social structures has led assyriologists to recoil to the point of "sticking to the text" and avoid theoretical categories altogether. Texts do not explain how practices such as the charging of interest came to be transmitted westward over the two thousand years prior to c. 750 BC. The excesses of diffusionist theory in the 1920s and the 1930s discouraged subsequent speculation, until center-periphery studies developed a new methodology for how institutions are transmitted from one society to others. Karl Polanyi, for instance, suggested the idea of "disembedding," that is, removing an institution from its original (holistic) context.
This paper uses interest-bearing debt as an example of how a practice developed in one set of conditions is transformed in the process of being transplanted to other contexts. (I use the term "decontextualization" because all institutions are embedded.) For instance, when interest-bearing debts were transmitted to Assyria's trade colonies c. 1900 BC, the practice of canceling personal debts was also adopted. But this was not the case by the time interest-bearing debt spread to Greece and Rome. This decontextualization made the diffusion of debt much more economically polarizing in classical antiquity than had been the case in the early Mesopotamian core
The kings (and other members of the royal family) of the Hittites did not die, but "became a god" (DINGIRLIM kiß-). This formula is known from the Hittite Death Rituals (CTH 450), but more often we find it in historiographic sections referring to a Hittite king's death and his successor's accession to the throne. On the other hand we have the so-called king-lists, which list offerings to deceased members of the royal dynasty. In these lists the names are written with the "Personnendeterminativ," not with the "Gottesdeterminativ." Also in genealogies at the beginnings of decrees, treaties and historiographical texts we do not find an expression comparable to the Latin divus for the author's deceased predecessors. So it is clear that the "king-lists" are testimonies of the ancestor cult of the royal dynasty and not of the king's divinization after death. But what was meant by the formula "to become a god"? Did the Hittites really believe in their deceased kings as gods, or is this expression just a euphemism for "to die"? In this paper I will try to find an answer to this question and demonstrate the connection between this formula and the legitimation of the Hittite king.
A consideration of the numerous cow-shaped stamp seals (or seal amulets) of the Jemdet Nast/Proto-literate period, sheds new light on the connection between animal husbandry and economics at the end of the fourth millennium BCE in Mesopotamia. These seals, which depict a recumbent bovid with head turned toward the viewer, display a remarkable uniformity of style, size and color, whether the seal was excavated in southern Mesopotamia or southwestern Iran. The bovine type depicted by the seals, a compact blocky animal with short horns that curve inward over the forehead, is identifiable as a short-horn, easily distinguished from the long-horned variety shown in earlier Mesopotamian art. These mild-mannered, easily managed cattle were the progenitors of the European milking breeds. The sudden proliferation of images of these cattle, not only on seals but in sculpture as well, may signal the shift from the use of cattle as a draft and meat animal that incidentally supplied milk, to the development of dairy herds as a continuous food source for an urban population. The uniformity of the representations suggests a source for the seals and the cattle in southern Mesopotamia and a bureaucracy that may have controlled the supply of this desirable livestock type to the rest of western Asia.
Nanna-Suen, the tutelary deity of Ur, figures in royal inscriptions from the reign of Urnammu on, predominantly as the "first-born son of Enlil" (dumu-sag-den-líl.lá). This mythological genealogy also permeates nearly all genres of 'classical' Sumerian literature (i.e., Sumerian literary texts, presumably composed in the Ur III period, but available only in Old Babylonian copies), where it manifests itself in multiple complex literary forms and expressions.
The principal aim of this paper is to present a systematic description and analysis of this genealogy, as it was developed in the Ur III period, and to determine its politico-historical background. In addition, a number of problems, involving this literary-mythological motif, will be considered, such as the relationship of Nanna-Suen to the sky god An and to the younger astral deities, Utu and Inanna, and the contradictory theology, which claims Ningirsu/Ninurta as the "first-born son of Enlil."
Reconstructing Mittani History, the biography of a major political power of the 2nd mill. B.C., means to work with little information stemming mostly from foreign, even hostile, sources, Mittani's own archives having not yet been discovered. This is a special case of ancient documentation and modern historiography.
Probably synchronic with the formation of the Old Hittite Kingdom (16th cty. B.C.) and before the start of Kassite rule in Babylonia, the fusion of a plurality of mainly Hurrian principalities in Upper Mesopotamia results in the establishment of the kingdom of Mittani. Possibly by aggression or in response to a threat from a third party, this territorial merger is achieved under the leadership of a Hurrianized group of Indo-Arians cut off from the central stream of Indian migration. Powerful enough to expand or at least counteract foreign pressure on the predominantly or partly Hurrianized states of the West bank of the Euphrates and of central Syria, Mittani soon or even from its start in volves itself in a long and varied struggle, contending first with Hatti, then with Egypt, and again with Hatti for the hegemony over Syria and over parts of Eastern Anatolia. In the second half of the 14th century Mittani succumbs to the onslaught of the New Hittite Empire. Turned into a Hittite vassal state and truncated by Assyrian aggression, Mittani or rather Hanigalbat, as it was now officially called in its reduced size, was not long after overrun by Assyria and henceforth claimed as a vassal by its expanding eastern neighbour. Following another intermezzo as a Hittite ally, Hanigalbat was finally annexed by Assyria in the second third of the 13th century.
Genuine royal Cassite correspondence has been known for a long time in the Amarna letters. Recently attention has been drawn to documents professing to be such correspondence, but, unlike the Amarna letters, not known from the actual letters, but from "later" copies in the Babylonian literary corpus. It is not only in the source that a distinction can be observed, but also in the content. These "later" copies of letters reveal great learning, display considerable literary talent, but are also of unexpected length for real letters. For example, what was previously known as the Weidner Chronicle turns out to be a portion of a letter. Nevertheless, some contend that these documents are genuine letters of the named senders.
This paper will explore this problem and will ask, if these documents are of the same category as the letter of Gilgamesh in Akkadian, who wrote them, when, and why.
Feminist historians now propose that all aspects of reality are gendered and that the very experience of gender is both structured and structuring a wide set of social relations within any given historical framework. Such an enquiry comprises investigations of sexuality and the position of women, but goes beyond that in acknowledging that notions of sexual difference permeate all aspects of sociocultural life, including property and exchange, the symbolic articulation of power and sex, as well as the maintenance and legitimation of power.
The act of interpreting historical data, the confusing material of historicity, especially in past, partially literate societies such as those of the ancient Near East, is in itself conditioned by attitudes and assumptions about gender relations (Foucault) and prone to the methodological pitfalls of ethnocentricity (Asas, Wolf, Geertz, etc.). The habitual ordering of the past into 'periods', the emphasis on the study of dynastic hegemonies, the depiction of historical change as driven by competitive warfare echo and replicate the historiography of ancient élites. Even the inclusion of Marxian paradigms has not alleviated the selective decision making as to what constitutes historicity and history.
This paper argues for the more general acceptance of the methodological possibilities of incorporating 'gender' in the historical discourse of Assyriology that avoids tokenist gestures towards the study of 'women' which tend to re-affirm their marginality in the historiography of the ancient Near East.
The recent publications of Nuzi tablets, especially in the SCCNH volumes, provided us with many new documents, most of them concerned with private archives. The present paper tries to give a report on the archivistic studies of Nuzi texts: several recent books and articles have shed light on the situation of significant family archives; but other groups of tablets have not yet been studied. The new interest in the publication or republication of texts according to the place of discovery and the persons to whom they belonged should open new prospects for economic and social studies.
This paper attempts to recover and define two historiographic attitudes and styles in the Late Bronze cuneiform world, as evidenced in the Amarna letters and other Levantine texts. The first, represented by EA 17 and the Idrimi inscription, may be understood to reject Mitannian historiography. The other, in EA 9 and related correspondence, involves the Kassite king, Burna-Buriash II. In both cases, history-writing is clearly a practical political affair, to provide legitimation for the ruler, especially as he negotiates with other rulers. But as a close study of the texts at hand will show, this common goal is realized by different historiographical strategies, growing out of the local conditions of each community and its particular cultural traditions.
The investigation of Iron Age (1300-300 BC) settlements in southeastern Arabia has proceeded to the point where discussions of issues related to regional interaction and complexity are now possible. It is now clear that much early work in this area was driven by a focus on those locales which were considered fertile and conducive to long-term human occupation. The author's investigations (1994-98) at the Iron Age II desert settlement of Muweilah suggest that these assumptions have provided a skewed picture of the ancient settlement pattern. Excavations at Muweilah have revealed evidence for precocious technologies, the use of elite status goods and craft specialization in an environmental zone which was previously considered to be inhabited by acephalous nomadic groups. A number of other finds from the site shed light on southeastern Arabia's interaction with other regional centers during this period.
The archival sources from ED Lagash open an unparalleled window on the social, political, and economic life of a Sumerian state. For its sheer size and scope, the é-mí/é-Ba'u archive has been, and will continue to be, central to models of Sumerian state structure. One genre of the documentation, namely, the ration lists, provides detailed information on the organization of household labor, but scant evidence of the contexts, e.g., domestic, workshop, industrial, in which such labor was deployed. My paper will examine a subset of the ration lists, in which explicit reference is made (by means of the verb ti, pl. sig7) to persons' living arrangements. I will consider the implication of such references for modeling the household's structure.
The winter of 1925-26 marked the first of five seasons of excavation at Nuzi. The tablets from that season were eventually housed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. These artifacts are prominent both for their large number and for their having been part of extensive private archives from Nuzi's suburbs.
This paper reviews the modern history of the Chicago texts and the plans for their continuing publication. A description of the number, contents, and provenience of these texts is followed by a more detailed outline of the nature of the texts yet to be published. Elements to be noted are: new and unusual text genres, new types of data, and expanded attestations of personal and geographical names. A timetable for publication of the remaining material is offered. Finally, preliminary thoughts are presented regarding the implications of this fresh material for further research and for the history of Nuzi.
Until recently, cuneiform texts were generally examined only with regard to their contents, not to their form and physical characteristics. Every text, however, is a unique historical witness. This is valid for so-called literary texts as well as for ordinary administrative documents. When copying texts attentively one recognizes, from time to time, aside from real damage on the tablet surface (traces of time), other which can only have been effected by artificial means (tools) during the period of their use. A summary of such surface "disturbances," within the corpus of texts from Pre-Sargonic Girsu, shows that the scribes used a differentiated system of features, in conjunction with the normal "process of writing," to characterize certain processes of administration. Such "rudenesses of accounting," which complement the contents of the texts themselves, will be demonstrated by macro-photographic slides, and an attempt will be made to analyze -- as far as possible -- both the different sorts of artificial damages as well as certain peculiarities in the handling of texts as living materials. The existence of such "rudenesses" additionally shows that the use of so-called ordinary administrative texts cut across many more temporal phases than we assume today. Such texts thereby win their own history.
It is well known that seals were recarved in antiquity. Evidence for this, both on ancient seal impressions and on the seals themselves, usually involves either traces of earlier designs that were incompletely removed or unusual designs that conflict with the 'grammar' of the scene. Thus recarving is recognized only if it was performed incompletely or incompetently. I will discuss evidence for recarving found in groups of ancient impressions made by subsequent versions of the same seal. It appears that some seals, presumably made of relatively soft stone, could wear down with use, and were recarved intermittently in order to maintain legibility. I will show an interesting example from Umma, the seal of Ur-Suen son of Ur-gigir, which was recarved at least twice, once involving a major design change.
Evidence for intermittent recarving appears only if one can examine impressions made over the course of several years. As bodies of data that permit such study are rather rare, one cannot judge how common the phenomenon was. Finally, I will discuss effects that intermittent recarving may have on other kinds of evidence of concern to Assyriologists.
Long-distance trade ventures for prestige goods like obsidian predate urban settlements. Towns emerged in transit centers and market places. Political power developed along these circuits in an intricate and constantly shifting pattern. Economy triggered wars and pegged out geography. The NAM-LUGAL traveled from city to city. Royal titularies were the first historiographic records of geography. Before empires appeared, geography was set on a linear pattern: routes linking city A to city B. Later on, the extension of landed property moved the geographical concept into a surface pattern more familiar to us nowadays.
In antiquity both concepts coexisted. Inland, empires developed on the surface pattern, and along the coasts thalassocracies continued the archaic linear one, from port A to port B. In the Roman period India Egypti, India Ethiopi, India Maior, India Minor and India Ultima referred to territories skirting the maritime route from Egypt to India proper. India is a trade venture, a supra thalassic country/power. This paper will endeavor to show how the linear pattern can make explicit the vexing question of the location of Magan and Meluhha. In the cuneiform world, these countries on the Red Sea coast were the ultimate goal of an integrated trade network. There was no "toponymic shift."
Among the challenges about the nature of historical evidence, a key question when dealing with fragmentary and contextually problematic textual material is "How did texts that bear historical information come into existence?"
To answer, a useful metaphor is the notion of "taphonomy," borrowed from archaeology. Taphonomy is the process by which objects go from active use in ancient society to modern archaeological artifacts. To understand any artifact the archaeologist constructs a taphonomic model from ethnography, proposing how the object came to be as it was found.
If textualization in a society is "textual deposition" and the resultant texts "textual artifacts," they cannot be understood without a taphonomic model of "deposition" from event to text. Presuming textualization takes place similarly in analogous societies, to construct this model one should look at analogous cultures to examine how they preserved "history."
This paper illustrates one example. The "target" society is the Palestine highlands, 1200-100 BC. The archaeology of this society is thoroughly catalogued. Through anthropological modeling it is "matched" with analogous societies. The ways these societies encoded their historical memories are discussed. Judgments are made about how history was encoded in Iron I Palestine, and comments made about where one might find this material.
Since Leo Oppenheim's first attempt to reconstruct the topography of the Nuzi area in 1938, the study of the geography of the ancient kingdom of Arrapha has made considerable progress through the efforts of several scholars. While Oppenheim only used documents for his reconstruction, in which the starting-point as well as the destination of a road connecting two settlements are explicitly mentioned, we are nowadays able to draw a much clearer picture of the topography of Nuzi. This is, apart from the publication of new texts, mainly due to the application of new evaluation techniques, among them the study of prosopography, which made it possible to determine the starting points of roads even if only their destination is mentioned in the text. Therefore, the paper will not only deal with the results of the reconstruction of the topography, but also with the methods of reconstruction, in keeping with the main issue of this Rencontre. Modern geography is not only topography and physical geography, but comprises such fields as population geography, cultural and social, political and economic geography. On the basis of the topographical reconstruction, an account will be given of the progress in these matters.
Los estudios realizados sobre las sociedades del Cercano Oriente Antiguo en líneas generales se basan en exhaustivos análisis de carácter filológico, en la investigación de evidencia arqueológica que en el mejor de los casos se abocar a la reconstrucción de la cultura material y, en los estudios bíblicos cuyo interés generalmente se centra en los problemas de la crítica textual que presenta el texto del Antiguo Testamento, particularmente en los problemas teológicos. Consideramos que los citados estudios si bien son un instrumental indispensable para la historia, sin embargo no resuelven un problema sustancial que son las investigaciones que aborden los "problemas históricos" en su dimensión explicativa e interpretiva en el campo de nuestra disciplina. Es posible hacer uso del modelo del encuentro para estudiar la historia de los estados de la antigüedad en los que se puede descubrir que sus rasgos culturales son más variados que homégeneas y más plurales que singulares. Se debe recordar que las diferencias de distancia cultural y las analogías han de ser examinadas en detalle y considerar que en cualquier caso el modelo de interacción sigue sendo útil. Para ello proponemos el análisis histórico comparado a la manera de Marc Bloch y junto a la teoría social, ser posible apreciar fálprevias selección y obervación de fenómenos aparentemente análogos, como puede ser el fenómeno de la deportación en Samaria y Jerusalem, la naturaleza y autonomía de los diferentes estados que actuaron para su conquista y sometimientofál la complejidad de las diferencias.
The existing studies on the societies of the ancient Near East are based, as a rule, on exhaustive philological analysis, on the examination of archaeological evidence that in the best of cases leads to a reconstruction of the material culture, and on Biblical studies, which as a field has been concerned primarily with textual criticism and theological problems of the Old Testament. The studies just described, indispensible as they may be to historical investigation, nevertheless do not resolve a fundamental problem, namely, that the "historical questions" they pose may very well be those of their own making, rather than ones centered in the cultures being examined. To address this problem, as it pertains to the states of the ancient Near East, and especially the history of the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires, it may be able to use the encounter model, in the fashion worked out by the medievalist, Marc Bloch. With such a model, it may be discovered that the cultural characteristics of these states were more varied than homogeneous, more plural than singular. At the same time, their similarities and difference may be understood by a focus on the particular social contexts from which they proceeded.
Sargon conquered Cyprus in about 708/7 BCE and erected his stele there. The Cypriote episode is related in numerous inscriptions, all written immediately after the island's conquest. One group mentions that the island of Cyprus marks the westernmost limit of the Assyrian Empire, and a second group calls Sargon "subduer of the seven kings of Ia', a district of the land of Iadnana." Some inscriptions related how fright fell upon the Cypriote kings and they brought their gifts to Sargon and "kissed my feet." Concrete details of the conquest of the island are related only in the Khorsabad annals, which are badly broken. The paper suggests a new reconstruction of the text of the annals and discusses it in the framework of Sargon's royal inscriptions and historiographical aims.
The scribes of Nuzi played a very important role in the studies of Nuzi texts; their role was perhaps more important than other scribes elsewhere.
For this reason particular attention to their activity has been paid since the beginning of Nuzi studies. In this paper a presentation of the main trends on the matter will be provided, and also information on more recent trends in this field.
Im Anschluss an meine ausführliche Textbearbeitung "Das hurritische Epos der Freilassung I -- Untersuchungen zu einem hurritisch-hethitischen Texensemble aus Hattusa" (StBoT 32, 1996) befindet sich der zweite Band (StBoT 33), der eine auf der hurritischen Vorlage aufgebaute hurritische Grammatik und ein ausführliches hurritisch-hethitisch-deutsches Glossar enthalten wird, in Vorbereitung. Da von der Kongressleitung für die spezielle Veranstaltung zum thema "Hurrian and Nuzi Studies" eine möglichst breite Information zur neuren Forschung gewünscht ist, möchte ich unter Berücksichtigung dieses Grundsatzes einige mir wesentlich erscheinende Gesichtspunkte zum inhaltlichen Aufbau wie auch zur sprachlichen Gestaltung dieses bisher einzigartigen Literaturdenkmals des Alten Orients herausgreifen und im Gesamtzusammenhang der Bilingue besprechen.
This paper addresses the nature of archaeological evidence and how we write about it. The relevance to historiography lies in the fact that archaeology suffers the same interpretative problems as history: the bias of the writer, the incomplete nature of the evidence itself, the problems in its evaluation, and the changing readings of this same evidence as method and theory "advance." Moreover, however "scientific" our examination of the surviving evidence, both the histories and archaeologies we write today remain of the present, written for the present. It is also argued that in writing archaeology today not only must past interpretation be re-examined but also the original evidence on which such interpretation was based. And we should eschew jargon for clarity in communicating with the wider audience that our subject commands.
The type and extent of the historical information given by the remains of archives and libraries unearthed from excavations in the ancient Near East will be surveyed. The paper will concentrate on the period from about 1500 BC to the end of cuneiform writing. A short general overview of the preserved archives and libraries will be given and the preserved historical information from these sources will be considered in comparison with the apparent missing sections of information.
Assyriologists have become increasingly aware that ancient texts are not simply verbal artifacts -- disembodied voices from the past, as it were -- but physical artifacts as well, inscribed on particular objects and found in particular places. For public inscriptions especially, this latter aspect -- place -- is an important but often ignored clue to the text's intended function.
As an example, this paper focuses on visually similar stelae erected by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon late in his reign in two western cities, Til-Barsib, a long-time Assyrian provincial capital, and Sam'al, a nearby city that had remained relatively independent until shortly before Esarhaddon's reign.
Although the stelae carry entirely different inscriptions, past discussion has focused largely on their visual similarities. I will focus instead on their visual and verbal differences, arguing these suggest the stelae were designed to carry carefully differentiated messages to two cities in different political situations. Their example suggests that Assyrian propaganda did not project a single undifferentiated message, but was fine-tuned for different audiences, even within one region. This conclusion underlines the importance of including place as a factor in interpreting visual and verbal texts.
The fifth and final season of excavations at Tell Abraq (United Arab Emirates) resulted in the discovery of a large quantity of material of diverse origin in the context of a sealed, undisturbed, late 3rd millennium tomb. The finds recovered included ivory objects, ceramics imported from different parts of Mesopotamia, Iran and Central Asia, metal weaponry, semi-precious stone and precious metal beads, and gold pendants. The tomb at Tell Abraq thus provides a snapshot of Magan's distant relations c. 2000 BC, pointing to extensive contacts with Sumer, Elam, Bactria, eastern Iran, and the Indus Valley. The chronological and cultural significance of this material will be discussed against the background of cultural development in the region as a whole at the end of the 3rd millennium.
This paper reviews the ways in which the historical-literary compositions dealing with the Sargonic kings have been interpreted and seeks to outline a middle course between the uncritical acceptance of early editors and the historical skepticism of more recent commentators (e.g., Liverani, Tinney)
Central to any sophisticated treatment of these works is an appreciation of their historiographic, literary and functional heterogeneity; each must therefore be assessed on its own terms, and general conclusions applying to the corpus as a whole should not be expected.
While early scholars used these compositions freely, and often uncritically, in writing histories of Mesopotamia, more recent research has highlighted their historical anachronisms and literary features, giving rise to increasing skepticism of their containing any historical "kernel". Rather, the emphasis of interpretation has shifted to what these texts reveal of the historical and other circumstances of their date of composition, usually hundreds of years after the events they purport to describe.
As a test case, this paper examines recent research on the "Great Revolt" against Naram-Sin and argues for a middle-course interpretation, stemming from an appreciation of its compositional and functional multi-dimensionality. It is argued that compositions such as this may have a historical dimension, as well as many other literary, social, political and economic aspects simultaneously. Recent evidence indicates that the "Great Revolt" does indeed have a historical dimension, though this is in no way inconsistent with the recent readings of it as a later literary creation, perhaps with a particular propagandistic motive.
In recent years the study of clay sealings found at prehistoric sites such as Arslantepe or Tepe Gawra has substantially advanced our knowledge about the function of these important administrative tools; in sharp contrast to that, however, the large corpus of clay sealings from historical periods has so far received very little attention. One of the largest excavated assemblages of sealings from a historical context was found at the site of Tell Asmar (Eshnunna) in the Diyala region (Iraq); most of them were found in a palace (the Shu-Sin Temple and the Palace of the Rulers), whose various levels have been dated from the Ur III to the Old Babylonian Period (ca. 2050 - 1750 BC). A combined philological, archaeological, functional, and spatial analysis of these sealings, in which objects and the information associated with them are reassembled in their original context, is currently being undertaken at the University of Chicago. This approach has added substantially to knowledge about the archaeology and history of this palace and the site, the social composition of the people involved in its administration, and the nature and functions of an Ur III - Old Babylonian palace.
The economic history of ancient Mesopotamia is developing into an autonomous field of ancient Near Eastern studies. The study of the economy of ancient Mesopotamia has its rewards for Near Eastern studies as a whole, but it also has some inherent problems we are confronted with. This paper's aim is to deal with some of these rewards and problems.
Firstly, we are concerned with the systematic study of the relevant facts, based on the available written records and material sources. Its goal is a coherent description of economic institutions and processes which form the economic system of ancient Mesopotamia as a whole and, furthermore, to elucidate its characteristic structures and their development over time, and finally to understand the economic behavior and attitudes of the people within the system. Economic history undertaken along these lines will enable us to compare the economy of ancient Mesopotamia with the economies of other civilizations -- of the ancient world within and without the region of Western Asia, but also with medieval and more modern economies. It will help to understand the otherness of an ancient economy vis-à-vis our modern economies.
Secondly, we are confronted with a twofold set of inherent difficulties: on the one hand, as Assyriologists or specialists in things ancient Near Eastern we have to deal with a difficulty beyond that which lies inside our own field of experience -- we are not professionally trained in economics or economic history. On the other hand, professional economists or economic historians are not able to base their work, as far as matters of ancient Mesopotamia are concerned, on a first hand knowledge -- and the ability to make use -- of the available written sources which are to a large extent not available in translation, and mostly not even in transliteration.
Nevertheless, leaving aside all the obstacles and difficulties, work done so far has provided much insight into details concerning economic institutions, processes and developments of the economy of ancient Mesopotamia. We know something about its structures and characteristics. In that respect our knowledge about the economy of ancient Mesopotamia is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the general history of the area. Beyond a plethora of individual facts forming our picture of the history of ancient Mesopotamia the economic history of ancient Mesopotamia is one of the basic elements of a history of the longue durée.
This paper explores Babylonian treatments of a pivotal event in Babylonian history. It examines the ways in which the Babylonians recorded and commemorated in their literary tradition the catastrophic Elamite invasion that marked the end of the Kassite Dynasty. The lasting impact of this raid resonates through Babylonian literary texts.
Such texts have a dual historical value: they contain information both about the Elamite invasion -- a historical event to the writers -- and about the writers themselves. The validity of these literary texts as historical sources in both these spheres is examined. This paper investigates the Babylonians' motivations for writing these texts and their strategies of rationalizing and justifying their defeat.
The Elamites played a dominant role in Babylonian tradition as the most noxious of all foreign enemies. The relationship between this role and the invasion of c. 1155 BC is explored.
The texts discussed include the so-called Kedor-Laomer text BM 34062; the partially unpublished bilingual text which includes the manuscript piece published as IV Rawlinson 20 number 1; the text commonly referred to as the Marduk Prophecy; and a largely unpublished learned menology known from sources in the British Museum.
Over the millennia, parts of Southwest Asia, or the "Middle East," have been subjected to significant episodes of invasion or migration by nomadic "outsiders." Frequently characterized as uncivilized or barbarian in traditional sources, their impact has in several instances been assessed as catastrophic, or at least as destabilizing enough to have caused -- or, at least to have been believed by contemporary or later historians to have caused -- the collapse of existing polities. In the Islamic era, the Mongol invasion and the consequent destruction of Baghdad and the demise of the Abbasid caliphate during the mid-13th century CE is perhaps the most famous example. For the "Ancient Near East," the most celebrated episode is the invasions of the "Sea Peoples" in the Eastern Mediterranean during the late 13th - early 12th centuries BCE, to which scholars have attributed consequences ranging from the collapse of the Hittite and Mycenaean civilizations to the fall of Troy.
This paper, however, will focus on the history of the interpretation of the impact of those "Semitic" people known as Amorites. Traditionally, their invasions/migrations during the late 3rd millennium BCE were viewed as a major cause of the collapse of the ancient Mesopotamian state of the Third Dynasty of Ur, ca. 2000 BCE, as well as a contributing factor to the destabilization of Sryo-Palestinian society at that time. More specifically, this paper will focus on a synthesis of (a) the evidence from primary sources concerning the early Amorites, (b) traditional interpretations regarding their role in causing the collapse of ancient states, and (c) a re-examination and modification of those interpretations, based on recent re-appraisals of both the evidence itself and of the assumptions underlying the traditional historiography. Threaded throughout this investigation are questions relating to ethnicity, historical objectivity, and the filtering of interpretations through the prism of modern ethnic and societal stereotypes.
As a number of scholars have noted, metalworking technologies and their products are inseparable from the social, political, and economic networks into which they are inserted. The Old Akkadian kings were responsible for the creation and maintenance of the first Near Eastern empire, a territory surpassing its predecessors in both political and economic scope. A comparison between royal inscriptions and dedications, on the one hand, and economic texts and archaeological remains, on the other, reveals a disjunction between Old Akkadian royal rhetoric and material details regarding access to and employment of gold and silver. Royal inscriptions dealing with precious metals make use of rhetoric and imagery that bolster the kings' warlike attributes, while retaining a royal link to the gods already present in Old Sumerian inscriptions. At this time, gold also makes its earliest appearance in economic documents, disclosing a modest degree of private ownership.
In contrast, the Old Akkadian texts expose the extensive functionality of silver, as it passes through the hands of kings, temple administrators, state and city officials, and private citizens. The greater availability of silver detracts from its use as a royal symbol; the kings discuss it mainly for political purposes. Silver and gold in the Old Akkadian period move through complex networks in which individuals employ them to buoy their own relationships with divine and royal power, as well as in interpersonal economic and social contracts. The history of precious metals use cannot be written using historical sources alone, but requires a fusion of historiographic and archaeological approaches.
In 1994 the French mission at Ras Shamra / Ugarit discovered, among many new tablets, a group of lexicographic texts. The most interesting is an incomplete trilingual vocabulary of the type Sa (cf. MSL III 51-87), with Sumerian, Akkadian and Hurrian columns.
This new text largely integrates the already known "Syllabary A Vocabulary" and offers around one hundred entries of Hurrian words, whose Sumerian and Akkadian correspondences are mostly preserved. A majority of items were not attested before and they serve now to increase our lexicographic and morphological knowledge of Hurrian. Unfortunately, as we know from previously published vocabularies, many Hurrian words are attested only in such lexicographic texts; only a minority occur in sentences of other textual categories, such as rituals or myths. One aspect of these new translations of Hurrian words is the frequent confirmation of the previous suggestions made by Hurritologists by means of the combinatory method.
Thanks to the new document, also the relationship with the more recent Urartian language becomes clearer. Significant progress in this matter was already made after the discovery of the important Hurrian-Hittite bilinguals of Boghazköy. Some examples will be discussed, where in particular the importance of collations of Urartian stone and rock inscriptions for linguistic purposes is stressed.
In Near Eastern Studies, "Narrative" and "Incantation" are often assumed to be completely separate genres. But it has long been known that this is not entirely true. Adam Falkenstein's groundbreaking 1931 work, Die Haupttypen der sumerischen Beschwörung, identified several types of narratives among the building blocks of Sumerian incantations. One type narrated the history and nefarious activities of the demons against which the incantation was directed; another type describes, in the form of a dialogue, the mission of the patron god of exorcism, Asarluhi, to find a cure for the illness. Falkenstein did not connect these narratives-within-incantations with the narratives-within-incantations that had previously been identified in Greek, Latin, and German texts and were known to scholarship as historiolae. 57 years later, when Dennis Pardee and Pierre Bordreuil produced their definitive study of the ritual and narrative texts from the 24th campaign at Ugarit, their analysis of the texts produced a definition strikingly similar to the classical definition of historiola but they applied a new term, "texte para-mythologique," instead.
The purpose of this paper is 1) to demonstrate the existence of a widely attested and clearly defined but unrecognized narrative form, Historiola, within ANE incantations, focusing on Mesopotamian and Ugaritic evidence; 2) to indicate how this narrative form is inherited by Hellenistic Greek and Aramaic incantations; and 3) to suggest that the presence of narrative within incantations has potential significance for the more general study of historical narratives, specifically those historical narratives which are attached to and work to justify speech acts.
Administrative archives are usually considered useful for studying aspects of society. A review of several major administrative archives from 3rd, 2nd and 1st millennium Mesopotamia shows that many data relevant to political history can also be gained from them.
Departing from findings which I gained during my research on Middle Babylonian archives, I will compare the evidence with archives of other periods and areas.
Comparison shows that some general rules can be established about what kind of information can be expected in what kind of archives.
Finally, I will discuss the prerequisites, problems and limitations of using administrative texts for political history.
Much scholarly attention recently has focused on the relative chronologies of the Shakkanakkus of Mari and their counterparts in Babylonia. While chronology is crucial, at present there is not enough evidence to anchor all the Shakkanakkus in time. Even so, we can begin to think about the connections between Mari, an independent kingdom, and the Ur III empire. An unpublished Ur III tablet (HSM 1995.9.3) from the Harvard Semitic Museum suggests close connections between Mari and the Ur III royal court.
It is well known that legal texts often record specific events that occurred approximately at the time that they were composed; in particular, those texts that used date formulas, e.g., the Old Babylonian contracts. However, the legal documents can not only inform us concerning the facts and political history but also enable us to study "deeper" facets of history such as social history, legal history as well as aspects of culture contact. Examples will be shown from Syrian and Mesopotamian legal materials.
Historiography, the study of the meaning of history and how it has been and might be written, or, the study of man's effort to render the past to himself, has been largely confined in Assyriology to the study of Mesopotamian royal inscriptions.
There is, however, another corpus that preserves the attempt of individuals -- including non-royal individuals -- to render account of the past, and these are the Babylonian Entitlement narûs, or kudurrus. A few inscriptions of the corpus, notably BBStt 6, which includes a battle narration, have long been deemed "historiographic". In my paper, I will consider some other, less well-known members of the corpus, particularly those that preserve in both textual and iconographic forms efforts to render history. I will consider the effect of including a historiographic segment in the inscriptions, the relationship between the medium of the monuments -- stone -- and the compositional choice to render a historical account, and the relationship between the texts and the images and what that relationship says about the Babylonian notion of "history" in the late second and early first millennia.
Who destroyed Nuzi and when are two abiding questions for which there are no definite answers. The destruction is now generally placed between 1340 and 1330 BC, over a century after Mittani reached its zenith under king Saustatar and three generations after the vassal king Ithi-Teßßup received a letter from an unnamed Mittanian overlord. It is doubtful whether, at this late date, Mittani still exerted control over the province of Arrapha. The youngest Nuzi texts portray a town in crisis. This may have been precipitated by the political vacuum left by Mittani, and the ensuing conflicts in the area are usually blamed on the rival powers of Assyria and Babylonia. Whichever of these two powers dealt the final blow, the seals of the younger elite at Nuzi reveal another presence; one which history indicates could be as threatening to the political and economic stability of the region as the other two.
This paper examines the ties between Nuzi and the Zagros traditions and explores the historical role which the highlands played in the spread of materials and ideas between east and west. In the process, it touches on a number of older themes, notably the Hurrians, and suggests that there may be a common explanation for some of the conflicting evidence connected with their culture and its distribution.
It is a singular but nonetheless undeniable fact that almost any interpretation of the patterns of history that obtained in southwest Iran during the course of the 7th and 6th centuries BC depends, in no small measure, on the way we choose to interpret the so-called Cyrus inscriptions from Pasargardae. This paper will begin, therefore, by outlining the very separate messages that emanate from, first, the supposition that Cyrus was the author and, secondly, the alternative (and now generally preferred) thesis that it was Darius who called for the introduction of the texts in question. In the last analysis, however, the issue is no longer whether Darius wrote the Pasargadae inscriptions, but rather why he did so.
The answer to this particular conundrum appears to reside -- inescapably as far as I can detect -- in the fact that Darius was not in the line of succession and that, one way or the other (even after his great Bisitun inscription had first advanced the postulate of a ruling "Achaemenid line" to which both he and Cyrus belonged) he still needed to reinforce the novel concept of "Cyrus, the Achaemenid." It is in this context that the uninscribed (and, in one case, far from finished) buildings of Pasargadae must have suddenly struck him as the ideal canvas for this all-important, notably direct message -- a message which, through the first years of his reign, had done markedly little to impress the local population of Fars. The full implications of this reading of the evidence are not, of course, by any means slight.
In the present paper, the four chronological texts that were excavated in the house of the gala-mah Ur-Utu at Sippar-Amnanum are presented. Three of them are lists of names, one is a full version of Ammi-saduqa 14.
The combination of textual and archaeological data allows us to specify the fuction of these texts. Errors made by the scribe allow us to link two of them and show that, as years went by, new lists were produced of a certain type whereas others were kept but not added to any further. Incidentally, the understanding of the function of these lists allows us to advance a more precise time-span for the last phase of occupation of Ur-Utu's house.
The years on the list can be compared with the scribal practice of the "house scribe" Shumum-lici. His formulation of the year names on the texts and the errors he makes add further information on the hardships of his trade.
This paper will present the latest results of ongoing work on the reconstruction of one of the major pieces of historiographic literature of the Old Babylonian period, namely the Ishme-Dagan hymn to Enlil generally known as Enlildirishe. Presumably originally commissioned in the service of Ishme-Dagan's attempts to establish himself as the legitimate provider of Nippur, this text subsequently passed into the school curriculum at Nippur and Ur. At both sides, it is among the compositions preserved both in short-line exemplars, which may originate in the text's original inscription on a stele, as well as in the format of single column daily exercises and multi-column recensions. The multiple lives of Enlildirishe raise again the question of the relationship between the OB literary corpus and the royal inscriptions of the kings represented in it. These lives, as well as the internal relationships between Enlildirishe and various pedagogical elements of that corpus, will also be described and analyzed.
On the Computerization of the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary: Theory, Practice and Prospects
This presentation will give a general introduction to the principles on which the computerization of PSD is based, followed by a demonstration of the initial Web-based version of the dictionary, and concluding with observations on strategies and prospects for future developments and cooperations.
The ownership of seals is a frequent topic of debate. In some contexts they appear to be personal seals, representing a single individual; in others they appear to represent a corporate entity such as a temple or administrative office. This study looks at two seals which were used by various officials in the Kassite administration over a period of several reigns in the late 14th and 13th centuries. The study of a small corpus of aklu-texts, mostly sealed by the two Kassite officials Rimutu and Ninurta-kin-pishu, allows us to follow these seals as they change hands through time. Both kinship and administrative relationships appear to govern their transmission. Furthermore, the iconography of these two seals appears to have assumed some significance in the administration: decades later we find almost exact duplicates of these seals performing identical administrative functions. An examination of the field notes from the University of Pennsylvania's excavations in the 1890s, combined with the more recent excavations at Nippur by the University of Chicago, allows a hypothetical reconstruction of the locus of administration at the city.
The thousands of cuneiform documents of an economic nature provide an unparalleled set of data for the study of economic history in antiquity. Yet, the problems facing us as scholars in this undertaking are great. Despite the exactitude of quantifiable information available to us we are still, and probably always will be, in a situation where our preconceptions about economic structures in general determine how we evaluate the data. I will demonstrate this through an analysis of Ur III agricultural texts from Girsu.
The corpus of Classical Sumerian literature contains at least five major compositions commonly referred to as 'City Laments' or 'Historical Laments'. They treat of the destruction of Sumerian cities, viewed mainly as an 'unalterable' divine decision, although they also refer, in different degrees, to the hope for or even the realization of restoration. Modern scholarship has tried to evaluate their historical meaning, with interpretations ranging from 'a factual though poeticized account of events' to an 'imagined and emotional reflection on the nature and meaning of history', which is viewed as cyclical, and thereby not 'history' in our sense.
This paper attempts to cut the Gordian knot by approaching the corpus as a historical (arte)fact in its own right, which at the very least pretends not only to present their history, but also their idea of history. The generic, thematic and stylistic features, particularly in their intertextuality, are deemed more central than their eventual and often spurious referentiality.
It will be argued that the genre seems to have been an important tool for understanding the systematic character of 'history', for the perception of a historical process, and for the reception of data from the past -- and the present. Furthermore, a number of important and nearly always present subtopics (arbitrary divine decision; break in the continuity; Ubi sunt qui ante nos...; Exilmotiv...) shows a typical mode of dealing with an unfortunate past in the light of a hopeful future.
Finally, there is the matter of applicability. It will be shown first that the texts are stylistically related to personal laments and complaints in other contexts (this implies a personalist and humanist interpretation of cities, realms, reigns and their tribulations -- hence of history); second, that the texts also find very close counterparts in a distinct group of purely ritual laments which do not even pretend to relate to historical events. This would seem to imply not only a ritualistic approach, but what is more, a sense of unity binding mankind and worldly events to the gods and their ritualistic service. Together, these are 'history'.
Among the unpublished Kültepe texts in the Ankara Museum is an important new source for Old Assyrian chronology. The document in question presents a long list of Old Assyrian year epyms (limu) correlated with the reigns of Old Assyrian kings (Irishum I, etc.), which allows the restoration of missing regnal years in the Assyrian king list. There is overlap with the "Mari Eponym Chronicle," but the new list also raises several questions about the chronology of the period from Irishum I to Shamshi-Adad I.
The last three decades of the fourth century BCE saw Babylonia pass from Achaemenid to Macedonian and, ultimately, to Seleucid control. Significant differences have been noted between Achaemenid and Seleucid legal texts, both in their form and content (e.g., by Doty, CAHU). A recent examination of the documentation from the intervening Early Hellenistic (Macedonian) period (Stolper, AchHist 7) indicates that such changes in form and content were, for the most part, largely evolutionary rather than abrupt. Studies of the seal impressions on Achaemenid and Seleucid tablets also reveal significant differences in both the types of seals employed and their iconography (cf., e.g., Bregstein, Seal Use, and Wallenfels, AUWE 19). To date, no systematic study of the intervening glyptic has been undertaken.
This paper will offer some preliminary observations of the relationship between Early Hellenistic sealing practices in comparison with those of the late Achaemenid and early Seleucid periods. These will show a certain measure of continuity throughout the period, but also changes, interpretable as the result of Seleucus I's deliberate changes in administrative policy.
Indigenous sources for Neo-Elamite history (the period roughly-defined from 1000-500 BC) are too sporadic to establish any sort of narrative, political history. The chronology of Neo-Elamite sources is indistinct and their interpretation often problematic. By necessity, Neo-Elamite political history is a construct based upon Mesopotamian sources: primarily Assyrian royal inscriptions, royal correspondence, and Babylonian Chronicles.
The reliance on Mesopotamian sources for Neo-Elamite history engenders numerous and significant problems. There is a lack of identifiable concord between Mesopotamian and Elamite sources. Mesopotamian sources rarely give an indication contrary to Elam having been a centralized entity under one king through the mid-seventh century. This impression, however, may stem from the chosen focus of the annals and the chronicles rather than from an accurate representation of the political reality in Elam.
There are additional difficulties. Particularly troubling, and the focus of this presentation, are the instances of contradictory information presented in the Mesopotamian sources with regard to various individuals and events in Neo-Elamite history. An analysis of some specific examples will precede an interpretation of the significance of this phenomenon, both for Mesopotamian historiography and for Neo-Elamite history.
This paper is based upon an interpretation of a Neo-Babylonian legal document in the collection of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, A 32117, which Martha Roth (Studies...Sjöberg, 1989) characterized as "A Case of Contested Status."
We accept many of the readings and interpretations of Roth but differ with her on several points: we view the document as a record of a declaratory judgment requested by a former private slave, whose status of freedom, in our interpretation, was reaffirmed by the judges of Cyrus in 530 B.C.
Among our arguments are these points:
-Collation of the pivotal cuneiform sign in line 45 yields PI instead of ÍI, giving us a reading pirquti ("freedom," cp. AHw 867 pirqu II), rather than shirkuti, which, as an abstract, is normally written with SHIM or RIG ("status of an oblate," see CAD Sh/III pp. 111-112, s.v. shirkutu and AHw 1217 s.v. Sherkutu).
-It is unlikely that this is a document about the re-enslavement of a temple oblate, since no temple official plays a role in the proceedings.
-A person cannot be a mar banû and a temple slave at one and the same time.
-The term zakû sha Ishtar frequently designates one who becomes a temple oblate but it also can denote one whose status has been cleared for becoming a free person.
Dadusha, king of Eshnunna, commemorated his victory over the city of Qabara on a stele with a long inscription and relief, telling the story of the battle. The relief, in four registers, is a rare example of the narrative art of this period.
The place of Enheduana in the puzzle of the history of the Old Akkadian period has presented past and present historiographers with a difficult piece. Having limited original inscriptions, laconic seal impressions and no contemporary documentation but endowed with rich literary creativity, Enheduana has bequeathed us a skewed data base on which to build our assumptions regarding her role. Her position in the societal framework of ancient Sumer and Akkad is apparently unique and so largely ignored in the writing of history. As a princess, daughter of Sargon, she is relegated to the shadows of the great man. Did she exert any influence in the political arena and how can we measure it? As a priestess, she is caught in the present historiographical devaluation of the religious sphere of activities. As a poetess, she is denied various of her works; her name is viewed as a common generic noun.
This paper will probe the problem as to whether the marginalization of the person of Enheduana is due to the historians or to the lack of historical data and whether the place of Enheduana is history is limited by her gender. Gender seems to be an essential element in the cultural construct of her past, not only grammatically but also socially.
The history of Sumerology has in part been characterized by the long-running academic debate over the so-called Sumerian problem -- put simply, the question as to whether the Sumerians were the original inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia or whether evidence in the Sumerian lexicon points to contact with an earlier population. Archaeological evidence for an unbroken cultural continuum, on the one hand, contrasts with polysyllabic technological and environmental terms, on the other, that have been argued to betray a foreign origin. Both positions tend to be simplistic and to ignore the fact that the supposedly contrasting lines of evidence are in fact compatible. The present paper will attempt to demonstrate, using evidence from the Mesopotamian writing system, in particular from the archaic stage of the script, that sign values and patterns may have been borrowed from an earlier population in the region in much the same way as the Sumerian script was later adapted to the needs of the Akkadian language and the Chinese system to the Japanese. A reassessment of the lexical data in connection with evidence from a language known to have been spoken near the fringe of the Western Asian cultural area in the 5th and 4th millennia BC may point the way to a solution to the Sumerian problem.
This paper will examine aspects of the historical record as supplied by cuneiform texts using data drawn from archaeological surveys conducted in the rain-fed farming zone of Upper Mesopotamia and the northern Levant. Examples range from those that provide field evidence of, for example, road systems inferred from textual evidence (cf. Liverani 1992), to more analytical studies that consider more complex issues alluded to in texts (such as water competition, see below). Topics to be discussed include:
Although Urukagina, king of Lagash, claimed in his inscriptions that his predecessor Lugalanda had done many wrong and unjust things in his management of the state estate, and that he himself had made a reformation which restored justice in the state estate, in the numerous economic texts from their times we have found nothing different in the management strategies of both rulers. For the economic system, Urukagina followed Lugalanda in every particular, and showed respect for the retired or dead Lugalanda (ensi2-gal) and his wife, Baranamtara, until her death in the first years of his reign. The only difference between the two rulers is that Urukagina and his wife Shasha put the estate in the name of the goddess Baba, only in name, however, not in reality. Comparing the documents of Lugalanda and his predecessor Enentarzi results in the conclusion that it is Lugalanda who made changes in the management of the estate of an order which can be called an economic reformation. The so-called Reforms of Urukagina may have been written after the king's fifth year, at a time when the economic and political situation was serious, and the king felt compelled to conduct a propaganda campaign before the gods of Lagash, to show that he was a lugal, the best among the ensis, in the hope that the gods would save Lagash and himself from the armies of Umma.
Among the many historical occurrences reported in the ancient Near Eastern Assyrian annals there are a few episodes the Assyrian historiographer presents as containing miraculous elements. This paper will focus on four of these topics:
As we presume that the miraculous explanations offer us an insight into the Weltanschauung of the Assyrian historiographer, we will examine the possibility that these elements were contemporaneous interpretations of historical facts, or, if they were introduced later into the narratives, that they served to justify or explain the historical core of facts. Then we will compare these miraculous episodes with some Biblical miraculous narratives, for instance:
COHEN, Andrew C.
Bryn Mawr College
The Relationship Between the Worship of Dead Rulers and the Agricultural Cycle at Early Dynastic Lagash
This poster will illustrate the connection between the worship of dead rulers and the yearly agricultural cycle in the Early Dynastic III period city-state of Lagash. In the 5 festivals within the calendar year that focused on the dead, there is a rise in the quality and complexity of offerings given by living rulers to dead kings and queens, culminating in the time when the grain was maturing in the fields. Thus, the festivals that required the greatest investment of resources were those that took place at a time when the economic security of the state was most in peril. The poster will demonstrate that manipulation of the religious domain through such festivals was one means by which rulers consolidated and maintained their power.
For the Mesopotamian scholarly world, the kings of Agade and their empire play a prominent role. Archaeologically, however, the Akkadian period is one of the least understood. We do not know the location of the capital. Evidence for Akkadian occupation in other Babylonian cities is rare. There is disagreement about when the Akkadian period began, and how it should generally be distinguished from earlier and later times.
One key question is whether northern Mesopotamia was part of the Akkadian empire, and whether the mid to late 3rd millennium BC should be called Akkadian. A marked regional variation in the archaeological assemblages is obvious, and there is evidence for a Hurrian presence in northeastern Syria. This paper starts not by directly looking for "Akkadians" in the north, but by analyzing the different archaeological provinces, and how they can be related to each other and to the south. Northern Iraq played an important role, but data for this region are scarce, compared with the many excavations conducted in Syria over the last decades. Publication of the 3rd millennium sequence of Tell Taya can fill this gap and provide a first step towards connecting late 3rd millennium Babylonia and Syria.
While death is a universal experience, the different ways social groups develop to deal with it in rituals are unlimited. Death-rituals serve to establish (and keep) the deceased where they belong now, as well as to reorganize social order in the face of disorder. Thus, in rituals participants reflect not only a certain set of beliefs, but made explicit statements about social structure. Although being highly conventionalized, rituals are still open to individual interests, and subject to change over time, as with the status and preferences of the persons involved.
These changes are partly reflected in burials which form an integral part of death rituals and may therefore serve as indicators of social structure. About 1,000 individuals buried during the Neo-Assyrian period were unearthed during the excavations of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft in Ashur between 1903 and 1911. While certain features, such as the treatment of the deceased, appear rather uniform, the types of tombs used, the grave-goods, the placement of the bodies and the goods as well as of the tombs themselves, reveal a multitude of possibilities. These point to chronological as well as social differences.
With the help of relevant texts on burial rites, a comparison with the development of architecture, population and economy in Ashur and Assyria in general, the evidence of different burial practices is used in an attempt to understand the social history of Ashur during the Neo-Assyrian period.
The main focus of the new excavations is concentrated on the analysis of the development of settlement patterns, settlement hierarchies, ancient economies and trade, and the development of cities. The Beqa'a valley is one of the most suitable areas for this kind of research.
Previous excavations under Prof. Dr. R. Hachmann of the University of Saarbrücken (1963-81) showed that Kamid el-Loz was prominent during the second and first millennia BC, the time when peoples and influences from neighboring Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Cyprus met.
Our excavations will try to gain insights into the process of the development of Kamid el-Loz. What was the function and position of this site in the Middle Bronze Age? How did the political processes in the neighbouring areas influnce the development of the Beqa'a and Kamid el-Loz?
These are some of the questions that will be investigated in the ongoing excavations.
On the basis of the relatively busy careers of Shalmaneser, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon in Scripture, many pre-Assyriological commentators believed that Sargon was merely an alias for one of the better-known Assyrian rulers mentioned in 2 Kings and Isaiah. By the mid-1850s, most skeptics of the independent existence of Sargon were satisfied as to his historicity. On the contrary, prior to European excavations in Mesopotamia, King Pul was universally recognized as the first Assyrian conqueror to trouble Israel, followed immediately by Tiglath-Pileser. Pul clung tenaciously to his pre-eminent autonomy until the work on the great syllabaries enabled the baffling royal names to be read correctly, and the publication of the eponym canons together forced the unfortunate king to merge his identity with that of Tiglath-Pileser III, who had come triumphantly into his own through recovery of the mutilated palace reliefs from Nimrud.
Why does Assyriology interest non-Assyriologists? Its potential to illuminate the Bible has been perhaps the single most powerful problematic motivating force in Assyriology's history. One Biblical use of Assyriology has been to illuminate the origins of Apocalyptic. While the history of this comparison is portrayed as driven by expanding data, it is just as much a history of methodological choices, which have worked to determine the data's significance. This study attempts to render these methodological choices more explicit and hence more rigorous.
The literary genre Apocalypse emerged during the Hellenistic period, presenting themes that could not be clearly derived from the Hebrew Bible. The problem of Apocalyptic origins inspired attempts to derive these themes from foreign and, especially since the work of Heinrich Zimmern, specifically Mesopotamian influence. Perhaps the most persistent interest has been in the Mesopotamian background of one central apocalyptic figure: Enoch. Since Zimmern's study of 1903, scholars have returned to the topic repeatedly.
That the history of research here is more than one of straightforward progress is suggested by three facts: one is that Zimmern's analysis has remained, for the most part, both central and unmodified despite the huge increase in the quantity and variety of comparative data. The second fact is that scholars have agreed that the Enoch narratives are a Jewish adaptation of foreign elements (based on a Biblically defined set of assumptions about what native Jewish material could or could not be), but largely disagreed on what the foreign elements are. Finally, scholars have also avoided previously introduced comparisons without explicit methodological justification. The past century of research has produced substantial and important gains, which will be enumerated. But the persistence of Zimmern's texts, the neglect of certain materials, and the abandonment of previous scholarly work are due to methodological choices rather than any straightforward process of accumulating progressively better archives of source material.
The result has been analyses that are complexly historical on the Jewish side of the comparison while remaining largely ahistorical on the Mesopotamian side, a predictable outcome of a methodology that set out to answer questions of Biblical origins. Future studies could avoid this pitfall by asking explicitly comparative questions and paying greater attention to Mesopotamian reinterpretation and historical development. Such a methodology could produce results that are more responsible to and meaningful for Assyriology and Biblical Studies, as well as outside disciplines such as the History of Religions.
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