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Title: Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters
Author: Johns, C. H. W. (Claude Hermann Walter), 1857-1920
Language: English
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                     Library of Ancient Inscriptions

                         Babylonian And Assyrian

                       Laws, Contracts and Letters


                           C. H. W. Johns, M.A.

               Lecturer in Queens’ College, Cambridge, and

                          King’s College, London

                                 New York

                         Charles Scribner’s Sons



List Of Abbreviations
Sources And Bibliography
Laws And Contracts
   I. The Earliest Babylonian Laws
   II. The Code Of Ḥammurabi
   III. Later Babylonian Law
   IV. The Social Organization Of The Ancient Babylonian State
   V. Judges, Law-Courts, And Legal Processes
   VI. Legal Decisions
   VII. Public Rights
   VIII. Criminal Law
   IX. The Family Organization
   X. Courtship And Marriage
   XI. Divorce And Desertion
   XII. Rights Of Widows
   XIII. Obligations And Rights Of Children
   XIV. The Education And Early Life Of Children
   XV. Adoption
   XVI. Rights Of Inheritance
   XVII. Slavery
   XVIII. Land Tenure In Babylonia
   XIX. The Army, _Corvée_, And Other Claims For Personal Service
   XX. The Functions And Organization Of The Temple
   XXI. Donations And Bequests
   XXII. Sales
   XXIII. Loans And Deposits
   XXIV. Pledges And Guarantees
   XXV. Wages Of Hired Laborers
   XXVI. Lease Of Property
   XXVII. The Laws Of Trade
   XXVIII. Partnership And Power Of Attorney
   XXIX. Accounts And Business Documents
Babylonian And Assyrian Letters
   I. Letters And Letter-Writing Among The Babylonians And Assyrians
   II. The Letters Of Ḥammurabi
   III. The Letters Of Samsu-Iluna And His Immediate Successors
   IV. Private Letters Of The First Dynasty Of Babylon
   V. Sennacherib’s Letters To His Father, Sargon
   VI. Letters From The Last Year Of Shamash-Shum-Ukîn
   VII. Letters Regarding Affairs In Southern Babylonia
   Letters About Elam And Southern Babylonia
   IX. Miscellaneous Assyrian Letters
   X. Letters Of The Second Babylonian Empire
   I. The Prologue And Epilogue To The Code Of Ḥammurabi
   II. Chronology
   III. Weights And Measures
   IV. Bibliography Of The Later Periods


My Mother
In Memory Of Loving Help


The social institutions, manners, and customs of an ancient people must
always be of deep interest for all those to whom nothing is indifferent
that is human. But even for modern thinkers, engrossed in the practical
problems of our advanced civilization, the records of antiquity have a
direct value. We are better able to deal with the complicated questions of
the day if we are acquainted with the simpler issues of the past. We may
not set them aside as too remote to have any influence upon us. Not long
ago men looked to Greece and Rome for political models. We can hardly
estimate the influence which that following of antiquity has had upon our
own social life.

But there is a deeper influence even than Greek politics and Roman law,
still powerfully at work among us, which we owe to a more remote past. We
should probably resent the idea that we were not dominated by Christian
principles. So far as they are distinct from Greek and Roman ideals, most
of them have their roots in Jewish thought. When a careful investigation
is made, it will probably be found that the most distinctive Christian
principles in our times are those which were taken over from Jewish life,
since the Old Testament still more widely appeals to us than the New. But
those Jewish ideas regarding society have been inherited in turn from the
far more ancient Babylonian civilization. It is startling to find how much
that we have thought distinctively our own has really come down to us from
that great people who ruled the land of the two streams. We need not be
ashamed of anything we can trace back so far. It is from no savage
ancestors that it descends to us. It bears the “hall mark,” not only of
extreme antiquity but of sterling worth.

The people, who were so highly educated, so deeply religious, so humane
and intelligent, who developed such just laws, and such permanent
institutions, are not unprofitable acquaintances. A right-thinking citizen
of a modern city would probably feel more at home in ancient Babylon than
in mediæval Europe. When we have won our way through the difficulties of
the language and the writing to the real meaning of their purpose and come
into touch with the men who wrote and spoke, we greet brothers. Rarely in
the history of antiquity can we find so much of which we heartily approve,
so little to condemn. The primitive virtues, which we flatter ourselves
that we have retained, are far more in evidence than those primitive vices
which we know are not extinct among us. The average Babylonian strikes us
as a just, good man, no wild savage, but a law-abiding citizen, a faithful
husband, good father, kind son, firm friend, industrious trader, or
careful man of business. We know from other sources that he was no
contemptible warrior, no mean architect or engineer. He might be an
excellent artist, modelling in clay, carving rocks, and painting walls.
His engraving of seals was superb. His literary work was of high order.
His scientific attainments were considerable.

When we find so much to approve we may naturally ask the reason. Some may
say it is because right was always right everywhere. Others will try to
trace our inheritance of thought. At any rate, we may accord our praise to
those who seized so early in the history of the race upon views which have
proved to be of the greatest and most permanent value. Perhaps nowhere
else than in the archives of the old Assyrian and Babylonian temples could
we find such an instructive exhibition of the development of the art of
expressing facts and ideas in written language. The historical
inscriptions, indeed, exhibit a variety of incidents, but have a painful
monotony of subject and a conventional grandeur of style. In the contracts
we find men struggling for exactness of statement and clearness of
diction. In the letters we have untrammelled directness of address,
without regard to models of expression. In the one case we have a
scrupulous following of precedent, in the other freedom from rule or
custom. One result is that while we are nearly always sure what the
contract said and intended, we often are completely unable to see why the
given phrases were used for their particular purpose. Every phrase is
technical and legal, to a degree that often defies translation. On the
other hand, the letters are often as colloquial in style as the contracts
are formal. Hence they swarm with words and phrases for which no parallel
can be found. Unless the purpose of the letter is otherwise clear, these
words and phrases may be quite unintelligible. Any side issue may be
introduced, or even a totally irrelevant topic. While the point of these
disconnected sentences may have been perfectly clear to the recipient of
the message, we cannot possibly understand them, unless we have an
intimate acquaintance with the private life and personal relations of the
two correspondents.

Hence, quite apart from the difficulties of copying such ancient
inscriptions, often defaced, originally ill-written, and complicated by
the personal tastes of individual scribes for odd spellings, rare words,
or stock phrases; besides the difficulties of a grammar and vocabulary
only partly made out; the very nature of both contracts and letters
implies special obscurities. But the peculiarities of these obscurities
are such as to excite curiosity and stimulate research.

The wholesome character of the subject-matter, the absence of all
possibility of a revision in party interests, the probable straightforward
honesty of the purpose, act like a tonic to the ordinary student of
history. Nowhere can he find more reliable material for his purpose, if
only he can understand it. The history he may reconstruct will be that of
real men, whose character and circumstances have not yet been
misrepresented. He will find the human nature singularly like what he may
observe about him, once he has seen through superficial manners and

One important point cannot be too strongly insisted upon. Numerous as our
documents are, they do not form a continuous series. One collection is
chiefly composed of temple archives, another comes from a family
deed-chest, where only such documents were preserved as were of value to
the persons who collected them. At one period we may have a great number
of documents relating to one sort of transaction. In the next period we
may have hardly any reference to similar transactions, but very complete
evidence regarding other matters. We may assume that, in such a
conservative country as Assyria or Babylonia, things went on for ages in
much the same way. Conclusions rightly drawn for early times are probably
true for the later periods also. As far as we can test this assumption, it
holds good. We may even assume that the converse is true, but that is more

Thus, we find that the practice of taking a pledge as security for debt is
fully established for later times and we may therefore hesitate to deny
its existence in early periods, although we have no direct evidence on the
point. This absence of evidence may be due to the nature of the early
collections. It may be an accident. It may also be due to the fact that
the tablet acknowledging a loan was usually broken up on the return of the
sum. But it might also be the fact that pledges were not usual in early
times. Such was, indeed, formerly the conclusion drawn from the absence of
documents referring to pledges; but Dr. B. Meissner pointed out that the
legal phrase-books bore witness to the existence of the custom. The
discovery of the Code of Ḥammurabi has shown that the practice not only
existed, but was regulated by statute in his time. Hence the argument from
silence is once more shown to be fallacious.

On the other hand, it is well to avoid a dogmatic statement of the
existence of a practice before the date at which we have direct evidence
of it: thus, it has been stated that the tithe was paid in Babylonia “from
time immemorial.” The only direct evidence comes from the time of
Nebuchadrezzar II. and later. In view of such an early antiquity as that,
the use of the phrase “time immemorial” was perhaps once justified. But we
are now equipped with documentary evidence concerning customs two or three
thousand years earlier. Until we can discover some direct evidence there
of tithe, we must content ourselves with saying that it was regularly paid
under the Second Empire of Babylonia. We may be firmly convinced that a
custom so widespread did not spring into being all at once. But the tithe
may have been a composition for earlier dues, and as such may have been
introduced from Chaldea by Nabopolassar. It may therefore not have been of
native Babylonian growth.

In this and many similar cases it is well not to go beyond the evidence.

To some extent the plan of this work must necessarily be different from
that of the rest of the series. When a historical inscription is once well
translated its chief bearings can be made out and it is its own
interpreter to a large extent. But the object in a contract is to legally
bind certain parties to a course of action, and there its translation
ends. We do not find much interest now in the obligations of these
parties, save in so far as they illustrate the progress of civilization.
It is the conclusion we are to draw which gives the interest. When we have
reached that, a thousand more contracts of the same type add nothing to
that point. We may use them to make a study of proper names, or to correct
our notions of chronology by their dates, or to draw up genealogies, or
even to elaborate statistics of occurrences of particular forms of words,
of prices, and the like; or try to reconstruct the topography of a town;
but from the point of view of a student of law and history, a thousand are
little better than one.

As a rule, however, we rarely find a fresh example of an old type without
some small deviation, which is worth recording. But to translate it, for
the sake of that small difference, would fill a book with examples, so
similar as to be wearisome in their monotony. The only way then is to
select some bold example, translate it as a fair average specimen, and
then collect in an introduction and notes the most interesting additional
items of information to be gathered from others of the type. Hence most of
the types here selected have involved the reading and study of scores of
texts, though but one is given in translation. Other points of great
interest arise, as for example, the obligations to public service, which
are not the direct subject of any one text. Hence, no single example can
be selected for translation. The data of many texts must be collected, and
only a sentence here and there can be utilized for translation. Hence,
while other volumes of the series are properly translations, with brief
introductions and a few notes, this must consist of copious introductions
and many notes with a few translations.

Of course, all technical, philological and historical discussions must be
avoided. Those who wish to find further examples, illustrating the points
given, will be referred to the sources and commentaries which give almost
endless repetitions of the same type. As a rule, a fresh example, which
has not been translated before, will be used here. In some cases, however,
where the most typical examples have already been used, they are

The more important and new details are substantiated by references in
foot-notes. When several references could be given, it has been the rule
to give only one. For fuller information the literature of the subject may
be consulted. But where the Assyrian or Babylonian words are given, the
reader will consult the lexicons first. There are many admirable
glossaries attached to the editions of texts, which for students are a
valuable supplement to the lexicons. All philological discussions are, of
course, excluded. As a rule, doubtful interpretations will be ignored or
at least queried. It is, on the other hand, impossible to give detailed
proofs of what is certain to the writer, when it disagrees with recognized
authorities. Nor is it desirable to puzzle the reader with alternative
views, when there is no opportunity for him to judge of their merits.

Every attempt will be made to discard non-essentials. Thus, in order to
insure that there should be no mistake as to the persons intended, the
ancient scribe usually gave not only the name, but the father’s name, and
often added the name of his tribe, or his occupation. For example,
“Ardi-Ishtar, son of Ashur-bânî, the son of Gaḥal,” might be the scribe’s
careful specification of one party to some transaction. But unless some
other party is a relation and the transaction explicitly concerns what
could take place between relations, the whole line gives us no information
of value for illustrating the subject for which it is quoted. Indeed, in
most cases, the name itself is of no interest. It is true that the names
have a value of their own; but that is aside from the purpose of this
book. The examples are selected to illustrate legal points, not for the
sake of the names. And indeed, the few interesting names so given would be
insufficient to serve any useful purpose; they might even be misused, for
no permanent results can be obtained by picking up here and there a name,
with some fanciful likeness to Abraham, or Jacob, unless a complete list
of similar names be available to check and control the readings.

Hence, as a rule, the name of a party is condensed into a single letter,
chosen usually in order to suggest the part played by the person in the
transaction. Thus S stands for the seller, B for the buyer, J for the
judge, C for the creditor, L for the lender, D for the debtor or borrower,
and so on. These abbreviations may be used without any detriment to the
argument, as the context usually defines the relation and there is no need
to remember what they mean. This seems preferable, for the most part, to
the Continental system of using A-A-G for the above name.

As a further abbreviation, all lists of witnesses are excluded. The date
is usually suppressed, for, unless we are following a series of
transactions between the same parties, nothing more than the epoch is of
importance. As the material is arranged by epochs, there can be no
question in this regard. If any evolution of process or any reference to
former transactions is involved, so that the date is important, it is

A collection of legal documents may be studied in a variety of ways.

Perhaps the least productive plan is to ransack them for illustrations of
a theory, or a particular point. When the theory is already well known, as
in the case of Roman or mediæval law, such a procedure is justifiable, but
when the theory has to be made out, it is wellnigh inexcusable. Some
valuable monographs have followed this method, but they can hardly expect
to give permanent results. For comparative purposes our material is so
new, and so little worked, that it is sheer waste of time to seek for
parallels elsewhere until everything is clearly made out to which
parallels are to be sought. The whole bulk of material must be read
through and classified. Until this is done, some important point may
easily be overlooked.

The first attempts at classification will be provisional. A certain amount
of overlapping is sure to occur. For example, slave sales obviously form a
provisional group. But slaves were sold along with lands or houses. Shall
these sales be taken into the group? The sales of lands may be another
group. To which group shall we assign the sale of a piece of land and the
slaves attached to it? To answer that question we may examine the sales of
slaves and the sales of lands to see if either group has peculiarities,
the recurrence of which in a sale of land and slaves might decide. But we
soon find that a slave was sold exactly like a piece of land or any
chattel. The only exception is that certain guarantees are expected with
the slave, which differ from those demanded with a piece of land. On the
whole, then, the chief group will be “sales,” with subdivisions according
to the class of property used. Hence we cannot assume that there was
already present to legal consciousness a difference between real and
personal property, or in any other sense that a slave was a person. He was
a chattel.

The classification which will be adopted is not one that will suit modern
legal ideas. It depends on the form of document alone. If two documents
have the same type of formula, they will be grouped together. A future
revision will, no doubt, assign to many of these a place in modern
schemes. But it is very easy to be premature in assigning an ancient
document to modern categories.

The groups will be subdivided according to subject-matter. The order of
the groups will be determined by the greater or less complexity of the
documents. It is best to take those first which can be easily made out.
The experience gained in discussing them will be of great service in
dealing with more complicated cases. The reader must not, however, suppose
that no obscurities will remain. Subsequent investigation will lead to
redistribution. Each such revision will, however, bring us nearer to sound

One of the most interesting and instructive methods of dealing with a
large collection of documents is to group together the transactions,
distributed over a number of years, of one man, or of a single family.
This method has often been adopted and makes most fascinating reading.

Thus, M. V. Revillout, in the appendix to M. E. Revillout’s lectures
entitled _Les obligations en droit egyptien_, under the title of _Une
famille des commerçants_, discussed the interrelations of a large number
of tablets published by Strassmaier. These had a special connection, being
found, and practically kept, together. They are concerned chiefly with the
business transactions of three persons and their descendants. The three
men do not seem to have been related, but to have become partners. The
first transaction in which they are concerned is an equitable division of
property which they had held in common. They and their descendants lived
side by side in Larsa and gradually extended their possessions on every
side. They were neighbors to two wealthy landowners from whom and from
whose descendants they gradually acquired lands and houses. Especially did
two brothers, sons of one of the original three, buy up, piece by piece,
almost all the property of these two neighboring families. Further, in
acquiring a piece of land, they seem to have come into possession of the
deeds of sale, or leases, of that plot, which had been executed by
previous owners. Thus, we can, in some cases, follow the history of a plot
of land during several reigns.

Such a collection of documents probably did not come from the public
archives, but from the muniment-chest of a private family, or of a firm of
traders. That duplicates of some of these tablets should have been found
in other collections, points either to the collections having been
purchased from native dealers, who put together tablets from all sources,
or to the duplicates having been deposited in public archives, as a kind
of registration of title.

In Assyrian times the transactions of the great Rîmâni-Adadi, the chief
charioteer and agent of Ashurbânipal, who for some thirteen years appears
almost yearly, as buyer or seller, lender or borrower, on some forty
tablets, may serve as a further example,(1) or we may note how Baḥiânu
appears, chiefly as a corn lender, year after year, for thirty-three
years, on some twenty-four tablets.(2)

For the Second Empire of Babylonia, Professor J. Kohler and Dr. F. E.
Peiser have given some fine examples of this method. Thus, for the
bankruptcy of Nabû-aplu-iddin,(3) they show that the creditors distrained
upon the bankrupt’s property and found a buyer for most of it in a great
Neriglissar, afterwards King of Babylon. The first creditor was paid in
full, another received about half of the amount due to him, a third about
the same, while a fourth obtained less than a quarter of what was owed
him. They also follow out the fortunes of the great banking firm of
Egibi(4) for fully a century. The sketch, of course, is not complete, and
can only be made so by a prolonged search through thousands of documents
in different museums; but it is intensely interesting and written with
wonderful insight and legal knowledge. Another example is the family, or
guild, of the priests of Gula.(5) This is less fully made out but most
valuable, as far as it goes. In both cases a genealogy is given extending
over many generations.

Later still, the Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania,
in the ninth volume of Cuneiform Texts, gives a collection of the business
documents of one firm, “Murashu Sons, of Nippur,” in the reign of
Artaxerxes I. Here we have to do with a family deed-chest, a collection of
documents found together and fortunately kept together.

But this method, attractive though it is, cannot be followed here. The
reader is best led on from the known to the unknown. Those things must be
taken first which must be understood in order to appreciate what is placed
later. We consider first the law and the law-courts. The reader can thus
follow the references to procedure which occur in the other sections. The
rights of the State, the family, and the private individual come next.
Then we learn of the classes of property and the various ways of disposing
of it. After that is taken up a variety of disconnected topics, whose
order is mainly indifferent. Some overlapping of divisions is sure to
occur in any order. This system has been found, after many permutations,
to present the least inconvenience.

While it is hoped that this volume will give a fairly complete account of
what is really known and also point out some things that are reasonably
conjectured to be true, it is fully recognized that much remains to be
done. Indeed, it may serve by its omissions to redirect attention to
openings for future fruitful work.


A. B. R. _Aus dem babylonischen Rechtsleben._ Professor J. Kohler and Dr.
F. E. Peiser. Leipzig, 1890-.

A. D. B. _Assyrian Doomsday Book._ Vol. XVII of _Assyriologische
Bibliothek_. Leipzig, 1901.

A. D. D. _Assyrian Deeds and Documents._ In three vols. Cambridge, 1898-.

A. J. S. L. _American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures._

A. O. F. _Altorientalische Forschungen._ Dr. H. Winckler. Leipzig, 1893-.

B. A. L. _Babylonian and Assyrian Life._ Professor A. H. Sayce. New York,
1901. (Semitic Series.)

B. A. S. _Beiträge zur Assyriologie._ Professors Delitzsch and Haupt.
Leipzig, 1890-.

B. E. P. _The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania._
Series A. Cuneiform Texts. 1898-.

B. V. _Babylonische Verträge._ Dr. F. E. Peiser. Berlin, 1890.

C. T. _Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, etc., in the British
Museum._ London, 1896-.

D. E. P. _Délégation en Perse, Memoires._ Pub. by French Ministry of
Instruction. Professor V. Scheil. 1900-.

E. B. H. _Early Babylonian History._ Dr. H. Radau. New York, 1900.

H. A. B. L. _Assyrian and Babylonian Letters._ Professor R. F. Harper.
Chicago, 1892-.

H. W. B. _Assyrisches Handwörterbuch._ Professor Delitzsch. Leipzig, 1894.

I R., II R., III R., IV R., V R. _The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western
Asia._ H. C. Rawlinson. London, 1861, 1866, 1870, 1880-4.

K. A. S. _Keilinschriftliche Aktenstücke._ Dr. F. E. Peiser. Berlin, 1889.

K. B. _Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek._ Professor Eb. Schrader. Berlin,

K. L. Ḥ. _The Letters and Inscriptions of Ḥammurabi._ Three vols. L. W.
King, M.A. London, 1898-.

K. P. See A. B. R.

L. H. See K. L. Ḥ.

H. A. P. _Beiträge zum altbabylonischen Privatrecht._ Dr. Br. Meissner.
Leipzig, 1893.

P. S. B. A. _Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology._ London,

_Rev. Ass._ _Revue d’Assyriologie._ Professors J. Oppert and E. Ledrain.
Paris, 1884-.

Z. A. _Zeitschrift für Assyriologie._ Professor C. Bezold. Leipzig, 1886-.

Z. K. F. _Zeitschrift für Keilschriftforschung._ Professor C. Bezold.
Leipzig, 1884-.

_Camb._, _Cyr._, _Dar._, _Ev. Mer._, _Nbd._, _Nbk._, _Nerig._, denote the
volumes of _Babylonische Texte_; _Inschriften von Cambyses_, _Cyrus_,
_Darius_, _Evil Merodach_, _Nabonidus_, _Nebuchodonosor_, _Neriglissar_,
pub. by Pater J. N. Strassmaier. Leipzig, 1887-.

H denotes the text published in H. A. B. L.

K denotes a text from Kouyunjik, now in the British Museum.

S denotes a text at Constantinople, from Sippara.

V. A. Th. denotes a text in the Berlin Museum.

B, B1, B2 denote texts of the collections “from Warka,” Bu. 88-5-12, and
Bu. 91-5-9.


(M1) The chief sources from which is derived our knowledge of Babylonian
and Assyrian law are the contemporary inscriptions of the people
themselves. These are not supplemented to any appreciable extent by the
traditions of classical authors. So far as they make any references to the
subject, their opinions have to be revised by the immeasurably greater
knowledge that we now possess, and seem to be mostly based upon
“travellers’ tales” and misapprehensions.

These inscriptions are now preserved in great numbers in European and
American museums, and have only been partly published. The bibliography is
very extensive. For the earlier attempts to read and explain these
documents the reader may refer to Professor C. Bezold’s _Kurzgefässter
Überblick über die babylonisch-assyrische Litteratur_,(6) which gives a
fairly complete account up to 1887. Of course, many books and memoirs
there mentioned have now only a historical interest for the story of
decipherment and explanation. These, however, may be studied with the
greatest profit after having first become acquainted with the more recent

(M2) The division which is adopted in this work, “law, contracts, and
letters,” is only conventional. The three groups have much that is common
and mutually supplement one another. Previous publications have often
treated them more or less together, both as inscriptions and as minor
sources of history. Hence it is not possible to draw up separate lists of
books treating each division of the subject. Only those books or articles
will be referred to which are most valuable for the student. Many of them
give excellent bibliographies of their special subject.

(M3) The contemporary sources include actual codes of law, or fragments of
them, legal phrase-books, and legal instruments of all sorts. From the
last-mentioned source almost all that is known of ancient Babylonian law
has been derived. The historical and religious inscriptions contribute
very little. The consequence is that, except from the recently discovered
Code of Ḥammurabi scarcely anything is known of the law in respect to
crimes. Contracts and binding agreements are found in great profusion; but
there is nothing to show how theft or murder was treated.
Marriage-contracts tell us how adultery was punished. Agreements or legal
decisions show how inheritance was assigned. Consequently our treatment of
law and contracts must regard them as inseparable, except that we may
place first the fragments of actual codes which exist.

(M4) The letters are much more distinct. Each is a separate study, except
in so far as it can be grouped with others of the same period in attempts
to disentangle the historical events to which they refer. The deductions
as to life and manners are no less valuable than those made from legal
documents. In both wording and subject-matter they often illustrate legal
affairs and even directly treat of them.

(M5) A first duty will be carefully to distinguish epochs. Great social
and political changes must have left some mark upon the institutions we
are to study. As far as possible, the material has been arranged for each
subject chronologically.

(M6) The longest and by far the most important ancient code hitherto
discovered is that of Ḥammurabi (_circa_ 2250 B.C.). The source for this
is a block of black diorite about 2.25 metres high, tapering from 1.90 to
1.65 metres in circumference. It was found by De Morgan at Susa, the
ancient Persepolis, in December, 1901, and January, 1902, in fragments,
which were easily rejoined. The text was published by the French Ministry
of Instruction from “squeezes” by the process of photogravure, in the
fourth volume of the _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_. It was there
admirably transcribed and translated by Professor V. Scheil. In all, the
monument now preserves forty-four columns with some three thousand six
hundred lines. There were five columns more, which were once intentionally
erased and the stone repolished, probably by the order of some monarch of
Susa, who meant to put his own name and titles there. There have been
found other monuments in the French explorations at Susa, where the
Elamite monarch has erased the inscription of a Babylonian king and
inserted his own. This method of blotting out the name of a king was a
favorite device in the ancient East and is frequently protested against
and cursed in the inscription set up in Babylonia. This particular
inscription did not fail to call down similar imprecations, which perhaps
the Elamite could not read. But he stayed his hand, and we do not even
know his name, for he wrote nothing on the vacant space.

It seems probable that the stone, or at any rate its original, if it be a
copy, was set up at Sippara; for the text speaks of _Êbarra šuati_, “this
Ebarra,” which was the temple of Shamash at Sippara. At the head of the
obverse is a very interesting picture of Ḥammurabi receiving his laws from
the seated sun-god Shamash. Some seven hundred lines are devoted to the
king’s titles and glory; to enumerating the gods he reverenced, and the
cities over which he ruled; to invoking blessings on those who preserved
his monument and respected his inscription, with the usual curses on those
who did the opposite.(7) These belong to the region of history and
religion and do not concern us here. We may note, however, that the king
expected that anyone injured or oppressed would come to his monument and
be able there to read for himself what were the rights of his case.

(M7) The whole of this inscription is not entirely new matter. The scribes
of Ashurbânipal somewhere found a copy, or copies, of this inscription and
made it into a series of tablets. Probably their originals were Babylonian
tablets, for we know that in Babylonia the Code had been made into a
series which bore the name of _Nînu ilu ṣîrum_, from the opening words of
the stele. But, judging from the colophon of the Assyrian series, the
scribes knew that the inscription came from a stele bearing the “image” of
Ḥammurabi. A number of fragments belonging to such copies by later scribes
were already published, by Dr. B. Meissner(8) and Dr. F. E. Peiser.(9)
These were further commented upon by Professor Fr. Delitzsch,(10) who
actually gave them the name “Code Hammurabi.” Some of these fragments
enable us to restore one or two sections of the lost five columns.

These fragments are now easily set in order and will doubtless lead to the
discovery of many others, the meaning of which has not yet been
recognized. They exhibit some variants of interest, showing that they were
not made directly from this particular monument. Even at Susa another
fragment was found of a duplicate stele. Hence we may hope to recover the
whole text before long.

(M8) The publication of the Code naturally excited great interest among
scholars. It appeared in October, 1902, and, during the next month, Dr. H.
Winckler issued a German translation of the Code under the title, _Die
Gesetze Hammurabis Königs von Babylon um 2250 v. Chr. Das Älteste
Gesetzbuch der Welt_, being _Heft 4_ of the fourth _Jahrgang_ of _Der alte
Orient_. This marked an advance in some points on Scheil’s rendering, but
is not entirely satisfactory. The present writer read a paper in October,
1902, before the Cambridge Theological Society, an abridged report of
which appeared in the January _Journal_. He further published a baldly
literal translation in February, 1903, entitled, _The Oldest Code of Laws
in the World_.(11) In the _Journal des Savants_ for October and November,
1902, M. Dareste gave a luminous account of the subject-matter of the
Code, especially valuable for its comparisons with the other most ancient
law-codes. This of course was based on Scheil’s renderings. In the
_Orientalistische Litteratur-Zeitung_ for January, 1903, Dr. H. Winckler,
reviewing the fourth volume of the _Mémoires_, gave a useful account of
the Code comparing it with some of the previously published fragments.

(M9) The comparison with the Mosaic Code was sure to attract notice,
especially as Professor F. Delitzsch had called the attention of the
public to it, in his lecture entitled _Babel und Bibel_, even before more
of the Code was known than the fragments from Nineveh. Dr. J. Jeremias has
published a small book called _Moses und Hammurabi_, in which he deals
with the relations pretty thoroughly. Professor C. F. Kent has also
examined them in his article entitled _The Recently Discovered Civil Code
of Hammurabi_, in _The Biblical World_ for March, 1903. Some remarks on
the subject are to be found in the _New York Independent_, December 11,
18, 1902, and January 8, 15, 22, 1903, accompanying a translation. All the
above follow Winckler’s renderings.

The translation here given makes use of the above works, but must be
regarded as independent. It is impracticable to detail and justify the
changes made. The renderings can hardly be regarded as final, where actual
contracts do not occur to illustrate the Code; but there is very little
doubt that we know the tenor of these laws with substantial accuracy.

Professor V. Scheil divided the text of the Code into sections according
to subject-matter. But there are no marks of a division on the monument
and Scheil’s division is not adhered to in this work. For convenience of
reference, however, his original section-numbers are given in connection
with each law or sub-section of a law.

(M10) Among the treasures preserved in the library of Ashurbânipal and in
the archives of the Babylonian temples were a number of tablets and
fragments of tablets which recorded the efforts made by Semitic scribes to
render Sumerian words and phrases into Semitic. A large number of these
are concerned with legal subjects. A fairly complete list of those now in
the Kouyunjik Collections of the British Museum will be found in the fifth
volume of Dr. Bezold’s catalogue, page 2032. The greater part of them have
been published either in the British Museum _Inscriptions of Western
Asia_, in Dr. P. Haupt’s _Keilschrifttexten_, Vol. I. of the
_Assyriologische Bibliothek_, or in Dr. F. Hommel’s _Sumerische
Lesestücke_. In the latter will be found references to other publications.
Dr. B. Meissner further published a number of later Babylonian editions of
the same or allied series.(12)

(M11) The plan of the series to which most of these tablets belong is well
seen in Dr. Delitzsch’s _Assyrische Lesestücke_, fourth edition, pp.
112-14. The name by which the series is usually known, to which most of
these tablets belong, is the Semitic rendering of the first Sumerian
phrase given there, _ana ittišu_, “to his side.” The sections into which
the series is divided each deal with some simple idea and its expression
in Sumerian. But the principle of arrangement is not very clear. We may
take one section for example. “With him, with them, with me, with us, with
thee, with you,” are given in two columns, the first being the Sumerian
for these phrases, the second the Semitic rendering. Owing to the form of
treatment some of these texts have been called “paradigms.”

(M12) But the scribes also gave some fairly long and connected prose
extracts in Sumerian with their Semitic renderings. What these were
extracted from is still a question. Some of the clauses are known to have
been employed in the contracts. But some of these even may well have been
extracts from a code of laws. The name of “Sumerian Family Laws” has been
given to certain sections.(13) Others seem to have been extracted from a
Sumerian work on agriculture, with which Hesiod’s _Works and Days_ has
been compared. But at present we are not in possession of the complete
works from which these extracts are taken.

Such as they are, they have a value beyond that of enabling us to read
Sumerian documents. They often afford evidence of customs and information
which we get nowhere else.(14) The information given by them will be
utilized in the subsequent portions of this work. Their translation here
would serve no purpose, since they are very disconnected, but an example
may be of interest. One section reads, “He fastens the buckets, suspends
the pole, and draws up the water.” This is a vivid picture of the working
of a watering-machine, from which we learn its nature as we could not from
its name only.(15)

(M13) Legal documents constitute by far the larger portion of the
inscriptions which have come down to us from every period of Babylonian
and Assyrian history. In the library of Ashurbânipal alone they are
exceeded by the letters and even more by the works dealing with astrology
and omens. In some periods, however, we have only a few inscriptions from
monuments, or bricks.

(M14) To some extent the term “contracts,” which has commonly been applied
to them, is misleading. The use of the term certainly was due to a
fundamental misunderstanding, they being once considered as contracts to
furnish goods. They were even thought to be promises to pay, which passed
from hand to hand, like our checks, and so formed a species of “clay
money.” These views were both partially true, but do not cover the whole

They were binding legal agreements, sealed and witnessed. They were
binding only on the parties named in them. They were drawn up by
professional scribes who wrote the whole of the document, even the names
of the witnesses. Hence it is inaccurate to speak of them as “signed” by
anyone but the scribe, who often added his name at the end of the list of
witnesses. The parties and witnesses did impress their own seals at one
period, but later one seal, or two at most, served for all. It is not
clear whose seal was then used. But the document usually declares it to be
the seal of the party resigning possession.

(M15) As to external form, most of those which may be called “deeds”
consist of small pillow-shaped, or rectangular, cakes of clay. In many
cases these were enclosed in an envelope, also of clay, powdered clay
being inserted to prevent the envelope adhering. Both the inner and outer
parts were generally baked hard; but there are many examples where the
clay was only dried in the sun. The envelope was inscribed with a
duplicate of the text. Often the envelope is more liberally sealed than
the inner tablet. This sealing, done with a cylinder-seal, running on an
axle, was repeated so often as to render its design difficult to make out,
and to add greatly to the difficulty of reading the text. When the
envelope has been preserved unbroken, the interior is usually perfect,
except where the envelope may have adhered to it. Such double tablets are
often referred to as “case tablets.” The existence of two copies of the
same deed has been of great value for decipherment. One copy often has
some variant in spelling, or phrasing, or some additional piece of
information, that is of great assistance. The envelope was rather fragile
and in many cases has been lost, either in ancient times, or broken open
by the native finders, in the hope of discovering gold or jewels within.
But in any case, the envelope, so long as it lasted, was a great
protection; and there are few tablets better preserved than this class of

In Assyrian times, few “case” tablets are preserved, they seem to have
gone out of fashion except for money-loans and the like. But it may be
merely an accident that so few envelopes are preserved. In the case of
letters, where the same plan of enclosing the letter in an envelope was
followed, hardly any envelopes have been found, because they had to be
broken open to read the letter. The owner of a deed may have had occasion
to do the same, but here there was less excuse, as the envelope was
inscribed with the full text.

In early times, another method of sealing was adopted. A small clay cone
was sealed and the seal attached to the document by a reed, which ran
through both. The seal thus hung down, as in the case of many old
parchment deeds in Europe.

(M16) The deeds were often preserved in private houses, usually in some
room or hiding-place below ground. In the case of the tablets from Tell
Sifr, which were found by Loftus _in situ_, three unbaked bricks were set
in the form of a capital U. The largest tablet was laid upon this
foundation and the next two in size at right angles to it. The rest were
piled on these and on the bricks and the whole surrounded by reed matting.
They were covered by three unbaked bricks. This accounts for their fine

Others were stored in pots made of unbaked clay. The pots, as a rule, have
crumbled away, but they kept out the earth around. Sometimes this broke in
and crushed the tablets. In some cases they were laid on shelves round a
small room; but in others they seem to have been kept in an upper story,
and so were injured, when the floor fell through.

(M17) It seems certain that as a rule all deeds were executed in
duplicate, each party receiving a copy. The scribe often appears to have
kept another. At one time copies were also deposited in the public
archives, most probably the city temple or the governor’s palace. There
are indications that copies of deeds executed in the provinces were sent
to the capital. Whether this was in pursuit of a general policy of
centralization or only accidental in the few cases known to us is not
quite clear. In many instances we actually possess duplicates, sometimes
three copies of the same deed.

(M18) These documents are exceedingly varied in contents. The most common
are deeds relating to the sale or lease of houses, fields, buildings,
gardens, and the like; the sale or hire of slaves and laborers; loans of
money, corn, dates, wool, and the like; partnerships formed or dissolved;
adoption, marriage, inheritance, or divorce. But almost any alienation,
exchange, or deposit of property was made the subject of a deed. Further,
all legal decisions were embodied in a document, which was sealed by the
judge and given to both parties to the suit. These were often really deeds
by which the parties bound themselves to accept and abide by the
decisions. Some are bonds or acknowledgments of debt. A great many closely
allied documents are lists of money or goods which had been given to
certain persons. They were evidence of legal possession and doubtless a
check on demand for repayment.

(M19) The bibliography of the subject is best dealt with under each
general division; but reference must be made to works dealing with the
subject as a whole. Professor J. Oppert’s _Documents Juridiques_ was the
first successful attempt to deal with contracts in general and laid the
foundation of all subsequent work. Dr. F. E. Peiser and Professor J.
Kohler’s _Aus Babylonischen Rechtsleben_ deals with the later Babylonian
documents as far as they throw light upon social life and custom.
Professor Sayce’s _Babylonians and Assyrians_ makes large use of the data
given by the contracts. Dr. T. G. Pinches’s _The Old Testament in the
Light of the Monuments of Assyria and Babylonia_ also gives a very full
account of what may be gleaned from them. The present writer’s _Assyrian
Deeds and Documents_ makes an attempt to treat one branch fully. This work
can only present the most essential facts. The whole amount of material is
so vast, so much is yet unpublished, so many side-issues arise, all worth
investigating, that it can only serve to introduce the reader to a
fascinating and wide field of study.

(M20) The material with which we have to deal, for the most part, falls
very naturally into epochs. The early Babylonian documents, though very
numerous, are mostly of the nature of memoranda and include few letters or
contracts. The documents of the First Dynasty of Babylon are extremely
rich in examples of both contracts and letters. Then the Tell Amarna
letters form a distinct group. The Ninevite contracts and letters of the
Sargonid Dynasty are well marked as separate from the foregoing. Lastly,
those of the New Babylonian Empire are a group by themselves. A few
scattered examples survive which form intermediate groups, usually too
small to be very characteristic, and certainly insufficient to justify or
support any theory of the intermediate stages of development.

(M21) It must be observed that to a great extent these groups are not only
separated by wide intervals of time—several centuries as a rule—but that
they are locally distinct. The first comes from Telloh, the larger part of
the second from Sippara, the third from Egypt (or Syria), the fourth from
Assyria, the last from Babylonia. Whether the documents of Sippara in the
third period showed as great divergence from those of the second period as
the Tell Amarna letters do, or whether each group is fairly characteristic
of its age in all localities using the cuneiform script, are questions
which can only be answered when the other documents of that period are
available for comparison.

(M22) The documents of each group have marked characteristics in form of
script, in orthography, in language. So great are the differences that a
slight acquaintance with these characteristics will suffice to fix the
epoch of a given document. For the most part, however, these
characteristics are not such as can appear in translation. They will be
pointed out as far as possible in the opening sections dealing with each
group. The aim will be to select characteristic specimens of each group
for translation and to append a summary of what can be obtained by a study
of the group.

The thousands of documents dealt with under these groups would, if
translated, require a library of volumes. In the case of the contracts the
repetition of scores of examples of the same sort would be wearisome. In
the case of the letters, the translation alone would be almost as obscure
as the original, without copious comment on the relationships, customs,
and events referred to. In both cases it must be noted that many of the
most interesting examples are incomplete and unavailable as specimens. The
object of this work is to show what are the most important laws or legal
documents of each period and to point out the chief subjects of
information to be gained from them. For the letters no such summary of
information can be given, partly because they are so many and varied,
partly because so few are yet available.

(M23) The first epoch is to be considered as one period only because its
contribution to the subject is as yet small and chronologically precedes
the first great group. It ranges from the earliest beginnings of history
to somewhere about B.C. 2300. The dates are largely conjectural, but for
the most part the sequence of the events is known. It is the period
covered by Dr. H. Radau’s _Early Babylonian History_.

Some very ancient documents fall under this period. The early tablets
which show the nearest approach to the original picture-writing(16) are
transfers of property. As a rule, however, such votive inscriptions do not
come under the head of contracts. One of the earliest of our monuments,
the Stele of Manistusu, King of Kish, records the sale of land. Another
very early monument of similar style(17) deals with the sale of plots of
land. Others will be found in the _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_.

But by far the greatest number of inscriptions belong to the finds of
Telloh, made by De Sarzec in his explorations for the French Government.
His greatest find, some thirty thousand tablets which were in the archives
there, was dispersed by the Arabs, and has found its way into various
museums. They have been sold in Europe, as coming from different
localities. It is certain that other finds of the same period and same
general character have been made elsewhere, so that it is often difficult
now to determine their place of discovery.

A very large number of these tablets, from the collection of T. Simon, now
in the Berlin museums, were copied and edited by G. Reisner, as
_Tempelurkunden aus Telloh_.(18) The admirable abstracts of the contents
there given(19) will furnish all the information that anyone but a
specialist will need. They consist of lists of all sorts of natural
products, harvests from fields, seed and other expenses allowed for
cultivating fields, lists of the fields with their cultivators, numerous
receipts for loans or grants, accounts of sheep and cattle, stipends or
allowances for certain people; but only one, number 125, is doubtfully
said to concern a sale of some slaves.

Dr. H. Radau, in his _Early Babylonian History_, gives the texts of a
large number of similar tablets.(20) He also classified, transliterated,
and tentatively translated most of them. The kind of information to be
obtained is well brought out in his notes and comments.(21) They contain
receipts, accounts of all sorts, lists of animals, skins, wool, oil, wine,
grain, pitch, and honey; but none relate to the usual subjects treated in

M. Thureau-Dangin edited and discussed a number of tablets of the same
character in the _Revue d’Assyriologie_.(22) Especially valuable is his
memoir, _L’accomptabilité agricole en Chaldée_,(23) where many interesting
facts are collected and published.

(M24) A very large number of texts of this period were published by Mr. L.
W. King, in _Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, etc., in the British
Museum_.(24) These have been discussed in a few instances by various
writers in scientific journals. In the short descriptions prefixed to
these editions mention is made of “contracts,” but it is difficult to see
to which the term could be properly applied.

A number of extracts from early “contracts” are given by Professor V.
Scheil in the recent files of the _Receuil de Travaux_. According to the
descriptions given, many of them are legal instruments. Besides advances
of grain and receipts for the same,(25) or sales of land,(26) we have a
legal decision concerning a marriage.(27) Of several of these only a few
lines are given and the description of others is misleading. They are
mostly preserved at Constantinople. Some are purely Sumerian, others
Semitic. The same remarks apply to this author’s publications in his _Une
Saison de fouilles à Sippar_. Valuable as are the portions available, they
chiefly make us long for more.

A very large number of tablets belonging to the second period are now in
Europe and America. They seem to have been purchased from dealers, either
in the East or West; and may be presumed to have been discovered by the
natives. No reliable information can therefore be had as to their origin.
Various places are mentioned: Sippara, Abu Habba, Senkereh, Telloh, Warka,
have all been stated to be the place of discovery. There seems no good
reason why tablets of this period should not be found anywhere in
Babylonia. But on examination it is found that collections said to be from
widely different places contain duplicates; while the same collection
contains tablets dated at different cities and with dates a thousand years
apart. It is conceivable that the records of important transactions,
especially the transfers of land, were deposited by order in the archives
at the capital, wherever that was for the time being. We may imagine that
the archives at Sippara or Larsa were afterwards transferred to Babylon,
for safety, or in pursuance of a policy of centralization. Certain it is
that a large number of the texts imply a devotion to Shamash as chief
deity, while others ascribe the pre-eminence to Marduk or Sin. But this
fact is quite consistent with the archives having been discovered in
either Babylon or Sippara.

(M25) On the other hand, it is not unlikely that the apparent
centralization is of purely modern production. The dealers put together
tablets from all sources and ascribe the collection to the place of origin
which best suits their fancy. As a consequence, scarcely any collection
contains a homogeneous series belonging either to one period or source.
This is the more deplorable because so few are competent to date a tablet
by the style of writing upon it, and internal indications are often

In the British Museum we have the following collections:

I. A number of “case” tablets brought from Tell Sifr by Loftus in 1850.
Owing to a misleading statement in Layard’s _Nineveh and Babylon_, p. 496,
these have generally been taken to be from Warka, the ancient Erech. But
the account given on pages 270-72 of Loftus, _Travels and Researches __ in
Chaldea and Susiana_, leaves no doubt of the place and date of their
discovery. These are usually denoted by B.

II. A number of tablets now in the Kouyunjik Collections. It is certain
that these do not come from Nineveh, and in the British Museum Catalogue
they are usually ascribed to Warka, but with an implied doubt. One or two
are dated at Erech. The D. T. Collection also contains many tablets, said
to be “not from Kouyunjik.”

III. The collection 81-7-1 contains some forty at least, comprising the
accounts of the temple of Ninib, from the time of Ammiditana and

IV. The collection 82-7-14 also has a few tablets of this period.

V. The collection 82-9-18 has at least one contract.

VI. The collection Bu. 88-5-18, purchased by Dr. E. A. W. Budge in the
East, consists of some seven hundred tablets. They are said to come from
Sippara; and date from _b.c._ 2300 to the time of Darius. These will be
denoted by B1.

VII. The collection Bu. 91-5-9, also purchased by Dr. E. A. W. Budge in
the East, consists of some three thousand tablets. These will be denoted
by B2.

The purchases for the British Museum also include a large number of other
tablets of this period. They are now numbered consecutively, thus Bu.
91-5-9, 606 is known as Brit. Mus. No. 92,679. This renders it difficult
to further particularize the contents of the collections; or to know
whether a given tablet belongs to one of the above collections.

(M26) In the Museum of the Louvre at Paris are a few tablets belonging to
this epoch. Seven of them are published in M. Heuzey’s _Découvertes en

(M27) At the Berlin Museum is a collection known by the name of Homsy.

The tablets are marked V. A. Th., but this mark includes other tablets
widely separated in date and found at different sites.

(M28) At the University of Pennsylvania collections known as J. S., Kh.,
and H. contain tablets of this period. Professor E. F. Harper, writing in
_Hebraica_,(29) gives some account of these collections; from which it
appears that the J. S. collection contains tablets of Ḥammurabi,
Samsuiluna, and Ammiditana; while the Kh. collection has tablets of
Ḥammurabi, Samsuiluna, Ammiditana, and Ammizaduga. He announced the
discovery of the name of Abêshu on contemporary documents,(30) belonging
to that reign. The two collections contain over a thousand tablets. The H
collection has six hundred and thirty-two tablets, many of this epoch.

(M29) In the Imperial Ottoman Museum at Constantinople are a large number
of tablets of this period. They are denoted by N, the Nippur collection
found by the American explorers there; S, the Sippar collection from the
explorations conducted by Pater V. Scheil at Abu Habba; the T or Telloh
collection from the explorations of De Sarzec.

A few tablets are owned by Sir Henry Peek, Bart.

A few tablets exist in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, the gift of
Mr. Bosanquet.

The Rev. J. G. Ward possesses a tablet, published by Dr. T. G. Pinches in
_P. S. B. A._, XXI., pp. 158-63, of the time of Mana-balte-el, which seems
to be of this period.

A number of other tablets of the period are known to be in different
museums or in the hands of private individuals.

(M30) The historical value of the events used in dating these tablets was
recognized by G. Smith, who published the dates of a number of the Loftus
tablets, in the fourth volume of the _Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western
Asia_, p. 36.

The earliest publication of the texts was by Pater J. N. Strassmaier in
the _Verhandlungen des V Internationalen Orientalistischen Congresses zu
Berlin_, 1881. In the _Beilage_ he gave the lithographed text of one
hundred and nine tablets under the title of _Die altbabylonischen Verträge
aus Warka_. He made many important observations upon their character and
style, and gave a valuable list of words and names. As was to be expected
from a first attempt, both his readings of the texts and his
transcriptions from them leave room for some improvement. He arranged his
texts according to the reigns of the kings mentioned.

This edition formed the subject of M. V. Revillout’s article, _Une Famille
commerçant de Warka_, and of numerous articles by other scholars in the
journals. Dr. B. Meissner seems to have collated a number of these texts
for his _Beiträge zum altbabylonischen Privatrecht_.

In 1888, Dr. T. G. Pinches published _Inscribed Babylonian Tablets in the
possession of Sir Henry Peek, Bart._ It was followed by other parts and by
_Babylonian and Assyrian Cylinder-seals and Signets in the possession of
Sir Henry Peek, Bart._, in 1890. These are most valuable for their full
treatment—photographs of the originals, drawings, and descriptions of the
seals, transliterations, translations, and comments, giving a better idea
of what these documents are like than can be obtained without actually
handling the originals. Dr. Pinches in his introduction assigns their
discovery to the ruins of Sippara. The texts published by him only include
three from our period, Nos. 1, 13, 14; but nowhere will a beginner find
more assistance in his studies of this class of tablet.

In 1893 Dr. B. Meissner published his invaluable _Beiträge __ zum
altbabylonischen Privatrecht_, Vol. XI. of Delitzsch and Haupt’s
_Assyriologische Bibliothek_. This gave a full transliteration and
translation of one hundred and eleven texts published in autography. Full
notes and comments were added giving practically all that could then be
said on the subject. His introduction summarized the information, to be
extracted from his texts, bearing on the social institutions of Babylonia.
By arranging the texts in classes according to their purport and contents
he was able to elucidate each text by comparison with similar documents
and so to gain a very clear idea of the meaning of separate clauses, even
when the exact shade of meaning of individual words remained obscure. Any
advance which the interpretation of these documents may make must be based
on his researches and follow his methods. He gave a useful glossary, but
no list of proper names.

In the fourth volume of Schrader’s _Keilinscriftliche Bibliothek_, 1896,
Dr. F. E. Peiser adopted the plan of arranging the then known
contract-texts in chronological order. He gave, in transliteration and
translation, the texts of thirty-one tablets of this period. Of these many
had been previously published by Strassmaier and Meissner, but Dr.
Peiser’s renderings and short notes are of great value.

In 1896 began the grand series of publications, _Cuneiform Texts from
Babylonian Tablets, etc., in the British Museum, printed by order of the
Trustees_, which has been continued to the present date. Volumes II., IV.,
VI., and VIII. contain copies by Dr. T. G. Pinches of no fewer than three
hundred and ninety-five texts from the B1 and B2 Collections. They also
contain a number of letters and other texts, some of a date as late as
Xerxes, but from the same two collections.

In the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_,1897(31) and 1899,(32) Dr.
T. G. Pinches gives transliterations, translations, and comments upon
fifteen of these texts.

A word of notice must be given to the excellent Guides published by the
trustees of the British Museum. The _Guide to the Kouyunjik Gallery_, with
four autotype plates, 1885, and the _Guide to the Nimroud Central Saloon_
are now superseded by the _Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian
Antiquities_ with thirty-four plates, photographic reproductions of the
originals, 1900. On pages 104-13 will be found a most useful account of
the class of tablet and short descriptions of ninety-four exhibited case
tablets. Most of these tablets have been published by Strassmaier or in
_Cuneiform Texts_, but are now indicated by their new registration

It will be evident from the above remarks that only a small proportion of
the material in our museums has yet been published. It is greatly to be
desired that every existing tablet should be published, as in no other way
can we hope to solve many important problems. Not only the chronology but
much of the actual history can be recovered from these tablets, while the
names of the witnesses and parties to the transactions will settle the
order of the years which are still doubtful. It is from these deeds that
the greater part of this work will be constructed. They form the
groundwork, while later documents fill in details.

(M31) The years were given names. Thus the second year of Ḥammurabi is
called “the year in which Ḥammurabi the king established the heart of the
land in righteousness.” The year often received its name from the capture
of some city. Are we to suppose that these events actually occurred on the
first day of the year? If not, by what name was the year called up to the
occurrence of the event in question? There is evidence that some years
passed by two names, one of which was probably conferred after the year
had begun. An examination of all dated tablets would doubtless result in
fixing the time of the year at which the new year-name came into use. This
can only be achieved by the custodians of our great collections. But,
speaking generally, it seems obvious that names were often given to the
years which attached to them a memory of the previous rather than a record
for the current year. When in after years scribes drew up lists of the
dates of a reign, they may well have made mistakes as to the exact year in
which an event took place and have also credited a king with too long a
reign, by counting as separate years two dates which were really the
alternatives for one and the same year. In this way we may perhaps account
for the discrepancies between the Chronicle and the King Lists.

(M32) The tablets often mention the name of the reigning king as well as
the year-name; thus we read as a date, “the year when Samsuiluna was
king,” followed by “the year in which the canal of Samsuiluna named
Ḥegallu was dug,” which was the year-name of Samsuiluna’s fourth year.
Also the parties often swore an oath to observe their contract by the name
of one or more gods and of the reigning king. Hence, very often, when the
date is not preserved at all, we know what reign was concerned. On the
other hand, in some reigns we have dated tablets from almost every year.
If all the tablets were published, the witnesses and other parties would
enable us to fix the sequence of the years. As these year-names each give
a prominent event for the year we could thus reconstruct a skeleton
history of the reign. Indeed, the present writer had already determined
the order of several years, in more than one reign, from consideration of
the persons named in each. Of course, no assurance could thus be had that
some intermediate years were not omitted in such a scheme, since there is
no certainty that we know the name-dates for each year of a reign. The
order of the kings themselves and the lengths of their reigns were already
known from the King List published by Dr. T. G. Pinches.(33)

(M33) It seemed probable that the scribes of those days would have made
lists of the year-names, in order to know how much time had elapsed since
a given event had occurred. Hence great was the excitement and delight
when in _C. T. VI._ was published a tablet which once contained a list of
year-names from Sumuabu to Ammizaduga. This was followed by the
publication in Mr. L. H. King’s _Letters of Ḥammurabi_ of a duplicate,
which served to restore and complete the list down to the tenth year of
Ammizaduga’s reign. Mr. King further added the year-names actually used on
the dated tablets then published; thus showing how the year-names of the
list were quoted and either abbreviated or expanded. He very appropriately
called this the _Chronicle of the Kings of Babylon_. In the meantime
Professor A. H. Sayce had given a translation of the first published
list.(34) In the fourth volume of the _Beiträge zur semitischen
Sprachwissenschaft_,(35) Dr. E. Lindl has given a full discussion of the
first published list. He further adds a small list of the same character
giving the year-names in order for part of the reigns of Ḥammurabi and
Samsuiluna.(36) Dr. Lindl used the published dates of the contracts to
complete and restore the first list. Thus a great deal of excellent work
has been done on these lists. None of them are complete for the whole
dynasty, nor even for the part which they originally covered, and the
known dated documents do not serve to fully restore them. But so far as
they go, they must take the precedence of the King List, being almost
contemporary documents.

(M34) Besides the kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon the collections
above referred to designate several other persons as kings. Thus the B
collection of the British Museum names Nûr-Adadi, Sin-idinnam, and Rim-Sin
as kings. The texts enable us to fix all these as kings of Larsa. Hence
evidently the Tell Sifr, where these tablets were found, was in the
territory of Larsa. The whole question is well discussed by Dr. Lindl.(37)
The date on the tablet B. 34a refers to the setting-up of a throne for
Shamash by Nûr-Adadi. The date on B. 35 refers to the completion of a
temple in Eridu by Sin-idinnam, King of Larsa. It is scarcely conceivable
that these refer to other than the Nûr-Adadi, who set up the kingdom of
Larsa in the south of Babylonia about the same time as Sumuabi founded the
dynasty of Babylon. Sin-idinnam, his son, succeeded him as King of Larsa
and claimed to be King of Shumer and Akkad. Elam, however, under
Kudurnanhundi I., invaded the south, defeated Sin-idinnam and set up
Rim-Sin as King of Larsa. It seems that Rim-Sin reigned thirty-seven
years, partly as vassal of Ḥammurabi, from the seventeenth year of
Sin-mubalit until the thirty-first of Ḥammurabi. Whether Sin-idinnam was
then restored to his throne as vassal of Ḥammurabi, or whether Rim-Sin was
succeeded by a second Sin-idinnam, or whether the restoration of
Sin-idinnam, after a temporary expulsion of Rim-Sin, took place within the
thirty-seven years of the latter’s reign, is not yet clear.

(M35) Of great interest is the fact of the use of an era in the south of
Babylonia. A large number of tablets are dated by the years after the
capture of Isin. Thus tablets are dated in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th,
6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 30th years
after the capture of Isin. Most of them are related to the kingdom ruled
by Rim-Sin, which clearly included Tell Sifr, Nippur, Eridu, as well as
Larsa.(38) The first year of this era was probably the seventeenth year of

(M36) A king Immeru is mentioned,(39) usually alone, but once with
Sumu-lâ-ilu;(40) where the form of the oath, “by Shamash and Immerum, by
Marduk and Sumu-lâ-ilu,” suggests that while Sumu-lâ-ilu was king of
Babylon, the Marduk city, Immeru was king of a Shamash city. As he comes
first, he was probably king of Sippara, where Shamash was the city god,
and whence the collections, B1, B2, and V. A. Th., seem, on other grounds,
to have come. That it was needful to name Sumu-lâ-ilu also points to that
king being overlord of Sippara at the time.

The king Ilu-ma-ilu, named(41) in the oaths, associated with Shamash, may
well be a vassal king of Sippara, though Professor Delitzsch(42) suggests
that he may be the first king of the second dynasty of Babylon, whose name
appears in the King list B as Ilu-ma(ilu).

The king Mana-balte-el, on the Rev. J. G. Ward’s tablet, seems to belong
to the First, or Second, Dynasty, perhaps as a vassal king, but may have
preceded them by some short period.

The king Bungunu-ilu, mentioned by King,(43) was associated with
Sumu-lâ-ilu. Probably he was vassal king of Sippara before Immeru.

(M37) A number of extracts from the legal documents of the third period
have been given by Father V. Scheil in the _Receuil __ de Travaux_.(44)
The full text is rarely given and there is consequently nothing for use
here. They come from Nippur and are at Constantinople. The Semitic
language is used largely, but a few Sumerian phrases remain. All the names
of persons except those of the kings are pure Babylonian. The
determinative of personality before proper names is common, but not before
a king’s name. The tablets are dated by regnal years, no longer by
year-names. The kings have a determinative of divinity before their names.
The money in use is either gold or bronze, silver is hardly named, while
in other epochs it is almost always used. Gold was now legal tender, as
silver was afterwards.

The many extremely fine charters of this period are of great value for the
questions concerning land tenure. Descriptions and figures of some of them
will be found in the Guide.(45) The text of several was published by Dr.
C. W. Belser,(46) under the title _Babylonische Kudurru-inschriften_. Some
of these are transliterated and translated in Schrader’s _Keilschriftliche
Bibliothek_,(47) where references to the literature will be found. In many
cases these charters or boundary-stones are the only monumental evidence
for their period. They therefore figure largely in the histories.

Some of the best examples are found in the second volume of the _Mémoires
de la Délégation en Perse_, beautifully reproduced by photogravure,
admirably transliterated and translated by Professor V. Scheil. Some fine
examples are also to be found in _Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets,
etc., in the British Museum_.(48)

Of the time of Marduk-shum-iddin, B.C. 853-833, we have a black
boundary-stone, published by Dr. F. E. Peiser, in _Keilschriftliche
Acten-stücke_, No. 1. It is dated in the twenty-eighth year of the reign
of Nabû-aplu-iddina, _circa_ B.C. 858, and the eleventh year of
Marduk-shum-iddina, _circa_ B.C. 842. It rehearses the contents of two or
more deeds by which a certain Kidinu came into possession of property in
the city of Dilbat.

(M38) The Cappadocian tablets are still somewhat of a problem. The first
notice of them was given by Dr. T. G. Pinches.(49) According to the
dealer’s account one acquired by the British Museum had come from
Cappadocia. The script was then quite unfamiliar and it was thought that
they were written in a language neither Semitic nor Akkadian. Various
attempts, which are best forgotten, were made to transcribe and translate
them under complete misapprehension of the readings of the characters. But
in 1891 Golénischeff published twenty-four tablets of the same stamp,
which he had acquired at Kaisarieh. His copies were splendidly done for
one who could make out very little meaning. But he showed that many words
were Assyrian and read many names. Professor Delitzsch(50) made a most
valuable study of them, and laid the foundation for their thorough
understanding. Professor P. Jensen(51) added greatly to our knowledge of
their reading and interpretation. Dr. F. E. Peiser then(52) gave a
transcription and translation of nine texts of contracts.

They are now recognized to be purely Semitic. They must have been written
in some place where Assyrian influence was all-powerful. There are many
names compounded of Ashur. They are dated by eponyms as in Assyria. The
discovery of many more of them at Boghaz Keui, Kara Eyuk, and elsewhere
published by Professor V. Scheil in the _Mémoires de la Mission en
Cappadoce par Ernest Chantre_, and commented on by M. Boissier,(53) make
it certain that they are from this region.

If subject to Assyria, their date may be before the earliest eponyms whose
date is known from the Canon lists. They may be contemporary with the very
earliest kings of Assyria. But it is not impossible that the eponyms
referred to were local only and not Assyrian in origin. Dr. Peiser put
them after the First Dynasty of Babylon, but before the Third Dynasty.

They are full of unusual forms of words and have a phraseology of their
own. They cannot as yet be translated with any confidence. In general they
are very similar to the contracts, money-loans, and letters of the First
Dynasty of Babylon. As far as they can be understood, they offer no new
features of interest. The obscure phrases and words give rise to many
speculations which will be found in the above-mentioned works. These are
of great interest, but need further data for elucidation. They are too
questionable to be profitably embodied here.

(M39) The Elamite contract-tablets were found at Susa and are published by
Professor V. Scheil in Tome IV. of the _Mémoires de la Délégation en

In external form they closely resemble the Babylonian documents of a
similar nature. They are drawn up in practically the same way. But there
is a blunt directness about them which recalls the usages of the First
Dynasty of Babylon, rather than Assyria, or the Second Babylonian Empire.
Hence we have little to indicate date. Until we are better acquainted with
the Elamite script at various periods we cannot hope to date them.

They have many peculiar words and phrases. Some may be Elamite, or that
form of Semitic which obtained in Elam, but the rest of the language is
ordinary Babylonian. It is possible that some characters had a value in
Elam not known in Babylonia, or ideographic values not yet recognized.
But, as a rule, the general sense is fairly clear.

(M40) The legal documents of Assyria are in many respects a separate
group. They are sometimes said to have come from the library of
Ashurbânipal, which Mr. H. Rassam claims to have discovered at Kouyunjik
in 1852-54. But it seems far more probable that, as large numbers were
already found by Layard in 1849-51, we have rather to do with the contents
of some archives. The absence of any large number of temple-accounts seems
to exclude the probability that they were connected with a temple; but the
fact that nearly every tablet has for one principal party some officer of
the king, lends great probability to the view that the transactions were
really made on behalf of the king; or—to be more exact—of the palace in
Nineveh. The exceptions may be accounted for as really deeds concerned
with former sales; or mortgages of property, finally bought in for the
king. The conjecture is raised to a moral certainty by the contents of
such a collection as Knudtzon’s _Gebete an den Sonnengott_, found together
with them; which consisted of copies of the requests and inquiries made of
the Sun-god oracle regarding the troubles and difficulties of the king and
royal family, domestic as well as public, in the reigns of Esarhaddon and
Ashurbânipal. The letters too, found in the same collection, are the
letters received by the king from his officers in all parts of his realm.
The lists are connected with expenses of his household. Such votive
tablets as are preserved are concerned with offerings of the royal family,
or such high officers as probably were permanent inmates of the palace. We
have, in fact, the contents of the muniment chests of the Sargonid kings
of Assyria. That the royal library was mixed up with these documents may
be due to the contents of an upper chamber falling, when its floor was
burnt out; but the mixing may have been done by the discoverers.

In a very real sense these come from a record office, but are confined to
royal rather than state documents; though a few duplicates of charters
occur. Hence we look in vain for many classes of documents, such as are
common in the archives of temples or private families. We have no marriage
settlements, no adoptions, no partnerships.

Can we believe that such transactions were less common in Nineveh than
fifteen centuries before in Sippara, or Larsa, or Babylon; or later in
Babylon, Sippara, or Nippur? There cannot be a shadow of doubt that such
documents exist in shoals somewhere in the ruins of Nineveh and will one
day be found. Hence we must regard it as extremely improbable that the
ordinary citizens of Nineveh contributed the records of their transactions
to the Kouyunjik Collections now in the British Museum. They either kept
them in their own houses or in some temple archives. As will be seen
later, a few have already been found; but it is extremely difficult to
locate them exactly. It is quite certain that a few of the tablets in the
British Museum were found at other localities, such as Sherif Khan, Ashur,
Kalah, Erech, Larsa, and Babylon.

For the most part these appear to have been placed in one collection by
the discoverers, and only internal evidence can now decide where they were
found. But the great bulk of the Kouyunjik Collections, as far as
contracts, legal documents, and kindred tablets are concerned, are the
result of explorations conducted on the site of the ancient Nineveh, by
Layard and Rassam. They probably came from palace archives, and as a
result possess a special character of their own.

(M41) Aramaic dockets very early attracted the attention of
Assyriologists. The presence of short inscriptions in Aramaic on a few
contract-tablets naturally raised hopes, in the early days of
decipherment, of finding some check upon the reading of cuneiform. So far
as these went they were by no means inconsistent with the readings of the
cuneiform. But they were too few, too disconnected, and in themselves too
uncertain, to be of great value. Indeed, for many of them, it is the
cuneiform that now gives the key to their possible sense. The whole of
these Aramaic inscriptions have now been published by Dr. J. H. Stevenson
in his _Assyrian and Babylonian Contracts with Aramaic Reference Notes_,
where references to the literature will be found.

(M42) In connection with these Aramaic legends a number of the texts of
Assyrian contracts were published in the _Corpus Inscriptionum
Semiticarum_, _Pars Secunda_, _Tomus I_. A number more were published in
Vol. III. of the _Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia_, by Sir H. C.
Rawlinson. A few others were published in various journals; and by Oppert
in his epoch-making treatise on the juristic literature, _Documents
Juridiques_; by Peiser, in Vol. IV. of Schrader’s _Keilinschriftliche
Bibliothek_; and by Strassmaier in his _Alphabetisches Verzeichnis_. The
whole of the texts of the Assyrian contracts from the Kouyunjik
Collections in the British Museum are now published in _Assyrian Deeds and
Documents recording the Transfer of Property, etc._ (three volumes
published).(55) A bibliography will be found there, on page ix of the
preface to Vol. I.

(M43) The very remarkable style which most of these tablets show is so
unlike the contemporary documents in Babylonia that we may expect that
transactions between private citizens in Assyria at this time were quite
different. A few such documents exist. Professor V. Scheil, in the
_Receuil de Travaux_,(56) published the text of four which are quite
unlike any of the Kouyunjik examples.

(M44) In _Assyrian Deeds and Documents_ the same plan of arrangement was
followed, to some extent, as in this work. Being all of one epoch and
showing no signs of any development the tablets were grouped,
provisionally, according to subjects. The arrangement in each group was to
place first the best specimens of the group and then the injured and
fragmentary specimens, which thus received illustration, and in some
cases, could be restored. It would, however, be an error to regard the
Assyrian documents as the intermediate link between the old and new
Babylonian documents, though they belong chronologically to an interval
which precedes the latter immediately. The Assyrian scribe used a formula
that was closer to the Old Babylonian than to the contemporary Babylonian.
It had an independent development, looking rather to the royal charters as
models than to the private document. In fact, the closest parallels of all
are to be found on the Babylonian boundary-stones and charters. When,
therefore, in our chronologically arranged sketch of a given subject,
reference is made to Assyrian usage, next to that of the First Dynasty of
Babylon, it will be understood that only the nature of the transaction is
akin; and that, as a rule, the verbal treatment of it is quite distinct.

(M45) A few contemporary documents have reached us from the cities of
Babylonia. They have little or no affinity with the immediately preceding
groups, but carry on the local development from the second epoch. They
come from many sites and are published in a variety of journals. A
tentative list of them will be found in the Appendix. They refer to
transactions in the reigns of Shalmaneser IV., Sargon II.,
Merodach-baladan II., Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Shamash-shum-ukin,
Kandalanu, Ashur-etil-ilâni, and Sin-shar-ishkun. In style they belong to
the next epoch.

(M46) The second Babylonian empire, commencing with Nabopolassar and
extending to the end of the independent existence of a Babylonian empire,
is represented by thousands of tablets in our museums. A small part of
these has been published. Pater J. N. Strassmaier has given some one
thousand six hundred in his _Babylonische Texte_. Dr. Peiser published
many more in his _Keilinschriftliche Acten-stücke and Babylonische
Verträge_. The Rev. B. T. A. Evetts, Dr. Moldenke, Dr. Pinches and others
have published many more. A detailed list will be found in the Appendix.

(M47) In the times of the Persian kings very many documents were drawn up
very similar to these. The series is quite unbroken, down through
Macedonian rule, the Arsacid period, to as late as B.C. 82. The list will
be found in the Appendix.

Of the whole period we may say that the variety and quantity of written
evidence are amazing. Every sort of transaction that could be made the
subject of a deed or memorandum was written down. They come from most of
the chief cities in Babylonia.

(M48) The classification of this material is no easy task. As in the case
of the Bibliography, so here, the first and apparently the only attempt
has been made by Dr. C. Bezold in his invaluable _Kurzgefasster

The view taken there depended upon Professor Oppert’s estimate of the
nature of the documents and that again was often founded on imperfect
copies of the text. A great advance has since been made in understanding
the contents of the texts then published, and the number published has
enormously increased.

The publications, where accompanied by translations, have generally given
some classification. Dr. Peiser, in the fourth volume of Schrader’s
_Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek_, gives most suggestive indexes.(57) Dr.
Tallqvist, in his _Sprache der Contrakte Nabunâ’id’s_ gives a very
valuable classification.(58) Dr. Meissner classified his texts in
_Altbabylonische Privatrecht_.

A number of monographs have been written collecting the different texts
from many sources bearing on one subject, thus acting as a kind of
classification. A complete work on the subject is still needed.

(M49) Of great importance are Dr. F. E. Peiser’s _Jurisprudentiæ
Babylonicæ quæ supersunt, Cöthen_, 1890 (Inaug. Diss.); Dr. B. Meissner’s
_De Servitute babylonico-assyriaca_, Leipzig, 1882 (Inaug. Diss.); and Dr.
V. Marx, _Die Stellung der Frauen in Babylonien (Nebuchadnezzar to Darius
__B.C.__ 604-485)_ published in the _Beiträge zur Assyriologie_, Vol. IV.,
pp. 1-77. These should certainly be read by any serious student of the
times. To reproduce their contents would occupy too much space.

On the whole subject of social life, as illustrated by these contracts,
there is a valuable study by Dr. F. E. Peiser, called _Skizze der
Babylonischen Gesellschaft_.(59) Professor Sayce’s _Babylonians and
Assyrians_ in the _Semitic Series_, 1900, is an excellent account, though
in some respects not sufficiently critical. But in all such preliminary
work it is easy to feel sure of conclusions which have to be revised with
fuller knowledge. Time will doubtless show this to be true of what is said
in the present work. But wherever doubt is felt by the writer, it will be


I. The Earliest Babylonian Laws

(M50) We are still completely in the dark as to the rise of law in
Babylonia. As far back as we can trace the history or its written
monuments, there is no time of which we can say, “As yet there was no
law.” Our chief object to-day is to discover what the law was. For the
most part, and until lately, we were compelled almost entirely to infer
this from such contracts as were drawn up between parties and sworn to,
witnessed, and sealed. Among them were a large number of legal decisions
which recorded the ruling of some judicial functionary on points of law
submitted to him. These and the hints given by the legal phrase-books had
allowed us to attain considerable knowledge of what was legal and right in
ancient Babylonia or Assyria.

(M51) But the question remained, Was it “right” or “law”? Were there
enactments by authority, making clear what was right, and in some cases
creating right, where there was none before? There was much to suggest the
existence of enacted law, even of a code of laws, and the word “law” had
been freely applied. But there was no known ascription of any law to a
definite legislator. There was no word for “law,” only the terms
“judgments,” “right,” and “wrong.” It was significant that the parties to
a suit always seemed to have agreed on what was right between man and man,
and then to have sworn by their gods to observe the “right.”

(M52) We definitely know of one great code of laws, that of Ḥammurabi, and
we are greatly strengthened in the view that there were laws, and even
codes, centuries before him. The way in which contracts quote the phrases
of his code is exactly parallel to the way in which far earlier contracts
quote phrases which are evidently extracts, in the phrase-books, from some
connected work. Hence we are warranted in thinking that these extracts
come from a Sumerian code of laws. We do not yet know to whom we should
ascribe its compilation.

(M53) For the Code of Ḥammurabi is also a compilation. He did not invent
his laws. Phrases found in them appear in contracts before his time.
Doubtless he did enact some fresh laws. But he built for the most part on
other men’s foundations. The decisions already passed by the judges had
made men ready to accept as “right” what was now made “law.” But the
question is only carried back a stage further. Did not those judges decide
according to law? In some cases we know they did, for we have the law
before them. When we try to penetrate further into the background of
history we can only surmise. Documents fail us to prove whether judges
first made or administered the law. But we have now a very high antiquity
for laws recognized and obeyed as right.

(M54) That laws were already enacted in the pre-Semitic or Sumerian days
we may regard as certain. The legal phrase-books drawn up by later
scribes, especially those known as forming the series called _ana ittišu_,
give as specimens certain laws. These were evidently given by the scribes
as examples of connected prose in Sumerian, accompanied by a rendering
into Semitic. Their object was primarily grammatical, or at any rate
educational; but they are most valuable because they contain specimens of
the Sumerian legislation. Owing to their limited scope they were at first
regarded as family laws. But there can be little doubt that they really
are extracts from something like a code of laws. We are as yet quite
ignorant of the date of their first promulgation, place of origin, and
legislator. The seventh tablet of the series _ana ittišu_, Col. III. l. 22
to Col. IV. l. 22, gives the seven following laws:


    I. If a son has said to his father, “You are not my father,” he
    may brand him, lay fetters upon him, and sell him.

It may be doubted whether this applies to any but adopted sons. “You shall
not be my father” is a possible rendering. But the phrase may only refer
to rebellious conduct. The word rendered “brand” has often been taken to
mean “shave.” The cutting short of the hair was a mark of degradation. The
Semitic Babylonians wore their hair long, while slaves, and perhaps also
Sumerians as a race, are represented as hairless. However that may be, the
same word is used of “branding” cattle and it implies cutting or incision.
It may mean a tattooed mark. The word rendered “fetter” seems also to be
used of a branded body-mark. The whole law means that the rebellious son
is to be degraded to the status of a slave and treated as such.


    II. If a son has said to his mother, “You are not my mother,” one
    shall brand his forehead, drive him out of the city, and make him
    go out of the house.

Here the same ambiguity about branding is found. Some take the word
rendered “forehead” to mean the hair of the head. His head would then be
shaved. “To go out from the house” means “to be cut off from kith and
kin.” But here the son retains his freedom, only he is an exile and
homeless. In this case it is not the mother who exacts the penalty. The
verb is plural and may be taken impersonally. The family or the city
magistrates are probably the ones to execute the law.


    III. If a father has said to his son, “You are not my son,” he
    shall leave house and yard.

Here the father has power to repudiate a son, who must go. The word for
“leave” is literally “take himself up,” “go up out of.” The word “yard” is
simply “inclosure” and may mean the city walls, as a symbol of shelter.


    IV. If a mother has said to her son, “You are not my son,” he
    shall leave house and property.

Here we expect, by analogy with Laws I. and II., that this penalty is
rather less than that in III. The “property” means “house furniture.” The
son must leave home and can take no house furniture with him. He has no
claim to inherit anything. But he need not leave the city. Hence it seems
likely that III. denied him the right of city shelter.


    V. If a wife hates her husband and has said, “You are not my
    husband,” one shall throw her into the river.


    VI. If a husband has said to his wife, “You are not my wife,” he
    shall pay half a mina of silver.

The contrast in the penalties is startling. Note the impersonal form of V.
The executioners here are the family, or city, not the husband. Publicity
is therefore implied. It is not a private quarrel, but a refusal of
conjugal rights. In the second case the man divorces, or puts away, his
wife, but pays a heavy fine.


    VII. If a man has hired a slave and he dies, is lost, has fled,
    has been incapacitated, or has fallen sick, he shall measure out
    10 _ḲA_ of corn _per diem_ as his wages.

Here the Sumerian text differs from the Semitic. In the former the
employer is said to “cause” the slave to suffer these detriments, in the
latter he is said to come by them. The verb rendered “lost” is used in
that sense in the later Code of Ḥammurabi. What is the exact sense of the
verb rendered “has been incapacitated” is not clear. Professor Hommel(60)
renders _durchbrennen_, Delitzsch(61) renders _weichen, entweichen, oder
zu arbeiten aufhören_. But it is clear that the employer is to pay a daily
fine for injury done to the slave, or for loss to his owner, caused or
connived at by him. The slave’s refusal to work could not be made the
ground for fining him. If anyone paid for that it would be the owner. The
employer pays for his work, but is bound to keep him safe and treat him
reasonably well and return him in good condition to his owner. In later
times the owner often took the risk of death and flight, but then he
probably charged more hire. At any rate it is clear that the owner is not
named in this law.

It is not profitable to discuss these mere fragments of a code. The most
interesting thing is their existence. We may one day recover the Code in
full. These are not retranslations into Sumerian, by learned scribes, of
late laws. For exactly these words and phrases occur in the contracts of
the First Dynasty of Babylon, before and after the Code of Ḥammurabi,
which deals with the same cases, but in different words. In fact, this
Sumerian Code is quoted, as the later Code was quoted, in documents which
embody the sworn agreement of the parties to observe the section of the
Code applying to their case. This is indeed the characteristic of the
early contracts: after indicating the particulars of the case, an oath is
added to the effect that the parties will abide by the law concerning it.
Even where no reference is made to a law, it is because either no law had
been promulgated on the point, or because the law was understood too well
to need mention. Later this law-abiding spirit was less in evidence and
the contract became a private undertaking to carry out mutual engagements.
But even then it was assumed that a law existed which would hold the
parties to the terms of an engagement voluntarily contracted.

II. The Code Of Ḥammurabi

(M62) § 1. If a man has accused another of laying a _nêrtu_ (death spell?)
upon him, but has not proved it, he shall be put to death.

§ 2. If a man has accused another of laying a _kišpu_ (spell) upon him,
but has not proved it, the accused shall go to the sacred river, he shall
plunge into the sacred river, and if the sacred river shall conquer him,
he that accused him shall take possession of his house. If the sacred
river shall show his innocence and he is saved, his accuser shall be put
to death. He that plunged into the sacred river shall appropriate the
house of him that accused him.

(M63) § 3. If a man has borne false witness in a trial, or has not
established the statement that he has made, if that case be a capital
trial, that man shall be put to death.

(M64) § 4. If he has borne false witness in a civil law case, he shall pay
the damages in that suit.

(M65) § 5. If a judge has given a verdict, rendered a decision, granted a
written judgment, and afterward has altered his judgment, that judge shall
be prosecuted for altering the judgment he gave and shall pay twelvefold
the penalty laid down in that judgment. Further, he shall be publicly
expelled from his judgment-seat and shall not return nor take his seat
with the judges at a trial.

(M66) § 6. If a man has stolen goods from a temple, or house, he shall be
put to death; and he that has received the stolen property from him shall
be put to death.

(M67) § 7. If a man has bought or received on deposit from a minor or a
slave, either silver, gold, male or female slave, ox, ass, or sheep, or
anything else, except by consent of elders, or power of attorney, he shall
be put to death for theft.

(M68) § 8. If a patrician has stolen ox, sheep, ass, pig, or ship, whether
from a temple, or a house, he shall pay thirtyfold. If he be a plebeian,
he shall return tenfold. If the thief cannot pay, he shall be put to

(M69) § 9. If a man has lost property and some of it be detected in the
possession of another, and the holder has said, “A man sold it to me, I
bought it in the presence of witnesses”; and if the claimant has said, “I
can bring witnesses who know it to be property lost by me”; then the
alleged buyer on his part shall produce the man who sold it to him and the
witnesses before whom he bought it; the claimant shall on his part produce
the witnesses who know it to be his lost property. The judge shall examine
their pleas. The witnesses to the sale and the witnesses who identify the
lost property shall state on oath what they know. Such a seller is the
thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost property shall
recover his lost property. The buyer shall recoup himself from the
seller’s estate.

§ 10. If the alleged buyer on his part has not produced the seller or the
witnesses before whom the sale took place, but the owner of the lost
property on his part has produced the witnesses who identify it as his,
then the [pretended] buyer is the thief; he shall be put to death. The
owner of the lost property shall take his lost property.

§ 11. If, on the other hand, the claimant of the lost property has not
brought the witnesses that know his lost property, he has been guilty of
slander, he has stirred up strife, he shall be put to death.

§ 12. If the seller has in the meantime died, the buyer shall take from
his estate fivefold the value sued for.

(M70) § 13. If a man has not his witnesses at hand, the judge shall set
him a fixed time not exceeding six months, and if within six months he has
not produced his witnesses, the man has lied; he shall bear the penalty of
the suit.

(M71) § 14. If a man has stolen a child, he shall be put to death.

(M72) § 15. If a man has induced either a male or female slave from the
house of a patrician, or plebeian, to leave the city, he shall be put to

(M73) § 16. If a man has harbored in his house a male or female slave from
a patrician’s or plebeian’s house, and has not caused the fugitive to
leave on the demand of the officer over the slaves condemned to public
forced labor, that householder shall be put to death.

(M74) § 17. If a man has caught either a male or female runaway slave in
the open field and has brought him back to his owner, the owner of the
slave shall give him two shekels of silver.

§ 18. If such a slave will not name his owner, his captor shall bring him
to the palace, where he shall be examined as to his past and returned to
his owner.

§ 19. If the captor has secreted that slave in his house and afterward
that slave has been caught in his possession, he shall be put to death.

§ 20. If the slave has fled from the hands of his captor, the latter shall
swear to the owner of the slave and he shall be free from blame.

(M75) § 21. If a man has broken into a house he shall be killed before the
breach and buried there.

(M76) § 22. If a man has committed highway robbery and has been caught,
that man shall be put to death.

§ 23. If the highwayman has not been caught, the man that has been robbed
shall state on oath what he has lost and the city or district governor in
whose territory or district the robbery took place shall restore to him
what he has lost.

§ 24. If a life [has been lost], the city or district governor shall pay
one mina of silver to the deceased’s relatives.

(M77) § 25. If a fire has broken out in a man’s house and one who has come
to put it out has coveted the property of the householder and appropriated
any of it, that man shall be cast into the self-same fire.

(M78) § 26. If a levy-master, or warrant-officer, who has been detailed on
the king’s service, has not gone, or has hired a substitute in his place,
that levy-master, or warrant-officer, shall be put to death and the hired
substitute shall take his office.

§ 27. If a levy-master, or warrant-officer, has been assigned to garrison
duty, and in his absence his field and garden have been given to another
who has carried on his duty, when the absentee has returned and regained
his city, his field and garden shall be given back to him and he shall
resume his duty.

(M79) § 28. If a levy-master, or warrant-officer, has been assigned to
garrison duty, and has a son able to carry on his official duty, the field
and garden shall be given to him and he shall carry on his father’s duty.

§ 29. If the son be a child and is not able to carry on his father’s duty,
one-third of the field and garden shall be given to his mother to educate

(M80) § 30. If such an official has neglected the care of his field,
garden, or house, and let them go to waste, and if another has taken his
field, garden, or house, in his absence, and carried on the duty for three
years, if the absentee has returned and would cultivate his field, garden,
or house, it shall not be given him; he who has taken it and carried on
the duty connected with it shall continue to do so.

§ 31. If for one year only he has let things go to waste and he has
returned, his field, garden, and house shall be given him, and he himself
shall carry on his duty.

(M81) § 32. If such an official has been assigned to the king’s service
(and captured by the enemy) and has been ransomed by a merchant and helped
to regain his city, if he has had means in his house to pay his ransom, he
himself shall do so. If he has not had means of his own, he shall be
ransomed by the temple treasury. If there has not been means in the temple
treasury of his city, the state will ransom him. His field, garden, or
house shall not be given for his ransom.

(M82) § 33. If either a governor or a prefect has appropriated to his own
use the corvée, or has accepted and sent on the king’s service a hired
substitute in his place, that governor, or prefect, shall be put to death.

(M83) § 34. If either a governor, or a prefect, has appropriated the
property of a levy-master, has hired him out, has robbed him by
high-handedness at a trial, has taken the salary which the king gave to
him, that governor, or prefect, shall be put to death.

(M84) § 35. If a man has bought from a levy-master the sheep, or oxen,
which the king gave him, he shall lose his money.

§ 36. The field, garden, or house, of a levy-master, warrant-officer, or
tributary shall not be sold.

§ 37. If a man has bought field, garden, or house, of a levy-master, a
warrant-officer, or tributary, his title-deed shall be destroyed and he
shall lose his money. He shall return the field, garden, or house to its

(M85) § 38. A levy-master, warrant-officer, or tributary, shall not
bequeath anything from the field, garden, or house of his benefice to his
wife or daughter, nor shall he give it for his debt.

§ 39. From the field, garden, or house which he has bought and acquired,
he shall make bequests to his wife, or daughter, or shall assign for his

(M86) § 40. A votary, merchant, or resident alien may sell his field,
garden, or house, and the buyer shall discharge the public service
connected with the field, garden, or house that he has bought.

(M87) § 41. If a man has given property in exchange for the field, garden,
or house, of a levy-master, warrant-officer, or tributary, such an
official shall return to his field, garden, or house, and he shall
appropriate the property given in exchange.

(M88) § 42. If a man has hired a field to cultivate and has caused no corn
to grow on the field, he shall be held responsible for not doing the work
on the field and shall pay an average rent.

§ 43. If he has not cultivated the field and has left it alone, he shall
give to the owner of the field an average rent, and the field which he has
neglected he shall break up with mattocks and plough it, and shall return
it to the owner of the field.

(M89) § 44. If a man has taken a piece of virgin soil to open up, on a
three years’ lease, but has left it alone, has not opened up the land, in
the fourth year he shall break it up, hoe it, and plough it, and shall
return it to the owner of the field, and shall measure out ten _GUR_ of
corn for each _GAN_ of land.

(M90) § 45. If a man has let his field to a farmer and has received his
rent for the field but afterward the field has been flooded by rain, or a
storm has carried off the crop, the loss shall be the farmer’s.

§ 46. If he has not received the rent of his field, whether he let it for
a half, or for a third, of the crop, the farmer and the owner of the field
shall share the corn that is left in the field, according to their

(M91) § 47. If a tenant farmer, because he did not start farming in the
early part of the year, has sublet the field, the owner of the field shall
not object; his field has been cultivated; at harvest-time he shall take
rent, according to his agreement.

(M92) § 48. If a man has incurred a debt and a storm has flooded his field
or carried away the crop, or the corn has not grown because of drought, in
that year he shall not pay his creditor. Further, he shall post-date his
bond and shall not pay interest for that year.

(M93) § 49. If a man has received money from a merchant and has given to
the merchant a field, planted with corn, or sesame, and has said to him,
“Cultivate the field and reap and take the corn, or sesame, that shall be
grown”; if the bailiff has reared corn, or sesame, in the field, at
harvest-time the owner of the field shall take what corn, or sesame, has
been grown in the field and shall pay corn to the merchant for his money
that he took of him and its interest, and for the maintenance of the

§ 50. If the field he gave was [already] cultivated, or the sesame was
grown up, the owner of the field shall take the corn, or sesame, that has
been grown in the field, and shall return the money and its interest to
the merchant.

§ 51. If he has not money enough, he shall give to the merchant sesame, or
corn, according to its market price, for the money which he took from the
merchant and its interest, according to the king’s standard.

§ 52. If the bailiff has not reared corn or sesame in the field the
debtor’s obligation shall not be lessened.

(M94) §§ 53, 54. If a man has neglected to strengthen his dike and has not
kept his dike strong, and a breach has broken out in his dike, and the
waters have flooded the meadow, the man in whose dike the breach has
broken out shall restore the corn he has caused to be lost. [54]. If he be
not able to restore the corn, he and his goods shall be sold, and the
owners of the meadow whose corn the water has carried away shall share the

(M95) § 55. If a man has opened his runnel for watering and has left it
open, and the water has flooded his neighbor’s field, he shall pay him an
average crop.

§ 56. If a man has let out the waters and they flood the young plants in
his neighbor’s field, he shall measure out ten _GUR_ of corn for each
_GAN_ of land.

(M96) § 57. If a shepherd has not agreed with the owner of the field to
allow his sheep to eat off the green crop and without consent of the owner
has let his sheep feed off it, the owner of the field shall harvest his
crop, but the shepherd who without consent of the owner of the field
caused his sheep to eat it shall give to the owner of the field, over and
above his crop, twenty _GUR_ of corn for each _GAN_ of land.

§ 58. If, after the sheep have come up out of the meadows and have passed
into the common fold at the city gate, a shepherd has placed his sheep in
a field and caused his sheep to feed in the field, the shepherd shall keep
the field he has grazed, and, at harvest-time, he shall measure out to the
owner sixty _GUR_ of corn for each _GAN_ of land.

(M97) § 59. If a man without the consent of the owner has cut down a tree
in an orchard, he shall weigh out half a mina of silver.

(M98) §§ 60, 61. If a man has given a field to a gardener to plant a
garden and the gardener has planted the garden, he shall train the garden
four years; in the fifth year the owner of the garden and the gardener
shall share the garden equally, the owner of the garden shall gather his
share and take it. [61]. If the gardener, in planting the garden, has not
planted all, but has left a bare patch, he shall reckon the bare patch in
his share.

§ 62. If he has not planted the field which was given him as a garden;
then, if it was arable land, the gardener shall measure out to the owner
of the field an average rent for the years that were neglected, and shall
perform the stipulated work on the field (_i.e._, make it into a garden),
and return it to the owner of the field.

§ 63. If the land was uncultivated, he shall do the stipulated work on the
field, and return to the owner of the field and shall measure out for each
year ten _GUR_ of corn for each _GAN_.

(M99) § 64. If a man has given his garden to a gardener to farm, the
gardener, as long as he holds the garden, shall give the owner of the
garden two-thirds of the produce of the garden and shall take one-third

§ 65. If the gardener has not tilled the garden and has diminished the
yield, the gardener shall pay an average rent.

Here came the five erased columns, of which the three following sections
are restored from copies in Ashurbânipal’s library:

(M100) § X. [If a man has borrowed money of a merchant and has given a
date grove] to the merchant and has said to him, “Take the dates that are
in my grove for your money”; that merchant shall not consent, the owner of
the grove shall take the dates that are in the grove and shall answer to
the merchant for the money and its interest, according to the tenor of his
agreement, and the owner of the grove shall take the surplus of the dates
that are in the grove.

(M101) § Y. [If a man has let a house] and the tenant has paid to the
owner of the house the full rent for a term of years, and if the owner of
the house has ordered the tenant to leave before his time is up, the owner
of the house, because he has ordered his tenant to leave before his time
is up, [shall repay a proportionate amount] from what the tenant has paid

(M102) § Z. [If a man has borrowed money of a merchant] and has not corn
or money wherewith [to pay], but has goods; whatever is in his hands, he
shall give to the merchant, before the elders. The merchant shall not
object; he shall receive it.

After the loss of about thirty-five sections the Code resumes:

(M103) § 100. [If an agent has received money of a merchant, he shall
write down the amount] and [what is to be] the interest of the money, and
when his time is up, he shall settle with his merchant.

§ 101. If he has not had success on his travels, he shall return double
what he received to the merchant.

(M104) §§ 102, 103. If the merchant has given money, as a speculation, to
the agent, who during his travels has met with misfortune, he shall return
the full sum to the merchant. [103]. If, on his travels, an enemy has
forced him to give up some of the goods he was carrying, the agent shall
specify the amount on oath and shall be acquitted.

(M105) § 104. If a merchant has given to an agent corn, wool, oil, or any
sort of goods, to traffic with, the agent shall write down the money
value, and shall return that to the merchant. The agent shall then take a
sealed receipt for the money that he has given to the merchant.

§ 105. If the agent forgets and has not taken a sealed receipt for the
money he gave to the merchant, money that has not been acknowledged by
receipt shall not be put down in the accounts.

(M106) § 106. If an agent has taken money of a merchant, and his principal
suspects him, that principal shall prosecute his agent, put him on oath
before the elders, as to the money taken; the agent shall pay to the
merchant threefold what he misappropriated.

(M107) § 107. If the principal has overcharged the agent and the agent has
[really] returned to his principal whatever his principal gave him, and if
the principal has disputed what the agent has given him, that agent shall
put his principal on oath before the elders, and the merchant, because he
has defrauded the agent, shall pay to the agent sixfold what he

(M108) § 108. If the mistress of a beer-shop has not received corn as the
price of beer or has demanded silver on an excessive scale, and has made
the measure of beer less than the measure of corn, that beer-seller shall
be prosecuted and drowned.

(M109) § 109. If the mistress of a beer-shop has assembled seditious
slanderers in her house and those seditious persons have not been captured
and have not been haled to the palace, that beer-seller shall be put to

(M110) § 110. If a votary, who is not living in the convent, open a
beer-shop, or enter a beer-shop for drink, that woman shall be put to

(M111) § 111. If the mistress of a beer-shop has given sixty _ḲA_ of
_sakani_ beer in the time of thirst, at harvest, she shall take fifty _ḲA_
of corn.

(M112) § 112. If a man staying abroad has given silver, gold, precious
stones, or portable goods to another man to transport, and if that man has
not delivered the consignment, where he has carried it, but has
appropriated it, the owner of the consignment shall prosecute him, and the
carrier shall give to the owner of the consignment fivefold whatever was
intrusted to him.

(M113) § 113. If a man has a debt of corn, or money, due from another and
without the consent of the owner of the corn has taken corn from the
granary, or barn, the owner of the corn shall prosecute him for taking the
corn from the granary, or barn, without his consent, and the man shall
return all the corn he took, and further lose whatever it was that he had

(M114) § 114. If a man has no debt of corn or money due from a man on whom
he has levied a distraint, for each such distraint he shall pay one-third
of a mina of silver.

(M115) § 115. If a man has corn or money due from another man and has
levied a distraint and the hostage has died a natural death in the house
of the creditor, he cannot be held responsible.

§ 116. If the hostage has died of blows or want in the house of the
creditor, the owner of the hostage shall prosecute his creditor, and if
the deceased were free born, the creditor’s son shall be put to death; if
a slave, the creditor shall pay one-third of a mina of silver, Further, he
shall lose whatever it was that he lent.

(M116) § 117. If a man owes a debt, and he has given his wife, his son, or
his daughter [as hostage] for the money, or has handed someone over to
work it off, the hostage shall do the work of the creditor’s house; but in
the fourth year he shall set them free.

§ 118. If a debtor has handed over a male or female slave to work off a
debt, and the creditor proceeds to sell same, no one can complain.

§ 119. If a man owes a debt, and he has assigned a maid who has borne him
children for the money, the owner of the maid shall repay the money which
the merchant gave him and shall ransom his maid.

(M117) § 120. If a man has deposited his corn for safe keeping in
another’s house and it has suffered damage in the granary, or if the owner
of the house has opened the store and taken the corn, or has disputed the
amount of the corn that was stored in his house, the owner of the corn
shall declare on oath the amount of his corn, and the owner of the house
shall return him double.

(M118) § 121. If a man has stored corn in another man’s house he shall
give, on each _GUR_ of corn, five _ḲA_ of corn, yearly, as the rent for

(M119) § 122. If a man has given another gold, silver, or any goods
whatever, on deposit, all that he gives shall he show to witnesses, and
take a bond and so give on deposit.

§ 123. If he has given on deposit without witnesses and bonds, and has
been defrauded where he made his deposit, he has no claim to prosecute.

(M120) § 124. If a man has given on deposit to another, before witnesses,
gold, silver, or any goods whatever, and his claim has been contested, he
shall prosecute that man, and [the man] shall return double what he

(M121) § 125. If a man has given anything whatever on deposit, and, where
he has made his deposit, something of his has been lost together with
something belonging to the owner of the house, either by house-breaking or
a rebellion, the owner of the house who is in default shall make good all
that has been given him on deposit, which he has lost, and shall return it
to the owner of the goods. The owner of the house shall look after what he
has lost and recover it from the thief.

(M122) § 126. If a man has said that something of his is lost, which is
not lost, or has alleged a depreciation, though nothing of his is lost, he
shall estimate the depreciation on oath, and he shall pay double whatever
he has claimed.

(M123) § 127. If a man has caused the finger to be pointed at a votary, or
a man’s wife, and has not justified himself, that man shall be brought
before the judges, and have his forehead branded.

(M124) § 128. If a man has taken a wife and has not executed a
marriage-contract, that woman is not a wife.

(M125) § 129. If a man’s wife be caught lying with another, they shall be
strangled and cast into the water. If the wife’s husband would save his
wife, the king can save his servant.

(M126) § 130. If a man has ravished another’s betrothed wife, who is a
virgin, while still living in her father’s house, and has been caught in
the act, that man shall be put to death; the woman shall go free.

(M127) § 131. If a man’s wife has been accused by her husband, and has not
been caught lying with another, she shall swear her innocence, and return
to her house.

(M128) § 132. If a man’s wife has the finger pointed at her on account of
another, but has not been caught lying with him, for her husband’s sake
she shall plunge into the sacred river.

(M129) § 133. If a man has been taken captive, and there was maintenance
in his house, but his wife has left her house and entered into another
man’s house; because that woman has not preserved her body, and has
entered into the house of another, that woman shall be prosecuted and
shall be drowned.

§ 134. If a man has been taken captive, but there was not maintenance in
his house, and his wife has entered into the house of another, that woman
has no blame.

§ 135. If a man has been taken captive, but there was no maintenance in
his house for his wife, and she has entered into the house of another, and
has borne him children, if in the future her [first] husband shall return
and regain his city, that woman shall return to her first husband, but the
children shall follow their own father.

(M130) § 136. If a man has left his city and fled, and, after he has gone,
his wife has entered into the house of another; if the man return and
seize his wife, the wife of the fugitive shall not return to her husband,
because he hated his city and fled.

(M131) § 137. If a man has determined to divorce a concubine who has borne
him children, or a votary who has granted him children, he shall return to
that woman her marriage-portion, and shall give her the usufruct of field,
garden, and goods, to bring up her children. After her children have grown
up, out of whatever is given to her children, they shall give her one
son’s share, and the husband of her choice shall marry her.

(M132) § 138. If a man has divorced his wife, who has not borne him
children, he shall pay over to her as much money as was given for her
bride-price and the marriage-portion which she brought from her father’s
house, and so shall divorce her.

§ 139. If there was no bride-price, he shall give her one mina of silver,
as a price of divorce.

§ 140. If he be a plebeian, he shall give her one-third of a mina of

(M133) § 141. If a man’s wife, living in her husband’s house, has
persisted in going out, has acted the fool, has wasted her house, has
belittled her husband, he shall prosecute her. If her husband has said, “I
divorce her,” she shall go her way; he shall give her nothing as her price
of divorce. If her husband has said, “I will not divorce her,” he may take
another woman to wife; the wife shall live as a slave in her husband’s

(M134) § 142. If a woman has hated her husband and has said, “You shall
not possess me,” her past shall be inquired into, as to what she lacks. If
she has been discreet, and has no vice, and her husband has gone out, and
has greatly belittled her, that woman has no blame, she shall take her
marriage-portion and go off to her father’s house.

§ 143. If she has not been discreet, has gone out, ruined her house,
belittled her husband, she shall be drowned.

(M135) § 144. If a man has married a votary, and that votary has given a
maid to her husband, and so caused him to have children, and, if that man
is inclined to marry a concubine, that man shall not be allowed to do so,
he shall not marry a concubine.

§ 145. If a man has married a votary, and she has not granted him
children, and he is determined to marry a concubine, that man shall marry
the concubine, and bring her into his house, but the concubine shall not
place herself on an equality with the votary.

(M136) § 146. If a man has married a votary, and she has given a maid to
her husband, and the maid has borne children, and if afterward that maid
has placed herself on an equality with her mistress, because she has borne
children, her mistress shall not sell her, she shall place a slave-mark
upon her, and reckon her with the slave-girls.

§ 147. If she has not borne children, her mistress shall sell her.

(M137) § 148. If a man has married a wife and a disease has seized her, if
he is determined to marry a second wife, he shall marry her. He shall not
divorce the wife whom the disease has seized. In the home they made
together she shall dwell, and he shall maintain her as long as she lives.

§ 149. If that woman was not pleased to stay in her husband’s house, he
shall pay over to her the marriage-portion which she brought from her
father’s house, and she shall go away.

(M138) § 150. If a man has presented field, garden, house, or goods to his
wife, has granted her a deed of gift, her children, after her husband’s
death, shall not dispute her right; the mother shall leave it after her
death to that one of her children whom she loves best. She shall not leave
it to her kindred.

(M139) § 151. If a woman, who is living in a man’s house, has persuaded
her husband to bind himself, and grant her a deed to the effect that she
shall not be held for debt by a creditor of her husband’s; if that man had
a debt upon him before he married that woman, his creditor shall not take
his wife for it. Also, if that woman had a debt upon her before she
entered that man’s house, her creditor shall not take her husband for it.

§ 152. From the time that that woman entered into the man’s house they
together shall be liable for all debts subsequently incurred.

(M140) § 153. If a man’s wife, for the sake of another, has caused her
husband to be killed, that woman shall be impaled.

(M141) § 154. If a man has committed incest with his daughter, that man
shall be banished from the city.

(M142) § 155. If a man has betrothed a maiden to his son and his son has
known her, and afterward the man has lain in her bosom, and been caught,
that man shall be strangled and she shall be cast into the water.

§ 156. If a man has betrothed a maiden to his son, and his son has not
known her, and that man has lain in her bosom, he shall pay her half a
mina of silver, and shall pay over to her whatever she brought from her
father’s house, and the husband of her choice shall marry her.

(M143) § 157. If a man, after his father’s death, has lain in the bosom of
his mother, they shall both of them be burnt together.

(M144) § 158. If a man, after his father’s death, be caught in the bosom
of his step-mother, who has borne children, that man shall be cut off from
his father’s house.

(M145) § 159. If a man, who has presented a gift to the house of his
prospective father-in-law and has given the bride-price, has afterward
looked upon another woman and has said to his father-in-law, “I will not
marry your daughter”; the father of the girl shall keep whatever he has
brought as a present.

(M146) § 160. If a man has presented a gift to the house of his
prospective father-in-law, and has given the bride-price, but the father
of the girl has said, “I will not give you my daughter,” the father shall
return double all that was presented him.

(M147) § 161. If a man has brought a gift to the house of his prospective
father-in-law, and has given the bride-price, but his comrade has
slandered him and his father-in-law has said to the suitor, “You shall not
marry my daughter,” [the father] shall return double all that was
presented him. Further, the comrade shall not marry the girl.

(M148) § 162. If a man has married a wife, and she has borne him children,
and that woman has gone to her fate, her father shall lay no claim to her
marriage-portion. Her marriage-portion is her children’s only.

§ 163. If a man has married a wife, and she has not borne him children,
and that woman has gone to her fate; if his father-in-law has returned to
him the bride-price, which that man brought into the house of his
father-in-law, her husband shall have no claim on the marriage-portion of
that woman. Her marriage-portion indeed belongs to her father’s house.

§ 164. If the father-in-law has not returned the bride-price, the husband
shall deduct the amount of her bride-price from her marriage-portion, and
shall return her marriage-portion to her father’s house.

(M149) § 165. If a man has presented field, garden, or house to his son,
the first in his eyes, and has written him a deed of gift; after the
father has gone to his fate, when the brothers share, he shall keep the
present his father gave him, and over and above shall share equally with
them in the goods of his father’s estate.

(M150) § 166. If a man has taken wives for the other sons he had, but has
not taken a wife for his young son, after the father has gone to his fate,
when the brothers share, they shall set aside from the goods of their
father’s estate money, as a bride-price, for their young brother, who has
not married a wife, over and above his share, and they shall cause him to
take a wife.

(M151) § 167. If a man has taken a wife, and she has borne him children
and that woman has gone to her fate, and he has taken a second wife, and
she also has borne children; after the father has gone to his fate, the
sons shall not share according to mothers, but each family shall take the
marriage-portion of its mother, and all shall share the goods of their
father’s estate equally.

(M152) § 168. If a man has determined to disinherit his son and has
declared before the judge, “I cut off my son,” the judge shall inquire
into the son’s past, and, if the son has not committed a grave misdemeanor
such as should cut him off from sonship, the father shall disinherit his

§ 169. If he has committed a grave crime against his father, which cuts
off from sonship, for the first offence he shall pardon him. If he has
committed a grave crime a second time, the father shall cut off his son
from sonship.

(M153) § 170. If a man has had children borne to him by his wife, and also
by a maid, if the father in his lifetime has said, “My sons,” to the
children whom his maid bore him, and has reckoned them with the sons of
his wife; then after the father has gone to his fate, the children of the
wife and of the maid shall share equally. The children of the wife shall
apportion the shares and make their own selections.

§ 171. And if the father, in his lifetime, has not said, “My sons,” to the
children whom the maid bore him, after the father has gone to his fate,
the children of the maid shall not share with the children of the wife in
the goods of their father’s house. The maid and her children, however,
shall obtain their freedom. The children of the wife have no claim for
service on the children of the maid.

(M154) The wife shall take her marriage-portion, and any gift that her
husband has given her and for which he has written a deed of gift and she
shall dwell in her husband’s house; as long as she lives, she shall enjoy
it, she shall not sell it. After her death it is indeed her children’s.

§ 172. If her husband has not given her a gift, her marriage-portion shall
be given her in full, and, from the goods of her husband’s estate, she
shall take a share equal to that of one son.

(M155) If her children have persecuted her in order to have her leave the
house, and the judge has inquired into her past, and laid the blame on the
children, that woman shall not leave her husband’s house. If that woman
has determined to leave, she shall relinquish to her children the gift her
husband gave her, she shall take the marriage-portion of her father’s
estate, and the husband of her choice may marry her.

(M156) § 173. If that woman, where she has gone, has borne children to her
later husband, after that woman has died, the children of both marriages
shall share her marriage-portion.

§ 174. If she has not borne children to her later husband, the children of
her first husband shall take her marriage-portion.

(M157) § 175. If either a slave of a patrician, or of a plebeian, has
married the daughter of a free man, and she has borne children, the owner
of the slave shall have no claim for service on the children of a free
woman. And if a slave, either of a patrician or of a plebeian, has married
a free woman and when he married her she entered the slave’s house with a
marriage-portion from her father’s estate, be he slave of a patrician or
of a plebeian, and from the time that they started to keep house, they
have acquired property; after the slave, whether of a patrician or of a
plebeian, has gone to his fate, the free woman shall take her
marriage-portion, and whatever her husband and she acquired, since they
started house-keeping. She shall divide it into two portions. The master
of the slave shall take one half, the other half the free woman shall take
for her children.

§ 176. If the free woman had no marriage-portion, whatever her husband and
she acquired since they started house-keeping he shall divide into two
portions. The owner of the slave shall take one half, the other half the
free woman shall take for her children.

(M158) § 177. If a widow, whose children are young, has determined to
marry again, she shall not marry without consent of the judge. When she is
allowed to remarry, the judge shall inquire as to what remains of the
property of her former husband, and shall intrust the property of her
former husband to that woman and her second husband. He shall give them an
inventory. They shall watch over the property, and bring up the children.
Not a utensil shall they sell. A buyer of any utensil belonging to the
widow’s children shall lose his money and shall return the article to its

(M159) § 178. If a female votary, or vowed woman, has had given her by her
father a portion, as for marriage, and he has written her a deed, and in
the deed which he has written her he has not written that she may leave it
as she pleases, and has not granted her all her desire; after her father
has gone to his fate, her brothers shall take her field, or garden, and,
according to the value of her share, shall give her corn, oil, and wool,
and shall content her heart. If they do not give her corn, oil, and wool,
according to the value of her share, and do not satisfy her, she shall let
her field and garden to a farmer, whom she chooses, and the farmer shall
support her. The field, garden, or whatever her father gave her, she shall
enjoy, as long as she lives. She shall not sell it, nor mortgage it. The
reversion of her inheritance indeed belongs to her brothers.

(M160) § 179. If a female votary, or vowed woman, has had a portion given
her by her father, and he has written her a deed, and in the deed that he
has written her has [declared] that she may give it as she pleases, and
has granted her all her desire; after her father has gone to his fate, she
shall leave it as she pleases; her brothers shall make no claim against

(M161) § 180. If the father has not given a portion to his daughter, who
is a female votary, or vowed woman; after her father has gone to his fate,
she shall share in the property of her father’s house, like any other
child. As long as she lives, she shall enjoy her share; after her, it
indeed belongs to her brothers.

(M162) § 181. If a father has vowed his daughter to a god, as a temple
maid, or a virgin, and has given her no portion; after the father has gone
to his fate, she shall share in the property of her father’s estate,
taking one-third of a child’s share. She shall enjoy her share, as long as
she lives. After her, it belongs to her brothers.

(M163) § 182. If a father has not given a portion, as for marriage, to his
daughter, a votary of Marduk of Babylon, and has not written her a deed;
after her father has gone to his fate, she shall share with her brothers
from the goods of her father’s estate, taking one-third of a child’s
share. She shall not be subject to duty. The votary of Marduk shall leave
it after her to whom she pleases.

(M164) § 183. If a father has given a portion, as for marriage, to his
daughter by a concubine, and has given her to a husband, and has written
her a deed; after her father has gone to his fate, she shall not share in
the goods of her father’s house.

(M165) § 184. If a man has not given a portion, as for marriage, to his
daughter by a concubine, and has not given her to a husband; after her
father has gone to his fate, her brothers shall present her with a
marriage-portion, according to the wealth of her father’s estate, and
shall give her to a husband.

(M166) § 185. If a man has taken a young child, a natural son of his, to
be his son, and has brought him up, no one shall make a claim against that
foster child.

(M167) § 186. If a man has taken a young child to be his son, and after he
has taken him, the child discover his own parents, he shall return to his
father’s house.

§ 187. The son of a royal favorite, of one that stands in the palace, or
the son of a votary shall not be reclaimed.

(M168) §§ 188, 189. If a craftsman has taken a child to bring up and has
taught him his handicraft, he shall not be reclaimed. If he has not taught
him his handicraft that foster child shall return to his father’s house.

(M169) § 190. If a man has brought up the child, whom he has taken to be
his son, but has not reckoned him with his sons, that foster child shall
return to his father’s house.

(M170) § 191. If a man has brought up the child, whom he took to be his
son, and then sets up a home, and after he has acquired children, decides
to disinherit the foster child, that son shall not go his way [penniless];
the father that brought him up shall give him one-third of a son’s share
in his goods and he shall depart. He shall not give him field, garden, or

(M171) § 192. If the son of a palace favorite or the son of a vowed woman
has said to the father that brought him up, “You are not my father,” or to
the mother that brought him up, “You are not my mother,” his tongue shall
be cut out.

§ 193. If the son of a palace favorite or the son of a vowed woman has
come to know his father’s house and has hated his father that brought him
up, or his mother that brought him up, and shall go off to his father’s
house, his eyes shall be torn out.

(M172) § 194. If a man has given his son to a wet-nurse to suckle, and
that son has died in the hands of the nurse, and the nurse, without
consent of the child’s father or mother, has nursed another child, they
shall prosecute her; because she has nursed another child, without consent
of the father or mother, her breasts shall be cut off.

(M173) § 195. If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.

(M174) § 196. If a man has knocked out the eye of a patrician, his eye
shall be knocked out.

§ 197. If he has broken the limb of a patrician, his limb shall be broken.

§ 198. If he has knocked out the eye of a plebeian or has broken the limb
of a plebeian, he shall pay one mina of silver.

§ 199. If he has knocked out the eye of a patrician’s servant, or broken
the limb of a patrician’s servant, he shall pay half his value.

§ 200. If a patrician has knocked out the tooth of a man that is his
equal, his tooth shall be knocked out.

§ 201. If he has knocked out the tooth of a plebeian, he shall pay
one-third of a mina of silver.

(M175) § 202. If a man has smitten the privates of a man, higher in rank
than he, he shall be scourged with sixty blows of an ox-hide scourge, in
the assembly.

§ 203. If a man has smitten the privates of a patrician of his own rank,
he shall pay one mina of silver.

§ 204. If a plebeian has smitten the privates of a plebeian, he shall pay
ten shekels of silver.

§ 205. If the slave of anyone has smitten the privates of a free-born man,
his ear shall be cut off.

(M176) § 206. If a man has struck another in a quarrel, and caused him a
permanent injury, that man shall swear, “I struck him without malice,” and
shall pay the doctor.

§ 207. If he has died of his blows, [the man] shall swear [similarly], and
pay one-half a mina of silver; or,

§ 208. If [the deceased] was a plebeian, he shall pay one-third of a mina
of silver.

(M177) § 209. If a man has struck a free woman with child, and has caused
her to miscarry, he shall pay ten shekels for her miscarriage.

§ 210. If that woman die, his daughter shall be killed.

§ 211. If it be the daughter of a plebeian, that has miscarried through
his blows, he shall pay five shekels of silver.

§ 212. If that woman die, he shall pay half a mina of silver.

§ 213. If he has struck a man’s maid and caused her to miscarry, he shall
pay two shekels of silver.

§ 214. If that woman die, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver.

(M178) § 215. If a surgeon has operated with the bronze lancet on a
patrician for a serious injury, and has cured him, or has removed with a
bronze lancet a cataract for a patrician, and has cured his eye, he shall
take ten shekels of silver.

§ 216. If it be plebeian, he shall take five shekels of silver.

§ 217. If it be a man’s slave, the owner of the slave shall give two
shekels of silver to the surgeon.

(M179) § 218. If a surgeon has operated with the bronze lancet on a
patrician for a serious injury, and has caused his death, or has removed a
cataract for a patrician, with the bronze lancet, and has made him lose
his eye, his hands shall be cut off.

§ 219. If the surgeon has treated a serious injury of a plebeian’s slave,
with the bronze lancet, and has caused his death, he shall render slave
for slave.

§ 220. If he has removed a cataract with the bronze lancet, and made the
slave lose his eye, he shall pay half his value.

(M180) § 221. If a surgeon has cured the limb of a patrician, or has
doctored a diseased bowel, the patient shall pay five shekels of silver to
the surgeon.

§ 222. If he be a plebeian, he shall pay three shekels of silver.

§ 223. If he be a man’s slave, the owner of the slave shall give two
shekels of silver to the doctor.

(M181) § 224. If a veterinary surgeon has treated an ox, or an ass, for a
severe injury, and cured it, the owner of the ox, or the ass, shall pay
the surgeon one-sixth of a shekel of silver, as his fee.

§ 225. If he has treated an ox, or an ass, for a severe injury, and caused
it to die, he shall pay one-quarter of its value to the owner of the ox,
or the ass.

(M182) § 226. If a brander has cut out a mark on a slave, without the
consent of his owner, that brander shall have his hands cut off.

§ 227. If someone has deceived the brander, and induced him to cut out a
mark on a slave, that man shall be put to death and buried in his house;
the brander shall swear, “I did not mark him knowingly,” and shall go

(M183) § 228. If a builder has built a house for a man, and finished it,
he shall pay him a fee of two shekels of silver, for each _SAR_ built on.

§ 229. If a builder has built a house for a man, and has not made his work
sound, and the house he built has fallen, and caused the death of its
owner, that builder shall be put to death.

§ 230. If it is the owner’s son that is killed, the builder’s son shall be
put to death.

§ 231. If it is the slave of the owner that is killed, the builder shall
give slave for slave to the owner of the house.

§ 232. If he has caused the loss of goods, he shall render back whatever
he has destroyed. Moreover, because he did not make sound the house he
built, and it fell, at his own cost he shall rebuild the house that fell.

§ 233. If a builder has built a house for a man, and has not keyed his
work, and the wall has fallen, that builder shall make that wall firm at
his own expense.

(M184) § 234. If a boatman has built a boat of sixty _GUR_ for a man, he
shall pay him a fee of two shekels of silver.

§ 235. If a boatman has built a boat for a man, and has not made his work
sound, and in that same year that boat is sent on a voyage and suffers
damage, the boatman shall rebuild that boat, and, at his own expense,
shall make it strong, or shall give a strong boat to the owner.

(M185) § 236. If a man has let his boat to a boatman, and the boatman has
been careless and the boat has been sunk or lost, the boatman shall
restore a boat to the owner.

(M186) § 237. If a man has hired a boat and boatman, and loaded it with
corn, wool, oil, or dates, or whatever it be, and the boatman has been
careless, and sunk the boat, or lost what is in it, the boatman shall
restore the boat which he sank, and whatever he lost that was in it.

§ 238. If a boatman has sunk a man’s boat, and has floated it again, he
shall pay half its value in silver.

§ 239. If a man has hired a boatman, he shall pay him six _GUR_ of corn

(M187) § 240. If a boat, on its course, has run into a boat at anchor, and
sunk it, the owner of the boat that was sunk shall estimate on oath
whatever was lost in his boat, and the owner of the moving vessel, which
sank the boat at anchor, shall make good his boat and what was lost in it.

(M188) § 241. If a man has levied a distraint on a working ox, he shall
pay one-third of a mina of silver.

(M189) § 242. If a man has hired a working ox for one year, its hire is
four _GUR_ of corn.

§ 243. As the hire of a milch cow one shall give three _GUR_ of corn to
its owner.

(M190) § 244. If a man has hired an ox, or an ass, and a lion has killed
it in the open field, the loss falls on its owner.

(M191) § 245. If a man has hired an ox and has caused its death, by
carelessness, or blows, he shall restore ox for ox, to the owner of the

§ 246. If a man has hired an ox, and has broken its leg, or cut its neck
(?), he shall restore ox for ox, to the owner of the ox.

§ 247. If a man has hired an ox, and knocked out its eye, he shall pay to
the owner of the ox half its value.

(M192) § 248. If a man has hired an ox, and has broken its horn, cut off
its tail, or torn its muzzle, he shall pay one-quarter of its value.

§ 249. If a man has hired an ox, and God has struck it, and it has died,
the man that hired the ox shall make affidavit and go free.

(M193) § 250. If a bull has gone wild and gored a man, and caused his
death, there can be no suit against the owner.

(M194) § 251. If a man’s ox be a gorer, and has revealed its evil
propensity as a gorer, and he has not blunted its horn, or shut up the ox,
and then that ox has gored a free man, and caused his death, the owner
shall pay half a mina of silver.

§ 252. If it be a slave that has been killed, he shall pay one-third of a
mina of silver.

(M195) § 253. If a man has set another over his field, hired him, allotted
him tools, and intrusted him with oxen for cultivating the field and
provided harnesses for them, and if that man has appropriated the seed or
provender, and they have been found in his possession, his hands shall be
cut off.

§ 254. If he has taken the provender or rations and has enfeebled the
oxen, he shall make it good from the corn he has hoed.

§ 255. If he has let out the man’s oxen for hire, or stolen the seed-corn,
or has not produced a crop, that man shall be prosecuted, and he shall pay
sixty _GUR_ of corn for each _GAN_.

§ 256. If he is not able to pay his compensation, he shall be torn in
pieces on that field by the oxen.

(M196) § 257. If a man has hired a field-laborer, he shall pay him eight
_GUR_ of corn yearly.

§ 258. If anyone has hired an ox-herd he shall pay him six _GUR_ of corn

(M197) § 259. If a man has stolen a watering-machine from the meadow, he
shall pay five shekels of silver to the owner of the watering-machine.

§ 260. If a man has stolen a _shadduf_, or a plough, he shall pay three
shekels of silver.

(M198) § 261. If a man has hired a herdsman, to pasture oxen, or sheep, he
shall pay him _eight GUR_ of corn yearly.

(M199) § 262. If a man has intrusted ox or ass to ... [Passage mutilated.]

§ 263. If he has lost the ox, or ass, given to him, he shall restore ox
for ox, and ass for ass to its owner.

§ 264. If a herdsman, who has had oxen or sheep given to him to pasture,
has received his wages for the business, and been satisfied, then diminish
the herd or lessen the offspring, he shall give increase and produce
according to the nature of his agreements.

§ 265. If a herdsman, to whom oxen or sheep have been given, has
defaulted, has altered the price, or sold them, he shall be prosecuted,
and shall restore oxen, or sheep, tenfold, to their owner.

§ 266. If lightning has struck a fold, or a lion has made a slaughter, the
herdsman shall purge himself by oath, and the owner of the fold shall bear
the loss of the fold.

§ 267. If the herdsman has been careless, and a loss has occurred in the
fold, the herdsman shall make good the loss in the fold; he shall repay
the oxen, or sheep, to their owner.

(M200) § 268. If a man has hired an ox, for threshing, its hire is twenty
_ḲA_ of corn.

§ 269. If he has hired an ass, for threshing, its hire is ten _ḲA_ of

§ 270. If he has hired a young animal, for threshing, its hire is one _ḲA_
of corn.

(M201) § 271. If a man has hired oxen, a wagon, and its driver, he shall
pay one hundred and sixty _ḲA_ of corn daily.

§ 272. If a man has hired the wagon alone, he shall pay forty _ḲA_ of corn

(M202) § 273. If a man has hired a laborer from the beginning of the year
to the fifth month, he shall pay six _ŠE_ of silver daily; from the sixth
month to the close of the year, he shall pay five _ŠE_ of silver daily.

(M203) § 274. If a man has hired an artisan, he shall pay as his daily
wages, to a ... five _ŠE_ of silver, to a potter five _ŠE_ of silver, to a
tailor five _ŠE_ of silver, to a stone-cutter ... _ŠE_ of silver, to a ...
_ŠE_ of silver, to a ... _ŠE_ of silver, to a carpenter four _ŠE_ of
silver, to a rope-maker four _ŠE_ of silver, to a ... _ŠE_ of silver, to a
builder ... _ŠE_ of silver.

(M204) § 275. If a man has hired a boat, its hire is three _ŠE_ of silver

§ 276. If he has hired a fast boat he shall pay two and a half _ŠE_ daily.

§ 277. If a man has hired a ship of sixty _GUR_ he shall pay one-sixth of
a shekel of silver daily for its hire.

(M205) § 278. If a man has bought a male or female slave and the slave has
not fulfilled his month, but the bennu disease has fallen upon him, he
shall return the slave to the seller and the buyer shall take back the
money he paid.

§ 279. If a man has bought a male or female slave and a claim has been
raised, the seller shall answer the claim.

(M206) § 280. If a man, in a foreign land, has bought a male, or female,
slave of another, and if when he has come home the owner of the male or
female slave has recognized his slave, and if the slave be a native of the
land, he shall grant him his liberty without money.

(M207) § 281. If the slave was a native of another country, the buyer
shall declare on oath the amount of money he paid, and the owner of the
slave shall repay the merchant what he paid and keep his slave.

(M208) § 282. If a slave has said to his master, “You are not my master,”
he shall be brought to account as his slave, and his master shall cut off
his ear.

(M209) This is not the place to write a commentary on the Code, but there
are a few necessary cautions. One of the first is that most clauses are
permissive rather than positive. The verb “shall” is not an imperative,
but a future. Doubtless in case of heinous crimes the death-penalty had to
be inflicted. But there was always a trial, and proof was demanded on
oath. In many cases the “shall” is only permissive, as when the Code says
a widow “shall” marry again. There is no proof that the jury decided only
facts and found the prisoner guilty or not, leaving the judge no option
but to inflict the extreme penalty. The judge, on the contrary, seems to
have had much legislative power. When this view is taken, the Code appears
no more severe than those of the Middle Ages, or even of recent times,
when a man was hanged for sheep-stealing. There are many humanitarian
clauses and much protection is given the weak and the helpless. One of the
best proofs of its inherent excellence is that it helped to build up an
empire, which lasted many centuries and was regarded with reverence almost
to the end.

III. Later Babylonian Law

(M210) Very little is yet known regarding later Babylonian law. Dr. F. E.
Peiser published in the _Sitzungsberichte der Königliche Akademie der
Wissenschaften zu Berlin_ (1889, pp. 823 ff.) a very interesting
fragmentarily preserved text (82-7-14, 988, in the British Museum), which
contains either a collection of abstracts of cases which have been
decided, or precedents, or else an extract from some code later than that
of Ḥammurabi. Dr. Peiser thought that the date was the second year of
Ashurbânipal, king of Babylon. This seems rather unlikely, but may, of
course, be true.

In his inaugural dissertation, Dr. Peiser, under the title of
_Jurisprudentiae Babylonicae quae supersunt_, commented upon and
illustrated the above text by numerous examples of cases, actually
occurring during the period of the second empire. But the whole collection
of fragments of law with which he had to deal was too small to do more
than show what may be hoped for as the result of future discoveries.

As specimens of these laws we may take the following:


    Law A. [Col. II. 4-14.]

    The man who has sealed a tablet, by the name of another, in favor
    of an owner of a field, or has sealed a bond, and has not caused
    to be executed a deed giving him power of attorney, or has not
    taken a duplicate of such a tablet [cannot take possession]; the
    man, in whose name the tablet, or bond, is written, shall take
    that field, or house.

If a man acted as buyer, or lender, for another, he incurred liabilities,
for which he could not indemnify himself, unless he had secured from his
principal a deed empowering him so to act. But, if without such power of
attorney, A had acted for B, and bought a house, or field, of C, and had
the conveyance made out to B, of course paying C; or had lent money to C,
in the name of B; and the transaction had been completed, by sealing the
deed of sale or bond; then B was the owner of the field, or house, or the
creditor for the loan. A could not plead that he was the real owner, even
if he had not been able to recover the purchase-money or loan from B, in
whose name he had made it. B, whose name appeared in the deed or in the
bond, was the rightful owner.


    Law B. [Col. II. 15-23.]

    The man, who has sold a female slave and has had an objection made
    concerning her, shall take her back. The seller shall give to the
    buyer the price named in the deed of sale, to its exact amount,
    and shall pay half a shekel of silver for each of the children
    born to her.

How long after sale objection could be raised is not stated. In early
times a month was allowed for fever to develop; in Assyrian contracts a
hundred days were allowed for fever or seizure. But a _sartu_, or “vice,”
could be pleaded, at any time, as ground for returning the slave. Here it
is clear that time was allowed for a slave to bear one or more children,
before the repudiation lost effect. It is noteworthy that the seller had
to buy back such children. The maid may have been bought to bear her
master children, and if these were not sound, the master had ground for
complaint and could not be held responsible for them. Also it was
objectionable to separate mother and children. The price named is
trifling. Compare § 278 of the Code, where, however, no mention is made of
the children of a maid.

The next law is unintelligible at present, owing to the _lacunae_, and
doubtful readings of the text, which, moreover, is only given in
transcription. It appears to concern a woman and her interests in a field
or plantation and the trees in it, and its produce.


    Law C. [Col. III. 3-15.]

    A man has given his daughter to a freeborn man and the father has
    fixed something in a deed and given to his son, and the
    first-named has fixed a marriage-portion for his daughter and they
    have mutually executed deeds of settlement. They shall not alter
    their deeds. The father shall give in full the settlement
    (_nuṣurru_), which he had promised his son by deed, to the
    father-in-law, and deliver it.

The father here named appears to be the father of the bridegroom. He must
make a settlement on his son, as well as the father of the bride on his
daughter. The point of the law seems to be that these settlements on the
part of the parents to the young couple are irrevocable. No subsequent
engagements entered into can affect them. This settlement by the
bridegroom’s father on his son, which he has to pay over to the bride’s
father, evidently takes the place of the _terḫatu_, or “bride-price” of
the Code. The obligation of a father to find his son the means for a
bride-price appears in the Code, § 166; but there is no section which
answers directly to this law. The marriage-portion is now _nudunnu_, in
the Code it was _šeriktu_, while _nudunnu_ was the husband’s gift to the


    Law D. [Col. III. 16-22.]

    When the father [of the bridegroom] has had his wife taken away by
    fate, has taken to himself a second wife, and she has borne him
    sons, the sons of the second wife shall take a third of his
    property remaining.

This appears as part of the same section as Law C, and is enacted again in
Law K, page 69. It is not easy to see why it is here, except to make plain
that settlements on marriages of the sons of the first family are a first
charge on the father’s property. The second family takes a third, not of
all the father once had, but of what is left after these gifts by deed
have been taken out. The married sons of the first family are not
disinherited by virtue of these gifts, but take among them two-thirds of
what is left. This is against the Code, § 167.


    Law E. [Col. III. 23-31.]

    A man who has promised a marriage-portion to his daughter, or has
    written her a deed of gift, and afterward his means have
    diminished, shall give to his daughter a marriage-portion
    according to his means that are left. Father-in-law and son-in-law
    shall not quarrel one with the other.

Dr. Peiser has shown that the marriage-portion was often held back a long
time. Suits were brought to recover it from fathers-in-law. There is no
corresponding section in the Code.


    Law F. [Col. III. 32-37.]

    A man has given a marriage-portion to his daughter and she has
    neither son nor daughter and fate has carried her off; her
    marriage-portion returns to her father’s house.

Exactly as in the Code, § 163.

The first seven lines of Col. IV. are too fragmentary to give a connected
sense, but are still concerned with the marriage-portion.


    Law G. [Col. IV. 8-24.]

    A wife, whose marriage-portion her husband has received, who has
    no son or daughter, and fate has carried off her husband, shall be
    given from her husband’s property the marriage-portion, whatever
    that was. If her husband has made her a gift, she shall receive
    the gift of her husband with her marriage-portion and take it
    away. If she had no marriage-portion, the judge shall estimate the
    property of her husband and, according to her husband’s means,
    shall grant her something.

It is noteworthy that in the above laws the old usage is reversed. Now the
_nudunnu_ is the marriage-portion, given with the bride, and the _šeriktu_
is the husband’s assignment to the wife. With this alteration the law
agrees with the Code, § 171. But there she has a family.


    Law H. [Col. IV. 25-45.]

    A man has married a wife and she has borne him children; after
    that man has been carried off by fate, and that woman has set her
    face to enter the house of another, she shall take the
    marriage-portion which she brought from her father’s house, and
    whatever her husband presented her as a gift, and shall marry the
    husband of her choice. As long as she lives, she shall enjoy food
    and drink from them. If there be children of this husband, they
    and the children of the former husband shall share her
    marriage-portion. The sisters....

This is practically the same as Code, § 170, but it is differently
arranged and the phrases differ markedly. Note that the sisters were
separately treated.


    Law K. [Col. V. 33-46.]

    A man has married a wife and she has borne him children, and fate
    has carried off his wife; he has married a second wife and she has
    borne him children; after the father has gone to his fate, the
    children of the former wife shall take two-thirds of the goods of
    their father’s house, the children of the second wife shall take
    one-third. Their sisters who are dwelling in their father’s

This must be contrasted with § 167 of the Code. There all sons share
equally. Here the first family take two-thirds. The sisters were also
treated separately. It is clear that we have to do with a code which
preserves many features of the early times, but has many new features of
its own. It is greatly to be desired that further portions should be

IV. The Social Organization Of The Ancient Babylonian State

(M220) The State appears in the light of the Ḥammurabi Code to have been
composed of three great classes, the _amêlu_, the _muškênu_, and the
_ardu_. To the first class belonged the king and the chief officers of
state, and also the landed proprietors. Their liabilities for fines and
punishments were higher. Also in their case the old law of “eye for eye,
tooth for tooth” still held; while others came under a scale of
compensations and damages. This may point to a racial difference. The
ancient laws of Arabia may have been carried with them by Ḥammurabi’s
tribal followers, while the older subject-residents accepted the more
commercial system of fines. The old pride of the Arab tribesman may have
forbidden his taking money as payment for his damaged eye, or tooth. But
the _muškênu_ was more “humble,” as his name denotes, and may well have
formed the bulk of the subject-population. He was a free man, not a
beggar. He was not without considerable means, as we see from the sections
referring to theft from him. He had slaves,(62) and seems to have been
liable to conscription. His fees to a doctor or surgeon were less than
those paid by an _amêlu_. He paid less to his wife for a divorce,(63) and
could assault another poor man more cheaply than could an _amêlu_. There
can be no doubt that the _amêlu_ was the “gentleman” or “nobleman,” and
the _muškênu_ a common man, or poor man. But the exact force of the terms
is uncertain.

In process of time _amêlu_ came to be used, like our “sir,” and even
“esquire,” of those who had no special qualifications for the title. Like
the “gentleman’s gentleman” of the servant’s hall, he was only a
respectable person. So, even in the Code, _amêlu_ usually means no more
than “man.” It already appears as a mere determinative of personality in
the titles of laborers and artisans,(64) when it cannot stamp them as
landed proprietors. But it may mark them as members of the guilds of
craftsmen and recall the respect due to such. If, however, we press this,
we must admit a guild of day laborers.

There is no suggestion of any legal disability on the part of a _muškênu_;
he is merely a person of less consideration. Whether or not his ranks were
recruited from the children of slaves by free parents is not clear, but it
is very probable that they were.

The slave was at his master’s command and, like a child in his father’s
house, to some extent a chattel. He could be pledged for debt, as could a
wife or child. He was subject to the levy,(65) and his lot was so far
unpleasant that we hear much of runaway slaves. It was penal to harbor a
slave, or to keep one caught as a fugitive.(66) Any injury done to him was
paid for, and his master received the damages.(67) But he was free to
marry a free woman and the children were free. So a slave-girl was free on
her master’s death, if she had borne him children; and the children were
also free. He was subject to mutilation for assaulting a free man, or
repudiating his master.(68) But his master had to pay for his cure, if
sick.(69) He was not free to contract, except by deed and bond.(70) Yet he
and his free wife could acquire property, half of which would fall to his
wife and children on his death.

(M221) The Code reveals the existence of a class of men, who were indeed
known from the letters of Ḥammurabi and the contemporary contracts, but
whose functions are not easy to fix. They were the _rîd ṣâbî_ and the
_bâ´iru_. By their etymology these titles seemed to mean “slave-driver,”
and “catcher.” But the Code sets them in a clearer light. They were
closely connected, if not identical, officials. They had charge of the
levy, the local quota for the army, or for public works. Hence
“levy-master” and “warrant-officer” are suggestive renderings. For the
former official, “taskmaster,” the one over the gang of forced laborers
and reminiscent of the old time press-gang officers, is a fair
translation. “Field cornet” would perhaps suit the military side. For some
aspects of their office the ancient “reeve” may be compared. Whether the
“catcher” actually was a local policeman, whose chief duty was to
apprehend criminals and reluctant conscripts, is not yet clear. The same
name is used of “fishermen,” who were “catchers” in another sense, and of
hunters. A really satisfactory rendering is impossible, as we have now no
officials whose duties actually correspond to theirs.

(M222) Each of these officials held what may be called a benefice, or
perhaps a feoff. It consisted of land, house, and garden, certain sheep
and cattle as stock, and a salary. It was directly ascribed to the king as
benefactor. We may compare the Norman lords settled in England by the
Conqueror, or the Roman soldier-colonists. The men may well have been the
followers of the first founder of the dynasty. In a very similar way the
Chaldean conqueror, Merodach-baladan II., long after, settled his Chaldean
troops in Babylonia. We may regard these men as retainers of the king, and
probably as originally foreigners. The benefice was held by them for
personal service. They were to go “on the king’s errand” when ordered. It
was a penal offence to send a substitute.(71) The errand might take them
away from home and detain them a very long time. In such enforced absence
the official might delegate his son to take his place and carry on his
duty.(72) This implies that there was a local duty besides the personal
service. Further, this needed a grown man to discharge it.(73) The _locum
tenens_ enjoyed the benefice,(74) with a reserve of one-third for the wife
to bring up the children of the absent official. An official by neglecting
the care of his benefice ran the risk of forfeiture.(75) This came about
by his absence giving the _locum tenens_ opportunity to acquire a
prescriptive right, which he might do in three years, if he showed himself
a more worthy holder. But this was only if the absentee had been
neglectful, and a one-year tenancy conferred no such right.(76)

(M223) The service on which the official might be engaged was evidently
military and had risks. It is not certain whether the _dannatu_(77) is
really a “fortress,” or a “defeat.” The word has both meanings. It does
not really matter. Either way the official is captured by the enemy of the
king. He was bound to pay for his own ransom, if he had the means; or if
not, his town must ransom him and, failing that, the state. But he could
not raise money on his benefice. Moreover, while it could descend to his
son, it was inalienable. No diminution by bequest to his female relatives,
no sale of part of it, no mortgage on it, nor even its exchange for other
like estate, was allowed.

Further, the official and his benefice were protected. He could not be
hired out by his superior officers, nor in any way plundered or oppressed.
He held tax free, subject only to his feudal duty.

(M224) In some cases the tributary there is associated with these two
officials. No duty is set down for him, beyond that implied in his name of
paying a tribute. It is not clear that all land was held on one or the
other scheme, but it is so in parts of the East still. Some land is held
by personal service, some on payment of a tax. This tax later became the
tithe. The personal service was later compounded for by furnishing a
soldier or two for the army. The liability to serve in the levy continued
to be borne by slaves and the lower classes.

(M225) That all land did owe either personal service, or tax, is probably
to be deduced from § 40, where we read that though a levy-master,
warrant-officer, or tributary could alienate nothing of their holdings,
other land-owners could do so. But they did so subject to the buyer taking
over the duty, or service, of the land so transferred. One of the classes
here named, the votary, appears subject to service elsewhere. The votary
of Marduk is expressly exempt from this service.(78) The merchant, who
represents another class, appears very often to have been a foreigner,
only temporarily resident in the country.

(M226) The votary was already known to us from the contracts, but there
was little to fix her functions. As seen in the Code, she was a highly
favored person. Vowed to God, usually to Shamash at Sippara, or Marduk at
Babylon, there seems little to connect her with the prostitute-votaries of
Ishtar at Erech. She ordinarily lived in the convent, or “bride-house” of
Shamash. She was given a portion, exactly like a bride, on taking her vow
and becoming the “bride” of Shamash. But her property did not go to the
convent. At her father’s death, with her consent, her estate might be
administered by her brothers, or she could farm it out. At any rate, she
was provided for during her lifetime. But at her death, unless her father
had specially given her power to bequeath it, her property went back to
her family. She was not, however, doomed to spend all her days in the
convent. She could leave it and even marry. But she was expected to
maintain a high standard of respectability. For her to open a beer-shop or
even enter one for drink was punished by burning. She remained a virgin,
even if married. She could have no children and must provide her husband
with a maid, if he wished to have a family. But she was carefully guarded
from any reproach as childless. She ranks as a married woman, even if
unmarried, and is protected from slander. Many noble ladies, and even
kings’ daughters, were votaries.(79)

(M227) The merchant continually appears. Some passages suggest that he was
a state official. But this is really pressing far the interest which the
state took in him. He was, doubtless, like the Jew of the Middle Ages, a
valuable asset to the king. He seems to have been the usual moneylender,
so much so that in many places “merchant” and “creditor” are
interchangeable. A man is usually said to borrow of “his merchant,” as we
say “of his banker.” Doubtless, the king also borrowed from him. It is
certain that the Code was very lenient to him. But the merchant also did
business in the way of ordinary trade. As a capitalist he sent out his
travellers and agents with goods far and wide, even into domains where the
king’s authority did not reach. Much of the Code is occupied with
regulating the relations between the merchant and his agent. The agency
was that form of _commenda_ which is so characteristic of the East at the
present. The agent takes stock or money of his principal, signs for it,
agrees to pay so much profit, and goes off to seek a market, making what
profit he can. There is much to suggest that the merchant was not usually
a Babylonian. In later times, the Arameans were the chief merchants, and
travelled all over Mesopotamia, Palestine, Syria, and into Asia Minor.

V. Judges, Law-Courts, And Legal Processes

(M228) Partly because specific references to judges and legal processes
are not necessarily to be expected in historical inscriptions, and partly
because we do not really know which are the earliest monuments of the
race, it is impossible to decide when law-courts first came into
existence. It is generally admitted, however, that the stele of Manistusu
is one of the earliest known monuments. There we read of Galzu, a judge.
There also we find many of the officials, who later acted as judges upon
occasion. Hence it may fairly be said that judges were to be found in
ancient Babylonia from time immemorial. They must have decided what was
right when there was no written law to which to appeal. With the judges
were associated as assessors the elders of the city. This was so marked a
feature, that in some cases we read, that after hearing the complaint the
judge “assembled the city” to hear the case. In Babylonia the maxim,
_littera scripta manet_, was so well understood that hardly anything of
importance was done without committing it to writing. Hence we are as well
informed about domestic affairs in Babylonia as about those of Europe in
the Middle Ages.

(M229) It seems best to consider legal usages first, because they are
essential to the understanding of all others. When we have a simple
contract between two parties we do not at once see where the reference to
the law comes in. But the contract was not valid unless sealed and
witnessed. The sealing was accompanied by an oath. The oath probably had
to be made in court. The witnesses seem often to have been a body of men
who could only be found at the court. Even when there is least trace of
the law and the judge, the case is similar to others where the judge
appears explicitly. It is also worthy of remark that, partly owing to our
possession of the Code and partly owing to the fuller nature of the legal
decisions, we know far more of this subject, as of many others, in the
early periods than in the later. Hence the discussion of early legal usage
is unusually full. When the evidence from later times merely supports
this, it will not be noticed. Only divergences are worthy of record. As a
rule, the procedure changes very little for many centuries.

(M230) 1. *Judges.* The references to judges are less numerous than one
would expect in the Code. But it seems probable that the sentences there
laid down had to be pronounced by the judge, if not carried out by him. We
are, however, still in complete ignorance as to the machinery of police
administration. We may argue from analogy in other countries and ages, but
this is not a theoretical treatise on comparative sociology. We must
content ourselves with direct evidence.

(M231) Some sections deal explicitly with the duties of a judge. Thus,(80)
if a judge had given a judgment, decided the case, and embodied it in a
legal decision, he was subjected to severe penalties for afterwards
revoking his decision. If he had inflicted a penalty, he had now to repay
it twelvefold to him from whom it was exacted. Further he was to be
publicly deposed from his office, expelled from his seat of judgment,
_kussû daianûtišu_, and no longer be permitted to sit with the judges. It
is, of course, assumed that when he was called to account he could not
justify his former judgment, or else could not justify the change. But, as
the law reads, it seems simply calculated to render a judgment, once
pronounced, irrevocable,—at any rate, for that judge. Probably its
revocation, in the case of injustice, was provided for by the right of

He had to consider the words of the witnesses, _amâtišunu amâru_,
literally, “to see their words,” perhaps implying that the depositions
were written, but there are instances where _amâru_ simply means “to

In a criminal case, where a man had to produce witnesses to save his life
from a death-sentence, the judge might grant him six months’ grace in
which to produce his witnesses.(82) In later times we have many examples
of such a stay of process that evidence might be produced.(83)

(M232) Special directions are also given to a judge as to his procedure,
when a father was minded to disinherit his son; or, when a widow with a
young family wished to marry again.(84) A slanderer was summoned before
the judge,(85) a son could not be cut off without referring the case to a
judge,(86) the children who wished to turn their widowed mother out of her
house had to appear before a judge.(87)

(M233) For the most part judges constituted a distinct profession, but it
must not be understood that they had no other means of livelihood. Indeed,
there is no hint anywhere that they received any remuneration for their
services. But it was a high honor and by no means subsidiary to another
office. Among those who officiated as judges we find most of the higher
officials. Doubtless the king himself acted as judge on occasions, and
probably no great official of the realm was wholly free from the call to
act in a judicial capacity. But, as a rule, the judge is simply noted as
“judge.” That the priests were judges is quite unproved. The judges were
men of great importance and high rank, but there is nothing to show that
they were priests. An age qualification is more likely.

(M234) The judge was a professional man. We often find a man, bearing the
title “judge,” acting as party to a suit, or witness to a deed, when he is
certainly not acting in his judicial capacity. To a certain extent he was
a territorial officer, had his own district for jurisdiction, and was
jealous of cases being taken elsewhere. How the ranks of the judges were
filled we do not know, but there is a hint of royal appointment in the
phrase, “the king’s judges.” On the other hand, there is clear evidence of
the office being hereditary. Thus, Ibik-Anunîtum had no less than three
sons, Idin-Ishtar, Marduk-mushallim, and Nannar-idinnam, all judges.
Whether a right to the office descended in the female line is not quite
clear, but we find a lady, Ishtar-ummu, among the judges, on occasion. She
was also the scribe.(88)

(M235) Though many high officials acted as judges, and so doing are named
before the simple “judge,” there is no evidence of the existence of any
“chief judge.” The order of names appears to be that of seniority alone.
This may be due to the nature of our documents. The phrase-books name a
“chief judge” for Sumerian times. In the later Assyrian period the
chief-justice was called _sartênu_, evidently because he fixed the
_sartu_, or fine, on the condemned party. Then also many high officials
acted as judges.(89)

(M236) 2. *Scribes.*—The scribe exercised his craft as a profession. One
often meets with a scribe, _tupšarru_, acting in a private capacity, as
party to a suit, or as witness. He retains the title even when the deed is
drawn up by another writer. The class was very numerous. Almost every
document is drawn up by a fresh scribe, so far as the scribe’s name is
recorded, for he often omits his title. Generally he is the last of the
witnesses, but not always so.

(M237) He wrote the whole of the document, including the names of the
witnesses. There is no evidence that anyone else ever wrote a word on the
document. As a rule, even when the names of the fathers of the witnesses
are given, the scribe is content to write only his title after his name.
Hence we have no evidence whether the office was hereditary or not.

(M238) Women certainly were scribes. Out of a total of ninety names of
scribes known, at least ten were women. Here a difficulty arises from the
way in which women’s names occur. At this period proper names are usually
written without the determinative which marks sex. Nor do the names
decide, for both men and women bore the same name. Thus Taribatum is the
name of two men and also of two women. Only when the title _tupšarru_ is
given, is the feminine determinative prefixed to that. We have, however,
ten clear examples.

In the later times the scribe usually was a man, but female scribes are
known.(90) The Aramaic scribe is often named, also the Egyptian. The
scribe usually “held” the agreement, which probably means that the parties
were willing to leave it in his safe-keeping.

(M239) The scribe was not a judge. It may be true that he sometimes acted
as judge or became one, but then the higher office overshadowed the lower.
He was no longer scribe but judge. A judge may sometimes have written down
his legal decision and so acted as scribe, but we have no evidence of such
a case. The judge seems never to have dispensed with the services of the

(M240) The scribe was not a priest. There is no evidence whatever that
either priests were all scribes, or could all write, or that scribes were
necessarily priests. As a matter of fact, the same man may have acted both
as scribe and priest. But the offices are distinct and no one man ever
bears both titles. That in later times the _amêlu_ RID, whose title can be
read _šangû_, usually acts as scribe is due to the peculiar nature of the
documents. These concern transactions in which the property of the temple,
or of its officials, was in question, and one of the college of priests
attached to that temple was charged with the duty of notary where temple
interests were concerned. One might as well say that every clerk in the
Middle Ages was a priest, because all the deeds of the monastery with
which we were dealing were drawn up by Brother A, whose name was entered
in some monastery list of the brethren as a priest. Whether the scribes
were clerics, and always attached to some temple, in minor orders, is not
clear. On the whole, the evidence is against this conclusion.

(M241) 3. *Witnesses.*—The word used to designate a witness is _šîbu_,
which denotes those who are “gray-headed,” but it is not certain that it
can have no other meaning. It may mean those who were “present.” In actual
use we can distinguish three classes of persons to whom the term “witness”
can be applied.

(M242) First we have the elders, the _šîbu_, of a city.(91) Possibly the
Kar-sippar, by which some men swore, or in presence of which a contract
was drawn up, were these elders of Sippar. They formed the _puḫru_, or
“assembly,” in whose presence a man was scourged,(92) from which a
prevaricating judge was expelled.(93) They may have been nominated, or at
least approved, by the king; for we read of _šîbê šarri_. They were not
exclusively men, for we have _šîbê û šîbatu_.(94) The recurrence of the
same names, at the same dates, indicates that a body of official witnesses
were held in readiness to act on such occasions. Many of them were temple
officials, or members of the guild of Shamash votaries.

(M243) Sometimes they are associated with the judges in such a way as to
show that they were assessors.(95) They included judges sometimes, at any
rate “this witness” is attached to a list of names which included a
_nâgiru_ of Babylon, a judge, and other high officials.(96) In the time of
Nûr-Adadi they sent a case before the king.(97) They actually gave
judgment.(98) We may regard them as a jury, especially a grand jury,
qualified by their own knowledge to understand the rights of the case and
to judge of evidence. The judge gave the sentence.

(M244) Secondly, we may distinguish the witnesses examined on oath. It is
not clear that these were called by the same name. In the Code we read of
_šîbi mûdi_, “the witnesses that know,” who seem to resemble very closely
the Greek _Histores_. These, of course, were usually not on the jury. They
testified, and were chosen by the parties to the suit. But the judge might
examine persons who, in his opinion, would know. He selected and sent for
them, directing the parties whom to produce. He might even adjourn the
case for the production of witnesses.(99)

(M245) Thirdly, we may distinguish the witnesses to a document. Very often
we can discern that these had an interest in the case. They might be
relatives of the parties, neighbors of the estate in question, officials
whose rights were concerned. In later times they received the special name
of _mukinnu_, “the establishers.” They may be presumed to have known at
least the general purport of the deed which they witnessed. When the deed
was called in question, they would be cited to state what they knew. In
the case of legal decisions, both judges and jury occur as witnesses in
this sense. Hence, in a great many cases the distinctions drawn above do
not hold. Whether the term _šîbu_ was ever applied to the third class is
doubtful. Their names are usually preceded by the sign which means
“before,” however it was read.

(M246) 4. *Cases of dispute settled out of court.*—When parties disagreed,
they might discuss their difference between themselves and arrive at an
agreement. Then they procured a scribe, who embodied the agreement in a
binding compact, _duppu lâ ragâmi_. This took the form of a contract, the
parties mutually undertaking not to withdraw from the agreement, re-open
the dispute, or bring legal action, one against the other. To give
sanction to this agreement, they swore by the gods and the king. Witnesses
were called upon to be cognizant of and attest the contract; and their
names were added to the contract. To authenticate their names both parties
and witnesses often impressed their seals or, in default of seals, made a
nail-mark. The date was then added. Each party seems to have taken a copy
of the agreement and the scribe held a third, or deposited it in the
archives. Such cases may be said to have been settled “out of court.” At
any rate they contain no reference to a judge, or court. But it is
possible that the administration of the oath was a judicial, or perhaps a
sacerdotal function. Further, the witnesses may have been drawn from a
body of men held in readiness at court to perform that function. It is
certain in some cases, that agreements arrived at independently were taken
to a judge for confirmation,(100) and the Code expressly directs some
cases to be taken to a judge. But it is probable that many cases were
settled by mutual agreement.

(M247) When the intervention of a judge was deemed essential, one of the
parties “complained.” The word really means to “cry out,” “protest”; but
it is used in the freest way as equivalent to bringing the action. There
is no evidence that anyone then submitted to wrong “under protest.”
Whether the people were naturally litigious, or simply because access to
the courts was so easy, a protest usually involved a suit.

(M248) The plea was made by the principals to the suit. There is no
mention of an advocate, or solicitor. But the verb generally used of the
plea _ragâmu_, gives rise to _targumânu_, the original of the modern
dragoman. He usually appears in later texts as the “interpreter,” but may
originally have been the “advocate.” At any rate, in the bilingual days he
might well have combined the offices. Another verb common at this period,
_pakâru_, gave rise to _pâkirânu_, later the usual word for “plaintiff,”
or “claimant.”

(M249) Here may be noted a peculiarity of the scribe’s conception of the
case. It will be found that, as he puts the case, the plaintiff generally
loses. This is because the scribe will not prejudge the case by saying who
was right. He writes “A claimed the property of B.” In actual fact it may
have been that B laid claim to what he proved was his. But that excludes
the scribe from saying that B claimed the property of A, because it never
was A’s. Hence, writing after the event, he ascribes the property to the
rightful owner from the start of his document, and regards the wrongful
holder as laying claim to it. Hence, we must not assume that the parties
were not both claimants. In fact, both parties agreed, as a rule, so far
as to submit their case to a judge. This is clear from the statements
which follow the statement of the cause of dispute. Both parties “went to
the judges,” or rather quaintly, “they captured a judge.” The preliminary
discussion between the parties resulted in agreement to submit the case to
a judge. Both were willing to abide by the decision. Once, it is true, the
plaintiff is said to have caught the defendant;(101) but there is no
evidence of unwillingness to submit. So too, when the parties are said to
“receive a judge,” they evidently both sought him.

(M250) Sometimes affairs did not go so smoothly. One party had to act and
bring the other before the judges(102) or “caused them to come before the

There are indications that the judges sometimes had to summon a party
before them, or as the scribe puts it, “bring him before the other party.”
This is also expressed by the judges “sending up” a party.(103)

(M251) There is considerable evidence that cases might be sent before the
judges by a higher party, the king himself. These cases were probably on
the suit of a plaintiff. In the letters of the First Dynasty we have
examples of the king sending to the local judges his own decision on the
case, which they had to carry out; or in other cases he simply sent the
case for trial.(104)

(M252) The parties, having found a judge and obtained a day for hearing,
“entered,” or “went down to,” the great temple of Shamash, at Sippara,
called Ebabbarim.(105) There, as we know, Ḥammurabi set up one of the
copies of the Code. The case was heard sometimes at the “old gate.”(106)
At Babylon, the parties were taken to the temple of Merodach,
Esagila.(107) At Larsa, the “gate” of _NIN-MAR-KI_, or the temple of Sin,
might be chosen.(108) The temple of Ishhara is also named.(109)

(M253) 5. *Procedure.*—We have only scattered hints regarding legal
procedure. The Code says that the judges “saw the pleas.”(110) The scribe
uses the same expression.(111) As a rule, he records the plaintiff’s
statement of claim first. Then he records a counter-statement. There is a
strong suggestion that he quotes from written documents. The judges read
these, or heard the verbal statements.

(M254) As part of the legal process, the object in dispute, or, at any
rate, the deeds relating to it, were brought into court, and resigned into
the hands of the god.(112) He was to discern the rightful owner and
restore the object to him. Hence the decision was “the judgment of Shamash
in the house of Shamash,(113) the judgment of the house of Shamash.”(114)
So the defendant was said “to make his account before Shamash.”(115) In
bringing a suit the parties “sought the altar of Shamash.”(116) In case of
loss or damage, the claimant recounted it “before god.”

(M255) In confirmation of the statements alleged witnesses might be called
for, who were put on oath before god and the king. They were supposed to
know the object claimed and whose it was,(117) or to know that a
transaction had taken place.(118)

(M256) Tampering with witnesses, or with a jury, was penalized by the
Code.(119) The judges might refuse to accept the witness,(120) and then
might decide the case on the sworn deposition of the plaintiff.

(M257) Documentary evidence might be demanded. The judges might decide to
take the evidence of their own senses and go to see an estate or a house
in dispute.(121) Or they might determine that it was a case for the
accused to purge himself, which he did by oath.(122)

(M258) Having thus informed themselves of the rights of the case the
judges proceeded to pronounce a decision, “they caused them to receive
judgment.” This phrase nearly always occurs in the legal decisions. The
decision might be called “the judgment of the particular judge,” for
example, _dîn Išarlim_, “Israel’s judgment.”(123) The sentence is
sometimes stated in the words of the judges themselves, introduced by
_ikbu_, “they said.”(124) Thus we read “the tablet which A granted to B is
good, they said.”(125)

(M259) If one party was in the wrong, the judges “laid the wrong on
him,”(126) or “put him in the wrong.”(127) When the suit was to recover a
debt, or find compensation, the judges might name a sum which they paid
over to the proper person.(128) This was damages, not a fine.

(M260) A ceremony which often took place on the annulment of a former
agreement, or cancelling of a deed was the breaking of the tablet
embodying the former contract. The same ceremony took place on repayment
of a debt, or on dissolution of a partnership, apparently without recourse
to judges. This was ordered by the Code in case of purchases of property
which it was illegal to sell or buy, such as the benefice of a reeve or
runner.(129) So when an adopted child had failed to carry out the bond to
nourish and care for the adoptive parent, the deed of adoption was
formally broken by the judges.(130)

For later times we have little evidence. What there is was collected by
Kohler-Peiser,(131) and agrees in general with the above.

(M261) 6. *The decision.*—In these ways the judges “quieted the strife,”
“composed the complaint.”(132) It was the standard conception of a legal
decision that it should be irrevocable. The Code enacts the deprivation
and deposition of a judge for revoking his judgment.(133) The legal
decisions lay down the stipulation that the losing party shall not “turn
back,” shall not “complain.” These phrases nearly always occur, as they do
also in contracts. To insure compliance with the decision the judges again
exacted an oath. Whether both parties swore, or only the losers, is not
clear. The statement usually is “they swore,” without mention of the
persons who did so.

(M262) The decision, being complete, was embodied in a document drawn up
by the scribe, regularly witnessed, often by the judges, and sealed. Thus
it was that the judges granted him an irrevocable tablet.(134) These
irrevocable tablets, practically imperishable also, have now come after
thousands of years, to tell their tale.

(M263) 7. *Administration of the oath.*—The ceremony of swearing to the
truth of evidence, or the terms of a compact, is continually mentioned.
The exact form of words used in taking the oath is not certain; but in
actual suits, in the law-court procedure, the judges administered an oath
to both parties and witnesses. In the Code oaths were admitted for
purgation of alleged crime,(135) as evidence of loss, deposit,
injury;(136) and the reception of a sworn deposition is recorded.(137)
References to oaths continually occur in the contracts.

(M264) The judges “gave them to the oath before Shamash and Adad,”(138)
or, more briefly, “gave him to the oath of god.”(139) The name of the god
by whom men swore is usually given. As might be expected, the god who
figured most prominently in the Code was Shamash, the chief deity of
Sippara, often associated with his consort, Aia, or Malkatu. Sometimes the
oath was “by the king.”(140) Often one or more gods and the king are named
together. When Babylon became supreme it was usual to swear by Marduk and
the local gods as well. The significance of these oaths for historical
purposes is great, both as indicating political relationships, and as
often affording by the name of the king the only clew to the date of the
document. Mr. King, in his edition of the Chronicle,(141) and Dr.
Lindl,(142) have made skilful use of these oaths in determining

(M265) The administration of the oath took place before the censer of
Shamash(143) or at the shrine, _Šašaru_, of Shamash,(144) in Sippara; or
before the emblematic dragon sculptured on the doors of the Marduk temple
at Babylon.(145) Other places are named which we are not yet able to
identify. A kind of magical conjuration appears sometimes to have been
employed,(146) which is not yet understood.

(M266) The purport of the oath was, not to give false evidence, or, in the
case of contracts, not to alter the stipulated agreements. It is often
followed by the words, “whoever shall alter or dispute the words of this
tablet,” evidently a quotation of the words of the oath; but the
consequence of so doing is not given. Either it was too well known, or too
awful, for the scribe to write it down.

(M267) In Assyrian times the oath did not play such an important part.
Still, it was in use occasionally. The oath is generally found in
documents of the grand style, such as royal charters. Oaths also are of
interest for the pantheon of Assyria.(147) A common way of expressing the
same thing was to call on a god to be judge of the case, as for example,
“Shamash be judge,” or “Shamash be advocate,” that is, “take up the case.”
So the king’s son, or crown prince, is invoked to be the advocate. An
appeal was also made to the decision of the king. The gods, “Ashur, Sin,
Shamash, Bêl, and Nabû, the gods of Assyria, shall require it at his
hands” is another way of putting the case. These examples illustrate the
meaning of the older oaths. There do not seem to be any cases of the
witnesses being put on oath.

(M268) But the oath lingered on into very late Babylonian times, when we
have some very full forms. If anyone shall change or alter the agreement,
“may Marduk and Zarpanit decree his destruction.”(148) In Persian times we
find a curse on the same breach of faith in the terms, “whosoever shall
attempt to alter this agreement, may Anu, Bêl, and Ea curse him with a
bitter curse, may Nabû, the scribe of Esagila, put a period to his
future.”(149) It is curious thus to note a recrudescence of old forms in
these later times. Was it merely an antiquarian fashion or had the
Persians earlier come under strong Babylonian influence and preserved the
old forms which had died out in their native home? The Elamite contracts
suggest exactly the same question. In them it seems evident that Elam,
once under Babylonian influence, adopted and preserved, under native
rulers, forms of which we have no trace in Babylonia, but which clearly
came from that country. Assyria is another case in point. She kept forms
which we know date back before the time of her independence and which had
disappeared from the contemporary Babylonian documents. In the later
Babylonian times we still find the parties and the witnesses in a
law-court put to the oath.(150)

(M269) 8. *Penalties.*—An unsuccessful suitor was not allowed to get off
merely with the loss of his suit. He had been put on his oath and been
unable to justify himself, or the word that he had spoken. According to
the Code, if the suit was a capital suit, this was punished with
death.(151) But even if the case was less serious, it was slander to have
brought a false accusation, and the penalty for slander was branding.(152)
This penalty was inflicted on an unsuccessful suitor for possession of a
house sold by his father.(153) Another form of penalty for unsuccessful
litigation was that the suitor should not only lose his case but actually
be condemned to pay the penalty which he, if successful, would have
brought on the other party.(154) That this is what was really intended by
the clauses is shown by the case of Belilitum, who as late as B.C.
555,(155)having brought a suit to recover a debt which she alleged was not
paid, was convicted of perjury by the production of the receipt, and by
the evidence of her own children, and not only lost her case, but was
condemned to pay the sum for which she had sued to him from whom she
sought to obtain it. This was of course a form of retaliation.

(M270) In Assyrian times the parties usually bound themselves not to
litigate, nor attempt to disturb the settlement made between them, under
heavy forfeits to the treasury of a god, often tenfold the value of the
object in dispute, and sometimes prohibitive in amount. Such sums as two
talents of silver, or two talents of gold, controvert the idea that these
forfeits were looked upon as possible deposits by a claimant desiring to
reopen the case. They were terrific penalties intended to deter any
attempt at litigation.

(M271) The forfeit sometimes took the form of white horses, or foals (?),
which were dedicated to a divinity. Very interesting is the mention of the
dedication of the eldest child to a god, or goddess. This is worded as if
the dedication was to be by fire. The additional mention of incense or
cedarwood, as accompanying the offering, renders it probable that it was
really meant that the litigant should be punished by the sacrifice of his
child as a “burnt offering” to the god. But this only makes it clearer
that such penalties were simply meant to be deterrent. We have no proof
that such an offering ever took place. It was a memory of bygone horrors,
but not less interesting as showing what had once been possible. A more
natural and extremely common penalty was the payment of a tenfold value to
the disturbed owner. In later times this was twelvefold. This was an
example of the multiple restitution so common in the Code.

(M272) Something very like an ordeal was occasionally imposed. The very
fragmentary condition of the texts which give it adds to its obscurity.
But it appears to have consisted in the litigant being compelled to eat a
mina weight of some magically concocted food and to drink the contents of
an inscribed bowl. What the result was expected to be is not stated. One
fragmentary text appears to name the ingredients of the magic potion. All
that can be made out points to an ordeal, somewhat similar to that
inflicted upon a suspected wife in Numbers v. 12-31.

9. *Penalties for wrong-doing.*—We are chiefly indebted to the Code for
our knowledge of the penalties which the judge and his assessors might

(M273) Foremost we may place the death-penalty. This was inflicted by the
Code for witchcraft, for theft, for corruption of justice, for rape, for
causing death by assault, for neglect of duties by certain officials, for
allowing a seditious assembly, for causing death by bad building, and for
varieties of these crimes. It is curious that no mention is made of murder
pure and simple. But this is only accidental. It is evidently assumed. For
the Code brings several cases of murder under this penalty. Procuring the
death of a husband is punished by it; even a fatal assault, as that on a
pregnant woman who dies of miscarriage as the result. The need of an oath
to establish lack of malice in giving a blow in a quarrel which led to
death tends to show that murder was punished by death, and that it was
regarded as death intentionally caused. An explicit statement was clearly
not needed. We do not yet know how this sentence was carried out. Usually
the Code only says “he shall be killed”; by whom, or how, is not stated.
For special cases the manner is described.

(M274) Death by drowning was inflicted on a beer-seller for selling beer
too cheaply; on a woman for adultery, for being a bad wife, for incest, or
for desertion of her husband’s house. In every case the victim was a
woman. When men were drowned they shared a woman’s fate. In two cases,
adultery and incest, we read of the criminals being bound. In the latter,
§ 155, it seems that the man was “bound” and the woman drowned. In the
former, § 129, both were “bound” and both drowned. It is hardly likely
that “bound” can mean merely tied up, or imprisoned, in the case of the
man who committed incest. I would suggest that in both cases it means
“strangled.” The alternative would be that the confusion in § 155 is due
to the scribe.

(M275) Death by fire is directly ordered for a votary who opens or enters
a beer-shop, for a man and his mother in incest, and indirectly for a
thief at a fire.

(M276) Impalement on a stake is ordered for a wife procuring her husband’s

(M277) Indirectly the death-penalty would often be the consequence of an
appeal to the ordeal by water, in §§ 2, 132.

(M278) The various sorts of mutilation named are of two types: (1)
retaliation for bodily disfigurement, (2) symbolical of the offence
itself. Thus eye for eye, tooth for tooth, limb for limb, are pure
retaliations. But the hands cut off mark the sin of the hands in striking
a father, in unlawful surgery, or in branding. The eye torn out was the
punishing of unlawful curiosity. The ear cut off marked the sin of the
organ of hearing and obedience. The tongue was cut out for the ingratitude
evidenced in speech.

(M279) Scourging is the only other form of corporal punishment. It was
done with an ox-hide scourge, or thong, and sixty strokes were ordered to
be publicly inflicted for a gross assault on a superior.

(M280) Banishment from the city was the penalty for incest.(156)

(M281) Restitution may, perhaps, hardly be regarded as a penalty. Thus a
man who was found in possession of lost property had to restore it. In
case of loss caused by neglect or ill-treatment of hired property, or of
goods deposited or intrusted, or by want of care in treating diseased
limbs, restitution, goods for goods, ox for ox, ass for ass, _et cetera_,
was ordered.(157)

(M282) But restitution of many times the damage inflicted is a distinct
penalty. The Code orders threefold for cheating a principal,(158) fivefold
for loss or theft of goods by carrier,(159) sixfold for defrauding an
agent,(160) tenfold for theft by a poor man, or for careless loss by
shepherd or herdsman,(161) twelvefold for a false sentence by a
judge,(162) thirtyfold for theft on the part of a gentleman.

(M283) The infliction of the same loss on a criminal that he caused
another is seen in the cases of mutilation, eye for eye, limb for limb,
tooth for tooth,(163) but also in the penalty of son for son, daughter for
daughter, slave for slave;(164) and in the rule that a vexatious suitor
shall pay the penalty which his suit was calculated to bring on the

(M284) This retaliation is the explanation of what seems to be vicarious
punishment, where a man suffers in the person of his son, or daughter, for
the loss he has caused to the son or daughter of another.(165)

(M285) Another penalty was the voidance of a claim. If a man took the law
into his own hands to repay his debt, he lost all claim to recover it
through the courts. When the purchase was illegal and void, as that of an
officer’s benefice or of a ward’s property, the purchaser had to return
his purchase and lose what he had paid for it.

(M286) In certain cases no suit was allowed to gain standing. Contributory
negligence,(166) the natural death of hostage for debt,(167) the
accidental goring of a man by a wild bull,(168) are excluded from
litigation. Such events cancel all further claim or are expressly said to
have no remedy. There is no case for prosecution.

(M287) Compensation for loss caused by crime, or neglect, is ordered on a
scale fixed by the Code. Where a tenant takes a field on produce-rent his
neglect to cultivate caused a loss to the landlord. He was thus bound to
pay an average yield, or a crop like his neighbor’s, or that of the next
field.(169) In later times, the vagueness of this rule, which might give
rise to dispute, was avoided by stating in the lease the average rent to
be expected. For certain classes of land, where no comparison with the
next field could be instituted, a fixed rate was set down.(170)
Compensation for premature ejectment was ordered.(171)

VI. Legal Decisions

(M288) By a legal decision we understand a “judgment” pronounced by some
judicial authority upon a case submitted. It is not easy to say whether
the Babylonians had a separate name for this sort of transaction; but it
had some peculiarities by which it can be easily recognized. It usually
opens with the words, _duppu ana_, “tablet on,” followed by the statement
of the object in dispute. This is very often abbreviated to a simple
_ana_, “on,” or _aššum = ana šum_, “concerning,” or _eli_ with the same

These usages explain the curious tablet(172) where we have a long series
of sections each containing names associated with other names by the word
_aššum_. Thus we read:(173)

    “Nishînishu, daughter of Rîsh-Sin, _aššum_ Shamash-ellatsu, son of

(M289) It is not clear whether Shamash-ellatsu was the adversary of
Nishînishu, or the subject of her suit. But we clearly have here a “trial
list” of seventeen cases. Whether they were all decided in one day, month,
or year, or whether they were reserved for the royal audience, we have no
means of telling. It is merely a list. The object in dispute, “two _SAR_
of land,” is occasionally given; or the court is named “the temple of
Shamash,” or “at the gate of Shamash.” The whole text is too fragmentary
to be translated, but we may note that some lady or other is always a
party to the suit. If we could find the tablets referring to the decisions
intended and they should turn out to be of different years, this list
might prove of value for chronology.

(M290) Legal decisions relate to all manner of subjects and consequently
are difficult to arrange. Dr. Meissner adopted the excellent plan of
appending them to the groups concerned with the class of property dealt
with under them. Thus a legal decision concerned with the sale of a house
would be grouped with the house sales. But this does not suit all cases,
and both in formula and subject the legal decisions are really distinct.
Most legal decisions add nothing to our knowledge of the law, merely
recording that “A sued B and lost the day and is now bound over not to
renew the litigation.” A large number go only a little further, thus:(174)


    Ribatum, daughter of Salâ, was sued by the sons of Erib-Sin,
    Shumma-ilu and Mâr-erṣitim, concerning what Salâ, her father, and
    Mullubtim, her mother, had left her. They took judges who restored
    to her one-half _GAN_ of land, her property. Shumma-ilu and
    Mâr-erṣitim, sons of Erib-Sin, shall not renounce this agreement
    nor dispute it. They swore by Shamash, Malkat, Marduk, and
    Samsu-iluna the king. Four judges appear as witnesses. Dated the
    10th of Elul, in the second year of Samsu-iluna.

Here it is not stated what was the ground on which the parties disagreed,
nor that they laid claim to more than one-half _GAN_ of land. They lost
the case. That is all we know in many other cases. Often we do not know
the object in dispute. Other cases are quite full and often very
instructive. Thus:(175)


    About the maid Adkallim, whom Aiatîa had left to her daughter
    Ḥulaltum. Ḥulaltum had taken care of her mother Aiatîa; while
    Sin-nâṣir, the husband of Aiatîa, who was in Buzu for twenty
    years, had left Aiatîa to her fate, loved her not. Now after
    Aiatîa was dead, Sin-nâṣir laid claim on whatever Aiatîa had, and
    on Ḥulaltum for the maid Adkallim. Isharlim, the _rabiânu_ of
    Sippar, with the Kar-Sippar, assigned sentence; they laid the
    blame on him. He shall not renounce the agreement, nor dispute it.
    They swore by Shamash, Marduk, and Ḥammurabi the king. The
    judgment of Isharlim. Four witnesses. Dated in Elul, the 9th year
    of Ḥammurabi.

This was a bad case of desertion. The husband, Sin-nâṣir, deserted his
wife for twenty years, but on her death came back and claimed her
property. This he was not allowed to do, by the Code.(176) In his absence,
Ḥulaltum had cared for Aiatîa, either as his real, or only adopted,
daughter. In either case, Aiatîa had left Ḥulaltum a slave-girl, Adkallim,
whom Sin-nâṣir now claimed. His claim was disallowed.

The decisions which we now possess give little further information as to
the legal procedure, but a series of abstracts will illustrate the legal
points which they raise.

    Ṣilli-Ishtar and Amêl-ili, sons of Ilu-eriba, were sued by
    Eribam-Sin, son of Ubar-Sin, concerning a house, etc., which they
    bought of Sin-mubaliṭ and his brothers. They say that they bought
    with money which Ṣilli-Ishtar received from his mother and which
    formed no part of that which they had in common with plaintiff as
    partners. Deposition accepted. Ḥammurabi 34.(177)

    The sons of Zâziâ sue Sin-imgurâni and Sin-uzilli for rights in a
    house next the temple of Ningirsu, five days’ income in the temple
    of Sin, sixteen days’ income in the shrine of Bêlit, and eight
    days’ income in the shrine of Gula. Claim not made out. Era of
    Isin 6.(178)

    Idin-Adadi and Mattatum have no claim on property which Ḥishatum
    has or shall inherit. Rim-Sin (?).(179)

    Adadi-idinnam and Ardi-Martu agree on dissolution of partnership.
    Zabum 1.(180)

    Brothers of Ur-ilishu agree not to proceed against Sala-ilu and
    Ur-ilishu concerning property left by latter. Apil-Sin (?).(181)

    Family of Urra-gâmil sue Erib-Sin for account of his partnership
    with and his indebtedness to Urra-gâmil deceased. Erib-Sin
    settles. N. D.(182)

    Sin-ellâtsu gave a ring to Ramê-Ishḫara. The children of
    Sin-ellâtsu agree not to sue her for it. Ḥammurabi (?).(183)

    Private settlement of claims to property. N. D.(184)

In the above cases there is no explicit mention of judges. The next group
are cases before judges where fact of suit, subject and result are given,
but not the pleas presented.

    Imgur-Sin and Ilu-eriba sue Iatratum concerning a house which she
    bought of their father. Nonsuited. Before judges of Babylon and

    Ṣilli-Ishtar and Eribam-Sin entered into partnership. On
    dissolution of their partnership they chose judges, paid in their
    common stock and shared equally. The shares are scheduled in the
    deed of settlement. Ḥammurabi 34.(186)

    Pala-Shamash and Apil-itishu dispute concerning a division of
    property. They obtain judges and city witnesses. The whole house
    and income is shared equally and each agrees to waive further
    claim. Ḥammurabi (?).(187)

    The two sons of Ḳû-Ishtar disagreed as to their shares.
    Nidnat-Sin, the _rab_ Martu, makes equitable division. Ḥammurabi

    Apil-ilishu and Pala-Shamash dispute the latter’s right to a
    house, ship, servants, money, and property in his possession. The
    city elders from Ḥuda and Shibabi gave judgment and confirmed the
    title of Pala-Shamash.(189)

    The sons of Nûr-Shamash sue Bêlitum for the property left her.
    Before judges. Nonsuited. Sumu-lâ-ilu.(190)

    Shunu-ma-ili and Mâr-erṣitim sue Ribatum concerning her right to
    the legacy of Salâ and Mullubtim. The judges assign her an income,
    _ḫibiltu_. Samsu-iluna 2.(191)

    Marduk-mubaliṭ and Sin-idinnam sue Shâd-Malkat concerning her
    house in Bît Gagim. Judges confirm her title. Apil-Sin.(192)

    Ḥuzalum and Pî-Malkat, children of Nabi-Shamash implead
    Shidi-lamazatanḫu of Gagim concerning various rights to incomes
    and rations in the temple of Shamash. The judges assign shares to
    each. Samsu-iluna (?).(193)

    Aliḳu and Sumu-ramê sue Shakumâtim about a house they sold him.
    Nonsuited. N. D.(194)

    Shamash-bêl-ili repudiates a sale of land to the Lady Mannashi. He
    is nonsuited. Ḥammurabi 15.(195)

    Family of Ardi-rabish against Erib-Sin on account of property left
    them by Ardi-rabish. Nonsuited. Sin-mubalit 20.(196)

    Ḥamaziru sues Manutum for house and property but is nonsuited.

    Kasha-Upi bought a house of Itti-itishu and his sons, Bêlshunu and
    Ilushu-bânî. Amêl-Ninshuna, son of Bêlshunu, brought a suit about
    the house. Judges condemn him to be branded on the forehead and
    confirm Kasha-Upi’s title. Sin-mubalit.(198)

    Nishinishu sues Ana-erishti-Malkat for three _SAR_ of land before
    the king’s judges. Nonsuited. Samsu-iluna 2.(199)

    Malkat-kuzub-mâtim sues Ani-talime for restitution of a field,
    before the judges of Babylon and Sippara. The witnesses sustain
    her claim, which is granted. Samsu-iluna 3.(200)

    The family of Izidaria sue the family of Azalîa about the property
    of Izidaria deceased. Their title is confirmed. Zabum 12.(201)

    Shamash-bêl-ili sues Nidnusha concerning a house bought by him of
    her. The judges grant him two shekels of silver. Ḥammurabi 1.(202)

    Shî-lamazi sues her brothers for a field and wins her case.(203)

    Before Lushtamar, _nâgiru_ of Babylon, Adadi-idinnam and
    Ibku-Ishtar, judges, Zariku was put to the oath and replied to
    Erib-Sin. He was told that as his domicile was at Sippara, he must
    not make his appeal to the judges of Babylon. So his case was
    dismissed. Ḥammurabi 28.(204) The record is defective.

Cases before judges where the plea and its result can be made out with
some certainty are as follows:

    Ardi-Sin, son of Eṭiru, sued the sons of Shamash-nâṣir who had
    sold a plot of land, two and a half _GAN_ in area, to Ibni-Adadi
    the merchant. He claimed the land as ancestral domain, _bît
    abišu_, and denied that he had ever alienated it. The sons of
    Ibni-Adadi, now in possession, produced the deed of sale, _duppu
    šimâti_, which Eṭiru and Sin-nâdin-shûmi, his brother, had
    executed to Shamash-nâṣir and his son. The judges assigned a small
    portion of the land, about a sixth, to Ardi-Sin, but make up the
    rest, apparently, from another quarter. Ammizaduga (?).(205)

    Mâr-Martu bought the garden of Sin-mâgir. Ilubânî disputed the
    legality, _ṣimdattu_, of the sale. Before the judges at the gate
    of Nin-marki he deposed that he was the adopted son of Sin-mâgir,
    which adoption had never been revoked. In the time of Rim-Sin the
    house and garden had been awarded to Ilubânî and then Sin-mubaliṭ
    had brought a suit against Ilubânî, which was regularly heard
    before judges and witnesses from Nin-marki. They had awarded the
    house and garden to Ilubânî. Sin-mubaliṭ was now bound over to
    dispute the title no more. Ḥammurabi.(206)

Here it seems that on the deposition of Rim-Sin by Ḥammurabi, Sin-mubaliṭ,
excluded by his bond from disputing Ilubânî’s title, sold his claim to
Mâr-Martu, who attempted to enter into possession. Possibly it was thought
that the new rulers would reverse the old decision.


    The sons of Namiatum sue their mother, Iashuḫatum, about her share
    of their father’s property. She appears before the judges of
    Babylon and puts in an inventory to show that she has taken
    nothing from the family possessions. Then the sons of Namiatum
    renounce further claim on the ground of family possession to the
    property of Idin-Adadi, Iashuḫatum and their descendants.
    Samsu-iluna 2.(207)

It seems that, after the death of Namiatum, Iashuḫatum married again. The
children of the first marriage bring an action to secure judgment that she
shall not take with her any property of their father’s. She had, as we
know, a right to take with her her marriage-portion, but not her husband’s
gifts to her.

    Amêl-Ninsaḫ sues Garudu for the rent of a field. The debtor not
    paying was ejected. Apil-Sin.(208)

    Shûmi-erṣitim sues for right to a sheep and some corn, the
    _naptánu_ of a god. Judges grant him half share. Ḥammurabi 9.(209)

    Judges summon Ibik-iltum before Elali-bânî to account for corn. He
    purges himself on oath. N. D.(210)

    Amat-Shamash claims to be the adopted daughter of Shamash-gâmil
    and his wife Ummi-Araḫtum. Her witnesses proving unsatisfactory,
    her claim was disallowed on the oath of Ummi-Araḫtum that they had
    never adopted her. Ḥammurabi (?).(211)

    Ilushu-abushu hired a pack-ass, _imer bilti_, of Ardi-Sin and
    Ṣilli-Ishtar and lost it. The judges awarded them sixteen shekels
    of silver as compensation. Apil-Sin 5.(212)

    Babilîtum sued Erish-Saggil, Ubar-Nabium, and Marduk-nâṣir for a
    share of her family possessions, _bît abiša_. The judges assigned
    her a share. Samsu-iluna 5.(213)

    Nidnusha and Shamash-abilu sue the daughter of Sin-eribam about
    property which she claimed to have inherited. They charge her with
    having forged the will of Amti-Shamash in her favor. The judges
    went to Gagim, where the property was, and examined witnesses who
    proved that Amti-Shamash had left the property to the daughter of
    Sin-eribam. The judges therefore confirmed her title. N. D.(214)

    Mâr-erṣitim left a female slave Damiḳtum to Erib-Sin. His wife
    Mazabatum and his brother Ibni-Shamash dispute this legacy. The
    judges inspect a document by which Erib-Sin, on the suit of
    Mâr-erṣitim, had granted Damiḳtum to Mazabatum and Ibni-Shamash.
    The judges return Damiḳtum to Mazabatum. Ḥammurabi (?).(215)

(M294) In Assyrian times we have comparatively few legal decisions. The
judges who appear are the _sartênu_, or chief-justice; the _ḫazânu_, the
chief civil magistrate of a city, the parallel of the ancient _rabiânu_;
the _sukallu_, or chamberlain; and one or two others, besides the simple
_daiânu_, or judge. Some of these are not judicial officers, but act in
that capacity.

Usually the judge is said to lay the blame on the guilty party, _arnam eli
A emêdu_; or to lay the penalty upon one, _sartu eli A emêdu_. The
sentence itself was a _dienu_, or “judgment.” As in former times, the
legal decisions refer to all manner of cases, and here more than anywhere
else a mere translation does not convey much meaning to the reader.

    Thus:(216) a scribe A prosecuted a farmer B for the theft of a
    bull. They came before Nabû-zêr-kênish-lîshir, the deputy _ḫazânu_
    of Nineveh. Restitution, bull for bull, was imposed on the
    defendant, who meantime was held for the fine. “On the day that he
    shall have made good the value of the bull he shall go free.”
    Dated the 12th of Elul. Eponymy of Mushallim-Ashur. Twelve

    Again:(217) A stole four slaves of B, who summoned him before the
    _sukallu_. The judge laid on him a fine of two hundred and ten
    minas of copper. B then deposited a pledge with A, either himself,
    or a slave, to perform work equivalent to the amount of the debt.
    If B, or any representative of his, pays the money, the pledge is
    void. “Whoever shall withdraw from this agreement, Ashur and
    Shamash shall be his judges, he shall pay ten minas of silver and
    ten minas of gold, he shall pay it in the treasury of Bêlit.”
    Dated the 10th of Adar, B.C. 678. Eleven witnesses.

Here is another case, relating to a breach of trust:(218)


    The decision of the chief-justice, which he laid on Ḥanî. Three
    hundred sheep, with their belongings, property of the king’s son
    were lost, or killed by the shepherds. Each shepherd was condemned
    to pay two talents of bronze as his fine. Ḥanî, and his people,
    and his fields, were taken as security for the payment for the
    three hundred sheep, and the fines due from the shepherds.
    “Whoever shall demand him, his _šaknu_, his _rab kiṣir_, or any
    representative of his, shall pay for three hundred sheep and the
    fines for the shepherds and then Ḥanî shall be released.” Dated
    27th of Sebat, B.C. 679. Four witnesses.

The defendant had been intrusted with three hundred sheep, which he had to
return in full, with a proper increase of lambs. But, evidently in the
disorders which arose on the death of Sennacherib, Ḥanî had lost or made
away with them. If he had intrusted them to shepherds, either the
shepherds had killed them, or, as some take it, Ḥanî had killed the
shepherds. In the former case he owed two talents of bronze as fine from
each shepherd, in the latter he had to pay the same amount for each.
Either way, he was held responsible for the value of three hundred sheep
and two talents of bronze for each shepherd. He and all he had were seized
for the liability. It is interesting to note that his district governor,
or the colonel of the regiment to which he belonged, was thought likely to
liberate him; but some other representative might do so. The lost property
belonged to the king’s son. This may have been Esarhaddon, or one of
Sennacherib’s other sons. But, at any rate, it is clear that Esarhaddon
was putting his household in order.

(M296) The other examples known to us do not add to our legal knowledge.
The subjects are chiefly misappropriations of property and there is little

(M297) The later Babylonian tablets throw some light upon legal procedure
in Babylon. The greater detail exhibited by them is due largely to the
fact that for this period we have so many private documents. The greater
portion of the material for this part of the subject has been worked over
by Professor J. Kohler and Dr. F. E. Peiser, in their valuable treatise
_Aus Babylonische Rechtsleben_. Little can be added beyond additional
examples and illustration.

(M298) The judges acted as a college and not separately. There might be
present at a case a chief judge and several judges assisting. Other cases
were decided before a single judge. The _šibûtu_ continue to act as a
jury. They were the elders of the city, competent to decide the rights of
the case. But the exact form of the organization is not yet quite clear.

The process began with the charge. The plaintiff preferred this himself,
or by a messenger. His plea was heard and his proofs considered. Then the
court caused the accused to come before them and answer the charge.

(M299) The process admitted of a third person intervening. Thus, A had
pledged a plot of land to B for thirty-two shekels. Then he sold the
property to C. C, dying, left the property to D, who wished to take
possession from B, who continued to hold it in pledge. B goes to the
judges and complains against D. A, being yet alive, intervenes and
probably has to pay B. But the tablet being defective, we are not able to
follow the case further. Only we see the sort of right which each had.

(M300) Another case is where two parties dispute as to the possession of a
sum which is actually in the hands of a banker. The banker accordingly
undertakes to produce the sum and its interest in court, and to pay it
over to the successful party in the suit. The decision was written down
and the notary of the court gave a copy to the plaintiff, if not also to
the defendant, and kept one copy for the archives. The plaintiff thus
obtained a guarantee against the defendant. But how it was enforced we
have no evidence.

(M301) The kind of points in dispute and decided are, as before,
exceedingly varied. The decisions for the most part illustrate other
subjects rather than the processes in court; but a few examples may be of
interest: A made an advance of forty-four shekels to B, who pledged a
house for it. This state of affairs continued until both were dead. Their
sons inherited. A’s son demanded forty-four shekels of B’s son who refused
to pay. Both came before the judges. B’s son, pleaded that the money was
never loaned or else repaid long ago. The judges demanded evidence. Either
the contract or a receipt must be produced. The claimant was able to
present the contract, but no receipt was produced. So the judges assigned
the claimant a plot of land belonging to the defendant as satisfaction for
the proved debt. Here we have the tablet witnessed by the chief judge, the
judges, and the notary.(219) What is curious is that the claimant was not
content to keep the pledge. But it is probable that the debt was secured
on a house which the creditor did not take into his possession. It is also
surprising that the judges did not order the house to be handed over to
the claimant. That may have been avoided, because of the family rights
over the house. The debtor might thus have been rendered houseless, or
have lost “his father’s house.” The widow may still have been an inmate. A
great part of the document is taken up with the specification of the land
handed over to the claimant. Hence a complete translation is not given.

(M302) A common type of case was a vindication of right to some sort of
property. Thus(220) A had sold B a slave, but C came forward and said: “He
is my slave who fled from me,” and took an oath by Bêl and Nabû, that he
knew where that slave was living with A. The judges decide that C shall go
where the slave is, and when he has proved that he is with A, the slave
shall return to C.

(M303) We have an acknowledgment before the court and a promise to pay the
debt. This promise was usually made on oath, or guarantees were given.
Here is an involved case. A is father of B’s mother. B’s father is long
dead. The property of A, his grandfather, has now come into B’s hands. He
finds an old bond for an advance from A to C and D. The latter D is also
dead but had a son E, who inherited. Hence B now sues C and E for the
money. The bond is shown to C, who remembers and acknowledges the debt and
he now undertakes to bring his fellow-debtor E and discharge the debt.

(M304) Men did not always stand their trial, but sometimes settled the
case by an agreement out of court.(221) A and his wife sued B for some
slaves, people of their house. B dreads the trial and does not appear. The
wife was B’s mother, evidently remarried. B brings the slaves whom he
still has and offers four minas as payment for one who has died in his
house. The offer is accepted and parties agree to be quit.

(M305) The decision of a dispute was not always referred to professional
judges. A very interesting example occurs,(222) when the eldest member of
the family and _kinatti aplišu_, “the family of his son,” act as judges.
The plaintiff is an old lady, who had been married, and had a daughter
married. These facts are not rehearsed in the tablet itself, which
concerns a division of property, but are collected from a number of
tablets, spread over some sixty years. The way in which information is
thus collected is an instructive example of the manner in which the
different documents illustrate and explain one another.(223)

(M306) Connected with legal decisions are the undertakings to appear
before the court, of which we have several examples. Thus,(224) A
undertakes to bring B to Babylon and answer the complaint of C. Or again,
a certain gardener spoke to A before an official of the _mâr banûtu_. This
official was subpœnaed, as we should say, and swore by Bêl, Nabû, and
Darius, that on the 8th of Sebat, two days hence, he would come and take
up the case.(225)

(M307) The production of witnesses is the subject of not a few
undertakings. Thus,(226) by a fixed date, five days hence, A shall bring B
to be questioned about some asses belonging to the royal household.
Again,(227) N swears to come, six days hence, and bring another, on
account of the witness about A. He further undertakes to establish the
partnership. What was the exact cause of quarrel was not stated. These
agreements to abide by the testimony of a named witness may have been
entered into without reference to judges, but the oath may have been
administered before the court. Thus,(228) two parties agree to waive their
dispute and abide by witness produced. This they do before the _atû_
official of the gate of the temple. Again,(229) A is to bring witnesses on
the second of Ab, to the door of the _tikkalu’s_ house, and prove when and
to whom he gave certain garments. If this be proved, that B had received
them, B will restore the said garments to A; if not, B is free. Further,
if B does not appear on that day, he shall be bound to restore the
garments. Several other examples illustrate the point.(230)

(M308) A common method was, as has already been shown, to produce the bond
or other document, establishing the claim. If, for some reason, the
document was not producible, the oath of the scribe who wrote it might be
admitted.(231) The witnesses whose names appear on the document do not
seem to have been summoned. But in one case,(232) when two Persians had
sold two slave-girls, also Persians, to a Babylonian; a third Persian, who
had been witness to the sale, was called on to swear, “I know that the
money was paid,” and he sealed the document.

VII. Public Rights

(M309) The early inhabitants of Babylonia are usually regarded as a
non-Semitic race, whom we term Sumerians. Upon them was superimposed a
layer of Semitic peoples. The first dynasty of Babylon is now often called
Arabian. But the evidence of a previous admixture of peoples is not
lacking. The subsequent history bears witness to many invasions by
Kassites, Elamites, and nomad tribes, some Semitic, some probably not.
Later came Persians and Medes, not to speak of Greeks and Parthians.

(M310) The foreign wars brought slaves from all the surrounding countries,
even as far away as Egypt. We cannot here enter into any discussion of the
foreign elements in the population; but it is important to note what the
attitude of the Babylonians was to the foreigners resident in their midst.
The evidence on the whole is very slight. It may be said, that as a rule,
resident aliens became citizens and were under no disabilities. One
section of the Code, if we correctly understand it, allows an alien to
purchase an estate, provided he bears the liabilities to the state(233)
which lay upon it. The “merchant” was probably usually an alien, and only
temporarily resident. In the contracts of the Ḥammurabi period, with the
exception of the frequent West-Semitic names, we have little trace of
aliens. When the Kassites came we may expect the conquering race to have
had full rights. In Assyria there is no trace of disability. Egyptians,
Elamites, Armenians, Jews, Arameans, contract exactly like natives. In
later Babylonian times we find the same freedom. Of course Persians, and,
later, Greeks, were under no disabilities. Hence there is very little at
any time to chronicle under this head.

We have marriages between Persians and Egyptians, with witnesses,
Babylonian, Persian, Aramean, and Egyptian.(234) Medes rent a Babylonian’s
house, and live there.(235) A Persian buys of a Babylonian.(236) A Persian
father gives Babylonian names to his children.(237) A vivid picture of the
mixed nationality in the time of Artaxerxes II. is given in the “Business
Documents of Murashû Sons,” and the list of proper names attached to
Professor Hilprecht’s edition sufficiently illustrates the point.

(M311) Ownership of land carried its liabilities of tax or service. These
were carefully guarded and it was the mark of an oppressor to exceed the
normal demand. That, however, seems to have been regularly and continually
paid. A very good illustration of public rights over land, or the relation
between the state and the private owner, is afforded by the construction,
in the reign of Cyrus, of a canal of Shamash by the priest of Sippara. It
was to pass through certain lands and the consent of the owners had to be
obtained. The magistrates and honorables of the city A, through which it
would pass, and the peoples of the neighboring fields were assembled. They
were asked to swear, as Susians, subjects of the King of Susa, that they
would raise no difficulty. Then the priest took on himself the cost of the
work on the canal, but stipulated that when it was completed, the
neighbors should keep it in repair. Also he forbade the construction of
any rival canal.(238) Riparians were responsible for the care of the canal
as shown in the Code.(239)

(M312) The state undertook some duties. In the Code we note that the
palace would, failing other means, redeem an official from captivity.(240)

(M313) There were certain local liabilities of a public nature. Thus the
Code shows that the magistrate and his district were held responsible for
highway robbery or brigandage in their midst.(241) It may be assumed that
the funds to meet such liabilities were furnished by the city temple, for
we note that if an official were captured, and his private means were not
sufficient for his ransom, his city temple had to furnish the money.(242)

(M314) The whole question of taxation is full of difficulties. There were
certain persons who paid tribute, that is, some proportionate part of
their produce, others did personal service. There is frequent mention of
dues of various sorts, at ferries, market-places and the like. Demands
were made on the stock or crops of the farmers. But we are not yet in a
position even to sketch the system of taxation.

VIII. Criminal Law

(M315) Cases concerned with criminal law were naturally not embodied in
contracts. Some cases doubtless may be inferred from the legal decisions,
but these are only where the penalty had already been commuted from death
or punishment to payment or restitution. They are better taken as examples
of civil law. But this distinction is not the cause of their rarity or
absence. When a man had to be put to death, scourged, or exiled, there was
no need for a written bond. Hence the only references which we have
outside the Code and the phrase-books, are the penalties set down in
marriage-contracts for conjugal infidelity, or for breach of contract
voluntarily agreed to by the parties to it.

(M316) We have one case from Assyrian times of the assignment of a
slave-girl, as composition for manslaughter. Atarkâmu, a scribe, had
caused the death of Samaku, whose son Shamash-ukîn-aḫi had the right to
exact vengeance. Whether as the result of a legal decision or not,
Atarkâmu hands over a slave-girl to Shamash-ukîn-aḫi and they agree to be
at peace. The name of Ashurbânipal occurs in a position which strongly
suggests that the king himself sat in judgment upon the case. The tablet
is so fragmentary that little else can be made out, but it seems to have
been stipulated that the slave should be handed over “at the grave.”(243)

(M317) In later Babylonian times we have a reference to imprisonment
arising out of a case of guarantee.(244) The priest of Shamash at Sippara
had put A in prison in fetters; B, a fellow-official of his of the same
standing, bails him out, giving guarantee to the priests and _šibûtu_ that
A shall not go away, or if he does, that B will do his work.

(M318) A case of assault and forcible entry into a house occurs.(245) But
the tablet is so defective that we cannot make out the rights of the case.
The superintendent of the city Shaḫrin, in the eighth year of Cyrus
complained to the priest of Shamash at Sippara, to the following effect:
He had taken into his house, as a prisoner, a certain man A. He pleads
that he is uncle to the priest and chief magistrate of the city. Why then
has the priest raised his hand over him? Further, seven men, who are
armed, have burst in his door and entered his house and taken a mina of
gold. Whether this was a rescue by relatives of the prisoner, or by order
of the priest, does not appear. As a result of this complaint, the elders
of the city were assembled and depositions made. Beyond the plea on the
part of the house-breakers that someone had paid them to break in the
door, and that the prisoner A was someone’s pledge, we get no further

(M319) A case of procuration of desertion, forbidden by the Code(246)
under pain of death, was condoned by the injured party.(247) A caused a
maid of B’s to leave her master’s house. B received her back, pardoned A,
and took no money of him.

(M320) Adultery was punished in the Code by drowning.(248) The Code in
this and similar cases of sexual irregularity is explicit that the case
must be flagrant. Suspicion was not enough.(249) But conduct leading to
scandal had to be atoned for by submission to the ordeal. The Code did not
take a higher ground than public opinion. The private contracts name death
as punishment for adultery. Usually it is drowning, but being thrown from
a high place, temple, tower, or pillar is named. In the later contracts
death was still the penalty for a wife’s adultery, but the penalty had
ceased to be drowning only. The adulteress might be put to the sword.(250)

A woman’s procuring her husband’s death, for love of another, was punished
by impalement.(251)

(M321) Incest on the part of a man with his own daughter involved his
banishment.(252) Incest with a daughter-in-law, if she was his son’s full
wife, was apparently punished by his being drowned. The Code is obscure
here and we are not sure whether she was drowned also.(253) If the girl
was not yet fully married, the case was treated as one of ordinary
seduction, and the culprit was fined half a mina.(254)

If a man committed incest with his own mother, both were burned.(255) If a
man had intercourse with his foster-mother, or step-mother, who had borne
children to his father, he was disinherited.(256)

IX. The Family Organization

(M322) Marriage is the bond which unites the different members of the
family. The married pair, their children, slaves, and adjuncts, one side
or the other, constitute the family unit. The Sumerian laws presuppose
marriage; but, so far as known, merely attached penalties to repudiation
of the wedded ties. The Code is very full and explicit and forms the basis
of all our knowledge. The contemporary documents extend it in some
particulars. In Assyrian times we know little or nothing about the laws
concerning marriage. In later Babylonian times very little is known until
the Persian period, when we have many illustrations. But what we know, or
can gather from scattered hints, makes it clear that the state of things
represented in the Code remained practically unchanged for the whole

(M323) The Code is explicit that a woman was not a wife without
“bonds.”(257) This was a marriage-contract; of which the essentials were
that the names of the parties and their lineage were given, the proper
consents obtained and the declaration of the man that he has taken
so-and-so to wife inserted. As a rule, stringent penalties are set down
for a repudiation of the marriage-tie. In these bonds a man might be
required to insert the clause that his wife was not to be held responsible
for any debts he might have incurred before marriage. The Code enacts that
such a clause shall be held to act both ways; if it is inserted, then the
man shall not be liable for his wife’s debts before marriage.(258) But, if
no such bond existed, the wedded pair were one body as far as liability
for debt was concerned, by whichever it had been contracted and, in spite
of such a bond, both were liable together for all debts contracted after

(M324) The family relationship was of primary importance. Whatever may be
said about traces of matriarchy in Babylonia, we have no legal documents
which recognize the institution. The father is the head of the family and
possesses full power over his wife and family. But the woman is not in
that degraded condition in which marriage by capture, or purchase, left
her. She was a man’s inferior in some respects, but his helper and an
honorable wife.

(M325) Not only was the family, which consisted of the wedded pair and
their dependents, a unit, but there was also a connection with ancestors
and posterity which enlarged the family to a clan or _gens_. In this sense
it often appears. The family thus constituted had definite rights over its
members. It was very important to a man to be sure of his family
connection. We may note the importance attached at all epochs to a man’s
genealogy as distinguishing his individuality. His family identified him.
There was a very large number of well-marked and distinguished families,
which took their names from a remote ancestor. So far as our evidence
goes, these ancestors were by no means mythical, but actually lived in the
time of the first dynasty of Babylon. To all appearances they date back
“to the Conquest.” Unfortunately no attempt has yet been made to work out
the family histories. But men of such families were the _mâr bânê_, or
“sons of ancestors,” and had special privileges, which continually emerge
into notice. We may compare the hundred families of China and the
patricians of many nations. There were other families of scarcely less
antiquity and consideration. They do not name their ancestor, but refer to
him as a tradesman. They were sons of “the baker,” of “the measurer,” _et
cetera_, with which we may compare our proper names Baker and Lemesurier.
There was a court of ancestry, _bît mâr bânûti_, which investigated
questions arising from claims to belong to such families and which
doubtless preserved in its archives the genealogical lists of these
exclusive families. They must have registered the birth of all fresh
members and all adoptions; for men were adopted freely into such families.

(M326) It is not clear whether all members of a family which traced
descent, real or putative, from a trade-father, actually carried on that
trade. If so, we should have examples of a workmen’s guild. Certainly many
men who carried on a trade were “sons” of the trade-father, but apparently
not all. The Code notes the adoption of a child by an artisan who teaches
him his trade. In certain cities the trades had their quarters. We read of
the “city of the goldsmiths” in Nineveh.

(M327) It may well be that these guilds were close corporations at first
and continued so to be in the less crowded trades, but rivals outside the
guild also came to be tolerated. The slaves were artisans in great numbers
and their increase may have led to the decay of the old artisan guilds of
free workers.

(M328) The importance of descent was not a sentimental matter only. The
laws of inheritance involved a careful distinction between proper heirs
and a variety of claimants. Hence it seems likely that there was a
registration of births, deaths, and marriages, at least covering the
patrician families. We have such examples as a man claiming to be of same
father as another, claiming brotherhood. The other repudiates the
claim.(259) The tablet is too fragmentary for us to follow the arguments.
The slave Bariki-ilu claimed to be a _mâr bânû_ and his claim was heard
before the court of the _mâr bânê_.(260)

(M329) Further, as the wife’s marriage-portion, if she died childless,
went back to the “house of her father,” and as a man who died without
issue had to leave his property to his “father’s house,” and as many had
only a life-interest in their property, while the family usually had a
right of pre-emption in the case of proposed sales, we see that the family
always had a strong hold over property. Not only was it for the man’s
interest to be registered as of a certain family, but it was also for the
family’s interest to register all its members.

(M330) There are suggestions that the family assumed certain
responsibilities over the man; for in Assyria it appears that the family
might come forward and liberate a man from his debt. A free man, who had
been sold as a slave to Ashnunnak, and who escaped to Babylon, after five
years, being claimed as a slave by the levy-masters there, chose to serve
his father’s house. His brothers swore by Marduk and Ammiditana the king,
making an irrevocable declaration that as long as he lived he should take
up the duties of his father’s house with his brothers.(261) In the later
Babylonian times, the head of the family, though only a distant relation,
was called upon to act as judge in a dispute concerning the disposition of

X. Courtship And Marriage

(M331) The suitor came with presents to the parents of the girl. Most
writers see in this a survival of the purchase of the bride. The name of
this gift, _terḫatu_, is undoubtedly connected with the name of the bride,
_marḫitu_. This present, or bride-price, differed greatly with the
circumstances of the parties. Both money and slaves were given, but a
simple sum of money was more common. In cases where the bride was rich or
highly placed the amount seems less. A very usual amount was ten shekels,
but we have examples from one shekel up to three minas.(262) The Code
assessed it at one mina of silver for a patrician and a third of a mina
for a plebeian.(263)

(M332) Without this bride-price the young man could not take a wife. Hence
it was expressly secured to him by the Code, if his father died before he
was of age to marry, and reserved as a first charge on the father’s
estate. There is some evidence that a woman might make this present to her
future husband. But that may have been because he was too poor to make it
himself and she found him the means. As a rule, the parents gave this
money to the bride. But we are not in a position to say whether they did
so at once, on the consummation of the marriage, or on the birth of a
child. The suggestion that it was her _Morgengabe_ remains without
support. Certain it is that it was not returned always. In the contracts
it seems to be given to the bridegroom with the bride. On a wife dying
without children, the husband was bound to return her marriage-portion to
her family. But if the bride-price which he had given for her had not been
returned to him, he could deduct its value. On a divorce, he was bound to
let his wife have not only her marriage-portion, but the bride-price paid
back to him. If there had been none, he must give her a fixed sum instead
of it.

(M333) From the phrase-books we may gather that there was a sort of
ceremony about presenting the bride-price to the father: it was placed on
a salver and brought in before the parents.(264) This was probably a part
of the ceremony of betrothal.

If the father rejected the suitor, he was bound to return the bride-price
offered.(265) A curious section of the Code enacts that if the suitor’s
comrade intrigued to break off the match, he was excluded from marrying
the girl himself.(266)

(M334) If, after he had brought in the bride-price to his prospective
father-in-law, the suitor took a fancy to another girl, he might withdraw
from the suit. But he then forfeited what he had offered. If this really
was the result of having taken a dislike to a plain girl, we may suppose
that such a maiden might accumulate several bride-prices and so acquire
some wealth. This may explain Herodotus’s idea that the handsome girls
made a dowry for the plain ones. But there is not a shred of evidence for
their doing so in the way he suggests. A girl was a virgin when she was

(M335) Of interest in the later Babylonian texts is the fact that the
preliminaries of the marriage are more fully illustrated. Thus we read of
the wedding of the daughter of Neriglissar:(268) Nabû-shum-ukîn, the _êrib
bîti_ of Nabû, judge of Êzida, spoke to the King Neriglissar, saying thus:
“Give to me Gigîtum, your young daughter, to wife.” The tablet has only
preserved a few lines, from which we cannot be sure that the marriage took
place. The tablet was called a duplicate of Êzida, showing that it was
preserved in the Nabû temple at Borsippa.

The following case is one of the clearest:(269)


    Nabû-nâdin-aḫi, son of Bêl-aḫê-iddin, grandson of Ardi-Nêrgal,
    spoke thus to Shûm-ukîn, son of Mushallimu, saying: “Give me thy
    daughter, Ina-Esaggil-banat, the maiden, to wife, for
    Uballitsu-Gula, my son.” Shûm-ukîn listened to him and gave his
    maiden daughter, Ina-Esaggil-banat to Uballitsu-Gula, his son. He
    gave also one mina of silver, three female slaves named, and house
    furniture, with Ina-Esaggil-banat, his daughter, as a
    marriage-portion to Nabû-nâdin-aḫi. Nanâ-kishirat, the maid of
    Shûm-ukîn in lieu of two-thirds of a mina of silver, her full
    price, Shûm-ukîn gave to Nabû-nâdin-aḫi out of the one mina of
    silver for her marriage-portion. The deficiency, one-third of a
    mina of silver, Shûm-ukîn will give Nabû-nâdin-aḫi, and then her
    marriage-portion is paid. Each took a writing.

Here the father negotiates for his son. There is no evidence of any
bride-price being paid. But the examples of this kind of document are too
few for us to establish any fixed conclusions. In the following case
something very like it appears.(270)


    Dâgil-ilâni, son of Zambubu, spoke thus to Ḥammâ, daughter of
    Nêrgal-iddin, son of Babûtu, saying: “Give me thy daughter,
    Latubashinni, she shall be my wife.” Ḥammâ listened to him and
    gave him her daughter, Latubashinni, to wife; and Dâgil-ilâni, in
    the joy of his heart, gave to Ḥammâ for Latubashinni, her
    daughter, Ana-eli-bêli-âmur, a maid, for half a mina of silver and
    a mina and a half of silver to boot. The day that Dâgil-ilâni
    shall take a second wife, Dâgil-ilâni shall give Latubashinni a
    mina of silver and she shall go back where she was before. With
    the cognisance of Shûm-iddin, son of Ina-êšhi-eter, son of

Here the man himself negotiates. The mother gives the bride. Whether he
really buys her is hard to say. The mother may have adopted the girl to
care for her old age, as was often done. The bridegroom may have
compensated the mother with means to adopt another daughter. What _locus
standi_ Shûm-iddin had is not clear. He may have been the real father of
the bride and so had to be satisfied that she was fairly treated by the
change in her position. Or his consent to the bridegroom’s alliance may
have been needed. The penalty set down for divorce is not high and the
bride was probably poor; we see she was portionless. In other cases it was
as high as six minas of silver.(271) Occasionally the deed of marriage
also named a penalty for adultery on the part of the wife.

(M338) Women were given in marriage. The suitor for her hand did not
perhaps see her until marriage, but this is not likely, since he is
contemplated by the Code as capable of having cast his eyes upon another,
and so desiring to retreat from his suit. At any rate, he brought presents
to her father, who accepted or rejected him. There is no hint that the
woman had any choice. The result of this power over the child’s marriage
was that conditions might be imposed on the marriage. The bride might be
required to do service to an existing wife, or to the bridegroom’s mother.
Further, the disposal of property was not entirely free after marriage. It
depended upon what the father had laid down in the marriage-settlement on
his daughter. It was strictly limited to the woman’s children, and if
there were none it went back to her father’s house.

(M339) In early times, the father usually gives the bride. But in a great
many cases this duty fell on the mother. How this came about we do not
usually know. The father being dead, or the girl illegitimate, seem the
best explanations, as a rule. In the absence of father and mother, the
brother as head of the family assumed the duty. The examples of this are
common enough.(272)

For later times also the examples are numerous of the power of agnates to
give in marriage. It may perhaps be deduced that the children, in these
cases, were young.(273)

(M340) Women once married, were free to marry again of their own choice,
whether divorced, separated, or widowed. A betrothed girl, or bride, if
her marriage were not yet consummated, being seduced by her father-in-law,
in whose house she had gone to live, was also free to marry. But it does
not seem that women who were yet virgins could choose their own husbands.
Even princesses were given in marriage.

(M341) The man was not altogether free to marry. The Code contemplates a
boy left by the death of his father too young to marry. The brothers, when
they divided the father’s property, were bound to set aside for him, in
addition to his share of his father’s property, a sum for a bride-price,
and take him a wife. It seems probable that men married while still young
and living at home. For the Code contemplates the bride being brought to
live in her father-in-law’s house.(274)

In later Babylonian times, at any rate, the son could not marry without
his father’s consent. This we learn from a suit in high life, in the time
of Cyrus.(275) A high official of the king’s, A, brought a suit against B,
who was “over the house,” before the nobles and the king’s judges. A
accused B and C, an official of his house, of having given a tablet of
marriage-contract of D, a sister of C’s, to A’s son without A’s consent.
Put to the oath, B swore that he did not seal the tablet. Then D was
questioned. Then C acknowledged that he had drawn up and sealed with B’s
seal the marriage-contract of D to A’s son. The judges ordered D to return
to her brother’s house. The tablet was to be broken whenever found. If
afterward D should be seen with A’s son, she was to bear the sign of a

(M342) From other examples the conclusion is inevitable that if a woman
desired to be a full and proper wife she had to obtain the consent of her
bridegroom’s father. Thus we read:(276) “The day that the woman A is seen
with B he shall bring her to the wedding-house. If she does not say to the
master of the wedding-house: Send for C, the father of B, then she shall
wear the sign of a concubine.” Her mother was present at the sealing of
this agreement. From this we may deduce that weddings took place at a
definite spot, called the “wedding-house.” The name was literally “house
of the males,” or “of the named ones,” and also house of the _mâr bânê_,
or “sons of ancestors.” It is clear that this was a registration court
where all who had pretensions to ancestry, or were people of position,
were enrolled. One whose name was found there was a man “with a name,”
also a “son of an ancestor.” He was probably registered there at birth,
marriage, and death. The master of that house was a registrar and
evidently could marry people. It was expected in this case that the woman,
if she wished to be properly married, would send for the bridegroom’s
father, whose consent was necessary. Another name for the house was _bît
pirṣatum_, the meaning of which is obscure. But as Ishtar was _bêlit
parṣê_, the “lady of _the parṣê_,” we may connect it also with weddings.

(M343) We have seen that the _terḫatu_, or present made to the parents by
the suitor before marriage, was usually handed over to the bride on her
going to her husband’s house. There is frequent reference to this
essential preliminary. It had to be carefully laid aside for the young man
by his mother or brethren, if he had not married in his father’s lifetime,
and was secured to him by law, apart from and above what might come to him
as a share of his father’s property. Otherwise he would suffer loss in
having to find it out of his own pocket, when his married brothers had
been provided with the means during their father’s lifetime. Usually it
was an amount of silver, one shekel up to three minas. In later Babylonian
times there is little evidence of the parents receiving gifts. We now and
then find it so. Thus a man gave a slave and a mina and a half of silver
for his wife to her mother,(277) but it is not clear whether or not this
was to buy her.

(M344) A far more valuable endowment of the bride was her
marriage-portion. If her father was not alive to give it to her, the duty
fell on his heirs, and she had a right to it over and above her daughter’s
share of his property. Thus we find that the brothers, on giving their
sister a share, contract to further endow her if she marries.(278)

(M345) We have one or two lists that show what might be expected as a
trousseau by a Babylonian bride. One which illustrates the Code(279)
extremely well, narrates first what had been given a notary and _NU-BAR_
of Marduk by her father on her taking her vow and entering the temple of
Anunitum. This was his “grant” to her and was known by the same name as
the marriage-portion of a bride. It included half a shekel of gold for a
nose-ring (?), two shekels of silver as a finger-ring, another ring of
silver of one shekel, one _malumsa_, three cloaks, three turbans, one
small seal worth five minas, two jewels of unknown character, one bed,
five chairs, five different sorts of things apparently made of reeds, the
concubine Suratum, her step-mother. Unfortunately many of these renderings
are still quite conjectural. It is interesting to note that the father
left to his daughter his concubine, who was probably a slave, and possibly
really the girl’s mother. But now this girl is about to marry and her own
mother, Shubultum, at any rate, her father’s full wife, together with her
brothers and sisters, give her all this property and cause it to enter her
husband’s house. They had a reversionary right to her property, since as a
votary she could not alienate it from her family.(280) So now they waive
their right, as it will after her marriage pass to her children, if she
has any.(281) So they are said to “give” her what her father had already
“granted” her. Further, they return to her husband the _terḫatu_, of
one-third of a mina of silver, which he had presented to them.(282) The
marriage-portion could not be reclaimed by the wife’s family at her death
if she had children. If she had none, it went back to her family.(283)

(M346) Another long list, also a “grant” to a votary, is found in two
documents which contain apparently a complaint of oppression made to the
king. Neither is sufficiently complete to be decisive as to the purpose of
the letters or reports which are written in the first person. But they are
duplicates as far as they preserve the list and in many other long
phrases. Here is the list:

    Four ... of gold, two rings ... each of them one ... two dishes,
    carved with _karakku_ birds, one dish carved as a lion, whose head
    is of _AB_ wood, and its border of _KU_ wood, one chair of _KU_
    wood, three chairs (of different makes) of _AB_ wood, one oil-pot,
    _šalla_, one oil-pot containing two hundred _ḲA_ of Carchemish
    work, one mixing-pot of copper, one _dupru kanku_ containing
    thirty _ḲA_, two _kundulu_ of copper, one ... two ..., one for ...

Although this list is full of words of which the meaning is obscure as
yet, one can see the main drift of it, jewelry, household furniture, pots
and pans, and whatever went to the domestic equipment of the house. It is
of interest to note that already Carchemish was celebrated for its

With these lists may be compared the Tell-el-Amarna lists given in
transcription, with a few hints at translation, by Dr. Winckler.(285) They
are lists of presents sent by a king of Egypt to a king of Babylon; by
Dushratta, King of Mitanni, to Nimuria, King of Egypt, as the
marriage-portion of his daughter, Taduḫipa, and another list of her dowry.
The greater part of the names of these articles defy translation.

(M347) During the Fourth Dynasty of Babylon, the celebrated Michaux
Stone(286) records the gift of lands by a father to his daughter on her
marriage. From Kassite times we have a list similar to the above, but not
easily translatable. The supposed examples of dowry in Assyrian times are
not really such. But in the later Babylonian era the marriage-portion was
still given by the father. It bears, however, the name _nudunnu_, once
reserved for the husband’s free gift to his wife. The _nudunnu_, in one
case, is ten minas of silver, four maid-servants, house-furniture, and the
like.(287) It might include sheep and oxen.(288) See also the later
Babylonian laws about the marriage-portion.(289) A long list might be made
out from these sources of the house-furniture,(290) but as before we do
not know what half of the terms mean.

(M348) There are many examples of receipts given for the marriage-portion
received in full.(291) Sometimes it was merely promised. It was not always
paid promptly. Law C made a note of this. The father might have promised a
portion, and even given a deed of gift for it to his daughter. But if his
means have diminished he cannot be held to a literal fulfilment of the
promise. He may do what he can. The law adds significantly that
“father-in-law and son-in-law shall not oppress one another.” We find that
actions were frequently brought to obtain a marriage-portion. We have an
instance where the payment was withheld for nine years.(292)

(M349) A husband might make a settlement on his wife. In the time of the
Code this was called a _nudunnu_. It had to be by deed of gift. It might
cover income-producing estate as well as personal property. But it was
hers only for life. She could leave it as she chose among her children of
the marriage, but not to members of her own family.(293) We may regard it
as pin-money. Her husband’s heirs could not disturb her possession of it
as long as she lived. But she forfeited it, if she married again.(294)

(M350) The betrothed maiden did not at once leave her father’s house. This
we learn from the Code, which enacts a penalty on one who should seduce a
betrothed maiden living in her father’s house.(295) It seems that on both
sides betrothal took place in early life and that the arrangements were in
the hands of the parents. A father was expected to take a wife for his

(M351) Neither the Code nor any contracts throw light upon the
marriage-ceremony, but a tablet published by Dr. Pinches in the
Proceedings of the Victoria Institute, 1892-93, reprinted as “_Notes on
some recent discoveries in the realm of Assyriology_,” contains certain
suggestions.(296) It is very fragmentary and in the form of an interlinear
translation from the Sumerian. It is not always clear who are the actors
referred to, but we may perhaps take it that the officiating ministers,
priests, or elders, first placed their hands and feet against the hands
and feet of the bridegroom, then the bride laid her head on his shoulder
and he was made to say to her: “I am the son of nobles, silver and gold
shall fill your lap, you shall be my wife, I will be your husband. Like
the fruit of a garden I will give you offspring.” Then there is a wide
gap. But in the next column we seem to have a further part of the
wedding-ritual. The officiating ministers ceremoniously bound sandals on
the feet of the newly wedded pair, gave them a leather girdle (? or strap)
and fastened to it a pouch or purse of silver and gold. The further
ceremony included placing them somewhere in the desert. Then turning their
faces to the sunset and addressing the man, the minister says: “I swear by
the great gods and you may go.” He bids him not to put off the garment of
Ea, nor something belonging to Marduk of Eridu. Then comes a wide gap, but
the fourth column seems to read “until you have settled in the house,
until you have reached the city, eat no food and drink no water, taste not
the waters of the sea, sweet waters, bitter waters, the waters of the
Tigris, the waters of the Euphrates, waters of the well, nor waters of the
river, to fly up to heaven direct not your wings, to burrow in the earth
set not your dwelling. As a hero, the son of his god, let him be pure.”

The passage is very difficult and much of the rendering is conjectural,
but the point of the address seems to be that the young man was to go
straight home, live with his wife, and be good, as a true child of God.
The first column seems to be an enumeration of men who are cursed with
misfortunes, for example, “one whom his mother brought forth with
weeping,” and perhaps forms part of a prayer that the bridegroom may not
ever be like such men. We must hope some day to find a fuller text and so
to determine the connection of the various columns. But it is difficult to
imagine what else the text can be than part of a wedding-ceremony.

(M352) The young couple did not always set up a house of their own; they
often went to live with the bridegroom’s father. This is shown by the
penalty fixed by the Code for the seduction of a daughter-in-law by a
father-in-law. The daughter-in-law was living in his house.(297)

(M353) In the earlier days monogamy prevailed. A man ordinarily had one
wife. Polygamy, however, was not unknown. For a variety of reasons men did
sometimes have two wives, but these cases were treated as exceptions. A
man might also have a concubine or a slave-girl to bear him children.
These did not bear legitimate children. He might adopt them, but was not
bound to do so. If a man married twice, the children of both marriages
shared equally in his possessions; but they did not put their mothers’
marriage-portions into a common fund and divide that equally. The children
of the first wife divided among themselves their own mother’s
marriage-portion, and the children of the second marriage did

(M354) In Assyrian times there is clear evidence that among the slaves and
serfs, at least, polygamy was fairly common.(299) In the later Babylonian
era polygamy also existed. Wives might be sisters.(300) We read of a
“second wife.”(301) But taking a second wife was held to be a slight upon
the first, in whose marriage-contract the clause was inserted that in such
a case the husband must pay her a mina of silver and allow her to go back
to her father’s house. In that case the man was hardly bigamous. It was a
case of divorce, and perhaps a legal ceremony before judges was also

(M355) A man might form a connection with a woman other than his wife. A
concubine was a free woman, but had not the status of a wife; nevertheless
she might bring with her a marriage-portion, over which she had the same
rights as a legal wife.(302) She was taken into the same house as the
wife, but she might not rival her. A man’s excuse for taking a concubine
was that his wife was childless. He was not allowed to take a concubine,
even if his wife was childless, if she gave him a maid to bear him
children. Only when the wife was herself childless and would not allow him
a maid, was he allowed to bring a concubine into his house. This second
wife was married to him. She often seems to have been bound to serve the
first wife and treat her as her mistress. But she had the same rights as a
wife. If she were put away, the husband had to return her
marriage-portion, if she had any. She had the usufruct of house, field,
and goods. She was not deprived of her children, but had the custody and
education of them. When they entered into possession of their father’s
property, she shared with them, taking the same share as a child. Then she
was free to marry again.(303) It seems that in any case, the children of a
concubine were full children and with the same standing as the children of
the first wife. The father might dower his daughter for a concubine; she
then had no claim to share with her brothers and sisters at his
death.(304) But, if her father had given her no marriage-portion, her
brothers must give her one at the division of his property.(305)

(M356) The case was different with the maid—a slave who by her mistress’s
consent bore children to her master. She was still a slave and if she
rivalled her mistress, or was impertinent to her, she could be put back
again among the slaves; perhaps even branded. But, if she had borne
children, she was not to be sold as a slave. At the death of her master
she was free. Her children by him were free in any case. If her master
were so minded, he might make them full sons by verbal acknowledgment. It
was enough to say, “my sons.” But that he had done so probably had to be
proved by a witness. A family unacknowledged by the father would on his
death have only a mother. In such a family the mother was the obvious
ruler. We must be on our guard against mistaking her position, or that of
the concubine above, for examples of matriarchy. If she was pledged for
debt, she could not be sold, she must be bought back.

(M357) That a slave usually was married to a slave-girl with his master’s
consent and even by his direction is quite the rule. Masters even went so
far as to buy a slave-girl to be wife to a slave. There is no reason to
think that the master did not respect the slave’s matrimonial rights. But
the slave’s wife was not always owned by the slave’s master. Sometimes she
was owned by a different master, or was free. There was no especial
disgrace attaching to becoming the wife of a slave. A free woman might not
only marry a slave, but bring with her a marriage-portion, as if she had
married in her own rank. The man had no ancestral property, he was “a son
of no one.” Hence when he died all the property to be divided consisted of
what the married couple had acquired together, and the wife’s
marriage-portion. To the latter she had full and unquestioned right. The
master was his slave’s heir. So the property which the pair had acquired
during their married life was divided into two equal portions. The master
took one half, the wife the other for herself and her children. The
children were all free. When both father and mother were slaves, so were
the children. There was no property then for the slave-children to

(M358) Some further evidence from the contracts is worth noting here.
Documents relating to marriage are not very common and may have owed their
presence in the archives to some peculiarity in their form. Some are
perhaps rather a memorandum that the proper formalities have been complied
with. Thus(307) we read that “A has taken to wife B, the daughter of C,
from C and D his wife, and has paid ten shekels as _terḫatu_ to C, her
father.” The rest is lost. If it only laid down the penalties for
infidelity on either side, this was quite normal.

(M359) Whenever the mother alone appears, as giving her daughter in
marriage, we may suspect that the father was dead, or the mother divorced.
When the mother is a votary, we know that such a person was not entitled
to have a daughter at all, and hence we are not surprised that the
_terḫatu_ offered for the girl is small, five shekels(308) or even one
shekel.(309) So the penalty laid upon the man for divorcing such a wife is
only ten shekels.(310) On the other hand if she was unfaithful she was to
be drowned.(311)

(M360) Very singular are the cases in which a votary marries. We know from
the Code that this sometimes took place; but the votary seems to have been
expected, though married, to keep her vow of virginity. In one case we
read that a woman first devotes her daughter, _ullilši_, then marries her,
and declares at the same time that she is vowed, _ellit_, and that no one
has any claim on her.(312)

(M361) (M362) In some cases a sister had the power to give her sister in
marriage, with the declaration that no one has any claim on her.(313) We
may imagine the sisters orphans, without brothers. The name of their
father is, however, given; and his sons and daughters are mentioned. It
seems to be closely parallel to the case of the marriage of a king’s
daughter(314) where a sister also gives a sister in marriage. Here
Elmeshu, daughter of the king Ammiditana, is given in marriage by Zirtum,
also daughter of king Ammiditana, on the order of her brother,
Shumum-libshi. The bridegroom was Ibku-Anunitum, son of Shamash-limir and
Taram-shullim, his wife. The parents paid for their son only four shekels
as _terḫatu_, which Shumum-libshi and Zirtum received. If the bridegroom
repudiated his bride, he had to pay half a mina. It is not clear what
penalty the bride had to pay if she repudiated her husband. This is dated
in the reign of Ammiditana; but in which year of his reign does not
appear, as the traces of the year-name do not agree with any in the
Chronicle. It must then have fallen somewhere between the seventh and the
twenty-second years. Hence the father of the princess was alive at the
time. Why had he no hand in the marriage? The history of the reign is not
very well known. Perhaps he was away from home. His son and successor,
Ammizaduga, whom we may imagine to have been the eldest son, does not
appear in the case. Perhaps he also was away. But it is remarkable that
the king never does directly take part in any contract. That is probably
due to his sacred character. The young princess was not treated with
overmuch consideration, judging by the smallness of her dowry.

(M363) We have a very singular case in the marriage of two sisters to one
man. This has already been translated and commented upon by Meissner,(315)
Pinches,(316) and Sayce.(317) It is, however, too important to omit here.
There are two tablets concerned with it.(318) The first is the contract
between the husband and his wives. We may render it thus:

    Ardi-Shamash took to wife Taram-Saggil and Iltâni, daughters of
    Sin-abushu. If Taram-Saggil and Iltâni say to Ardi-Shamash, their
    husband, “You are not my husband,” one shall throw them down from
    the _AN-ZAG-GAR-KI_; and if Ardi-Shamash shall say to Taram-Saggil
    and Iltâni his wives, “You are not my wives,” he shall leave house
    and furniture. Further, Iltâni shall obey the orders of
    Taram-Saggil, shall carry her chair to the temple of her god. The
    provisions of Taram-Saggil shall Iltâni prepare, her well-being
    she shall care for, her seal she shall not appropriate (?).

Then follow ten witnesses, but no date.

The second document seems to be drawn up rather from the point of view of
the sisters. We may render it thus:

    Iltâni, the sister of Taram-Saggil, Ardi-Shamash, son of
    Shamash-ennam, took to wife, from Uttatum, their father. Iltâni
    shall prepare the provisions of her sister, shall care for her
    well-being, shall carry her chair to the temple of Marduk. The
    children which she has borne, or shall bear, shall be their
    children. [If Taram-Saggil] shall say to Iltâni, her sister, “you
    are not my sister” [the penalty is lost]. [If Iltâni shall say to
    Taram-Saggil her sister], “You are not my sister,” one shall brand
    her, and sell her. If Ardi-Shamash shall say to his wife, “You are
    not my wife,” he shall pay one mina of silver; and if they say to
    Ardi-Shamash their husband, “You are not our husband,” one shall
    tie them up and throw them into the river.

Here there are eleven witnesses, but again no date.

Meissner deduces from the mention of children that Taram-Saggil was
already married. The exact relation between the sisters is not clear. In
one case they seem to be daughters of Uttatum, in the other of Sin-abushu.
Or it may be that Iltâni alone was daughter of Sin-abushu. If so, perhaps
Uttatum had adopted her. Sayce clearly thinks so. But they might be
daughters of the same mother by different fathers, one of whom is
mentioned in one case, the other in the other. Or they might really be
children of Sin-abushu, if their mother afterwards married Uttatum, who
was thus their step-father. It is clear that Iltâni was to wait on her
sister, and, if she repudiated her, was to be treated as a slave. This is
exactly parallel to the status of the slave-maid, whom a wife or votary in
the Code(319) provided for her husband. Perhaps Taram-Saggil had become a
chronic invalid. A comparison of the two texts is interesting in other
respects. The penalties differ curiously. If Ardi-Shamash repudiates his
wives, in one case, he loses house and furniture; in the other case, he
pays one mina. Was one the penalty for repudiating Taram-Saggil, the other
for repudiating Iltâni? But if they repudiate him, the penalties are
different in the two documents, unless indeed the _AN-ZAG-GAR-KI_ be an
ideogram for the “steep place” from which they were to be thrown into the

(M364) Marriages are not infrequent which impose conditions upon the
husband and wife with relation to outside parties. Thus a mother gives her
daughter in marriage to a man, on condition that she shall continue to
support her mother as long as she lives. In this case, if the husband put
away his wife, he was to pay one mina of silver; while, if she hated her
husband, she was to be thrown from a pillar, _dimtu_.(320) This pillar may
be the real meaning of the _AN-ZAG-GAR-KI_, which looks very like an
attempt to express _zigguratu_, a tower, in an ideographic way. A very
similar case is where a lady takes a girl to be wife to her son but
stipulates that the wife shall treat her as mistress. If she shall say to
her mother-in-law, “Thou art not my mistress,” she shall be branded and
sold. As long as the mother lives, they two together shall support
her.(321) One may suspect that such maternal power, as is here shown over
the children, arises from their having been adopted by their mother in
order to provide for her in her old age. This was often done. The children
may have been slaves before adoption. In the second case, the mother
leaves her son all she has, or may acquire.

XI. Divorce And Desertion

(M365) Divorce is regulated by the Code. The Sumerian laws seem to regard
the marriage-tie as dissoluble on the part of the man by an act of simple
repudiation, accompanied by a _solatium_, fixed at half a mina. The wife,
however, was punished by death for repudiating her husband.(322) The Code
limits the facility of divorce for the man and renders it possible for the
woman to obtain.

(M366) Divorce of either a wife or concubine involved her being given a
maintenance. The divorced wife had the custody of her children, if any.
They were not disinherited by the divorce. The divorced woman retained the
marriage-portion which she had brought to the home. She had a share with
her children in the divorced husband’s property at his death. If he
married again, the children of both marriages shared equally. She was also
free to marry again, but apparently not until her children had come into
their share of the late husband’s property, therefore not during his

(M367) Divorce was permitted on the ground of childlessness. The husband
gave back to his wife all her marriage-portion. Also he had to give the
bride-price which he had paid to her parents during his courtship, and
which they had returned to him, as a rule, on marriage.(324) If this
bride-price had not been given, then he paid her a fixed sum of money; one
mina, if he was a patrician, a third, if he was only a plebeian.(325) A
slave does not seem to have had the liberty of divorce.

(M368) The wife might take a dislike to her husband and set her face to
leave him and deny him conjugal rights. This was probably equivalent to
desertion. Then a judicial inquiry was required. If his ill treatment or
neglect was made clear and she was blameless, a divorce was granted. She
took her marriage-portion and went back to her family. But as this was of
her own seeking, she received no alimony.(326) It is assumed that it was
an unhappy marriage from the first and that there were no children.

If it were proved that she was a bad wife, she was treated as an
adulteress and drowned.(327) On the other hand, even if she were a bad
wife, the husband might repudiate her simply without paying any price for
divorce. In this case there was no suspicion of her infidelity. Or the
husband might degrade her to the position of a slave.(328) There is no
mention in these cases of a return to her father’s house.

Chronic illness on the part of a wife was not a ground for divorce. The
husband had to maintain her. He might, however, take a second wife.(329)
If she did not care to remain in his house in such conditions, she could
leave him, take her marriage-portion and return to her family.(330)

(M369) We have already seen that the Code regulates the questions arising
out of divorce.(331) The examples at this period are but few. In one case
a man put away his wife and she received her price of divorce. It is
expressly stated that she may marry another man and her former husband
will not complain.(332) This document is, however, little more than an
agreement to abide by the terms of the divorce.

In another case a marriage-contract names the penalty a man shall pay for
divorcing his wife.(333) In all these cases the word for divorce, _ezêbu_,
is literally “to put away.” But a man divorced his wife by the simple
process of saying, “You are not my wife.” He then paid her a fine,
returned her marriage-portion and so on, as laid down in the Code.(334) It
was far harder for a woman to secure a divorce from her husband. She could
do so, however, but only as the result of a lawsuit.(335) As a rule, the
marriage-contracts mention death as her punishment, if she repudiates her
husband. The death by drowning is usually named. This was in accordance
with Law V. of the Sumerian Code.

We may regard repudiation of husband and wife, one by the other, and
desertion as leading to divorce; and therefore these may be appropriately
considered next.

(M370) Desertion of a wife by her husband might be involuntary. The Code
deals with the case of a man captured by the enemy. If the wife were left
at home well provided for, she was bound to be true to her absent husband.
If she entered another man’s house, she was condemned to death as an
adulteress.(336) But if she was not provided for, she might enter another
man’s house without blame.(337) There she might bear children. But, if so,
she yet had to go back to her original husband on his return. The children
she had borne in his absence were to be counted to their real father.(338)
That the law provides for such cases points to the existence of frequent
wars, in which fortune was not always on the side of Babylonia.

(M371) But the husband might desert his wife voluntarily. Then, if she was
left unprovided for, the wife might enter another man’s house. The errant
husband, when he returned, could not reclaim his wife.(339)

We have a legal decision in a case(340) where a man had deserted his wife
for twenty years and “left her to her fate, did not love her.” During this
time a daughter, whether real or adoptive we are not told, took care of
her mother. To her the mother left property, among other things, a slave.
The mother being dead, the truant husband returned and claimed the slave
from the daughter. He was nonsuited.

Among the provocations which gave the wife cause for divorce was the
“going out” of the husband, probably a euphemism for adultery on his part.
Belittling his wife was another ground for her complaint. What this means
is not quite clear, but we may regard it as persistent neglect.

XII. Rights Of Widows

(M372) The Code makes clear what was the position of the widow. She had a
right to stay on in her husband’s house until she died,(341) but was not
compelled to do so.(342) If she remained, she was the head of the family.
To her the young sons looked to furnish them with means to court a wife,
and the daughters for a marriage-portion. She acted in these matters with
the consent and assistance of her grown-up children. But she might elect
to leave the home and remarry.

(M373) As long as she remained in her husband’s home she enjoyed to the
full whatever she had brought there as a marriage-portion, whatever her
husband had settled upon her, and also received a share from her husband’s
goods at his death. The widow’s share was the same as a child’s. But she
had no power to alienate any of these possessions. The Code expressly
declares that they were her children’s after her.(343) The children had no
power to turn her out. If they desired her to leave, the matter came
before the law-courts, and her private wishes were consulted. If she
wished to remain, she might do so, and the judge bound over the children
to allow her to do so.(344)

(M374) A very clear example of the permanence of the Code regulations on
this subject meets us in the fifth year of Cambyses.(345) Ummu-tâbat,
daughter of Nabû-bêl-usur, wife of Shamash-uballiṭ, son of Bêl-ebarra, a
Shamash priest, who was dead, whose sons were Shamash-eṭir, Nidittum, and
Ardi-Ḥar, swore to Bêl-uballiṭ, priest of Sippara, saying, “I will not
remarry, I will live with my sons, I will bring up my sons to manhood,
until they are numbered with the people.” On the day that Ummu-ṭâbat
remarries, according to her bond, the property [of her late husband] which
is in the possession of Bêl-uballiṭ, the priest of Sippara, [she shall
forfeit]. The tablet is defective here, but on the edge of the tablet we
see that the care of her sons was given her. To remarry is expressed here
by the words, “going into the _bît zikari_.”

(M375) A widow could remarry at her discretion. She no longer had to be
given in marriage. She was free to marry the man of her choice.(346) She
might take with her her marriage-portion to her new home, but she had to
leave behind any settlement which her former husband had given her, or any
share of his goods that had come to her at his death. Her family were not
called upon to find any fresh marriage-portion for her. But she was not
completely mistress of even her marriage-settlement. If she had children
of the former marriage, they and any children of her second marriage
shared her marriage-portion equally. Only she had the enjoyment of it for
life.(347) If there were no children of the second marriage, those of the
first took all she left.(348)

(M376) We have assumed that when her husband died her children were old
enough to care for themselves. If they were not, she had no power to enter
upon a second marriage and desert her first family. She was not free to
marry at all without consent of the law-court.(349) But there is no
evidence that this could be withheld, if proper conditions were observed.
The first husband’s property was inventoried and consent for the second
marriage being granted, she and her new husband were bound by deed to
preserve the whole estate of the late husband for his children. With that
proviso, the newly married pair entered into full use of the deceased’s
property and were bound to educate the children until grown up. They had
no inducement to neglect them, as in any case none of the deceased’s
property could ever be theirs. If the children died, it would all revert
to the family of the deceased. The newly married pair had no further
interest in it than the enjoyment of it until the children could manage
for themselves. They could not alienate any of it. The sale of even a
utensil was not possible.(350)

XIII. Obligations And Rights Of Children

(M377) It is customary to say that the father had absolute power over his
children, but it is better to state only what is known with certainty
regarding the extent of his power. The father could treat his child, or
even his wife, equally with a slave, as a chattel to be pledged for his
debts.(351) We may therefore conclude that he could sell his child. An
actual example cannot be cited from early times, but they are very common

The son was not capable of entering into an independent contract with an
outside person.(352) We may assume that this means simply while yet living
in his father’s house. The father had rights over what his son earned. A
man could also hire out his child and take the wages.(353)

(M378) The father had the right to prefer one son above the rest. He could
endow him with house, field, and garden. But this must be done in his
lifetime and by written deed. This gift did not in any way affect the
son’s claim to inherit equally with his brethren on the father’s death,
when he took a full share over and above what he had by gift.(354)

(M379) The father had full power to dispose of his daughters in marriage.
But he was expected to furnish them with a marriage-portion. This was not
obligatory, being probably a matter of negotiation with the parents of the
bridegroom. In later times the obligation evidently became irksome and
oppressive, and Law E was passed to relieve the strain. A father was bound
to do his best to fulfil his promise to dower his daughter, but no more. A
father could not hinder his daughter from becoming a votary.(355) If he
approved her choice, he might give her a portion, as if for marriage,(356)
but he was not compelled to do so. A father could give his daughter to be
a concubine.(357)

The father’s consent was also needed to his son’s marriage.(358) He had to
provide the youth with a bride-price, and secure a wife for him.(359)

(M380) It is not easy to determine when children ceased to be under the
paternal power. Betrothed daughters remained in their father’s house; so
did married sons sometimes. Whether the birth of a child, making the young
man himself a father, freed him as head of a family, or whether it was
entering a house of his own, we cannot yet say.

(M381) The Sumerian laws are very severe upon a child’s repudiation of a
father. That degraded him to the status of a slave. He might also be
branded. Obviously he was disinherited. The repudiation is expressed in
the words, “You are not my father,” but it may be intended to cover all
unfilial conduct. The Code is more explicit. If a son struck his father,
his hands were cut off.(360)

(M382) The Sumerian laws preserved the father’s rights to disinherit the
son by a simple repudiation, saying, “You are not my son.” The son then
had to leave house and enclosure. The Code limits this power. It insists
on legal process and good reason alleged. Also it was not allowed for a
first offence on the son’s part.(361)

(M383) The mother was in much the same position of authority as the
father. A son who repudiated his mother was branded and expelled from
house and city. He was not, however, sold as a slave. The Sumerian laws
also reserved to the mother the right to repudiate her son, and he must
quit house and property. The Code gives no such power to mothers. Indeed,
we find examples of a son disputing with a mother.(362) Mothers took up
the father’s place toward the children on the death of the father as
regards marriage-portions, bride-price, and other family affairs. But they
usually acted in concert with the elder children.

(M384) The repudiation of adoptive parents was a very grievous sin,
especially on the part of those who were children of parents who were
forbidden to have children. Something worse than illegitimacy was their
lot. The penalties of having the eye torn out, or the tongue cut out,(363)
show the abhorrence felt for their ingratitude.

XIV. The Education And Early Life Of Children

(M385) Much has been made of the knowledge of writing shown by the
Babylonians and Assyrians. The ability to draw up deeds and write letters
seems at first sight to have been widely diffused. In the times of the
First Dynasty of Babylon almost every tablet seems to have a fresh
_tupšar_, or scribe. Many show the handiwork of women scribes.(364) But
most of the persons concerned in these documents were of the priestly
rank. There is no evidence that the shepherds or workpeople could write.
In the Assyrian times the scribe was a professional man. We find _aba_ or
_tupšar_ used as a title. So, too, in later Babylonian times. The
witnesses to a document can only be said to sign their names in so far as
that they impressed their seals. This was done, at any rate, in early
times. In the Assyrian period the only parties who sealed were the owners
of the property transferred to a new owner. The whole of a tablet shows
the same handwriting throughout. Anyone who reads carefully through the
facsimile copies in _Cuneiform Texts_ can readily see this. Different
scribes, especially in early times, wrote differently, but this was still
the case in Assyrian days. Yet no change of hand can be noted anywhere in
one document, save where, as in the forecast tablets, a date or note was
added by a different person, often in Assyrian script, to a text written
in Babylonian. The only safe statement to make is that from the earliest
times a very large number of persons existed, at any rate in the larger
towns, who could write and draw up documents.

(M386) The use of Sumerian terms and phrases in the body of a document
written in Semitic Babylonian might be ascribed to a mere tradition. But
they were no meaningless formulæ. The many variations, including the
substitution of completely different though synonymous words, show that
these Sumerian phrases were sufficiently understood to be intelligently
used. In later times they either disappear altogether, or are used with
little variation. They had become stereotyped and were conventional signs,
doubtless read as Semitic, though written as Sumerian. Our own retention
of Latin words is a close parallel. The First Dynasty of Babylon was
bilingual at any rate in its legal documents, though the letters are all
pure Semitic. The earlier documents show few signs of Semitic origin,
though its influence can be traced as far back as we can go.

(M387) The discovery at Sippara of a school dating from the First Dynasty
of Babylon is very fully worked out by Professor Scheil in _Une Saison de
fouilles à Sippara_, pp. 30-54. Professor Hilprecht gives further details
in _Explorations in Bible Lands_, pp. 522-28 and _passim_.

The methods of learning to write and the lessons in Sumerian are well
described by these authors, and illustrated by numerous extant examples of
practice-tablets. The subjects were very numerous and included arithmetic,
mensuration, history, geography, and literature. As Dr. Pinches has shown
by his edition of some of these practice-tablets,(365) these contain very
valuable fragments of otherwise lost or imperfectly known texts.

(M388) Slaves were often bound as apprentices to learn a trade or
handicraft. A man might adopt a child to teach him his trade, and his duty
to him was sufficiently discharged by doing so.

(M389) We do not yet know in any authoritative way, when or with what
ceremonies children were named. In the case of slaves we have a boy, still
at the breast,(366) or a girl of three months, not named.(367) On the
other hand, a girl still at the breast is named. Hence Meissner concludes,
that at the end of one year, at latest, the child was given a name.(368)
But the usage with respect to slaves is hardly a rule, and, as appears
from the above, they were not consistently named.

(M390) A child seems often to have been put out to nurse. From the
phrase-book we learn that a father might “give a child to a wet-nurse to
be suckled, and give the wet-nurse food and drink, oil for anointing, and
clothing for three years.”(369) That this was not only done with adopted
children is clear from the Code;(370) where we find a severe penalty laid
on a wet-nurse, who substitutes another child for the one intrusted to
her, without the parents’ consent.

(M391) It will hardly do to interpret the phrase-book(371) as meaning that
all children were made to learn writing. But that this was commonly done
is evident from the number, both of men and women, who could act as

XV. Adoption

(M392) Adoption primarily means a process by which parents could admit to
the privileges of sonship children born of other parents. There were many
reasons which might impel them to such a course. If they were childless, a
natural desire for an heir might operate. But under the Babylonian law a
man might take a second wife, or a maid, if his wife were childless, to
bear him children. A more operative cause was that children were a source
of profit to their parents while they remained with them. But it seems
that men married early. Hence this alone does not seem sufficient to
account for the great frequency of adoption. Besides, in that case, what
induced a parent to part with his child for adoption? It seems that the
real cause most often was that the adopting parents had lost by marriage
all their own children and were left with no child to look after them.
They then adopted a child whose parents would be glad to see him provided
for, to look after them until they died, leaving him the property they had
left after portioning their own children.

(M393) The Code admits all kinds of adoption, but regulates the custom. A
man might adopt an illegitimate son, or the child of a votary or
palace-warder, who had no right to children, or the child of living
parents. In the latter case alone was the parents’ consent necessary. We
have examples of cases of adoption of relatives, of entirely unrelated
persons, of a slave even.(373) We learn from the series _ana ittišu_(374)
that a man might take a young child, put it out to nurse, provide the
nurse with food, oil for anointing, and clothing, for a space of three
years; and then have it taught a trade or profession, such as that of

(M394) Adoption was effected by a deed, drawn up and sealed by the
adoptive parents, duly sworn to and witnessed. Such contracts definitely
state the relationship, which was in all respects the same as that of a
son born in matrimony. But it laid down the obligations of the son, while
it stipulated what was the inheritance to which he might expect to
succeed. It brought responsibilities to both parties and fixed them. The
son was bound to do that which a son would naturally have done,
explicitly, to maintain his parents while they lived. The parents were
bound, not only to leave him property, but to treat him as a son. But, as
a rule, all was matter of contract and carefully set down. If such a
contract was not drawn up, although the adoptive parents had brought him
up, the child must return to his father’s house.(376) Only, for an
artisan, it was sufficient to have taught the child his trade.(377)

So far as our examples go, some color might be given to the suggestion
that adoption was always merely for the convenience of old people who
wanted to be taken care of. But we know that children were adopted on
other grounds. That they were children and not always grown-up men and
women is clear from the above. This we may regard as adoption pure and
simple. Other cases are a legal method of making provision for old age, or
for other purposes for which an heir as legal representative was
desirable. In the case of no legal heir, the property went back to the
next of kin.

(M395) That such a process did take place in Babylonia is made clear by
the Code.(378) But few examples are known where a father takes into his
family an additional child. The case, in which the son is not only adopted
by parents who have a family living, but is ranked as their eldest son,
deserves reproducing in full.(379)

    Ubar-Shamash, son of Sin-idinnam, from Sin-idinnam, his father,
    and Bititum, his mother, have Beltum-abi and Taram-ulmash taken to
    sonship, and let him be the son of Beltum-abi and Taram-ulmash.
    Ubar-Shamash shall be their eldest son. The day that Beltum-abi,
    his father, and Taram-ulmash, his mother, say to Ubar-Shamash,
    their son, “You are not our son,” he shall leave house and
    furniture. The day that Ubar-Shamash shall say to Beltum-abi, his
    father, or Taram-ulmash, his mother, “You are not my father or my
    mother,” one shall brand him, put fetters upon him, and sell him.

Both parents of the adopted son were living. That the son is to be
reckoned eldest implies that the adopting parents had other children. This
is made clear in one case where the adoptive parents are expressly said to
have five children.(380) In another case where a child is adopted a
certain person is expressly said to be his brother.(381)

(M396) The existing members of the family had a real interest in the
proceeding. For, as inheriting with them, the addition of another son
could not but affect their prospects. We may wonder what influenced them
to consent. That they did consent is clear from the often-occurring
covenant by which they bound themselves not to object. One explanation may
be that they had grown up and left home and were anxious for the welfare
of their parents, but could not arrange to look after them themselves.
Hence for their parents’ sake they were willing to forego their share, or
submit to a stranger taking precedence of them, or in some cases to give
up all claim to the property in their parents’ possession in return for
being relieved of the responsibility of looking after them. Of course,
when the adopted son was only taken in as one, even the eldest, among
several, he would only have a share at the parents’ death. But it even
seems that the children might of their own motion adopt a brother to be
son to their parents.(382)

(M397) The clause which implies disinheritance in case the parents
repudiate the son, or he repudiates them, could only be enforced by a
law-court.(383) But it was nevertheless most regularly inserted in the
contract. In one case the document merely consists of it,(384) leaving us
to infer that an adopted son was concerned. But this is not absolutely
certain. The son might have been rebellious to his mother, who was
therefore minded to cut him off, and this may be the result of her
bringing her son before the judge. The judge was bound to try and
conciliate the parties.(385) Hence, not infrequently the son was bound
over not to repeat the offence on pain of disinheritance, while the mother
retained her right to disinherit. There was no mention of his being sold
for a slave, or branded, as was usual when a son was adopted and then
repudiated his parents.

According to the contracts entered into by the parties, parents could
repudiate adopted sons. This was contrary to the law by which the consent
of the judge was needed for disinheritance. It seems to be an attempt to
contract without the support of the law. The son was then to take a son’s
share and go away.(386)

(M398) The word _aplûtu_, abstract of _aplu_, “son,” and therefore
literally “sonship,” being also used to denote the relation of a daughter
to a parent, came to denote the “share” which a son or daughter received.
If a man adopted a son, he granted him an _aplûtu_, or “sonship,” and this
carried with it a material property. But the father, while still living,
might grant the son his _aplûtu_ and stipulate for maintenance during the
rest of his life. Such a grant begins with _aplûtu ša_ B, where B is the
son. But it by no means follows that B is an adopted son. The question is
only decided for us when the parentage of B is given. If he is said to be
the “son of C,” then we know that A giving him “sonship” must mean that A
adopted him. But if B is merely indicated as the son of A, we cannot tell
whether he was born to A, or only adopted by A.

(M399) So when the property given to B is in his power to dispose of later
as he may choose, this privilege is expressed by the words, “he may give
his sonship to whom he chooses.” The choice is sometimes expressed as
“that which is good to his heart,” or “in his eyes,” or “whom he loves.” A
modified choice is often mentioned, as when it is said that a votary may
leave her “sonship” after her to whom she likes “among her brothers.”

(M400) We have a large number of documents which make reference to the
_aplûtu_ of a certain person, which we can render here by “heritage.”
These are especially common on the part of votaries. As we have seen, they
were not supposed to have children of their own, but possessed the right
to nominate their heir within limits. In return for exercising this right
in favor of a certain person, they usually stipulated that such person
shall maintain them as long as they live and otherwise care for them. Even
outside actual deeds of heritage, we find references to property derived
from votaries subject to certain duties. Such dispositions of property are
closely related to a will or testament, but anticipate the death of the
testator. They are really settlements for the future, which exactly
answers to the title given them by the Babylonian scribes, _ridit

The following example makes these details clear:(387)

    The heritage of Eli-eriṣa, votary of Shamash, daughter of
    Shamash-ilu. Belisunu, votary of Shamash, daughter of Nakarum, is
    the caretaker of her future life. One-third _GAN_ of unreclaimed
    land in Karnamkarum, next the field of Issurîa, one _SAR_ house in
    Ḥalḫalla, next the house of Nakarum, one-third _SAR_ four _GIN_ in
    Gagim, one maid Shala-beltum, price ten shekels of silver, all
    this for the future in its entirety, what Eli-eriṣa, votary of
    Shamash, daughter of Shamash-ilu, has or shall acquire, she gives
    to Belisunu, votary of Shamash, daughter of Nakarum. Every year
    Belisunu shall give to Eli-eriṣa three _GUR_ of corn, ten minas of
    bronze, and twelve _ḲA_ of oil.

(M401) The _aplûtu_ thus given was in many cases an alienation of property
on which some relative had claims. Even where their consent was not
necessary it was desirable that they should not involve the heir in legal
processes. Hence, such relatives are called up to covenant that they will
raise no objection to the heir’s peaceable succession.(388)

(M402) The obligation to support the adoptive parent is emphasized. The
amount of sustenance varies much. Another list of yearly allowances reads
one shekel of silver, woollen yarn, six _ḲA_ of oil, four _išinni
Shamašh_, ten _ḲA_ of fat, one side, two _GUR_ of corn. Many others could
be instanced, but they make no great addition to our knowledge.

(M403) The obligation might be service; as when a lady adopts a maid to
serve her for life and inherit a certain house.(389) In another case a
lady adopts a son to bring up her daughter and give her to a husband. “If
he vexes his adoptive mother, she will cut him off. He shall not have
claim on any of the goods of his adoptive mother, but shall inherit her
field and garden.”(390) Evidently the mother intended her personal effects
to be her daughter’s and to form her marriage-portion. The obligation did
not always last long. Thus we find that Lautum, who was adopted by a
votary and was herself a votary, two years later was in a position to
adopt as her daughter another votary.(391) She handed on the same
property, indicating that her adoptive mother was dead.

The adoption of a child by a lady of fortune was evidently a good
settlement for the child, and usually the real parents raised no
objection. We even find the father of a girl adopted by a lady, making an
addition to her heritage in the form of a gift to the adopting mother on
her effecting the deed of adoption. He gave them two male and two female
slaves. Here also the girl covenanted to support the adoptive mother.(392)

(M404) Occasionally the adopted child did not carry out his duties. This
was good ground for disinheriting him. But disinheritance was not to be
inflicted without the sanction of the judges.(393) Hence we find that when
a lady had adopted a daughter who failed to give her food and drink, the
judges summoned them to the great temple of Shamash in Sippara, there cut
off the daughter from her heritage, took away the tablet of adoption
granted her, and destroyed it.(394)

(M405) A curious case is where A, the daughter of B and C, endows D to
take care of B and C. As long as D lives A covenants to allow her so much.
When she dies A will herself perform the duties.(395) Here A evidently
expected her parents would not live long, but also D must have been aged,
or infirm, as A contemplates the chance of her parents outliving D. This
is not a case of adoption, but is so similar in purpose to those above as
to deserve a place here.

(M406) Occasionally, however, the adopting parent reserved the usufruct of
the property for life only, fixing by deed the rightful heir.(396) This
was, in effect, a will or testament, since the inheritance did not take
effect until after the death of the testator.

XVI. Rights Of Inheritance

(M407) The division of property among the children invariably followed the
death of the father. We have a very large number of contracts bearing on
this custom. The contract sets forth the particulars of the division and
includes a sworn declaration on the part of the recipients to make no
further claim. There were certain reservations to be made in the case of
minors, for whom a portion had to be set aside to provide for their making
the proper gifts to the parents of their brides on marriage.

(M408) The Code deals at length with the laws of inheritance, which are
best treated under the head of marriage. The actual examples occurring in
the documents of the period serve to illustrate the practical working of
these laws, but hardly add to our knowledge. They are usually occupied
with the division of property among brothers. Sometimes we have some light
on the reservations made in favor of other members of the family. Thus two
brothers divide the property of their “father’s house” and of their
sister, a votary. The sister did not take her property, but the brothers
were trustees for her enjoyment of it during her life, when it reverted to
them in full.(397) The document merely states the amount of one brother’s
share and the other’s agreement to be content with the division. In
another case, where four brothers share the property of their “father’s
house,” no details of their shares are given, but only their agreement to
abide by the division made.(398) In another case the eldest brother allots
to each of two younger brothers a share and takes a woman slave and her
children as his portion. He is said to do this of his “own power,” _ina
emur ḳamanišu_, and to have given them this of his “own graciousness,”
_ina tûbâtišu_. The brothers swear to make no further claim on the
“grant,” _maršîtu_, of their father. Either the property to which they
were legally entitled had already been allotted them, or possibly they had
no legal claim on any. The eldest brother is a high official, a _pa-pa_,
and perhaps had succeeded his father in office. The father’s property
would then be the endowment of his office, a grant from the king, and as
such inalienable from the office to which the eldest son had succeeded.
The three slaves may have thus been all the private property of the father
which was available for division. But the context seems to suggest that
what the brothers received was a concession from the eldest brother on
which they had no claim. He may in consideration of his succeeding to his
father’s appointment have made this concession to his brothers as a
consolation.(399) In another case a mother gives certain sums to her three
sons. She had still left two sons and two daughters, and the first three
agree to make no claim on all that she and these four children have or
shall acquire.(400) It is noteworthy that one of the three receives ten
shekels as the _terḫatu_ of the wife he shall marry. He was evidently not
of marriageable age, or, at any rate, still unmarried. In such a case the
Code directed that on partition of the father’s property, a special sum
should be laid aside for this necessary present to the bride’s
father.(401) So we find two brothers giving a sister a share consisting of
one-third _SAR_ of a house, next her brother’s, one maid, a bed and a
chair, with the promise that on the day that she marries and enters her
husband’s house she shall receive further two-thirds _GAN_ of land and
slaves.(402) The list of property is often given, especially where
brothers give shares to their sisters. Sometimes the relationship is less
close. Thus a man shares with two sons of his father’s brother, _i.e._,
with two cousins, ten _SAR_ of unreclaimed land, taking three and a half
_SAR_ as his share.(403) Sometimes the property included the mother’s
marriage-portion. Thus three brothers divide their property and two of
them, as her sons, share their mother’s marriage-portion:(404)


    One _SAR_ of built land and granary, next the house of Ubarrîa and
    next that of Bushum-Sin, two exits to the street, the property of
    Urra-nâṣir, which he divided with Sin-ikisham and Ibni-Shamash.
    From mouth (?) to gold the share is complete. Brother shall not
    dispute with brother. By Shamash, Malkat, Marduk, and Sin-mubaliṭ
    they swore. Nine witnesses. Thirteenth year of Sin-mubaliṭ.(405)

The property which fell to Urra-nâṣir was a house occupying one _SAR_ of
land. The text means not that the three men, Urra-nâṣir, Sin-ikisham, and
Ibni-Shamash, divided the house among them, but that at the division this
house was the share of the first named. What the two, Sin-ikisham and
Ibni-Shamash, had as their share we are not here told. But the three
agreed not to call in question the division of property, which probably
came to them from their father or mother. Fortunately we know in this case
what the others got. Thus we find:

    One _SAR_ of built land, (and) granary, next the house of
    Ibni-Shamash and next the street, its exit to the street, the
    property of Sin-ikisham, which he divided with Ibni-Shamash and
    Urra-nâṣir. From mouth (?) to gold the share is complete. Brother
    shall not dispute with brother. By Shamash, Malkat, and
    Sin-mubaliṭ they swore. Nine witnesses. Thirteenth year of

And again:

    One _SAR_ of built land, (and) granary, next the house of
    Sin-ikisham and next the house of Ishtar-Ummasha, two exits to the
    street, the property of Ibni-Shamash, which he divided with
    Sin-ikisham and Urra-nâṣir. From mouth (?) to gold the share [is
    complete]. Brother shall not dispute with brother. By Shamash,
    Malkat, Marduk, and Sin-mubaliṭ they swore. Nine witnesses.
    Thirteenth year of Sin-mubaliṭ.(407)

Thus we see that each brother, if they were brothers, obtained exactly the
same share, one _SAR_ of land on which a house was built. Two of them,
Sin-ikisham and Ibni-Shamash, were next door to each other. Ibni-Shamash
had the street on the other side of him, in fact, occupied a corner house.
The third brother, Urra-nâṣir, had a house in another part of the town. We
therefore must understand the word “divided” in the sense “obtained on
division.” In the second and third case the word rendered share is
literally “all.” But the first text shows that “all is complete” means
“the share is complete.” The meaning of the expression, “from mouth (?) to
gold,” is still obscure. It is not certain that _bi-e_ really means
“mouth.” But as Meissner has shown,(408) it exchanges with the ideogram
for “mouth.” He therefore suggests that the whole phrase means “from the
first verbal discussion of the division to its consummation by payment the
partition of the property is now at an end.” That seems probable enough,
but we may yet find a different explanation. If this be correct, it is of
interest to note that while silver seems to have been the usual money,
this phrase seems to assume that gold would be used in payment. A curious
parallel is the fact that while in later times we always find the order
gold and silver, in Sumerian texts it is silver and gold. We must not
press this too far, but it really looks as if in early times silver was
more valued, or at any rate, less in use than gold.

It will be noted that the second text omits Marduk from the oath, while
the others name him. The third text omits _gamru_, “is complete.” The nine
witnesses and the date are the same for all three. In the first and last
the names of the witnesses only are given, but in the second the name of
the father is added to several of them.

(M410) In the case of testamentary documents, using the phrase in a loose
way to cover gifts embodied in a deed, we usually find a list of property
donated. These lists give rise to insuperable difficulties to the
translator. The difficulties are not so much due to the imperfections of
our knowledge of Babylonian methods of writing as to the practical
impossibility of finding exact terms in one language for the terms
relating to domestic furniture in another. Even in the case of languages
so well known to us as French and German are, we are obliged to transfer
their words unaltered into our own tongue. The most skilled translator
must leave a French or German _menu_ untranslated. We know for instance
that the signs, _GIŠ-GU-ZA_ were used to denote the Babylonian _kussû_.
When a god or king sat upon a _kussû_ we may be satisfied with the
rendering “throne,” but when we find a lady leaving her daughter six
_kussê_ we feel that “throne” is rather too grand. But whether we elect to
call them chairs, stools, or seats, we are guilty of some false
suggestion. A careful examination of the sculptured and pictured monuments
may give us a clearer idea of what seats were used. The reader may consult
Perrot and Chipiez, or the dictionaries of the Bible, under the articles:
chairs, couches, _et cetera_, for illustrations. Unless we can find a
picture with a named article upon it we are still left a wide margin of
conjecture. The picture of Sennacherib receiving the tribute and
submission of Lachish gives the contemporary representation of a _kussû
nimedu_, but we cannot argue that every _kussû_ was of the same pattern.

We may decline to attempt a solution and merely give the original word, we
may make a purely arbitrary rendering, or we may accompany the original
word with an approximate indication of what is known of its nature. In
neither case do we translate, for that is clearly impossible. But the
reader needs a word of caution against the translations which show no
signs of hesitancy. They are not indicative of greater knowledge, but of
less candor. Further, to scholars a reminder is needed that even the
syllabaries and bilingual texts do not give exact information. Thus
alongside _GIŠ-GU-ZA_ we find a number of other ideograms, all of which
are in certain connections rendered _kussû_, adequately enough no doubt,
but that they all denoted exactly the same article of furniture is far
from likely. A closer approximation to an exact rendering may come with
the knowledge of a large number of different contexts, each of which may
shade off something of the rough meaning. One of the great difficulties of
the translator is that the same word often occurs again and again, but
always in exactly the same context. This is especially the case in the
legal documents, filled as they are with stock phrases.

(M411) According to the Sumerian laws disinheritance appears to have been
simply the result of repudiation of a child by a parent, who has said to
him, “You are not my son.” The penalty for a child’s repudiation of
parents is to be reduced to the condition of a slave. There may also be a
reference to renunciation on the part of an adopted child, but there are
no legal documents to clear up the point.(409)

(M412) The Code is much clearer. Here the father is minded to cut off his
son. But the disinheritance must be done in legal form. The father must
say to a judge, “I renounce my son.” The judge must then inquire into the
grounds of this determination. A grave fault must be alleged. What this
was we are not told. But rebellious conduct, idleness, and failure to
provide for parents are probable. A parent had the right to his son’s
work. An adoptive parent had a right by the deed of adoption to
maintenance. If the fault could be established as a first offence, the
judge was bound to try and reconcile the father. If it was repeated,
disinheritance took place legally. It was done by a deed duly drawn up.
The Sumerian laws show that a mother had the same power as the father.
Whether this was only exercised when there was no father, or whether a
wife could act in this way independently of her husband in disinheriting
children, does not appear. But possibly she had power in this respect only
over her own property.(410)

It has been suggested that disinheritance sometimes took place as a legal
form and with consent of a child, in order to admit of his adoption into
another family or to free the parents from responsibility for the business
engagements of the son.

(M413) An adoptive parent, who had brought up a child and afterwards had
children of his own, could not entirely disinherit his adopted child. He
was bound to allow him one-third of a child’s share. But he could not
alienate to him real estate.(411)

XVII. Slavery

(M414) In modern thought slavery concerns personal rights. But it was not
thus regarded by the Babylonians, for the slave was an inferior domestic,
and, like the son in his father’s house, _minor capitis_. That he was
actually a chattel is clear from his being sold, pledged, or deposited. He
was property and as such a money equivalent. He might be made use of to
discharge a debt, according to his value. Hence, while some account of
slavery belongs with the discussion of the family, it is also a part of
the section dealing with property, since the slave was a piece of

(M415) But the slave had a great amount of freedom, and was in no respect
worse off than a child or even a wife. He could acquire property, marry a
free woman, engage in trade, and act as principal in contract with a free
man. Only, his property, at his death, fell to his master. He was bound to
do service without pay, though he had the right to food and drink. He
could not leave his master’s service at his own will, but he might acquire
enough property to buy his freedom. He was tied to one spot, not being
allowed to leave the city, but might be sent anywhere at command.

(M416) His status was, however, a complex of seeming inconsistencies. Yet
it was so well understood that we rarely get any hints as to the exact
details. It is only by collecting a vast mass of statements as to what
actually occurred that we can deduce some idea of the actual facts.
Professor Oppert in his tract, _La Condition des Esclaves à Babylone,
Comptes Rendues_, 1888, pp. 11 ff.; and Dr. B. Meissner, in his
dissertation, _De Servitute Babylonico-Assyriaca_, have gathered together
the chief facts to be gleaned from the scattered hints in the contracts.
Professor Kohler and Dr. Peiser discussed the question thoroughly in their
_Aus Babylonische Rechtsleben_. Many articles discussing the contracts,
and most of the histories touch upon the subject. We shall come back to it
later under the head of Sales of Slaves. It is very difficult to
disentangle facts from the mass of scattered hints, often consisting of no
more than a word or two in a long document.

(M417) The institution of slavery dates back to the earliest times. We
cannot in any way attempt to date its rise.

Already in the stele of Manistusu we find a slave-girl used as part of the
price of land and worth thirteen shekels;(412) while nine other slaves,
male and female, are reckoned for one-third of a mina apiece. This
remained a fair average price for a slave in Babylonia down to the time of
the Persian conquest. For the variations, see later under Sales of
Slaves.(413) The Code shows that the slave was not free to contract except
by power of attorney,(414) and that it was penal to seduce him from his
master’s service,(415) or to harbor him when fugitive.(416) It fixes a
reward for his recapture,(417) makes it penal to retain a recaptured
slave,(418) and deals with his re-escape.(419) It shows that he was
subject to the “levy.”(420) It also determines the position of a
slave-woman who bears children to her master,(421) or of a slave who
marries a free woman.(422) In each case the children are free. It fixes
the fees to be paid by the slave’s master for his cure,(423) deals with
injuries done to a slave,(424) damages being paid to his master;(425)
enacts that if captured and sold abroad he must be freed, if
re-patriated,(426) and a native of Babylonia, otherwise he returned to his

(M418) By far the greatest number of references to the slave condition
occur in documents relating to the sale of slaves. These may be summarized
here. One peculiarity always marked the sale of a slave, it was not so
irrevocable as that of a house or field. For a slave might not be all he
seemed. He might be diseased, or subject to fits, he might have vices of
disposition, especially a tendency to run away. A female slave might be
defective in what constituted her chief attraction. Hence there was
usually a stipulation that if the buyer had a legitimate cause of
complaint he could return his purchase and have his money back. In fact,
an undisclosed defect would invalidate the sale. These defects might be
physical, inherent, contingent, or legal.

(M419) There seems to have been a dreaded disease called the _bennu_.
Professor Jensen(427) has shown how largely it bulks in the literature,
and what dire effects are ascribed to it. But it was not the only severe
disease from which men suffered then. It is associated with several others
as bad. Hence in legal documents we may take it as a typical example of a
serious disease, which would so detract from the value of a slave that the
purchaser would not keep him. It is evident that it was something that the
purchaser could not detect at sight. Perhaps it was a disease which took
some time to show itself. It is mentioned in the Code and in the sales of
slaves of the First Dynasty of Babylon. It also occurs in Assyrian deeds
of sale, down to the end of the seventh century B.C. The Code and the
contemporary contracts allow one month within which a plea could be raised
that the slave had the _bennu_. The purchaser could then return him and
have his money back. In the Assyrian deeds one hundred days is allowed.

In the Assyrian deeds _ṣibtu_ is also allowed a hundred days. This is
often associated with _bennu_ in the mythological texts as equally
dreaded. It affected the hands or the mouth. We may render it “seizure,”
and think of some form of “paralysis.”

(M420) The objections which come under the head of legal defects are
summed up in the Code as a _bagru_, or “complaint.” In the contracts and
Code this could be pleaded at any time. So in Assyrian times a _sartu_, “a
vice,” could be the ground for repudiation at any time. This might arise
from the disposition of the slave. The sale might also be invalidated by a
claim on him for service to the state; by a lien held by a creditor; by a
claim to free citizenship. But we are not yet in a position to state
definitely what was the exact nature of these claims. Doubtless the
recovery of further codes will fix them finally.

In later Babylonian times Law B specially provides for the return of the
slave at any time, if a claim be made on him.

(M421) In Assyrian times sales of slaves are very frequent, and we learn
much more about the status of the slave. The slave was certainly a social
inferior, but probably had more freedom than any other who ever bore the
name. He certainly had his own property and could contract like a free
man. A young slave lived in his master’s house up to a certain age, when
his master found a wife for him. This was usually a slave-girl. The female
slaves remained in the house as domestic servants to old age, unless they
were married to a slave. Married slaves lived in their own houses for the
most part. Many such men seem to have taken up out-door work, gardening,
agricultural labor, or the like, on their master’s estates. Others engaged
in business on their own account. But from all the master had a certain
income. This was, within a little, the average interest on the money-value
of a slave. And that interest was usually twenty-five per cent. per annum
in Assyria.

(M422) Theoretically a master owned his slave’s property. What this
ownership amounted to is hard to say. But the slave was rarely separated
from it. His family at any rate was sacred. When sold, he was sold with
his family. This, of course, does not exclude the sale of a young man at a
time when he would naturally leave his father’s home. Young women were
taken into domestic service, and after a time sold. But there was none of
that tearing of children from parents, which so shocked people in the
modern examples. It is probable that a slave could not marry without his
master’s consent. He certainly could not live where he liked. But he was
free to acquire fair wealth, and his property was so far his own that he
could buy his own freedom with it.

(M423) In Assyria there was a large body of serfs, _glebae adscripti_.
They could be sold with the land. But they were free to work as they
chose. Usually they cultivated a plot of their master’s, but often had
lands and stock of their own. They were not free to move, and probably
paid a rent, one or two thirds of their produce. But they were mostly on
the metayer system, and could claim seed, implements, stock, and other
necessary supplies from their master. This class evidently possessed
privileges highly esteemed, for their ranks were recruited from all
classes of artisans in the towns, cooks, brewers, gardeners, washermen,
and even scribes. Some of these were probably free men, others certainly
had been slaves.

(M424) The three classes, domestic slaves, married slaves, and serfs, were
continually exchanging their condition. Not a few free men, whether from
debt, judicial sentence, or choice, were added to these classes. For these
men, if dependent, were cared for and provided with the necessaries of
life. They were, if domestic, clothed, housed, and fed; if they married
and lived out, they were given a house, and either were provided with land
that brought them a living, or engaged in business.

(M425) The army and corvée, or levy for forced labor, were chiefly
obtained from the slaves, and above all from the serfs. A head of a
family, or mother, was not liable. But young men and women had to serve a
certain number of terms of service, seemingly six.(428) Hence it was of
importance to the buyer of a slave to receive a guarantee that this claim
had been satisfied.

(M426) We have many examples of slaves who were skilled artisans. They had
been taught a handicraft. Later we shall come across cases of
apprenticeship of slaves to learn a craft. But all the artisans were not
slaves. Indeed, some of the craftsmen, as goldsmiths, silversmiths,
carpenters, were wealthy persons.

(M427) As a rule, though the slave is named, his father is not. But, just
as in mediæval times, a serf’s father is named. The serf’s holding seems
to have been hereditary. But we have too few examples to be sure of our
ground here. The slave’s father was not concerned in the sale, and that
may be the sole reason why he is not named. Fathers sometimes sold their
children to be slaves, then they are named. Such sales are not so
unnatural as they appear. It was a sure provision for life for a child to
sell him as slave to a family in good position.

(M428) In the later Babylonian times, the almost total disappearance of
the serf has been noted as very remarkable. But this may be entirely due
to the nature of our documents. The temples owned a great deal of land and
their slaves were in the condition of serfs.

(M429) In later Babylonian times we have a very large number of examples
of slave sales. So far as the formula of a deed of sale is concerned,
there is nothing to distinguish from a sale of the ordinary type, thus
marking the slave as a chattel.

(M430) But there are several clauses, which directly illustrate the
possession of slaves, their position and liabilities. One clause, frequent
when slaves were either pledged or sold, was a guarantee on the part of
the owner against a number of contingencies. These are not easy to

(M431) First we have the _amêlu siḫû_. _Siḫu_ means rebellion or civil
war. Sennacherib was slain in such an uprising.(429) It may be that then
the slave would be impressed for defence of law and order. Or it may be
that _amêlu siḫû_ is the rebel, or mob, who might carry off the slave. Or
the contingency contemplated may be that the slave should turn rebel and
refuse to do his master’s bidding. The fact that a ship was also
guaranteed against _amêlu siḫû_,(430) renders this less likely. A ship
could not turn rebel. It is not unlikely that slaves often joined in the

(M432) That a slave would escape by flight was always a danger. The slave
had great freedom and many opportunities of getting away. The only
security was that wherever he went he was likely to be recognized as a
slave and anyone might recapture him. However, the captor had a right to a
reward and so the owner would have to pay to get him back, besides losing
his services for a time. Hence a slave who had a fancy for running away
was likely to be troublesome and costly. That might lead to his being
sold. But the purchaser protected himself by a guarantee on the seller’s
part that the slave would not run away. Then if the slave fled and was
brought back, the captor gave a receipt for the sum paid him, and the
owner reclaimed it from the seller.

(M433) The captor might retain the slave until he was paid.(431) In other
cases the seller had to recover the slave for the buyer. In Assyrian times
the seller guaranteed also against death. Here it has been argued that the
guarantee meant only that the slave had not fled or was not dead at the
time of sale. This is not likely in the case of death. Surely no man could
buy a slave who was dead. He would not pay, if the slave was not
delivered. But he might bargain for recompense, if the slave died within a
short time after purchase, as the seller might have had reason to know
that he was ill.

(M434) A guarantee was also given against the _pakirânu_. This is
literally “the claimant.” What claim he had is not stated. When the slave
was pledged, this might be a creditor to whom he had previously been
pledged. But it covers all claims on the slave.(432)

(M435) Another indemnity is the _arad šarrûtu_, or in the case of female
slaves, the _amat šarrûtu_. This was the status of an _arad šarri_, or
_amat šarri_, king’s man or maid. The king, or state, had a right to the
services of certain slaves. How long this was for, how it was discharged,
and how a private person could give a guarantee against it, we do not
exactly know. It may have been limited to slaves taken in war; it probably
consisted in forced service; it may have been for a limited period, so
that the guarantee amounted to an assurance that it was over. But it is
possible that it would be compounded for, or a substitute provided. At any
rate the seller held the buyer indemnified against this claim.(433)

(M436) There was also a guarantee against _mârbanûtu_, the status of a
_mâr banû_, or “son of an ancestor.” The difficulty which this raised was
that, if a man was a scion of a noble family, he might be redeemed by it.
The same result would follow from his being adopted. Hence some consider
_mâr banû_ to mean “adopted son.” But it does not always mean that. We
have no good example of a slave being redeemed on this ground. But we know
that they sometimes laid claim to be free men. This would of course
involve a loss and at any rate a trouble to the owner. But we have not yet
very full information on the point.

(M437) Finally there is mentioned a claim called _šušanûtu_. This occurs
in Persian times only(434) and may be the status of a _šušanu_, _i.e._, a
Susian, or one of the conquering race. Such it may have been illegal to
buy or hold in slavery. But in Assyrian times an official in the service
of the royal house is called _šušanu_. We do not yet know what his duties
were, but it may be that this official was one who could be called up for
service at any time and therefore was undesirable as a slave.

(M438) The _abuttu_ which the Code(435) contemplates a mistress putting on
an insolent maid and so reducing her to slavery, or which the phrase-books
contemplate a master laying upon a slave, or which an adoptive parent may
set on a rebellious adopted son before selling him into servitude,(436)
has usually been taken to be a fetter. But in the case of a man, who being
sold as a slave, had escaped and was claimed by the levy-master, we find
the latter saying, _ellita abuttaka gullubat_, “thy _abuttu_ is clearly
branded,” or tattooed. Hence it may only be a mark.

(M439) There is frequent mention in early times of a mark upon slaves. The
Code(437) talks of marking a slave, but in a way that is difficult to
understand. The verb usually rendered “brand” has been shown by Professor
P. Jensen(438) to include incised marks. Hence the penalty which was once
rendered “shear his front hair” is thought to mean “brand his forehead.”
The Code fixes a severe penalty for the putting of an indelible mark on a
slave without his owner’s consent. This could hardly be enforced for
merely giving the slave a bald forehead, like the Hebrew _peôt_, or like a
“tonsure.” The mark borne on the forehead by Cain, or by the “sealed” in
the Apocalypse, is far more to the point as a parallel. The slaves also
wore little clay tablets with the name of their owner inscribed upon them.
There are a number of these preserved in the Louvre. On one now in the
British Museum we have this inscription: “Of the woman Ḥipâ, who is in the
hands of Sin-êresh. Sebat, eleventh year of Merodach-baladan, King of
Babylon.”(439) How these were attached to the slave is not very clear. But
they must have been anything but an indelible mark. In the later
Babylonian times we have(440) a slave marked by a sign on his ears and a
white mark in his eye. Both may denote natural marks.(441) A more definite
example is a slave “whose right hand has written upon it the name of
Ina-Esagil-lilbur”;(442) and another “on whose left hand was written the
name of Meskitu.”(443) These were the names of the owners, not of the
slaves themselves. This renders it probable that the branding and the like
was always an incised mark, a species of tattoo, which of course was
indelible. That the same person who tattooed men should brand animals, or
even shear them, is not an insuperable objection. But there is no reason
to suppose that the brander ever was a sheep-shearer.

(M440) In respect to the names of slaves we may regard them with some
interest as helping to determine the sources from which slaves were
recruited. Some bear good Babylonian names, and perhaps when the father’s
name is also Babylonian we may conclude that they had been born free, but
were either sold into slavery by the head of the family, or, having once
been adopted, had been repudiated and reduced to slavery again, or had
been sold for debt. We have examples of all such cases. A father and
mother sold their son;(444) a mother who had adopted two girls repudiated
them again;(445) a brother gave a younger brother as a pledge.(446)

(M441) When the slave’s name is not Babylonian or Assyrian, a foreign
nationality is nearly certain. These names are very valuable when they can
be assigned to their nationalities, as confirming the historical claims of
the kings to conquest. Sometimes they are actual gentile names, as
Miṣirai, “Egyptian,” Tubalai, “man from Tubal.” But many may have been
directly purchased abroad and sold to Babylonians. A great many foreign
slaves doubtless received native names. Thus an Egyptian woman was called
Nanâ-ittîa.(447) Some of the names of slaves are true Babylonian, but of a
rare and odd form, which has caused some to imagine them to be foreign.
But this is not necessary. Servants are often renamed after the families
to which they belong, and finally become known by names which were never
theirs. Masters seem sometimes to have given their own names to slaves.
Their names are often contracted,(448) and some even appear to have had

(M442) The slaves were not only captives taken in war, but were bought
abroad, and not a few were reduced to that condition from being freeborn
citizens. Slavery awaited the rebellious child or the contentious wife.
But it was not allowed by the Code for a man to sell his maid outright,
who had borne him children. And if he sold his wife or child to pay a
debt, the buyer could not keep them beyond a certain time. But in all
periods parents sold their children, and there does not seem to be any
clause demanding any future release.

(M443) The slave had private property which was secured to him. He paid a
sort of rent for it. This was an annual fixed sum called his _mandattu_,
the same word as for the tribute of a prince to his overlord. In the case
of a female slave this was twelve shekels _per annum_. Further, he paid a
percentage on his profits.(450) The slave might hold another slave as
pledge, lend money, and enter into business relations with another slave
even of the same house. He might borrow money of another slave. Hence he
was very free to do business. But when he entered into business relations
with another master’s slave, or a free man, he sometimes met with a
difficulty. He seemingly could not enforce his own rights against a free
man. At any rate, we find that in such cases his master assumed the
liability and pleaded for him. In fact, the master had to acknowledge his
undertakings, though he did not guarantee them. Subject to this protection
from his master, the slave was free to engage in commerce. He lent to free
men, entered into partnership, and owned a scribe.

(M444) Here is an example illustrating one of the above points.(451) S had
taken a loan of L. His master, A, became aware of it and guaranteed its
repayment. He then put S into L’s hands as his pledge to pay it off. Now,
A died, and his son, B, sells S to C, as part of his own property. But L
still holds possession of S. C demands S from L. L says “Not until my
money is paid off. If C will do this he may have S. But until he can prove
that it has been done he cannot have S.” The proof probably lay in B’s
hands, if he had preserved it from his father A’s records. Delay is
granted for C to produce the proof that S has worked off the debt. It is
clear that the evidence of S was not admitted on this point.

(M445) That in the case of some slaves their value to their master
consisted in their _mandattu_ is clear from the fact when a master sold a
slave and did not at once hand him over, the seller had to pay a
proportional amount of this fee to the buyer.(452) Of course, in
transferring a slave to another owner, the seller could not separate him
from his property. That was his own. A slave who had acquired a fair
amount of wealth, or was earning well in trade, would produce a higher
income to his master and sell for more. What was sold then, was an
interest, the master’s, in his slave’s work. Hence prices varied very
much. We are not always able to see what was the reason of the high price,
but it was evident then to those who made the bargain. An average price in
the later Babylonian era seems to have been twenty shekels, the interest
on which at the usual twenty per cent. would be four shekels. This, then,
was the annual value of a slave above his keep. If the keep amounted to
about eight shekels _per annum_, that gives the value of a slave’s work as
twelve shekels yearly. This is what an unskilled slave was worth to his
master. If, then, a man married a slave-girl, he ought to pay her master
about twelve shekels a year for his loss of her services. Of course, the
master retained his right over her, but it seems to have been a tacit
understanding that he could not sell her away from her husband. So really
what he sold was, after all, only a right to income from her husband of
twelve shekels a year. The children were also his born slaves, if the
father was his slave. We do not know how matters would be arranged if the
man was slave to one master, the wife to another. Probably this was
provided against by the master giving his slave a wife from his own maids,
or buying a slave-girl as wife for him.

(M446) It occasionally happens that we can trace the history of a
particular slave for some time. Thus, Bariki-ilu was pledged for
twenty-eight shekels to Aḫinûri, in the thirty-fifth year of
Nebuchadrezzar.(453) In the next year we find him in the possession of
Piru, his wife Gagâ, and a cousin Zirîa. What they gave for him does not
appear. But they now sold him for twenty-three shekels to Nabû-zêr-ukîn.
He must have fled from his new master, for four years later, the same
three people pledged him.(454) But he seems to have been unsatisfactory as
a pledge. For next, we find that Gagâ’s daughter (Piru having probably
died), being about to be married to Iddin-aplu, this slave was set down as
part of her marriage-portion. She gave him over to her husband and his
son. In their possession he remained awhile, but on the death of his
mistress, was handed over to the great banker, Itti-Marduk-balâṭu. These
events, extending from the thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadrezzar to the
seventh year of Nabonidus, were all put in evidence when Bariki-ilu tried
later to prove that he was a free man. He pretended to be the adopted son
of Bêl-rimâni. He had to confess that he had twice run away from his
master and had been many days in hiding. Then he was afraid and pretended
to have been an adopted son. This, if proved, would have freed him. But he
confessed that it was a pretence, and had to return to his servitude. The
case was decided in the tenth year of Nabonidus.

(M447) It seems clear that when a slave ran away to his old owners, they
did not always deliver him up again to the man who bought him of them.
They probably had to return the purchase-money. The buyer probably would
not accept him again.

(M448) One feature which the later Babylonian contracts show us for the
first time, but which probably was always in force, is the apprenticing of
slaves to a trade. Instances of this are fairly numerous. The person to
whom the slave was apprenticed was usually a slave himself. The teacher
was bound to teach the trade thoroughly. The owner of the slave gave him
up to the teacher for a fixed term of years, differing for different
trades. He had to furnish a daily allowance of food and a regular supply
of clothing. At the end of the term, the slave might remain with his
teacher on payment of a fixed _mandattu_ or income to the owner. Penalties
were fixed for neglecting to teach him properly. The trades named are
weaving, five years’ term;(455) baking, a year and a quarter;(456)
stone-cutting, four years;(457) fulling, six years;(458) besides others
not yet recognized.

(M449) The teacher had no fee, but only the apprentice’s work for his
trouble. The owner was therefore bound to allow the apprentice to remain a
fair time.

(M450) A question of considerable interest which needs to be worked out is
the relative number of slaves in the population. In early times the
impression one gets is that they were few. Even in the time of the First
Dynasty of Babylon, the evidence at the disposal of Dr. Meissner in 1892
did not allow him to exceed four as the number in the possession of one
man at a time. But since then further evidence is available. Thus we read
of twelve slaves at once, seven males and five females, given by a father
to his daughter, at Sippara.(459) In Assyrian times the number in an
average household rarely exceeds one or two, but we have as many as thirty
mentioned at one time.(460) So in later times there are generally only one
or two in a household, but the number is occasionally much more.

(M451) As to the value of a slave, we have in very early times an average
set down as twenty shekels, with examples as low as thirteen shekels. In
the time of the Second Dynasty prices varied from as low as four and a
half shekels for a maid, or ten shekels for a man, up to eighty-four
shekels.(461) The Code estimates the average value of a slave as twenty
shekels.(462) In Assyrian times the price of a single male slave varies
from twenty to one hundred and thirty shekels, but the usual price is
thirty shekels. A female slave could be had for as little as two and a
half shekels, but might cost as much as ninety shekels. A common price was
thirty shekels. In later Babylonian times also, prices vary widely, but
the commonest price and usual pledge-value was twenty shekels.

XVIII. Land Tenure In Babylonia

(M452) The idea of real as opposed to personal property is common in
Babylonian law; for we notice that in the Code, while certain persons may
inherit from the goods of their parents, they may not inherit land,
garden, or house.(463) He then had no share in his father’s house; he was
not one of the family. The distinction is important, for, as we shall see
later, the word “house” had a wider signification than mere bricks and
mortar.(464) It was the ancestral estate. Over it the family had rights.
It went back in default of heirs to the family of the last owner. We are
therefore confronted with private ownership of land, but also with a sort
of entail.

(M453) The amount of land might be increased by purchase, but there is a
strong presumption that it thus became family property and did not remain
at the disposal of the buyer. For if so, in the case above the law should
have stated that the parent could not donate land that was family
property, but might do so with what he had bought. This does not exclude
the possibility of sale. Only the family had apparently the right of

(M454) In looking back upon the primitive state of the country, its
natural features must be taken into account as helping to shape the course
of development. In such a low-lying country as the land between the
Euphrates and the Tigris, floods naturally occur every year. Every spot of
land that stood above the level of the annual floods was thereby marked
out for a residence. Throughout the literature of Babylonia the hill or
the mountain is a refuge and a place protected by the gods. But when the
floods were gone, man’s great need for his land was water. Hence
irrigation was synonymous with cultivation. The unclaimed land grew rank
with grass and natural food for cattle, but dried up to dust in the
summer. Hence the control of the flood, its diversion into desired
channels, regulation, storage, and all the processes implied by canals and
irrigation were forced upon the inhabitants of Babylonia by stern
necessity. The only alternative was to migrate with flocks and herds to
higher lands when the floods came.

(M455) Settled society was ultimately founded upon the cultivation of a
plain. Every eminence might become a hamlet occupied by the abodes of men,
whose fields were water meadows. The meadows which grew their corn lay
around the village and below its level; and beyond those which were needed
to grow crops lay the pastures. But for security the cattle and sheep must
come back, before the floods came, to the village, there to be folded and
fed, as it seems, upon straw and also grain. The land of the village
extended itself in time, as the population grew and needed more corn. More
and more of the unreclaimed land beyond the cornfields was brought into
cultivation and the flocks went farther afield for pasture. This continued
until the pastures forming the outlying ring had met the pastures of
another village.

(M456) Such is an ideal sketch of the growth of land tenure. But in
historical times this simplicity had vanished. Land was owned, not merely
held. It does not appear that pasture was owned, even as late as the First
Dynasty of Babylon. It seems that the flocks were confided to shepherds,
who were bound to bring them back from the pastures and expected to
account for all they took out and for a reasonable increase in the flock
from breeding. The pasture was common land; at any rate, to the
sheep-owners of the same village. No one claims to buy and sell pasture
land, only cultivated land, fields, gardens, and plantations, ultimately
irrigated land. But unreclaimed land, that is, such as only required
cultivation to make it fields and gardens, is often sold, or let, to be
reclaimed. Was this a trespass on the pasture held in common? If so, it
was not resented as such. We do not know yet how a man acquired a title to
such unreclaimed land. Perhaps to have brought it into cultivation
sufficed originally to establish title.

(M457) A settled hamlet soon had its temple. Some think that the god was
ideally landlord of all the village land and that every title represented
simply the rental of the land from the nominal owner. We do indeed find
the temples as owners of vast estates and, like monastic institutions in
the Middle Ages, letting lands and houses. To the temples poor men went
for temporary accommodation for sowing, for wages at harvest-time, and for
ransom from the enemy. These they had a right by custom to receive without
paying interest. Undoubtedly the temples became the first centres of
progressive civilization. The _patêsi_, as chief-priest of the god, was
the regent of the community. In process of time, as villages combined and
grew into towns and districts, the _patêsi_, in virtue of his town’s
supremacy, became the king, who, as regent of the state and representative
of the gods, owned all. We know that, in later times, the king in Babylon
was the adoptive son of Bel-Merodach.(466)

(M458) In historical times no such conditions prevail. Doubtless the
tribal ownership had become theoretically transferred to the god, or to
the town. That the town had a theoretical personality of its own is clear
enough from the oaths sworn to confirm a sale. Men swore by the gods, the
king, and also by Sippara, or Kar Sippara. But there is no indication that
points to the god, or the town, or the king as having any power to
intervene to prevent a sale, or to claim payment for consent. It is clear
that the land was sold subject to its dues, and they were many. But the
private ownership, subject to such reservation, was absolute. The one
danger to a purchaser was that the family of the seller should claim a
right of redemption and annul the sale. Against this the seller undertook
to indemnify him.

(M459) Exact statements as to the rights possessed by the family to
reclaim land sold by a member of the family are not to be found, but they
are to be inferred with certainty from a few notices which we have.
Thus,(467) a man claimed a certain plot of land as ancestral domain which
two others had sold. There are several such cases among the legal
decisions of the First Dynasty of Babylon. In most of the Assyrian deeds
of sale we have a long list of representatives of the seller, who are
explicitly bound not to interfere and attempt to upset the sale.(468)
Their right existed or they would not be called upon to enter into a
contract nor to insist upon it.

(M460) From the point of view of the ancient Babylonian, as from that of
the modern lawyer, there was a great similarity about all classes of real
property. The deeds of sale or conveyances, as well as the leases, treated
them with much the same formula. It was the land which was the main
consideration. It was as land, built upon indeed, but essentially as land,
that the house was sold. The house is rarely described by what to modern
views would be its most important features, the number of stories, rooms,
conveniences, and the like. Instead its area was stated. This is
remarkable, as we do not buy houses by the area. We need not suppose that
the building actually covered all the land sold. In fact, we often see
that it had a garden. But it was _bîtu epšu_, a “built-on plot” of land,
according to the Babylonian conveyancer. Perhaps there was in this usage a
recollection of how fast the Babylonian house of sun-dried brick sank down
to a mound of clay, perhaps, too, a far-off echo of the nomad’s scorn for
the town-dweller, in both cases a recognition that the land was the one
thing permanent, the one thing that could not “run away.”

(M461) The plot of land was the _bîtu_, Hebrew _beth_, represented by the
Sumerian _Ê_. When it had the additional advantage of a house upon it, it
was _bîtu epšu_, a “built-on plot.” Gradually the edifice, in towns at
least, absorbed the whole significance, and in common parlance _bîtu_
meant a “house,” but in legal phraseology it always retained its inclusive
meaning of the plot of land. Even as late as the Assyrian Empire it
retained some shade of a still earlier meaning, that of a plot, parcel, or
share, just what it meant when the first settlers divided the land among
them. Thus one might use _bîtu_ of a “lot” of slaves, or of a lot of land
including its slaves and cattle. That _bîtu_ is to be referred to a root
_banû_, “to make,” may still be true, though _banû_ cannot have come to
mean “build” when _bîtu_ was formed from it. If _bîtu_ was originally the
“house,” perhaps only a tent-house, then it could mean all that
constituted the house, the man’s house in a wider sense, as in tribe
names, like Bît Adini or the phrase, “House of Israel.” But _bîtu_, when
used of a house, does not carry with it the implication of bricks and
mortar, only of a fixed site occupied for dwelling. The edifice was
implied by the addition _epšu_, marking the site “built upon.” So a house
was “landed property”; land was of various sorts, one of which is “built
on land.” To be accurate one must also specify the kind of building.

The field was called _eḳlu_ (compare Acel-dama, “the field of blood”),
denoted by the Sumerian _A-ŠAG-GA_. The term does not denote open waste
land, but a cultivated plot. Indeed, it is probable that its Sumerian name
implies “irrigation.” In any case it was fenced, if only by a raised
ridge; it was cultivated and watched over; the birds were scared away,
robbers and stray animals driven off. So much at least is expressed in as
many words in the undertakings of tenants to treat a field properly. The
field was also _bîtu_ as land, usually “_bîtu_, so much _eḳlu_.”

The garden was reckoned as land, but here a fuller specification was
needed. For a plot of land, a garden, _kirû_ was not exact enough. It was
usual to designate further of what sort it was, whether vegetable garden,
orchard, or palm-grove. The scribe would even add “planted with such and
such a crop.” The term might include vineyards. In many cases the actual
number of bushes, or fruit-trees, or vine-stocks, would be named. But it
was always primarily land, and as such _bîtu_, with the qualifications

(M462) For land measures there were two systems in use, one purely areal,
the other with a reference to the average yield. In the former case the
scale of measures was discovered and formulated by Dr. G. Reisner, in the
_Sitzungsberichte Berliner Akademie_, 1897, p. 417 f., and is completely
known. In this scale _1 GAN = 1,800 SAR_, _1 SAR = 60 GIN_, _1 GIN = 180
ŠE_. We do not know how these words _GAN_, _SAR_, _GIN_, _ŠE_ were read;
they may be ideograms or Sumerian words. There was also a very large
measure of area, _3,600 GAN_, perhaps called a _karu_. Mr. Thureau-Dangin
has further shown that the _SAR_ was the square of the measure _GAR-DU_,
which seems at one time to have measured _12 U_. The _U_ is often taken to
be a cubit, but seems at this time to have been nine hundred and ninety
millimetres, which is sometimes called “a double cubit.” On these
suppositions the _SAR_ would be a square, each side measuring about
twenty-two yards, about one-tenth of an acre, or four ares on the metrical
system. But it is certain that both in early times and during the First
Dynasty of Babylon the _GAR_ was only _12 U_, and the _U_, if a cubit,
would not be much over eighteen inches. This would make the _SAR_ a square
of about eighteen feet on each side. The fact that a _SAR_ was a fairly
common size for a house seems rather against the smaller area. What is yet
wanted is some cuneiform statement of the size or area of something which
can be exactly identified and measured. With further exploration this is
almost sure to be found.(469)

(M463) The other system applied to land the names of measures of capacity
used for measuring crops. We read of so many _GUR_ and _ḲA_ of land, where
_1 GUR = 300 ḲA_, as shown by Dr. Reisner. We may guess that a _GUR_ of
land was so called because it took a _GUR_ of corn to sow it, or because
it yielded a _GUR_ of corn as an average harvest. These are mere guesses
and we must remain in ignorance until further evidence connects a _GUR_ of
land on one side with its length and breadth, or some other relation
between the _GUR_ and the _GAN_ can be deduced. Then we shall want to know
the size of the _GUR_ of corn, of which at present we have no knowledge.
But already in Susa a broken pot has been found with its original contents
marked upon it. When others are found, from which an approximate estimate
of contents can be made, and an inscription read giving the capacity, we
shall be able to make a definite statement. At present the data are
insufficient and what the metrologists write is only ingenious

(M464) A piece of land had, so to speak, an individuality of its own. Once
marked out, and that probably from time immemorial, it was rarely divided.
It seems probable that corn-land at any rate was divided into long, narrow
strips. But the plots became gradually of all sizes and shapes, as the
many plans of estates show. The lengths of the sides are usually given on
such plans, and much labor has been expended with small result on
reconciling the given dimensions with the area ascribed to the plot. But
it is certain that these were often recorded merely for purposes of
identification. The area of the field was well known, and its average crop
also, without any need of resort to calculations.

(M465) These plots often bear their owner’s name, and that long after he
had passed away. The boundary-stones of the field were sacred. Not a few
were inscribed with some sort of history of the plot. Especially was this
the case when the land was granted to fresh owners, by sale, or charter.
No inconsiderable portion of what we know of history is derived from
inscribed boundary-stones. They are the oldest monuments and rarely deeply
buried. Hence they are easy to find. They have even been brought to
London, as ship’s ballast, in times before they could be read. They would
be invaluable, if found _in situ_, for a modern survey of the country and
a reconstruction of its ancient history. As a rule they are splendidly

(M466) (M467) In ancient days great importance was attached to their
preservation. The kings taxed their powers of cursing in order to terrify
men from removing their neighbor’s landmark. The dangers to the stone
contemplated were its removal to another place, its being thrown into the
water, or into the fire, its being built into a wall,(470) being buried in
the dust, placed where it cannot be seen, put in a house of darkness,(471)
erased and overwritten with other records.(472) Akin to the crime of
encroaching upon old landmarks was that of building upon or otherwise
encroaching on the highway. To do this might subject the builder to the
danger of being hanged, as a warning on a gallows erected above his own

(M468) That the land was sold subject to certain territorial obligations,
we can glean from many hints. One of the most important is that, when a
favorite, or well-deserving official, had acquired a large estate, the
king by charter granted him an immunity from these obligations. These
charters were often inscribed on large blocks of stone or water-worn
pebbles of great size, and seem to have been set up as boundary-stones.
Some were reproduced from tablets written on clay.(474) They are very
numerous and in some periods of the history are the only monuments that
have reached us. A glance through any history of Babylonia will show the
reader how much depends on them. But here our only concern is with the
light they throw on land tenure and its conditions. One of the points
which at once becomes clear is that, although the king was representative
of the god and titular head of all the tribes, he could not appropriate
land just where he chose. Manistusu, King of Kish, when he was seeking to
acquire a fine estate to present to his son, Mesilim, had to buy land at
what seems to have been an average price. He paid for the land in corn at
three and one-third _GUR_ of corn per _GAN_, the _GUR_ being worth one
shekel of silver. This was the price. But, as was usual later in private
purchases, a present to the former owner was given. The list of these
presents is most interesting,—silver and copper vessels and rich vestments
being the chief items. Of great importance is the reference to the leading
men of each hamlet as sellers. The king’s own land was a definite area, so
definite as to be cited as a boundary.(475)

(M469) A celebrated passage in Sargon’s cylinder(476) says, “according to
the interpretation of my name, Sharru-kînu, righteous king, which bade me
observe right and justice, repel the impious, not oppress the weak; as the
great gods had bidden me, I gave money for the pieces of land, of each
city; according to written contracts, in silver and bronze, to their
owners, in order to do no injustice; and to those who would not take
money,(477) a field for a field, where they preferred, I gave.” That this
was no idle boast is proved from the tablet which records how Sargon, in
the year B.C. 713, having taken possession of some lands in Maganuba to
form part of his new city of Dûr-Sargon, found that he was displacing an
old endowment given by Adadi-nirâri to the god Ashur. It was held by a
family descended from the original recipients. Sargon increased their
holding and charged it with an increased monthly offering to the
temple.(478) He gave “field for field,” but also added largely to the
endowments. He acted much the same in Babylonia, where the Suti had
encroached upon the lands of the people. He drove out the invaders,
restored the lands, but laid them under obligations, _kidinûtu_, making
them render a monthly due to the temples, as before.

(M470) On the other hand, we find that the kings granted large grants of
land to temples and private persons. From what source these grants were
made does not appear. Probably from his own personal property. The
property so presented was free of imposts. But we may not assume that the
king was always the poorer. The beneficiary may have bought the land and
presented it to the king, to be received back free of imposts in

Thus, Nazimaruttash(479) presents a large estate to Merodach, and another
to Kashakti-Shugab, his servant. Kurigalzu(480) granted an estate to
Eṭir-Marduk for his conduct in a war against Assyria, and Bitiliashu
confirmed it. A coppersmith who fled from the land of Ḥanigalbat made a
fine specimen of his work for Bitiliashu, and the king rewarded him with a
grant of land.(481) Adadi-shum-uṣur made another grant of land to an
unknown servant of his.(482) Melishiḫu made a grant of land to his son,
Merodach-baladan I.,(483) and granted it exemption from all imposts.
Another grant he made to a servant of his.(484) So when Shamû and Shamûa,
his son, two priests of Eria in Elam, fled from their own king and took
refuge with Nebuchadrezzar I., he espoused their cause, plundered Elam,
brought back their god, Eria, to Babylon, and they having taken the hands
of Bêl, the king granted them an estate in Babylonia and freed it from
imposts.(485) Nabû-aplu-iddina granted an estate to a namesake of his,
which, however, seems to have been claimed as ancestral property.(486)
Melishiḫu granted lands to Ḥasardu, a servant of his.(487)
Merodach-baladan I. granted lands to Marduk-zâkir-shumi.(488)
Marduk-nâdin-aḫi granted Adadi-zêr-iḳisha, for his services against
Assyria, lands in the district of Bît-Ada, which seem to have been
ancestral domains of one Ada.(489) Some fragments of clay copies of
similar grants by Adadi-nirari,(490) Tiglath-pileser III.,(491)
Ashurbânipal,(492) and Ashur-eṭil-ilâni(493) are preserved in the British
Museum’s Collections from Nineveh. They all appear to record grants to
favorite officials, who had deserved well of the king.

(M471) The king also appears as not only confirming grants made by
predecessors, but as restoring ancestral property, or temple endowments,
which had come into other hands, on suit of the legal descendants of the
original owners. Thus, certain land which had come into the possession of
Târim-ana-ilishu and Ur-bêlit-muballiṭat-mîtûti, was claimed by
Marduk-kudur-uṣur in the reigns of Adadi-shum-iddina and Adadi-nâdin-aḫi,
and finally granted him in perpetuity by Melishiḫu.(494) The land which
Gulkishar, King of the Sea Land, gave to a goddess had remained in her
possession 696 years, until, in the time of Nebuchadrezzar I., the
Governor of Bît Sin-mâgir had secularized it. Bêl-nâdin-apli restored

(M472) A rather different grant was made by Nebuchadrezzar I. to
Ritti-Marduk for his services against Elam. This faithful vassal had been
governor of a district on the borders of Elam, but the privileges of his
country had been much curtailed by a neighboring King of Namar. They were
now restored and apparently augmented. They were, that the King of Namar
had no right of entry, could not levy taxes on horses, oxen, or sheep, nor
take dues from gardens and date-plantations; could not make bridges nor
open roads. The Babylonians, or men of Nippur, who came to live there were
not to be impressed for the Babylonian army. Further, the towns of the
district were freed from dues to the Babylonian governors.(496)
Marduk-nâdin-aḫi in his first year remitted some obligations on an unknown

(M473) Of another kind are the monuments recording the actual endowments
of temples by certain kings. A very fine example is the stone enclosed in
a clay coffer referring to the endowments of the temple of Shamash at
Sippara. It records the restorations made by Simmash-shiḫu,
É-ulmash-shâ-kin-shum, Nabû-aplu-iddina, and Nabopolassar at wide
intervals. There are, however, no lands concerned.(498)

(M474) A very archaic tablet in the E. A. Hoffman Collection, the General
Theological Seminary, New York City, published in the _Journal of the
American Oriental Society_,(499) which seems to be older than the
celebrated Blau monuments and which Professor G. A. Barton would date
about 5500 B.C., deals directly with a presentation of land to a temple.
In it the area of the land is given in _GAN_ and the sides in figures
only, probably denoting the lengths in _U_. Being written in very archaic,
semi-picture writing, and some of the signs not yet being identified with
certainty, it will not do to build much upon it. All the sides but one
appear to be thirty-six thousand and fifty, that one being thirty-six
thousand, while the full area is three thousand and five _GAN_. This gives
the _GAR_ as roughly = fifteen _U_.

(M475) Land was let under a variety of systems of tenure. The metayer
system was one of the most common and persistent. The use of this term is
justified by the similarity of actual cases to what is known to prevail in
Italy, under this name. It is a co-operative system. The landlord not only
allows his land to be cultivated for a consideration, but finds the means
to meet expenses. He provides bullocks, tools, seed, and many other
things, according to the usage of the locality.

(M476) In the Code of Ḥammurabi we have proof of the existence of the
system. A man finds(500) his tenant tools, oxen, and harness, but hires
him to reside on the field and do the work. Actual examples are rare among
the contemporary contracts. But Amat-Shamash, a votary, let out,

    “Six oxen, among them two cows; an irrigator, Amêl-Adadi; two
    tenders of an ox-watering machine, his nephews; three
    watering-machines for oxen; a female servant who tended the
    machines; half a _GAN_ of land for corn-growing; to Gimillu and
    Ilushu-banî. They shall make the yield of the field according to
    the average (?). They shall cause the corn to grow and measure it
    out to Amat-Shamash, daughter of Marduk-mushallim. In the time of
    harvest they shall measure out the corn to Amat-Shamash.”

In spite of several obscurities due to uncertain readings, which render
the translation doubtful in places, this must be regarded as a good
example of the kind.(501)

(M477) There are fewer data from the Assyrian period, but the frequent
loans, _ana pûḫi_, without any interest, at seed-time or harvest, may be
due to this relation between landlord and tenant.(502)

(M478) The best example is to be found in the time of Cyrus,(503) where a
certain Shulâ proposes to take the fields of Shamash, in the district of
Birili, in the county of Sippara. It was sixty _GUR_ of corn-land. The
temple was to find him twelve oxen, eight laborers (literally irrigators),
three iron ploughs, four harrows (or hoes), and five measures of
seed-corn, which also included food for the laborers and fodder for the
oxen. At the end of the year he was to hand over three hundred _GUR_ of
corn as the temple share.

Another good example from the time of Artaxerxes I.(504) relates to the
assignment of two trained irrigation-oxen and seven _GUR_ of corn for seed
by a member of the Murashû firm to three brothers, who undertake to pay
seventy-five _GUR_ of corn _per annum_ for three years. It does not appear
that they hired the land as well. Here the hirer returns more than ten
times his loan as yearly rent.

(M479) The usual method of hiring land was on shares. The Code
contemplates that this would be for a proportion fixed by contract, either
one-half or one-third of the produce going to the owner, in the case of a
field or irrigated meadow and two-thirds in the case of a garden.(505) The
difference was due to the fact that in the former case the owner furnished
the land only, possibly with its water-supply; in the latter case he also
furnished the plants. In the contemporary contracts we have but few cases
where the crop is shared. In these cases the owner and tenant share
equally.(506) The tenant was also to erect a _manaḫtu_, or “dwelling.” It
was needful that he should reside on the property to take care of the
crop. This was stipulated for and the clause added that he should hand
over the dwelling to the landlord. For such dwellings compare the “cottage
in the wilderness” of Isaiah 1. 8.

(M480) The tenant, of course, was bound to cultivate the land. The duties
which fell to his share were “to plough, harrow, weed, irrigate, drive off
birds,”(507) but these duties are but rarely stipulated. The Code protects
the tenant, however,(508) from any unfair compulsion in the matter, so
long as the landlord gets his fair rent.

(M481) Fields were also let at a fixed rent, usually payable in kind. The
contracts of the First Dynasty of Babylon give a large number of examples
of this sort. The kinds of field are distinguished as _AB-SIN_, or _šerû_,
and _KI-DAN_. The average rent for the former was eight _GUR_ of corn per
_GAN_; of the latter, eighteen _GUR_ per _GAN_. The former class may
include land with corn standing upon it, or simply corn-land; the latter
land as yet unbroken, or fallow. The latter class seems to have been much
more fertile.

This rent later became more fixed because the average yield per area was
set down in the lease and the yield in corn was estimated in money
according to the ordinary value of corn. Thus the rent is stated to be so
much money.

(M482) Land was often let to reclaim, or plant. The Code lays down as law
what was evidently a common practice. In the case of waste land given to
be reclaimed the tenant was rent free for three whole years. In the fourth
year he paid a fixed rent in corn, ten _GUR_ per _GAN_.(509) Land let to
be turned into a garden was rent free for four years. In the fifth year
the tenant shared the produce equally with the landlord.(510)

Contracts illustrating this form of lease are quite common in the time of
the First Dynasty of Babylon.

(M483) Freedom from various obligations might be granted by royal charter.
In fact, it is from these charters that we know of the existence of the
obligations for the most part. The land so freed was called _zakû_. Land
sold is often said to be _zakû_, and we may suppose it was so because it
had once been freed by charter. But this is not quite certain. The charter
was granted to a person and his heirs. Doubtless, as long as they held it,
it would be free, but it is not clear that they could sell it as freed
forever. But we only know that some land was free. On whom then fell the
obligations? So far as they were due to the king, they may have been
abolished, but such obligations as repairs of the canal banks must surely
have been taken up by others. If not, the granting of charters must have
been a fruitful source of trouble and distress to the land.

(M484) The obligations were of various kinds. Some were directly
extensions of the duty of a tenant to exercise proper care of the estate.
A very prominent duty was the care of the canals. To see that they were
kept in proper order was the mark of good government. To allow them to
fall into disrepair was probably the result of weak government, or the
exhaustion due to defeat in war. But it very soon led to the
impoverishment of the country. The Code contemplates the care of the canal
banks, or dikes, as the duty of the land-owner adjoining.(511) It holds
him responsible for any damage done to the neighbors’ crops by his neglect
to close a breach, or leaving the feed-pipe running beyond the time needed
to water his field. But the canal was also liable to silt up or become
choked with water-weeds, and the care of dredging it out was that of the
district governor. He might carry out this duty by summoning the riparian
owners to clean out the bed of the canal,(512) or by a levy for the
purpose. Soldiers, or at any rate, forced labor, might be used.(513)
Later, in the time of Nebuchadrezzar I., we find men, hired for the
purpose, called _ḳallê nâri_, or canal laborers.(514)

XIX. The Army, _Corvée_, And Other Claims For Personal Service

(M485) There was always a militia, _Landwehr_, or territorial levy of
troops. Each district had to furnish its quota. These are called _ṣâbê_,
or _ummanâte_. We have no direct statements about them, but a great
multitude of references. They were called out by the king, _adki
ummanâtîa_, “I called out my troops,” is a stock phrase. The calling out
was the _dikûtu_. Not easily to be distinguished from this was the
_šisîtu_ of the _nâgiru_. That officer seems to have been an incarnate War
Office. It is not clear whether he always acted solely for military
purposes. The “levy” seems to have been equally made for public works. The
men were “the king’s men,” whether they fought or built. The obligation to
serve seems to have chiefly affected the slaves and the poorer men, the
_muškênu_. In the Code of Ḥammurabi(515) it was punishable with death to
harbor a defaulter from this “levy.”

(M486) Claims might also be made for work on the fields. This was called
_ḫubšu_ and we know little about it more than that Sargon II. charged his
immediate predecessors on the throne with having outraged the privileges
of the citizens of the old capital Asshur, by putting them to work on the

The obligation to provide a soldier for the state was tied to a definite
plot, or at any rate, to all estates of a certain size. The _ilku_, or
obligation of the land, was transferred with it. In Assyrian times, the
military unit was the bowman and his accompanying pikeman and
shield-bearer. The land which was responsible for furnishing a “bow,”
_ḳaštu_, in this fashion, was itself called a “bow” of land.(516)

(M487) Some cities claimed for their citizens a right of exemption from
“the levy.” In Sargon’s time, we find that cities like Asshur had been
subjected by Shalmaneser IV. to this service, and Sargon restored their
rights. He freed them from _dikûtu mâti_, _šisîtu nagiri_, and _miksu
kâri_.(517) The city had not known the _ilku dupsikku_. Later, we find an
officer, Tâb-ṣil-ešarra,(518) complaining that, when he was desirous of
doing some repairs to the queen’s palace in Asshur, of which city he was
_šaknu_, Sargon’s freeing of the city had rendered the _ilku_ of the city
unavailable to him.(519)

In the so-called “Tablet of warnings to kings against injustice,”(520) the
cities of Borsippa, Nippur, and Babylon are freed from _dupsikku_ and
_šisîtu nâgiri_. This was drawn up in the time of Ashurbânipal, but
whether it was original with him is not clear. At any rate, later, under
Cambyses and Darius, these cities were again subject to the “levy.”

(M488) This obligation to perform forced labor, or serve in the army, fell
on the agricultural population primarily. Indeed, it seems that the men
who discharged it might be called upon to do field labor, and it was an
aggravation of the insults put upon the old capital Asshur, that its
citizens were set to do field labor.(521) On all country estates, there
were a number of serfs, _glebae adscripti_, sold with the estate, but not
away from it. These, as the Ḥarran census shows, often had land of their
own. But they were bound to till the soil for the owner. They included the
_irrišu_, or (M489) irrigator, the husbandman in charge of
date-plantations, gardens, or vineyards. From these were drawn the men who
served in the army as “king’s men,” and on public works. They seem to have
been liable to five or six terms of service, season’s work probably, or
campaigns, and then were free. At any rate, the heads of families seem to
be free. The daughters as well as sons were subject to service, probably
to repair to the great weaving houses in the towns. We read of these
weaving establishments from early times. M. Thureau-Dangin has called
attention to their occurrence in the Telloh tablets of the Second Dynasty
of Ur.(522)

The amounts of wool assigned to different cities to work up are the
subject of many tablets.(523) In the great cities, the temples or the
palaces were the home of this industry; but quantities of stuff were
served out under bond to private establishments to be worked up and
returned or paid for. The work on these industries constituted the _amat
šarrûti_, or obligation to serve as “king’s handmaid.” It lay also upon
slaves. It is doubtful whether the obligation included domestic service.
From the second Babylonian Empire we have a host of tablets relating to
these weaving accounts. They will be found fully discussed by Dr.
Zehnpfund in his _Weberrechnungen_.(524)

(M490) The married slave, even in the city, usually lived in his own
house. His children were born to slavery, but were usually not separated
in early life from their parents. They entered their master’s service, and
might be sold when grown up. They might learn a trade and so earn a
living, paying a fixed sum to their master. They might become agricultural
laborers, and so attain a fixity of tenure as serfs. But on all these
subject classes, slaves, whether domestic or living out, serfs, and
artisans, there lay the obligation to do forced work for the king. After a
certain number of terms of service, they were exempt.

(M491) The obligations to public institutions which existed in Babylonia
in later times have not yet been made the subject of a thorough study.
Kohler and Peiser have noted several of the more important indications,
and to them we owe what has been done up to the present.

(M492) The most noteworthy obligation was what they call the _ḳablu_. This
has the same sign as so commonly used in the phrase, _ḳablu u taḫâzu_, for
“war and fighting.” But it is also the ideogram for _šisîtu_, the call of
the _nâgiru_ to war or the corvée. There is no doubt that it indicates the
levy for war. The _rikis ḳabli_ was the money due from certain persons to
furnish a soldier for the war. Thus we have seventy shekels paid to a
certain man, in the fifth year of Darius, to go to the city Shiladu.(525)
Again, a certain Bêl-iddin had to find twenty-five shekels to pay a
substitute to go for him to the presence of the king.(526) Another man
paid the wages of a soldier for two years.(527) This was an _æs militare_.
In another case we find the _rikis ḳabli_ for a horseman for a certain
troop, for three years. It consisted of an ass worth fifty shekels,
thirty-six shekels for its keep, twelve coats, twelve breastplates (?),
twelve _mušapallatum_, twelve leather _mîṭu_, twenty-four shoes, thirty
_ḲA_ of oil, sixty _ḲA_ of bdellium sixty _ḲA_ of some aromatic, all as
equipment, _ṣiditum_, to go to the camp (?). This may be described as _æs
equestre_.(528) So(529) the burgomaster of Babylon paid _rikis ḳabli_ for
three years for a certain soldier, receiving the amount from single
citizens. How this arose, what dues it was a composition for, and whether
it antedates Persian times, are details not yet clear.

(M493) Besides the personal obligation to contribute “work,” _dullu_, a
liability for contributions in kind, _ilku_, dues from the land, existed.
We are in the dark as yet as to the exact form these took. In the Code,
the _ilku_, or duty from an estate held as the benefice of an office, was
the fulfilment of the functions of the office.(530) The word does not seem
to denote contributions. But the word literally is what “comes” of any
holding, income, or what is “taken” from it. In a charter of
Melišhiḫu,(531) we have a long list of powers which could be exercised by
the king’s officials over land. They are levies or forced contributions of
wood, crops, straw, corn, wagons, harness, asses or men, rights to
abstract water from canals, to drink from the water, to pasture herbage,
or set on the royal flocks or herds, to pasture sheep, to construct roads
or bridges. These are referred to as either a _dullu_ or _ilku_. The
governor is named as likely to demand right of pasture for his flocks and
herds or work for roads and bridges. But we are left without information
as to the proportion these levies bore to the property. All we can
conclude is that the king had a right to impress such things or such
labor. Few, if any, other documents are so full and explicit as to the
dues exacted from the land, but all these dues are mentioned again, one or
two together, in almost all the charters.

(M494) This is one of the most important dues from land. It was paid to
the temple. Some are inclined to see it in the _niširtu_, from which many
charters exempt land; but others consider this merely a word for
“diminution,” or levy in general. There is no means of deciding yet as to
the time at which the tithe first became a fixed institution.

(M495) There seems to be no trace in Assyrian times of any payment of a
tithe. The tithe _rab ešrite_, which has been rendered “tithe collector,”
is more likely to be a commander of ten, a decurion.(532)

(M496) The evidence for the existence of tithe in the later Babylonian
period is very full. All seem to have paid it, from the king downward.
Nabonidus paid, on his accession, to the temple at Sippara, five minas of
gold. It was a very large sum, but may have been a sort of succession duty
rather than an income-tax.(533) It is curious that we also find Belshazzar
named as paying tithe, due from his sister, and that when the Persian army
was already in possession of Sippara.(534) This shows that the Persians
were friendly invaders and respected the rights of private property and of
the temples. Belshazzar also paid tithe, through his major-domo, to Bêl,
Nabû, Nêrgal, and Bêlit of Erech.(535)

(M497) It was paid for a group of persons by one of their company, or
perhaps we might say that certain persons collected tithe from their
district and paid it in. Thus we have a document recording the payment by
one man of the tithe due from a number of shepherds, cultivators, and
gardeners, in the city of Maḫâz-Shamshi.(536) In the time of Artaxerxes
I., Hilprecht has shown that in some cases “the bow” of land also paid

(M498) Tithe was usually paid in kind, on all natural products, corn, oil,
sesame, dates, flour or meal, oxen, sheep, asses, and the like, but also
was liquidated by a money payment. The tablets relating to it are very
numerous, but in nearly every case amount to no more than a receipt for
its payment.

Tithe became property apparently and was negotiable. So at least appears
from Nebuchadrezzar 270. We thus have property in income from land.

(M499) The various dues, _miksu_, seem to have been a sort of octroi duty.
They were levied at the quay, _miksu kâri_, at the ferry, _miksu nibiri_.
They are only mentioned in the charters, granting exemptions from them, to
certain estates or their owners. Closely related to these were the
_mikkasu_, which seem to be some sort of due or tax levied upon all
_naturalia_, and even upon the dues which were paid into the temples. We
have frequent mention of them in later times, in the temple accounts.

XX. The Functions And Organization Of The Temple

(M500) The temple exerted an overwhelming financial influence in smaller
towns. Only in certain large cities was it rivalled by a few great firms.
Its financial status was that of the chief, if not the only, great
capitalist. Its political influence was also great. This was largely
enlisted on the side of peace at home and stability in business.

(M501) The importance of the temple was partially the result of the large
dues paid to it. These consisted primarily of a _ginû_, or fixed customary
daily payment, and a _sattukku_, or fixed monthly payment. How these arose
is still obscure. They were paid in all sorts of natural products, paid in
kind, measured by the temple surveyor on the field. Doubtless, these were
due from temple lands, and grew out of the endowments given to the temple.
These often consisted of land, held in perpetuity by a family, charged
with a payment to the temple. The land could not be let or sold by the
temple, nor by the family. Such land was usually freed from all other
state dues. The endowment was thus at the expense of the state. An
enormous number of the tablets which have reached us from the later
Babylonian times concern the payment of these dues. They mostly consisted
of corn and sesame, or other offerings, and the tablets are receipts for
them. In Assyrian times the _ginû_ also included flesh of animals and
birds. In some few cases we have long lists of these daily dues,
accompanied by precious gifts in addition. The gifts were perishable, but
were accompanied by a note specifying them, and the good wishes or purpose
of the donor.(538) These notes were preserved as mementos of the donor’s

(M502) Temples, however, also possessed lands which they could let. They
also held houses which they might let.(539) In fact, the temples could
hold any sort of property, but apparently could not alienate any. Some
lands the temple officials administered themselves, having their own
work-people. We have mention of these lands from the earliest times
(_e.g._, the very early tablet referred to above),(540) right down through
the Sumerian period. We have almost endless temple accounts, many of which
relate to the fields of the temple, giving their dimensions and situation,
with the names of the tenants, or serfs, and the rents or crops expected
of them. Then, in the First Dynasty of Babylon, we find the lands,
gardens, courts, _et cetera_, of the gods named. We no longer have the
temple accounts, but the private business transactions of the citizens,
whose neighbors are often the gods themselves, as direct land-owners. In
Assyrian times the mention of temple lands is very common. In later
Babylonian times there is abundant evidence of the same custom. Dr. Peiser
devotes a considerable portion of the introduction to his _Babylonische
Verträge_ to this subject. How the temple became possessed of these lands
we do not know. We do know of large gifts of land by kings, rich
land-owners and the like, but we do not know whether originally the temple
started with land. When a king speaks of building a temple to a god, we
may understand that he really rebuilt it, or erected a new temple on the
site. Before kings, the _patêsis_ did the same. But did a _patêsi_ precede
a temple or _vice versâ_? and did the first founder, or the town, grant
the first temple lands?

(M503) The temples had further a variable revenue from private sources.
There were many gifts and presents given voluntarily, often as
thank-offerings. The temple accounts give extensive lists of these from
the earliest times to the latest. They were of all sorts, most often food
or money. But they were often accompanied by some permanent record, a
tablet, vase, stone or metal vessel, inscribed with a votive inscription.
These form our only materials for history in long spaces of time.

(M504) Sacrifices were, of course, largely consumed by the offerers and
those invited to share the feast. But the temple took its share. The share
was a fixed or customary right to certain parts. For one example, the
temple of Shamash at Sippara had its fixed share of the sacrifice, taking
“the loins, the hide, the rump, the tendons, half the abdominal viscera
and half the thoracic viscera, two legs, and a pot of broth.” The usage
was not the same at all temples. In the temple of Ashur and Bêlit at
Nineveh we have a different list.(541) For the parallels with Mosaic
ritual, and the Marseilles sacrificial tablet, see Dr. J. Jeremias, _Die
Cultus Tafel von Sippar_. The list was drawn up by Nabû-aplu-iddin, King
of Babylon B.C. 884-860.(542)

(M505) This was of course a variable source of income, depending upon the
popularity of the cult and the population of the district. It was also
perishable and could not be stored. It is certain that in some cases this
source of income was so large that the temple sold its share for
cash.(543) This must be carefully distinguished from the _ginû_ and
_sattukku_ mentioned on page 208, which were constant and regular

(M506) The temple was also a commercial institution of high efficiency.
Their accumulations of all sorts of raw products were enormous. The temple
let out or advanced all kinds of raw material, usually on easy terms. To
the poor, as a charity, advances were made in times of scarcity or
personal want, to their tenants as part of the metayer system of tenure,
to slaves who lived outside its precincts, and to contractors who took the
material on purely commercial terms. The return was expected in kind, to
the full amount of advance, or with stipulated interest. Also in some
cases, especially wool and other clothing stuffs, in made-up material.
Definite fabrics, mostly garments and rugs or hangings, were expected
back. Some quantity was needed for garments and vestments for temple
officials, some for the gods. But a great deal was used for trade. We have
references to temple treasuries and storehouses from the earliest times to
the latest.

(M507) The temples did a certain amount of banking business. By this we
mean that they held money on deposit against the call of the depositor.
Whether they charged for safekeeping or remunerated themselves by
investing the bulk of their capital, reserving a balance to meet calls,
does not yet appear. But the relatively large proportion of loans, where
the god is said to be owner of the money, points to investment as the
source of a considerable income. Here a careful distinction must be made
between the loans without interest, or with interest only charged in
default of payment to time, and those where interest is charged at once.
The latter are banking business, the former were probably only the
landlord’s bounden duty to his tenant by the custom of his tenure. The
temples also bought and sold for profit.

(M508) The greater officials, of course, appear often at court. The king
was accompanied by a staff of priestly personages. They frequently appear
in the inscriptions and on the monuments. His court reproduced that of the
gods above. The officials in one answered, man for man and office for
office, with those above.

(M509) The king, by his religion, could do nothing without religious
sanction. The support of the priestly party was essential. In the more
unsettled times they were to a great extent king-makers. To estrange the
priests was a dangerous policy always. Besides their immense wealth they
had the sanctions of religion on their side. To all men certain things
were right, and the priests then had what right there was on their side. A
king was under obligation to come to Babylon to take the hands of
Bêl-Merodach each New Year’s Day. If he did not, he not only offended the
priests, but also committed a wrong in the eyes of his people.

(M510) But the kings were often inclined to rely upon conjurers,
soothsayers, magicians, and the like. It would be a fatal mistake to
confuse these with the priests. The best kings were those who set their
face against magic and supported the more rational local or national
worships. Sargon II., Esarhaddon, Nebuchadrezzar II., are examples of the
latter, while Ashurbânipal is a great example of the magic-ridden kings.
Ḥammurabi apparently strove to put down magic. The eternal struggle
between the “science” (falsely so-called) of magic and divination on the
one hand and the higher claims of religious duty on the other, is the key
to much that is misunderstood in the politics of the time. It would be too
much to say that the priestly party were always on the side of morality,
or that they were not often allied with the soothsayers, but it is certain
that what ethical progress there was, was due to them. In religious texts
alone have we aspiration after higher ideals. Who can fancy a wizard
troubled about ethics?

(M511) The priest proper, _šangû_, was a person of the highest rank. He
appears very little on the whole. His chief function was to act as
mediator between god and man, as over the sacrifice offered.

(M512) He had public duties outside his priestly office. He inspected
canals.(544) He often acted as a judge.

(M513) There was a college of priests attached to some temples, over which
was a _šangû maḫḫu_ or “high-priest.”

(M514) The general idea that _mašmašu_, “charmer”; _kalû_, “restrainer”;
(?) _maḫḫû_, “soothsayer”; _surru_; _lagaru_; _šâ’ilu_, “inquirer”;
_mušêlu_, “necromancer”; _âšipu_, “sorcerer”; all properly “magicians,”
are subdivisions of the general term _šangû_, is yet to be proved. Except
when, in rare cases, the same man was both, the scribes carefully
distinguish them. The idea seems to arise from the same modern confusion
of thought which starts by calling an unknown official first a eunuch,
then a priest. We do not yet fully know the functions or methods of these
officials. They remain to be studied.(545)

(M515) The _ḳêpu_, or “warden,” was over the temple servants. He let the
temple lands. He inspected the temple slaves and work-people.(546)

(M516) The _šatammu_ was over the revenues. This name is clearly connected
with the _šutummu_ or storehouse.

Certain officials, as surveyors or measurers, scribes, _et cetera_, may
have been of priestly rank and held these offices as well. But as a rule,
a man appears with an official title, without our being able to see
whether he was a priest or not.

(M517) The temple kept its artificers, who had board and wages. It had its
serfs, or land laborers, not actual slaves, but free except for their duty
to the temple. They lived on the produce of their holdings, subject to a
fixed, or produce-rent.

There were temple slaves, who performed the menial offices without wages,
but were clothed and fed.

Within these classes doubtless came some of those who appear as
slaughterers, water-carriers, doorkeepers, bakers, weavers, and the like.
A temple also had its shepherds, cultivators, irrigators, gardeners, _et
cetera_; but it is far from easy to determine the exact degree of
dependence in each case.

The temple even had its own doctor.(547)

(M518) In all these cases we may compare the monastic institutions of the
Middle Ages. We are not as a rule able to see whether they were “lay
brothers,” or had become “clerics,” as well as “clerks.” But there is no
sign of celibacy. Even the priests were married.

Attached to the temple were votaries.(548) In not a few cases the above
offices might also be held by women, even such an office as surveyor might
be held by a woman. There were many female “clerks.” All the temple staff
were maintained by the temple, boarded, fed, and clothed, at the temple
expense. But private persons might undertake to keep a definite temple
official, perhaps were bound to do so, by the terms of some

(M519) The right to serve in certain offices was hereditary in some
families. As these multiplied, the office was held in turn by members of
the family for a short time, so that it may well be that an individual
priest only exercised his functions for a very limited part of the year.

(M520) Great families took their clan name from their office; for example,
the Gula priests in later Babylonian times, or as the _mandidu_,
“measurer,” or “surveyor,” attached to a temple, became a clan name.

(M521) Hence arose property in temple incomes. That these were
considerable we know from the lists of temple accounts. These form the
bulk of the earliest documents. From them we learn that each day certain
officials received certain allowances, mostly food and drink. From later
documents we learn that men apparently not connected with the temple had
become lay impropriators of the temple allowances originally intended only
for temple officers.

(M522) The right to receive these was a valuable and negotiable asset.
Thus we read of a right to five days per year in the temple of Nannar,
sixteen days per year in the temple of Bêlit, and eight days in the shrine
of Gula as being the _namḫar_ of Sin-imgurâni and Sin-uzili.(550) This was
confirmed to them by a legal decision in the time of Rîm-Sin. We read also
of a right to act as _šatammu_, for six days per month, in the temple of
Shamash.(551) In later times the _mandidûtu_, or surveyorship, to the
temple of Anu, Ib, and Bêlit-êkalli, exercised in the temple, storehouse,
and field, was sold, shared, and pledged.(552) Another such right was
given on condition that it was not sold for money, granted to another,
pledged, nor diminished in any way, and should pass to the possessor’s
daughter on his death.(553) The porter’s post at Bâb Salimu was given as a
pledge. Shares in these incomes were regularly traded in, sold, and

(M523) The position of a priest, or other official, carried with it an
endowment. On this point the Code is very explicit for the cases of the
_ridû ṣâbê_ and the _bâ’iru_, officials charged with the collection of
local quotas for the army and public works. They were recruiting
sergeants, press-gang officers, and post-office officials. The office was
endowed by royal grant. They were liable to be called on in the discharge
of their duties to make lengthy journeys and be absent from home for a
length of time, even years. In their absence, their duties could be
delegated to a son, if old enough, otherwise a substitute was put in. They
could claim reinstatement within a certain time. But their endowment was
inalienable from the office and could not be treated as private property.

(M524) Quite similarly the great state officials in Assyria had endowments
which were not personal, but went with the office. Thus we learn from the
Ḥarran census that certain lands paid rent or crops to certain offices.

(M525) In later times the rights to income are very prominent, perhaps
solely in virtue of the class of documents which has reached us.
Occasionally we are able to learn exactly what they were. For example, the
surveyor for the temple of Anu had a right to two _GUR_ of corn, two _GUR_
of dates, fifty _ḲA_ of wheat, six _ḲA_ of sesame, on every eighteen _ḲA_
of land. When the corn and dates were harvested, on one _GUR_, six _ḲA_
were levied.

(M526) It is not clear that a temple had any direct duties to the state.
Peiser thinks that they collected dues for the state. Certainly they had
attached to them the king’s storehouses. Certain amounts were paid in for
certain state officials. In the Code of Ḥammurabi we see that a temple
might be called upon to ransom a member of the town who had been taken

(M527) In certain circumstances the king’s officials might borrow of the
temples.(554) Thus Nikkal-iddina borrowed of the temple of Bêlit of Akkad
a vessel of silver, weight fifteen minas, when the Elamites invaded the

(M528) Some kings laid hands on the treasures of the temple for their own
use. Doubtless this was done under bond to repay. The cases in which we
read of such practices are always represented as a wrong. When
Shamash-shûm-ukîn sent the bribes to the King of Elam, Ummanigash, he
spoiled the treasuries of Merodach at Babylon, of Nabû at Borsippa, and of
Nêrgal at Cutha, and this was reckoned one of his evil deeds, which led to
his downfall. But if he had been successful and had repaid his forced
loans, doubtless it would have been excused, and his memory would have
been blessed.

(M529) Much confusion is introduced by the fact that we do not know when a
temple official acts in his own private capacity and when on behalf of the
temple. The deeds, which do not expressly state that the money or property
belongs to the god, or the temple, may often be only concerned with
private transactions, but were preserved in the temple archives on account
of the official position of the parties. But there are plenty of cases,
where no doubt exists, to justify us in regarding the temple as acting in
all the capacities of a private individual, or a firm of traders.

XXI. Donations And Bequests

(M530) Alienation of property might be complete or partial. Of complete
alienation we may instance donation, sale, exchange, dedication,
testament. The latter was rarely complete in Babylonia. Examples of
partial alienation are loan, lease, pledge, deposit.

(M531) We may note as a common mark of all these transactions the care
taken to fix and define ownership. The transfer is “from” A to B. In early
times the property is usually first stated to belong to A. Then he is
often said in Assyrian times to be the _bêlu_ of it, its full and
legitimate owner. The new owner had to be satisfied that A was competent
to part with it. This is often made clearer by saying, in later times,
that no one else has any claim upon it. Hence arise guarantees against
defeasor, redemptor, _et cetera_. This subject of guarantees is most
interesting, though often obscure. The investigation of the varied rights
which were likely to interfere with freedom of transfer is most important.

(M532) In certain cases we shall find a sort of hypothecation of property,
as when it is assigned as security, but not given up. The possession is
not free, but it is not alienated. We have also a _donatio retento
usufructu_, which only gives a reversion of the property. Here also
certain rights may be reserved against the ultimate possessor.

Another interesting point is that property may be credited to a man, and
set off against other liabilities, so that he may never actually be in
possession, but only nominally passing it on to others, and even,
eventually, it may come back to the first owner, who may never part with
it at all.

(M533) Undoubtedly men were at liberty in daily life to make presents one
to another. But the rights of the family were so strong that for the most
part all the property of the parents was jealously regarded as tied to the
children, or other legal heirs. When a man died, his property was divided
according to a rigid law of inheritance. When a woman left her father’s
house to be married, the father gave her the share of his goods which fell
to her, without waiting until his death to divide his substance. In this
case she had nothing further at his death. But the property was not her
husband’s, though he and she shared its use; it was entailed to her
children. If she had none, it went back to her father’s house: to her
brothers, if she had any, or to her father’s other heirs. Unless a man
legally adopted his natural sons, they did not inherit. Hence neither man
nor woman was wholly free to give. But, hedged about with consents and
reservations, donations took place.

(M534) We have a great variety of types of donation, not always easy to
classify, and often obscure, in some details. The common characteristics
are that deeds of gift were duly executed, sealed, and witnessed; and that
the consents of the parties, whose expectations were thus diminished, or
restricted, had to be obtained.

(M535) A daughter might be portioned off for marriage and this involved a
gift, which might be treated as a donation, but rather comes under the
head of marriage-portion, in the chapter on marriage. Precisely the same
portioning took place when the daughter either became a votary or was
dedicated to the service of a god. Such gifts may be included here. They
usually contain a list of property: sharing houses, land, slaves, jewels,
money, clothes, household furniture, even pots of honey or jars of wine.
As a rule, in our present state of knowledge, nothing that could pretend
to be an accurate translation can be given of the items of such a gift,
only a general idea of the nature of the whole. Such a gift, however,
evidently set the lady up in an establishment of her own, with all she
could require for maintenance and comfort for the rest of her life.

(M536) Here these donations split up into separate classes. The recipient
might have only a life interest in her gift, or it might be hers outright.
The latter case could not be presumed. The heirs of her parents, “her
father’s house,” would maintain their claim at her death, unless they had
specially contracted to waive it. Then the clause was inserted that she
might “give her sonship to whomever she pleased,” _ašar eliša tâbum
aplûtsa inadin_.(555) By “sonship” is meant “heirship.” Such cases do not
seem common and are probably to be explained as due to the fact that as a
votary she had no legitimate heir. It is important to note that there is
no hint that, if she died without heirs, the temple would inherit.

(M537) A modified freedom is allowed by a father who gives his daughter
house, land, sheep, slaves, and the like, but limits her power of gift to
her brothers. But among them she may “give it to him who loves and serves
her.”(556) It is assumed that one of her brothers will care for her and
manage her estate and be rewarded by the reversion of it. As a rule, it is
only a life interest which the recipient has.

A different sort of gift is where the donor reserves to himself a use of
the property as long as he lives, or stipulates for a life allowance from
it. These are usually accompanied by formal adoption. The recipient is one
who has not already a claim to inherit, but undertakes the care or
maintenance of the donor. Such gifts are best classed under adoption, even
where the fact of adoption is not stated. When a parent makes an
arrangement of this kind with a son or daughter, these were possibly
adopted by a previous act. At any rate, it seems likely that such a child
was either unmarried or again free to wait upon the donor. But whatever
the actual state of relationships, we find a mother giving property to a
daughter, reserving the use of it as long as she lives.(557) Similarly a
brother undertakes to give one shekel _per annum_ to his brother. Here the
grounds of the undertaking are not stated, but a contract to do this is
duly sealed and witnessed.(558) Further, maintenance is stipulated for,
though the relationship is not stated, nor grounds given. This may not be
based upon a gift, but follow the order of some judge, for other

(M538) The husband might settle upon his wife a fixed amount of property.
This was frequently done and was called the _nudunnu_. It might include a
house, two maids, clothes, jewelry, and household furniture.(560) Here the
sons are expressly said to have no claim, she may give it to whoever
serves her and “as her heart desires.” Probably she was a second wife
without children, and is thus secured a life of comfort and the faithful
service of her step-sons. As a rule these gifts are best considered under
the head of marriage, but they were also free gifts on the donor’s part.
The wife in any case had her right to inherit with her step-sons, if her
husband made no such settlement.

(M539) The consent of the legal heirs of the donor to such alienation of
their reversionary rights was needed. Thus in one case, when a man gives
his daughter a house, his son appears as the first witness.(561) A father
and his son give their daughter and sister a house, which she is free to
give to her son, “whom she loves.”(562) Had the house merely come to her
as her share in the usual way, it must have been shared by her sons. If
she had none, then her brother would be the next heir. That she can leave
it as she will must be a matter of legal instrument. The brother must
consent to the exception to the rule.

(M540) In Assyrian times, donation is rarely represented within the group
of documents which have reached us. Here is one case:(563)

    The household which Bêl-nâ’id gave to his daughter, Baltêa-abate.
    A house in Nineveh, before the great gate of the temple of
    Shamash. (Then come the servants, a _šaḳu_ or head man, a
    washerman, a _šaknu_, and others, male and female, in all eleven
    souls.) Dated the fourteenth of Adar, in the Eponymy of
    Marduk-shar-uṣur. Nine witnesses.

This may be donation, or adoption, or even a marriage-portion.

At all times, a difficulty arises from the phraseology of the deeds of
gift. When we are told that “A has given B such and such things,” we do
not know the ground of the gift. “To give for money,” _nadânu ana kaspi_,
is the usual expression for “to sell.” In the older documents _šarâḳu_,
“to present,” often occurs, but has in most cases the derived technical
sense “to dower,” or “give a marriage-portion.” Hence, we are not able to
judge whether what appears as “gift” may not really be “a sale,” or some
payment meant to complete the portioning off of a daughter, on marriage or
taking vows.

(M541) There are, however, a large number of deeds of gift which have
reached us from the Second Babylonian Empire. The characteristic formula
may be taken to be _ina ḫûd libbišu iknukma pâni ušadgil_, “in the joy of
his heart (_i.e._, of his own free will, implying that no consideration
was taken _per contra_) he has sealed and placed at the disposal of.” As a
rule, we may suspect these to be “gifts” to which the recipient had a
right. Thus, mother to son,(564) brother to sister,(565) man to wife and
daughter,(566) mother to daughter,(567) are not free from suspicion. But
when a man gives maintenance to wife and son,(568) brother gives dower to
sister,(569) father-in-law gives son-in-law arrears of his daughter’s
dower,(570) and wherever there is a hint that the “gift” was a _nudunnû_,
or a _šeriḳtu_, we may regard the case as not properly “donation,” but

(M542) The following example shows the limitations on free gift that still
remained in later times.(571) Zêrûtu had married and had a son,
Shâpik-zêri. Then he had an intrigue with Nasikâtum, daughter of the
Sealand scribe, who bore him a son, Balâṭu. He gave Balâṭu a house, but
did not adopt him. After Zêrûtu died, Shâpik-zêri demanded the house as
his father’s heir. The judges gave it to him and also the deed of gift.

(M543) The dedication of land to a temple or of a child to the service of
a god may be considered as examples of free gift; but they are of a nature
deserving separate consideration. We have already noticed some cases of
such donations by the kings. We know from the Code that a father might
dedicate a child as a votary,(572) and he might portion that child; but
this did not bring a free gift to the temple, for the family had the
reversion of the votary’s property.

As a further example of dedication by a private owner, we may take the


    As temple of the god Lugalla (the king) and his consort Shullat,
    Nûr-ilishu, son of Bêl-nada, has dedicated to his god one _SAR_ of
    improved land, for his life (salvation), has devoted it to his
    god. Pî-sha-Shamash shall be the priest of the temple. Nûr-ilishu
    shall lay no claim to the priesthood. The curse of Shamash and of
    Sumulâ-ilu be on him who disputes the settlement. Seven witnesses.

This is total alienation. The donor is not making an indirect provision
for himself, but waives all claims to be the chief priest of the temple.

(M545) Here is an example of a dedication of children:(574)

    Tablet of Ishtar-ummi and Aḫatâni, daughters of Innabatum.
    Innabatum, daughter of Bur-Sin, has dedicated them to Shamash. As
    long as Innabatum lives, Ishtar-ummi and Aḫatâni shall support
    her, and after Innabatum, their mother [is dead], no one among her
    sons, their brothers, shall have any claim on them for anything
    whatever. They have sworn by Shamash, Malkat, Marduk, and
    Apil-Sin. Fifteen witnesses (of whom the first two are probably
    the brothers, the rest females, probably all votaries of Shamash
    and members of the convent.)

In another case, a mother dedicates her son to Shamash,(575) with the
stipulation that the son shall support her as long as she lives.

(M546) In Assyrian times we have an example(576) of a dedication of a son
to Ninip, by his mother, with consent of her brothers and their sons. A
father also dedicates his son to Ninip(577) for the well-being of
Ashurbânipal, King of Assyria. This is interesting as showing that the
dedicator acquired merit, which he could transfer to another. Both tablets
are defective. In another case, Aḫi-dalli, the lady governor of one
quarter of Nineveh, purchases a large estate and presents it to some god
“for the health of the king.”(578) Votive tablets giving the presentation
of various articles to some god are common enough at all periods.

(M547) Testamentary devolution of property was not the rule in Assyria or
Babylonia, where the law of inheritance was so firmly fixed that it would
be naturally illegal. As a rule, children did not inherit under their
fathers’ will, but by right. However, the Code allows a father to give his
married or vowed daughter power to leave her property as she will,(579)
and it is probable that he had the same power over at least some of his
property. The very frequent cases of adoption, where the adopted child
becomes heir, on condition of supporting the parent as long as he lives,
and the cases of gift _retento usufructu_, are a sort of testamentary
disposition of property.

This developed with time into something very like testament. But we always
have to bear in mind that conditions may have been understood which are
not actually expressed.

(M548) Some examples from later Babylonian times will serve to illustrate
how near these transactions came to testament. A very interesting case is
where a son, probably childless, if not unmarried, and perhaps not in good
health, gives his father his property. The document is very involved, but
the chief points are these: A married B and they had a daughter C, who
married D. The son of C and D is the testator. He leaves to his father D
all the property which he inherited from A and B, which they had left to
their daughter’s son. It consisted of a house, fields, and slaves. He
leaves it to his father “forever,” only he is to retain the enjoyment of
it as long as he lives. He therefore expects his father to survive

Here is another interesting example:(581)

    The division which A made with his sons B and C. The benefice of
    dagger-bearer (official slaughterer) in the Ishḫara temple he
    assigns to B. The benefice of the shrine of Papsukal in the temple
    of Bêlit-shami-erṣiti, situated on the bank of the canal, and the
    sown corn-field on the Dubanîtu canal he gave to his younger son
    C. All his property out in business he assigned to his mother and
    his two sisters. Certain dates in the possession of two of his
    debtors he gave to his two sisters. A fugitive slave, not yet
    recovered, to his mother and sisters. The house, which by a former
    deed he had given to his mother and sisters, shall be theirs
    according to the former deed. As long as his mother lives, she
    shall enjoy the property formerly assigned her. The benefice of
    the dagger-bearership in the temple of Ishḫara, which he had
    formerly assigned to his mother, she has freely intrusted to his
    son B. As long as she lives, B and C shall live in the house with
    her. The income of his mother his sons shall enjoy with her. She
    shall give marriage-portions to his sisters, her daughters, from
    her own marriage-portion.

This is very like a last will and testament. The man clearly expected to
die shortly. He had married and had two sons, but seems to have lost his
wife. He had evidently brought his mother and sisters to live with him. He
provides for his sons, his mother, and sisters. Evidently his mother is
the guardian of the boys. She is expected to leave the boys all the
property that was his and to dower the sisters from her own fortune.

XXII. Sales

(M549) Alienation of property in perpetuity was a matter for serious
consideration, where all property was as much that of the family as of the
individual. A change of ownership, particularly in the case of land or
house, also directly concerned the neighbors. Hence the deeds of sale are
imposing documents. Whether the object sold was a piece of land, a house,
or a slave, the same general treatment was accorded to it.

(M550) There were the same formalities as in all deeds. First the
purchaser approached the vendor and there was an interchange of ideas,
often through a third party, prolonged over a considerable space of time.
When etiquette had been satisfied and all the preliminary haggling was
over, the parties agreed upon a scribe, who was made acquainted with the
terms of the sale, already verbally agreed upon, and he set down in the
imperishable clay the legal instrument which should bind the parties to
their contract forever.

(M551) Undoubtedly both parties took a copy, and it seems clear that a
third was deposited in the temple archives as a sort of registration of
title. It seems probable that each party sealed the copy held by the
other, but this surmise awaits confirmation. As a rule, the same seal
seems to have been used for all copies, and the witnesses in early times
also affixed their seals. A more exhaustive study must be made before this
can be regarded as certain. Even where duplicates exist in our museums, it
has been usual to publish only one.

(M552) As a rule, the scribe followed a very definite plan. First he made
clear the identity of the property. This was the specification. In the
case of land, neighbors were set down, boundaries given, in some cases the
size of the plot. In each sale the specification is very important. The
personal identity of the parties was usually sufficiently fixed by
appending to their names those of their fathers. In many cases, the office
or rank held by a party is added. Occasionally the name of the
grandfather, or clan-father is added. When either party was a stranger,
his nationality, or city, or tribe, is given. As a rule, the same
information is attached to the names of witnesses. These notes of personal
identity are very valuable, for they furnish means for reconstructing long
genealogies, and they throw much light on the intercourse of varied
peoples. Babylonia seems always to have had a very mixed population.

(M553) Having made it impossible for any mistake to arise as to the
property sold or the parties concerned, the scribe proceeded to guard
against errors regarding the nature of the transaction. The house or other
property “was sold,” “the money paid,” “in full,” and so on. Then he
sought to make it clear that there could be no withdrawal from the
bargain, nor after-claims raised. There was danger that the family might
put in a claim to the property. An illustration of this is a suit brought
to reclaim a house sold, which was the claimant’s reversion—an actual
redemption of ancestral property. From such perils the buyer was protected
by heavy penalties on the seller, who in fact engaged to indemnify him.

(M554) These and many other complicated questions must have long been the
subject of consideration in Babylonian legal circles. As a consequence,
the scribe usually drew up the deed, in set terms, with a formula
consecrated by long use, every turn of which was important.

The following is a good example of the way a scribe drew up a deed of


    Tappum, son of Iarbi-ilu, “has bought two _GAN_ of field, in the
    Isle, next to the field of Ḥasri-kuttim, and the field of
    Sin-abushu, son of Ubar-Ishtar, from Salatum, daughter of Apilia,
    the _GI-A-GI_ (?) and has paid its full price in silver. The
    business is completed, the contract is valid, his heart is
    content. In future, man with man, neither shall take exception. By
    the name of Shamash, Marduk, Sin-mubaliṭ and the city of Sippara,
    they swore.”

Then follows a list of about twenty witnesses, the names of whose fathers
are also given. Usually the date is added. Here, however, it is either
omitted or has been lost.

(M556) In this particular case the words within quotation marks are
written in Sumerian. The variations are slight as a rule, but enough to
show that the scribe understood what he wrote and could make correct
changes when needful. The use of such a large amount of Sumerian in these
deeds, along with Semitic names and specifications, has often been
compared to the retention of Latin words in the body of legal documents in
European countries, almost to the present day. It will be noted that this
portion constitutes the formal body of the document, and might well have
been kept ready written, blanks being left to fill in the names and
specifications. It is not, however, easy to find proof that this was done
in early times.

(M557) Somewhat later, in the time of the First Dynasty, a number of these
Sumerian words and expressions are replaced by their Semitic equivalent.
Indeed, some deeds are Semitic only. We can by comparison make a fairly
complete study of Sumerian legal terms. To some extent this was already
done by the scribes who drew up the series of phrase-books called _ana
ittišu_. But many new forms occur in these deeds.

(M558) To translate all the contract-tablets would be useless, for all the
deeds of sale are exactly alike, except the names of parties, witness, or
neighbors, and the specification of the property. The repetitions were
necessary, for each deed required an exact statement. But it is
sufficient, having once noted the style of document, to call attention to
the peculiarities of the specifications.

(M559) (M560) Very interesting are the references to earnest money, or the
gift presented to close the bargain. As early as the time of
Manistusu(583) we find not only a price paid, but also a present given to
the seller as a good-will offering. These are of a most varied and
valuable nature.(584) As already pointed out by Meissner,(585) in the
purchase of a slave for four and a half shekels, a little present of
fifteen _ŠE_, or one-twelfth of a shekel, was thus added. Likewise when
another slave and her baby were sold we find that in addition to the price
of eighty-four shekels, one shekel is thrown in as a present.(586) I do
not recall the occurrence of this custom in Assyrian times, but in the
later Babylonian documents it is common. There it is often referred to as
the _atru_, or “over-plus.” Thus we find that in the sale of a house in
the time of Nebuchadrezzar III.,(587) besides the “full agreed price,”
_šîmu gamrûtu_, of half a mina of silver, the buyer gave one shekel of
silver, _kî atri_, “as an addition,” and “a dress for the lady of the
house.” The whole payment thus made of thirty-one shekels was called the
_šibirtu_. So in the time of Darius (?) we find that, in addition to the
full price of three minas, five shekels of silver, the buyer adds, _kî
atri_, six shekels of silver and a dress for the lady of the house, making
three minas, eleven shekels of silver as the _šibirtum_,(588) or simply to
a price of two minas of bright silver he adds two shekels, _kî pî atar_,
making a _šibirtu_ of two minas, two shekels of bright silver.(589)

(M561) Equally interesting are the sums charged as fees to the scribe.
This was paid to him expressly for obtaining the seller’s seal or
nail-mark as a conclusion of the contract.(590) Thus at the end of a deed
of sale of a single male slave, executed by three owners by affixing three
impressions of the same seal, and drawn up by one scribe, we read “Seven
shekels of silver for their seal.” The price was about one hundred and
forty shekels. Thus the scribe received a fee of five per cent. on the
sale price.(591) The ratio was not constant. It might be as low as two per
cent. Thus in the case of a sale of a slave by two owners, who made four
nail-marks in lieu of seals, we read “one mina of bronze for their
nail-marks.” There was but one scribe, and the price was fifty minas of
bronze.(592) Hence we cannot think that this fee was paid for the scribe’s
seal, as some have done. The seal, or nail-mark, was not “the
authenticating subscription by the notary,” but by the seller.

(M562) In Assyrian times the deed of sale was a much longer document. The
same general form is observed, but the document starts with a heading
giving the information that the seller had sealed the document, or, in the
absence of a seal, had impressed his nail-mark. No one but the seller ever
seals or impresses his nail-mark. The seller is usually described as the
_bêlu_, or “legitimate” owner of the property made over. Then first after
the seal, or in a space left for it, comes the specification of the
property. Next it is stated that the buyer has made a bargain and taken
the property for so much. But the bulk of the document is devoted to a
contract that the seller, his representatives, heirs, and assigns, shall
never rescind the sale, or bring any suit to recover possession, under
specified and heavy penalties. The wording of these passages recalls most
strikingly the imprecations of the kings in their charters upon those who,
in after times, should dare to render their gifts inoperative. This grand
style is one of the many indications that for the Assyrian period most of
the deeds we have were drawn up on behalf of the king’s household.

(M563) It is usually stated that the purchase is complete, the full price
paid and delivery of possession made. But in some cases this was a mere
conventional statement, and both payment and delivery were delayed. There
was to be no return of the goods, no turning back from the bargain; the
pleading of a suit of nullity of sale is expressly barred. It is of
interest to notice who were regarded as competent, or likely to take
action to recover the property. Sons, grandsons, brothers, brothers’ sons,
are all named. The enumeration clearly included females of the same
nearness of kinship. Sisters are actually named. All these relatives are
included in the term “his people.” In some cases the _šaknu_, or governor
of the district, is named, especially where slaves are sold, or the estate
involved the transfer of serfs. The _šaknu_ clearly had rights over lands
and slaves within his district. The transfer of property might act
injuriously to his rights. It was usual to stipulate that he had no such
rights. How they had been annulled we do not know. Perhaps by some
previous charter conferring exemption. The _ḫazânu_ also appears to have
had the right to intervene. The country seems to have been split up into
districts which were called on to furnish fifty units, each consisting of
an archer and a spearman or shield-bearer. Hence, the _rab ḫanšâ_, or
“captain of fifty,” was really in command of a hundred men. Whether this
obligation lay on a group of a hundred families or not, it is clear that
the transfer of ownership of land might lead to embarrassment of the
official. Hence, the _rab ḫanšâ_ was likely to intervene also. There was
service on public works also concerned in the matter. Whatever official
was _bêl ilki_, or had right to “the levy,” might intervene. The chief of
a certain district was called a _rab kiṣir_; he was also commander of a
section of the army, and he had the right to intervene. Other officials as
the _šâpiru_, _ḳurbu_, are named, but in all cases the nature of the claim
must have been similar. The object of the buyer was to stipulate that the
seller should hold him exempt from such claims. How this could be done
does not appear.

(M564) The oath to observe the contract made between the parties still
appears, but is not common. As before, these oaths are of interest, for
the light which they throw upon local cults. The gods were invoked as
being the avengers of wrong. The decision of the king was also still
regarded as a source of vengeance, since he was bound to see right done.

(M565) The penalties most commonly invoked were payments to the treasury
of a temple. These were in the nature of forfeits. The sum set down in the
deed rarely bears any exact relation to the value of the property, but is
merely a large amount. Usually, a sum in both silver and gold is stated,
but no relation between the relative worths of the metals can be deduced.
The forfeit might take the form of presenting two or more white horses to
the god. In a few cases, the penalty consisted in the devotion of a child,
usually the eldest son or daughter, to a god. The verb used for “devoting”
a child literally means to “burn.” This seems to point to an earlier
sacrifice of children by fire. But variants show that it was now used in a
more general sense of dedication. The “cedar wood of Ishtar” is named as
the spot where a daughter was to be dedicated. Further, other objects
might be dedicated as a forfeit. A great bow of bronze to Ninip of Kalḫu
is named.

A deterrent penalty was to return the price “tenfold” to the seller. Once
or twice the penalty is “twelvefold.” A further penalty was to pay a
talent of lead to the governor of the city or state. Very curious is the
penalty of being required to eat a mina of some food, possibly a magical
compound, and drink an _agannu_ pot of some drink. That this drink was
taken from a bowl inscribed with magical formulæ seems to be the best way
of reading the signs. The penalty was, therefore, an ordeal. Then, if the
contention was right, the plaintiff would be immune; if he was merely
litigious, perhaps he would be sick or even die.

(M566) Finally, it is often laid down that, if either party (especially
the seller) shall attempt to bring a suit about the property, the judge
shall not hear him, or if he insists, he shall lose the action. Throughout
it is clear that the buyer tries to make the seller contract to waive all
rights to recover his property, but he holds to certain rights of his own.
Thus, in the sale of slaves, a clause is frequently inserted which claims
a hundred days within which to set up a claim to repudiate the purchase,
on the ground that the slave is afflicted with certain diseases, the
_ṣibtu_ and _bennu_, the character of which is not exactly known. Also he
bargains that a blemish may be at any time an excuse for annulling the
bargain. These really amount to demanding a guarantee from the seller that
the slave was free from disease or other undisclosed weakness.(593)

(M567) The later Babylonian tablets do not illustrate much that is of
great interest. They often record the initial verbal discussion. Thus we
find that when A bought of B, some phrase like the following is recorded:
A said thus to B: “Give me thy property and I will give thee so much
silver.” Then we read that “B listened to him and gave A his property and
A gave him so much silver.” It is a curious little touch of

(M568) Sales usually were for the full price, or the agreed price, paid
down at once. This is expressly stated. But in the later Babylonian times
we have some examples of deferred payment, which may also have been common
during earlier periods. Thus, a man sold a slave for fifty shekels and
received twenty-five shekels as advance price. The rest was to be paid
later.(594) The payment was probably made soon. Thus we find a lady
selling four female slaves to a certain man and taking a bond of him to
pay four shekels, the balance of the price, on the second of Kislev, a
week later.(595) The interval might be two days only;(596) but sometimes a
much longer period of grace was allowed—as much as two months and seven
days—although the purchase was taken away at once.(597)

(M569) It is occasionally stipulated that if the purchase-money is not
paid by a certain date, the object purchased shall be returned. Thus S,
having sold B some slaves, took a bond of him that, if B did not pay in a
week, he would return them.(598)

(M570) A long retention of the thing purchased—especially when it was
profitable—without payment, was of course a loss to the seller. Hence, we
find the seller of a slave taking a bond of the buyer that, if he did not
pay on the date fixed, he should return the slave and his _mandattu_, or
the income which a slave paid to his master.(599)

(M571) A distinct case of fraud occurs(600) in the sale of a slave
belonging to A by his brother B without A’s knowledge. To make the matter
worse, B had the contract drawn up in A’s name. This was doubtless
represented to be a case of agency, but there is no conclusive evidence.

(M572) One of the earliest inscriptions, the stele of Manistusu, records
the purchase of large estates to form a possession for his son Mesalim,
afterwards King of Kish. The whole inscription is splendidly published in
photogravure in the _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_, Tome II., pp.
1-52. It is divided into a number of sections each recording a separate
purchase. One example will suffice as characteristic of all:(601)

    A field of seventy-three _GAN_, its price being two hundred and
    forty-three and seven-fifteenths _GUR_ of corn, at the rate of one
    shekel of silver a _GUR_ of corn; price in silver, four minas,
    three shekels, and one “little mina,” the price of the field, and
    half a mina, six shekels and a fraction of silver, as a present to
    close the bargain; one garment for A, son of B, in presence of C,
    priest of Zamama (god of Kish); one garment for D, son of E.
    Total, two garments present for the field. Total, two men serfs of
    the field and food and money for the sons of C, priest of Zamama.

(M573) Here are many noteworthy pieces of information. The price of corn
is fixed with relation to silver. It remained the same down to late
Babylonian times. A present was given in addition to the price, as in many
sales even to the latest times. The serfs go with the land. Certain food
and money allowances are reserved to the priest C and his descendants.
This was probably a territorial charge. Many other points of interest are
furnished by the other sections. Thus, among the presents given are
numerous vessels of gold, silver, and copper. The garments are of various
kinds. The men who receive presents do not appear to be merely the
sellers, but also elders of the city or district. This indicates a tribal
or district right of control over the alienation of land. The boundaries
of the estates are often given and are of great interest for topography. A
number of persons are named as witnesses to the separate sales. In one way
or another some five hundred persons and about forty places are named.
Over forty titles or names of professions are given. Among them we note
many familiar in later times, the _abrakku_, _nagiru_, _patêsi_,
_Šakkanak_, as well as a king. We see already judges, merchants, scribes,
irrigators, boatmen, carpenters, singers, shepherds, seers, branders, as
well as slaves. We read of sheep, asses, goats, oxen. And all this from
one inscription. It is a fine example of the kind of information this
class of documents may afford. Not least in importance is the fact that
many Semitic, as well as Sumerian, names and words occur.

(M574) In the case of landed property the deeds of sale usually specify
its position. In the case of fields and gardens four neighbors are often
specified. Their plots of land then completely enclosed the plot
concerned. What rights of access to such a plot existed does not appear,
but where the boundaries were low mounds or ridges, it may be assumed that
the tops of these were common to all for access and carriage. In towns,
more usually three neighbors are named, the fourth side is often said to
be on the street. Sometimes four neighbors are given for a house, but then
an exit, _mûṣû_, is specified, which doubtless means a right of way
through, or past, another house to the street. When more than four
neighbors are named, it is probably the case that on one side the plot was
conterminous, at least partly, with two of them. Very commonly only two
neighbors are given, one each side. We may then presume that there were
streets or lanes both front and back. If we could press the term _bîtu_ to
mean “house,” we might conclude from many cases that the old Babylonian
cities contained streets of houses, which were one conterminous block of
buildings. But they seem in very many cases to have had some open ground,
and often gardens were attached.

(M575) These boundaries are of great interest both from the point of view
of population and geography. Were we able to consult all the documents
which were once stored in the archives of one great temple, we might map
out a city and assign each plot to its owner; and then extend our map and
the names of owners to the fields and plantations which lay around the
city. For outside the city walls the _ugaru_ or town-land extended to a
considerable distance from the city walls. We may even soon be able to
determine what was the approximate extent of this margin about the city, a
belt of land often called a _ḳablu_ or “girdle.”

(M576) Usually the plots are said to be in a city whose name is given.
Thus we conclude the close proximity of Laḫî, Ishkun-Ishtar, Malgia,
Ḥalḫalla, to Sippara. Indeed, they were probably conterminous with it.
Often the plot is stated to be in some quarter, or ward of the city. For
the most part the names of these wards, as for example Gagim, Karim, are
difficult to understand. Why or how they obtained these names we cannot
tell. It is noteworthy that one ward was called Amurru, “the Amorite
land.” Much has been made of this by Professors Hommel and Sayce, but we
are still far from clear ideas on the point. With respect to other
indications of locality, it must be noted that they are usually at the end
of the first line at the right-hand top corner of the tablet, and have
suffered defacement more often than any other detail, so that they are
often illegible.

(M577) From many considerations it appears that most of these plots were
rectangular, but it is curious to note that many plans of houses and
fields exist which show that this was not always the case. Perhaps it was
the irregularity of the outline which made plans necessary and they may be
an indirect witness to the rarity of such a feature.

(M578) As a rule the private houses seem to have been small and to have
had a few small rooms. The palaces, or mansions of the great, had much
more extensive conveniences. One reads of several specially defined rooms,
but their names do not as a rule tell us much of their use. Wash-houses,
shops, stables, granaries, and vacant plots, as well as gardens and
orchards, are often attached. Apparently one had to leave the house to
enter these. The houses were built of brick and their roofs were supported
by strong beams. In many plans, while the doorways for internal
communication are carefully marked, there seems to be no access from the
street. Perhaps this is a peculiarity of the architect’s ideas of a plan,
the door to the street being understood. At any rate, doors, bolts, posts,
and a lintel are frequently named. These were often put in by the tenant
and, like the beams, taken away by him. A door might be pledged alone. But
it is possible that some houses had no door proper, being entered by steps
leading to the roof. This may be the explanation of the oft-mentioned
_mûṣû_ or right of way out, either between, through, or over, other house
property. When a house had other houses touching it on each of four sides,
something of the kind was necessary.

Probably the house did not usually have an upper story; but, perhaps, as a
remarkable exception, an “upper house” is occasionally mentioned. There is
reason to think that some were in the form of a quadrangle, around an
inner court; as there are wells, or fountains, mentioned as being “within
the house.” In some parts of the city, at any rate, the block of buildings
was continuous. But there were many streets, and canals also, in the
cities. The streets, _suḳê_, were as a rule only narrow lanes or passages.
As shown by the excavations at Nippur, houses stood for a long time. When
first used, the floors were above the street level, but after the
footpaths had been some time in use, they rose to the level of, and
finally above, the floor, so that there were steps leading down into the

It seems evident that great efforts were made to provide drains for the
foundations; and perhaps other sanitary appliances were found in the
better class of houses. But we must await more extensive exploration, not
necessarily in the more important mounds, before we are able to give a
clear account of an ancient Babylonian house.

(M579) In the sale of a house it was often stated that the house was in
good condition.(603) In this respect many particulars might be recited, or
the whole summed up in one concise phrase. In the early Babylonian
documents no good example is yet published in which all the points are
mentioned. We must refer to an example of Assyrian times,(604) where all
the chief points occur together. Early Babylonian tablets mention nearly
all of these items, but only one or two at a time. Thus we have a note
that the beams and doors are sound. Wood was scarce, and a tenant usually
stipulated to take away the beams and doors, if he put them in. The fact
that a man might pledge a door(605) suggests that the modern theory of
interchangeable parts was anticipated in Babylonia, so that a door would
as a rule fit any house. What the beams were for is far from clear. To
carry screens or curtains of skins over a central court seems most likely.
Actual roof-beams were probably included in the “roof” itself, which is
mentioned separately from the beams. The threshold, or perhaps, rather,
the lintel of the doorway, may be meant; and, with the door-posts, be
included under beams. The bolt or crossbar of the door is often associated
with these beams.

(M580) Streets are more frequently named as boundaries of a house than in
any other connection. The “great street,” or “wide street,” occurs
continually. Whether this was the main street of Sippara, or only one
principal thoroughfare, is not always clear. Streets are often named after
a god; thus the street of Lugal-amgaba, of Ishtar, of Bunene, of
Bêlit-nuḫshi occur. They were named after people; Immerum the king, or
Kât-Ninsaḫ, whose house adjoined the street named after him. The gate of
Sin and his garden are named. Canals, especially the _Nâr tupsarrûti_, the
_Nâr Bilîa_, are named. Roads, as that to Ishkun-Ishtar, are sometimes

(M581) The following is a good example of a deed of sale at the time of
the First Dynasty of Babylon,(606) translated literally and illustrating
the usual order of words:

One and two-thirds _SAR_ of land built on,
next to the house of Nabi-ilishu,
and next to the house of Ilushu-ellatzu;
upper end, the house of Ḥaiabni-ilu,
its exit to that of Immarum,
_šar irbitim_
which is his own also;
from Nabi-ilishu,
Lamazi, the votary of Shamash,
daughter of Kasha-Upi,
by her written order
has bought,
its full price
in cash has paid.
In future, party with party,
they shall not dispute.
By the name of Shamash, of Marduk,
and of Apil-Sin they have sworn.

Then follow the names of five witnesses, but there is no date given.

(M582) The house was in Sippara, since it is known that Nabi-ilishu
resided there.(607) The “exit,” that is to say, the front door, opened on
the road to the house of Immarum. The scribe means to say that
Ḥaiabni-ilu, who was a neighbor, owned the house of Immarum. It appears
that Immarum was _šar irbitim_, “king of the four quarters,” a title often
borne by Babylonian kings. There is a great probability then that Immarum
was no other than the Immerum, once King of Sippara, in the reign of
Sumu-lâ-ilu. It is not necessary to suppose him still alive. This deed was
executed in the reign of Apil-Sin, whose father, Ṣâbum, had reigned
fourteen years after the death of Sumu-lâ-ilu. Further, one of the
witnesses, Sin-ublam, is said to be a son of Immerum.

Thus we may conclude that Immarum, or Immerum—the difference in spelling
is slight for these times—King of Sippar, bore the title of “king of the
four quarters,” and as such was still remembered in Sippara. The exact
meaning of the term has been disputed, but Sippara was a fourfold city:
Sippar the great, Sippar Amnânu of the goddess Anunitum, Sippar Edinna,
and Sippar Iḫrurum are named in the tablets of this dynasty. Perhaps the
four quarters of Sippara are meant.

Lamazi, the buyer, daughter of Kasha-Upi, votary of Shamash, bought
another house in the nineteenth year of Sinmubaliṭ,(608) borrowed a
quantity of lead in the first year of Ḥammurabi,(609) and bought a female
slave in a year of Ḥammurabi’s reign, the date of which is not yet
fixed.(610) The name Lamazi is common and was borne by several votaries of
Shamash whom we know to be daughters of other men than Kasha-Upi. But she
may well be the same as the lady who figures without such marks of
identity in several other documents. For example, she is named as being a
neighbor of Ilushu-ellatzu.(611)

(M583) The phrase _ina šapiriša_, “by her order,” occurs often. It implies
that Lamazi acted through an agent, when she borrowed the lead, she acted
through a _mâr šipri_, a messenger and agent. She bought her other house
in the same way. This does not imply any disability on the part of women
to enter into business, for they were as free and competent to act as men.
Nor does it arise from her being a votary of Shamash, for these ladies are
concerned in by far the larger part of the transactions recorded at
Sippara. It is merely the fact that on these occasions, as was frequently
done, Lamazi employed a business agent, who is not named. Her father,
Kasha-Upi, is referred to again as buying a house from the sons of
Nabi-ilushu,(612) where we learn that the latter was a son of
Shamash-ina-mâtim and brother of Kasha-Upi. Lamazi was therefore a niece
of Nabi-ilushu.

(M584) It will be noted that the price paid for the house is not given.
This is often the case. But more commonly the price is named. As Dr.
Meissner has already pointed out, prices varied greatly. Houses in a small
provincial town like Tell Sifr naturally did not bring the same price as
those in Sippara. But variation was probably even more due to situation
and size. The lowest price per _SAR_ was four shekels, the highest thirty
shekels. This gives a wide margin.

(M585) While there are many examples of the sale of houses in Assyrian
times, they do not as a rule exhibit any important peculiarities. The best
example comes from Erech(613) and may be taken as a representative

    The house of Ina-êshi-eṭir, son of Nabû-eṭir, a well-built house,
    furnished with door-frames, a roofed house, the door and crossbar
    of which are firm, in the quarter of Bît Kuzub-shamê-erṣiti, which
    is in Erech; upper side next Sulâ, Nabû-nâṣir and Bêl-aḫê-erba,
    sons of Eṭeru; lower side next Ereshu, son of Shama; upper end
    next Ṣillâ, son of Nabû-aḫiddin; lower end next Ereshu, son of
    Nabû-bêlâni; on each side the house of Ina-êshi-eṭir, son of
    Nabû-eṭir, more or less, so much as there is, for one mina fifteen
    shekels of silver, as price, he has intrusted to Ereshu. It is
    given, received, paid for, freed. An exception to the sale cannot
    be taken, there is no going back, neither shall implead the other.
    Hereafter, in future, in days to come, neither brothers, sons,
    family, relations on either side of the house of Ina-êshi-eṭir
    shall arise and lay claim or cause claim to be laid on this house,
    shall alter or complain saying [the usual pleas are understood
    here but omitted]. If so, he shall pay twelvefold. At the sealing
    of this tablet were present [then follow the names of five
    witnesses]. Dated in the twentieth year of Ashurbânipal.
    Ina-êshi-eṭir has impressed his nail-mark in lieu of a seal.

(M586) This example contains a full description of a house. The
specification is rarely so full. But doors are always named, as many as
six, in one case. Most of the Assyrian deeds of sale mention various
adjuncts of the house. Thus the _tar-baṣu_ or “court” is named. This was
perhaps an attached walled enclosure.

It is the name given in the Code to the fold where sheep and oxen are
kept.(614) Vines might grow in it,(615) and butter was kept there. A _bît
kutalli_, or out-house, is named. Often _bît rimki_, or “wash-house,” is
also mentioned. This was a chamber within the house, and may be rather
meant for lustration, than for ordinary washing. One house had three of
these rooms.(616) Sometimes there was a _bûru_, a “well,” or cistern,
within the house.(617) A “shop,” or _bît ḳâtâti_, was often attached.(618)
Stables, _bît abusate_, are named.(619) What is meant by _bît irši_ is
difficult to determine, perhaps some chamber fitted with beds and
couches.(620) The _bît akulli_ had a well in it, but what it was is not
clear.(621) The _bîtu elîtu_(622) may be an “upper story.” If so, most
houses were one-storied only.

(M587) Another interior apartment is called a _kimaḫḫu_. This has usually
been taken to be a “tomb.” We know that the old Babylonian kings were
buried in the palace of Sargon. But this was when the palace was no longer
the abode of the living. Ashurbânipal’s charter to his faithful general
and tutor-in-arms, Nabû-shar-uṣur,(623) seems to contemplate that
general’s being buried in the palace, though this is not certain. However,
the explorations of Nippur demonstrate the existence of vaults for burial,
built over with brickwork. It may be that such vaults did exist within the
house, and were sold with it.

A “portico,” _bît mutirrêti_, is named once.(624) Beside the “great
house,” _bîtu dannu_, or _bitannu_, a “second house,” _bît šanû_, is
mentioned. The exit from the house, _mûṣû_, a way to the street, was often
named, being very important where the house was bounded on four sides by

(M588) Most of the houses, of which we have deeds of sale, were situated
in Nineveh itself. Occasionally, the house is shut in by more than three
others, most often only by three. Then the fourth side is said or implied
to be on the street. Hence, we may be sure that in parts of Nineveh, there
were continuous blocks of houses, on each side of a street. Sometimes,
however, we have a garden, or orchard, as one boundary.

(M589) Contrary to the practice in Babylonia, the size of the house is
rarely given. We have the size of the _bîtu akulli_ given, in one
case,(625) as forty-three cubits long and twenty cubits broad. What seem
to be the dimensions of an ordinary house were twenty-two by fourteen

(M590) Houses in Assyria sold for from half a mina up to twelve minas; but
as long as we are so ignorant of the form, nature, and dimensions of the
house and its adjuncts, the information is of very little interest.

(M591) A number of other buildings or parcels of land were sold with
houses or separately. Thus, we read of a _papaḫu_, or chamber, which was
beneath an adjoining beer-shop.(627) The beer-shop is often mentioned, and
was a state-regulated institution.

(M592) A term which was long somewhat of a puzzle, the _ki-gallu_, usually
written _Ê-KI-GÀL_, or _Ê-KI-DAN_, is shown definitely by the Code(628) to
be a plot of uncultivated land. This might be rented for cultivation and
was not necessarily poor land, for it was expected to yield ten _GUR_ per
_GAN_. But it might also lie in a city bounded on four sides by
houses,(629) or, as often, by three houses and the street. It was then, of
course, a building site. Its price was usually about two shekels per
_SAR_, but might be as high as eight shekels per _SAR_.(630)

(M593) Another common object of sale was a building called _Ê KISLAḤ_,
shown by the Code(631) to be really a “granary,” or barn, read _maškanu_.
These are usually in the city, and the prices paid for them varied from
one-third of a shekel(632) to fifteen shekels(633) per _SAR_. They might
be surrounded by houses on all four sides, or by a canal, road, and

(M594) These examples serve to show that _bîtu_ as often denoted a “plot”
of land as a “house.”(635) In Assyrian times we find the same usage. A
fairly common object of sale is what I take to be a “fuller’s field,” or a
“bleaching ground,” _bîtu ḳaḳḳiri pûṣê_. It was usually in the city, of
small size, given in cubits each way, or a trifle over a homer in area. It
was near a stream. It sold for a very high price. Once we find half of it
used as a garden. It seemed to have been fenced in. Unfortunately, no one
example is perfectly preserved; and the deeds are of no special interest
beyond the peculiar nature of the plot.(636)

(M595) The gardens in the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon are
generally said to be planted with dates, and sold for “full” price. Once
two shekels are given for a garden of fifteen _SAR_.

(M596) There are not many examples of these sales in Assyrian times, but
they give some welcome information. There is nothing peculiar about the
sale formula. The only interest is in the specifications. The garden is
usually said to be planted with the _iṣu tillit_, almost certainly “the
vine.” Hence, we may regard them as “vineyards.” The number of plants in
them is often given, being as high as two thousand four hundred.(637) Of
other plants grown in a Babylonian garden we can recognize with more or
less certainty in The Garden Tablet,(638) garlic, onion, leek, kinds of
lettuce, dill, cardamom, saffron, coriander, hyssop, mangold, turnip,
radish, cabbage, lucerne, assafœtida, colocynth.

Other gardens are said to be _kirû urḳîtu_, “vegetable gardens.” In later
times the date-plantations are continually in evidence. Beyond the
specification, “planted with dates,” and certain obscure references to the
condition of the crop at the time of sale, there is nothing to be noted.

(M597) The sales of fields are very numerous. They were usually situated
outside the city walls, in the _ugaru_, or townland. They were not,
however, reckoned outside the “town.” For the town extended beyond its
walls, like a parish in England; and was bounded, as a rule, by adjoining
towns. In the case of Sippara, many of these _ugarê_ are named; but as a
rule, the names do not explain themselves. Thus, Azarim, Ḥiganim, and
Shikat Malkat may be named after persons or temples. Other names, like
Shutpalu, Nagû, Iblê, Tapirtum, may well be significant. Certainly,
Ebirtim appears to mean “across” the Euphrates. Once the field is said to
be in Sippara,(639) once in Ḥalḫalla,(640) but we cannot press these
statements to mean “within the walls” of those cities. Usually, the
boundaries of a field are four other fields, with now and then a road, or
canal. The price per _SAR_ varied from one-thirtieth of a shekel(641) to
more than a mina. Very frequently, indeed, the price is simply said to be

(M598) The fields in Assyrian times are often mentioned. Nearly always
when a field, _eḳlu_, is sold, it is somewhere else referred to as _bîtu_,
or plot, usually of so many homers in size. There is nothing distinctive
about the sale formula. The specifications give most interesting and
valuable data as to the topography of the land around Nineveh.(642) The
accessories of a field may be named. Sometimes it was corn-land, _šê zêr_,
part was _tabrû_, “open land,” part _adru_, enclosed by a wall or fence.
Pits or wells, canals or ditches, courts or folds, occur frequently as
adjuncts of a field.

(M599) Larger estates are built up of the simple elements which we have
noted. Sometimes the estate was so large as to be styled a “city,” _alu
šê_. These “cities” are generally called after the name of some one,
probably a former owner. But the number of people sold in them does not
justify the use of any larger designation than “hamlet.” A large estate,
with a few people on it, obviously its bailiffs and the serfs of its
landlord, constituted the _alu_. Hence, this term, like _bîtu_, must have
a wider signification than that usually given it. Such hamlets were,
doubtless, the germs of future cities, but the term evidently denotes
simply a settled abode of a group of people.

(M600) From very early times the Babylonians drew plans of estates, which
are in many ways very instructive. The seated statue of Gudea, found by De
Sarzec at Telloh, has a plan of his city upon a tablet on his lap,
accompanied by a scale of dimensions or a standard of length.(643)

Professor Oppert, Dr. Eisenlohr, M. Thureau-Dangin, and others have
discussed at length the plan of a field,(644) which has the sides of
several plots given in linear measure and the areas in square measure.
From this was obtained a great variety of results regarding the relations
between the measures.(645)

XXIII. Loans And Deposits

(M601) In the first epoch there are many examples of loans. The
characteristic word _ŠU-BA-TI_, or _ŠU-BA-AN-TI_, which means “he has
borrowed,” has been used as a title and they are often called _ŠUBATI_
tablets. They are the receipts given for the loans by the borrowers. Here
is an example:

    “Sixty _GUR_ of corn, royal quality, from L have been received by
    B.” Date. Seal of borrower.

In place of corn we may have money, dates, wool, or almost anything.
Sometimes a date for repayment is given. In the examples there are usually
no references to the interest to be paid for the loan. They may be
regarded as advances made to temple tenants, or serfs, to be repaid at
harvest from crops.

(M602) The greatest value of these tablets lies in their dates. The dates
are usually events. Many of these have already been collected and
registered, especially by Dr. H. Radau.(646) But there is even more to be
done, when further examples are published. Many tablets contain two dates
referring to loans contracted at different times. By this means the
sequence can gradually be determined. The seals are also of great interest
and often of value, as may be seen from Dr. Radau’s work.

(M603) Advances of all sorts were freely made both with and without
interest. For convenience we may separate money from corn loans and
advances of all kinds of commodities; but we must not forget that corn, at
any rate, was legal tender; and silver loans might be repaid in corn.
This, however, was early recognized as an inconvenience and it is quite
common to find a direct stipulation that what was lent shall be repaid in
kind. It soon became usual to state that if the loan was repaid otherwise,
it must be according to a fixed ratio between silver and corn.

(M604) A very large number of loans take the form of _Abstract
schuldscheine_, loans without statement of any cause for the debt. They
are merely promises to pay, that is, acknowledgments of indebtedness. Thus
we read: “Five shekels of silver which A has given to B. On such a date B
shall pay five shekels of silver to A.” A penalty may be added for not
paying on the fixed date. Usually this takes the form of interest. The
rate is one shekel _per mina_ each month, or twelve shekels _per mina
yearly_, that is, twenty per cent. There is no clear case of money lent as
an investment to bear interest. That was done in quite another way. The
lender entered into relationship with an agent, to whom he furnished
capital and who traded with the money and repaid it with interest.

(M605) Most of the loans were evidently contracted to meet temporary
embarrassment. Usually it was in connection with the need of cash to pay
the expenses at harvest-time. The loan was then repaid at harvest. It
might be repaid in corn.(647) The time was usually short—fifteen days is
named.(648) The lender had his reward in obtaining his money’s worth in
corn, when its price was cheapest. But he was evidently not expected to
charge interest. A similar kind of loan is half a mina of silver to pay
the price of a piece of land. Here the money was lent until the land was
bought, and was to be repaid with interest of three _GUR_ of corn.(649) So
half a mina for certain land to be paid, when the land was

(M606) Another reason for borrowing was the need of money to pay taxes,
_ana ilkim suddanim_.(651) In one of these cases the stipulation is added
that the borrower shall bring the receipt of the tax-collector and then
may take back his bonds.(652) Here the “sealed tablet” is in one case the
receipt for the tax, in the other the receipt which the borrower gave for
his loan. But there is no mention of his repayment. Perhaps the lender
owed the tax, half a mina, and as it was a considerable sum, sent it by a
third party, but made him give a receipt for it. But such a receipt would
differ in no respect from the sort of bond mentioned above, and would
render the messenger liable to repay the money; so he was to have his
receipt back, on handing over the tax-collector’s receipt showing that he
had paid the tax.

(M607) In several cases the god is represented as lending the money. It is
obvious that such advances were made from the temple treasury.(653) It is
usual from such instances to expatiate on the temple, or the priests, as
the great moneylenders. This is a view easily misunderstood. It is quite
true that the temples were great landowners, and had steady incomes, and
possessed treasuries; but there is no evidence that they lent on usury. It
seems rather that these loans without interest (except as a fine for undue
retention of the loan) were a kindly accommodation. We know that under
certain circumstances a man might appeal to the temple treasury to ransom
him from the enemy. He might also borrow in case of necessity without
interest. Moneylending proper existed, but was kept in narrow bounds by
the temple itself.

(M608) In view of the many questions that arise as to the nature of the
money at this period, it should be noted that the silver is often said to
be _kanku;_ literally “sealed.” Whether this means that the silver bars,
or ingots, were sealed while the metal was soft enough to receive a mark
which would authenticate its weight and purity, or whether it means that
the money was enclosed in sealed sacks, is hard to say. Against the latter
may be urged that such a small sum as one and two-thirds shekels would not
be sealed up.(654) But it may be that _kanku_ means “sealed for,” that is,
acknowledged by the receipt.

(M609) Even more common than money loans are the corn loans. Here the
loans were generally for a short time just before harvest, when the
repayment was expected. The period is usually short, five days,(655) or a
month.(656) Interest is sometimes demanded, at the rate of _one hundred ḲA
per GUR_, or one-third, that is, _thirty-three and a third per cent_. This
was probably the rate _per mensem, four hundred per cent. per annum_. But
in one case the interest is _one hundred ḲA per GUR per annum_,(657) once
it is expressly said to be nothing,(658) usually it is not referred to at
all. Sometimes a loan was partly in money, partly in corn.(659)

(M610) Other things were lent, as sesame, skins, bricks, and the like, but
these loans exhibit no peculiarity. They are merely letting the borrower
have goods on credit, to be paid for, or returned, after a time.

We may take, as an example of this kind of transaction, a rather more
complicated case:(660)


    Two and seven-thirtieths of a _GUR_ of corn, Shamash standard
    measure, which Ilu-kasha, son of Sharru-Shamash, gave to Belshunu,
    Ilushu-abushu, and Ikash-Ninsaḫ. Ilu-kasha brought the corn and
    returned one _GUR_ and one-tenth and took for himself two hundred
    and twenty _ḲA_. Later he paid one-tenth of a _GUR_ to
    Ilushu-bânî, Ikash-Ninsaḫ, and Shumma-Shamash, and they remitted
    in all three _GUR_, the former and later debt.

In the second case only one of the former debtors is left. The loan was
partly repaid, a fresh loan contracted, and then partly repaid. It is not
clear whether the arrears were remitted or extracted by distraint. Nor is
it clear whether Ilukasha was debtor or creditor. As a rule such points
are clear. It is only the conciseness of the formula which here causes the

(M612) Another fairly common type of document contains a number of
sections, each containing the record of one sum. But it is not clear that
these were loans. They may be allowances for food or salary. Thus in B1
247 we have so much corn for the women weavers, so much more for the
votaries, so much for other officials, from the first of one month to the
thirtieth, so much for the Sutî who was watching the field, so much for a
boatman, and so on. These are perhaps a temple steward’s accounts. Their
interest lies only in the incidental notices. We also note that here a
month had thirty days. It is interesting to find that the celebrated Sutî
nomads who later gave so much trouble, were already in the country and
were employed to watch the fields. Was this watching done on the principle
of “setting a thief to catch a thief”? Perhaps it was necessary to employ
a Sutî as custodian, of course at a salary, if one was to preserve the
crop from the depredations of his fellow-tribesmen.

Some of these tablets expressly state the amount of corn loaned, giving
the date for repayment.(661) Hence we see what a narrow margin divides the
proper bond from the mere receipt, or even the memorandum of the loan.

(M613) A number of tablets deal with advances of wool or woollen yarn made
by temple officials to weavers and dyers to work up. As a rule they
contain a number of words connected doubtless with the weaver’s craft
which are not yet made out. The following is a fairly simple example:(662)

    One talent of wool belonging to the palace, price ten shekels of
    silver, property of Utul-Ishtar the _abi ṣâbê_, which Ishme-Sin,
    son of Sin-bêl-aplim, Marduk-mushallim, son of Sin-idinnam,
    Ilushu-ibni and Bêlshunu, sons of Sin-eribam have borrowed. The
    day that the tax-collector of the palace demands it they shall pay
    the money of the palace.

Elsewhere the time of loan may be stated, two months for example.(663) The
price is always reckoned at six minas of wool for a shekel. It seems that
the borrowers were not obliged to repay until a certain date, or until a
demand was made for certain taxes. They then must pay in silver.

(M614) In the Assyrian examples of money-loans the same general features
constantly recur. The most common are loans _ana pûḫi_, which may be taken
to mean “for consideration,” as the word _pûḫu_ means an “exchange.” But
there is never any statement of what the consideration was. Some have
thought, that as the bond was invariably given to the creditor to be
broken up on the repayment of the loan, the exchange referred to was a
restoration of the bond in return for the money. But the consideration,
which is a legal presumption, may have lain in the fact that the borrowers
were tenants on the metayer system and had a right to borrow of their
landlord, free of interest, at seed-time and harvest. On such loans
interest is only demanded when the debtor fails to repay at the fixed

(M615) The rate of interest charged as a penalty for non-payment or late
payment was _twenty-five per cent. per mensem, three hundred per cent. per
annum_. This interest was intended to secure prompt payment, but was not
unfair in view of the increase of value obtained by investing it in corn
and then sowing that. Other rates were one-third and one-eighth, but there
is no fixed rate of interest for the loan of money, except when it was
_ana pûḫi._

(M616) The interest on corn was _thirty ḲA per homer_. Some think the
homer had sixty _ḲA_, which would make the interest fifty per cent. But no
case has yet been found which gives the number of _ḲA_ in a homer.

(M617) The money lent is often said to belong to a god. Ashur, Ishtar of
Arbela, or Ishtar of Nineveh, are the most common. Sometimes it is said to
be in “Ishtar heads,” which has been taken to mean ingots stamped with a
head of Ishtar. The frequent reference to the mina of Carchemish alongside
the king’s mina is eloquent as to the commercial eminence of the old
Hittite capital.

An example is the following:(664)

    Sixteen shekels of silver, from A to B, _ana pûḫi_, he has taken.
    On the first day of Tammuz he shall pay the money. If not, it
    shall increase by a quarter. Dated the eleventh of Nisan, in the
    Eponymy of Bêl-ludâri. Three witnesses.

(M618) Loans or advances were also made of various kinds of property. Thus
we have an advance of ten minas of silver, Carchemish standard,
seventy-five sheep, one cow, made by Ashurbânipal’s chief steward to four
men, _ana pûḫi_. The sheep and cow they are to return in Adar. If they do
not return the sheep, they must breed them. The interest on the money is
to be one-third. Dated the twenty-fifth of Tebet, B.C. 664. Thirteen
witnesses. Such a loan seems to be on the metayer system.(665)

(M619) Here again we have an exceptional case:(666)

L lends two dromedaries, “which they called double-humped,” to three men,
who shall return them on the first of the month, or pay six minas of
silver. If they do not pay the money, interest shall accrue at the rate of
five shekels per mina. Dated the fourteenth of Tishri, B.C. 674.

These animals were rare and evidently highly valued. What could the three
borrowers want with a pair of such animals? Were they for exhibition in a
menagerie? Perhaps they were for breeding. We may have here a case of
goods taken on approval, for a fortnight or so, perhaps for sale to
another party.

The same lender lent to the same three men, two hundred sheep, one hundred
and fifty goats, two hundred and thirty yearling lambs, in all five
hundred and eighty small cattle. They were to return the animals by a
fixed date, or pay. Dated the seventh of Iyyar, B.C. 673. The same lender
had lent seventy-two sheep to two other men, in Sivan, B.C. 680. They had
to return the sheep in Ab, or pay for them at the market-rate in Nineveh.
Bêl-êresh acted as agent for the borrowers.(667)

(M620) Other goods, such as wine, or oil, were advanced. Here we probably
have to do with the transactions of the royal chief steward and the king’s
agents. For example:(668)

    L intrusts five homers of wine, according to the royal measure, to
    D. On the first of Nisan he shall return the wine, otherwise he
    shall pay for the wine according to the market-rate in Nineveh.
    Dated fifth of Adar, B.C. 674. Five witnesses.



    L advances six homers of pure oil, price ten _ḲA_ of bronze per
    homer, to D, the major-domo at Carchemish. He shall repay the oil
    in Sebat; if not, it shall be doubled. Dated twenty-first of Ab,
    B.C. 681. Six witnesses.

We may deduce the interesting fact that Esarhaddon was at Carchemish in
Ab, B.C. 681. The advance was made for the use of the royal household

(M622) Advances of corn were made exactly as in the earlier times.

    L advances thirty homers of corn to D, the messenger from the city
    of Maganiṣi, by the hands of E, a colonel in the army. He shall
    pay the corn in Marchesvan, in the city of Maganiṣi, or pay the
    full value of it in Nineveh. Dated the seventeenth of Sebat, B.C.
    665. Eight witnesses.

(M623) One peculiarity of the corn loans is that they are chiefly recorded
upon what have been called heart-shaped tablets. These were lumps of clay
through which a string passed and came out at the upper shoulders. The
string was probably tied around the neck of a sack containing the corn.
They thus served both as labels, seals, and as bonds. Many of them have
Aramaic dockets, which have been collected and edited by Dr. J. H.
Stevenson, in his _Assyrian and Babylonian Contracts, with Aramaic

(M624) Thus the above example bears the words in Aramaic, “_barley,
assignment, which is from Nabû-dûri._” These Aramaic legends, in the case
of such labels, may have served as addresses. But the general purpose is
obscure. All the corn advances seem to have been made by officials of the
royal household to inferior officers, in charge of farms or otherwise
dependent for supplies.

(M625) (M626) They show by their dates that the corn was usually advanced
just before harvest, when corn was dearest. Some of them name the reapers;
others give the number of them. We conclude that these advances were made
as food for the harvesters, or as wages for their labor. Occasionally,
however, the loan was made at seed-time. Most of the loans are _ana
pûḫi_,(671) which supports the view that the meaning of this phrase is
really “for management expenses” and presupposes the metayer system.

(M627) Closely connected with money or other loans are receipts for
payment. These are somewhat rare. The more usual practice was to break the
tablet, or promise to pay, which was returned to the debtor. But we have
two good examples, thus:(672)

    The four minas of silver, interest, belonging to C, which were due
    from D, D has paid and given to C. One with the other, neither
    shall litigate. Dated seventh of Sivan, B.C. 683. Three witnesses.

Here we are not aware of the circumstances which lead to the loan. But, in
one case, we have records both of the loan and its repayment, thus:(673)


    Baḫiânu advanced two homers of corn, for food, to Nabû-nûr-nammir;
    and one homer each to Latubashâni-ilu and Ṣabutânu, _ana pûḫi_.
    Dated the twenty-ninth of Elul, B.C. 686.

And we find also:(674)

    Ṣabutânu and Latubashâni-ilu repay each one homer. Nabû-nûr-nammir
    does not repay. Dated Iyyar, B.C. 685.

Whether or not the defaulter paid later is not known; but we probably owe
our knowledge of the repayment to the fact that all three did not pay
together. We note that each paid exactly what he borrowed. No interest was

(M629) In one case we have a receipt for a fine, or damages, imposed by a
law-court. Thus:(675)

    Forty minas of bronze, without rebate, which the _sukallu_ imposed
    as a fine. Paid to the _šakintu_. Dated the tenth of Adar, B.C.
    693. Four witnesses.

There is no statement who owed, or paid, the fine. But the lady governor
who received the money gave this receipt for it.

(M630) The Code makes very clear the legal aspect of this transaction. A
minor or a slave could only deposit under power of attorney.(676) A
deposit was not recoverable unless made by a deed, or delivered in
presence of witnesses and duly acknowledged by a receipt.(677) The
receiver was liable for all loss occurring to the goods in his possession
on deposit, even when the loss was such as involved the loss of his own
goods as well.(678) For corn, the Code fixed a yearly fee for warehousing
of one-sixtieth the amount deposited.(679)

(M631) As we learn from the few actual cases which occur, the receipt
given for the goods was returned to the recipient on the return of the
goods and the tablet broken as cancelling the responsibility. One form
which it might take is illustrated by the following:(680)

    Ten shekels of silver, which according to a sealed receipt was
    deposited for the share of Ṣili-Shamash, he has taken from
    Ṣili-Ishtar and Amêl-ili, his brothers. His heart is contented; he
    will not dispute. Oath by Ḥammurabi, the king. Seven witnesses.
    Fourth year of Ḥammurabi.

Here apparently three brothers share, but one being absent the two hold
their brother’s share for him, giving a sealed receipt for it. This the
judge delivered to him and he claimed and received his share.

(M632) Actual examples of deposit are rare; probably because our
collections refer to temple transactions, rather than to private family
deeds. We have a deposit of lead,(681) from which we learn that silver was
worth twice as much as lead. It was to be sent from Ashnunna, on demand.
Here is another:(682)


    “Concerning the silver which Zikrum and Ṣabitum gave to
    Ṣili-Ishtar on deposit. They have received it; their hearts are
    content. They gave up their bond and it was broken.”

Instead of a receipt by the recipient there is often found a list
concluding with the word _apkida_, “I have intrusted.” Then comes the date
and the names of witnesses. It is not clear, however, that these things
were meant to be returned. They may only be memoranda of allowances given
out. They chiefly occur in Scheil’s _Saison de fouilles à Sippar_.(683)

(M634) In Assyrian documents no examples of this kind of transaction are
found. Nor are any very clear examples producible from later Babylonian
times. But it must not be overlooked that some cases, where a receipt is
given for a sum or quantity of goods, without mention of interest to be
paid, may very well be acknowledgments of a deposit; they have usually
been taken to be loans.

XXIV. Pledges And Guarantees

(M635) Very little is known about pledges in early times, though Meissner
had argued for their existence from certain passages of the series _ana
ittišu_, such as “on account of the interest of his money he shall cause
house, field, garden, man-servant, or maid-servant, to stand on deposit”;
followed later by, “if he bring back the money he can re-enter his house;
if he bring back the money, he can plant his garden again; if he bring
back the money, he can stand in his field; if he bring back the money, he
can take away his maid; if he bring back the money, one shall return his
slave.”(684) Consequently the creditor held the pledge in his possession
until the loan was returned, when he had to give it back. The pledges here
mentioned are antichretic, that is, such that they produce an income or
return to the holder, which is a set-off against the interest of his

(M636) The Code recognizes the taking of property in satisfaction of a
debt.(685) But this is rather a process of distraint upon the goods of the
debtor, in case of non-payment, than a case of pledge. Since it was
usually expected that the property so taken would be returned on payment
of the debt, we can hardly distinguish it from pledge. Indeed, where a
debtor gave up his wife, child, or slave to work off a debt, we have a
case of antichretic pledge for the debt and interest.

(M637) In times subsequent to the First Babylonian Dynasty, the pledge is
common. As a rule, it is antichretic, such that income or profit derived
from the pledge is a fair equivalent for the interest of the loan. The
lender acquires the right of enjoying the pledge. As a rule this is
assigned him absolutely, so that no account is needed to be kept of
interest on one side and profit on the other. If the profit exceeds the
interest due, the excess may be returned, or it may be credited towards
the discharge of the debt. If the interest exceeds the profit on the
pledge, then the amount by which the loan exceeds the capitalized profit
must pay interest.

(M638) In Assyrian times loans on security are fairly common. Here also we
have antichretic loans, where the profit on the pledge was a set-off
against the interest of the money. The pledge is expressly stated to be
“in lieu of interest.” But it seems that the property was often expected
also to extinguish the debt. Or it was merely pledged, as a security,
which the creditor would keep in case he could not get his money back. We
may illustrate these by examples:(686)


    The lady Addati, the _šakintu_, lends two minas of silver,
    Carchemish standard, exact sum, to D, the deputy of the chief of
    the city. In lieu of the two minas of silver, a plot of twelve
    homers of land in the outskirts of Nineveh, Kurdi-Adadi, his wife
    and three sons, Kandilânu and his wife, in all seven people, and
    twelve homers of land, are pledged. On the day that one returns
    the money, the other shall release the land and people. Dated the
    first of Marchesvan, B.C. 694. Ten witnesses.

The point about the phrase, “exact sum,” seems to be that the advance was
made without any rebate. Here the security is worth little more than the
loan. Its profits would, however, be a good security for the interest of
the loan. No time is given for repayment, but the creditor undertakes to
accept repayment and release the pledge at any time.



    The lady Indibî lends sixteen minas of silver, royal standard, to
    D. In the month of Tishri, he shall pay the money in full; if not,
    interest shall be two shekels per mina monthly. A vineyard in the
    village of Bêl-aḫê, next to that of Ḥabašu, next to that of
    Si’banik, next to that of the chief scribe; also these slaves,
    Dâri-Bêl, his wife, three sons, and two daughters, along with his
    household, four fat cows (?); Ḥudi-sharrûtu and his daughter; all
    are pledged as security. If they die or run away, the loss shall
    be D’s. The day that D shall refund the money, with the interest,
    his slaves and vineyard shall be released. Dated the ninth of Ab,
    B.C. 688. Six witnesses.

Or again:(688)


    Five homers of land belong to D, in the city Kâr-Au. The lender L
    gives D two-thirds of a mina of silver. This two-thirds of a mina
    of silver L shall acquire from the field and when D thus has given
    L his money back, he shall release the field. Dated the sixteenth
    of Iyyar, B.C. 680.

In the following case a maid is assigned outright for a loan. It is
doubtful whether this is a sale, or a pledge:(689)


    In lieu of money, Bêlit-ittîa, the maid of the _šakintu_, is
    assigned to the lady Sinki-Ishtar. As long as she lives, she shall
    serve her. Dated the fourteenth of Iyyar, B.C. 652.

(M643) A very similar case occurs in the loan of corn and a cow by the
_bêl paḫâti_ of the Crown Prince, to a certain Nargî of the city of
Bamatu. Nargî was to serve the lender for the corn and cow. When his
service had become equivalent to the value of the advance, he could go

Antichretic pledge was very common in later Babylonian times. The most
typical examples are houses. The lender (M644) has a house in pledge. To
him it is rent-free until the loan is repaid. Hence the common phrase
“rent is nought, interest is nought.” There was then no reckoning made one
against the other.(691) The creditor might not, however, care to take the
pledge in perpetuity against interest of a loan, never repaid. Usually a
date was fixed for repayment, at which time the debtor was bound to take
back his pledge. Thus a house might be pledged definitely for three

(M645) A reckoning might also be made, to check off profit against
interest. Thus D pledges a field to L, but on condition that, if in any
year the crop is less than will meet the interest due, he shall pay the
difference; but if, on the other hand, it be worth more, he shall take the

(M646) The value of the pledge might, however, be such that it would
outweigh both loan and interest. At any rate, it should be as valuable as
the loan. Hence it could not be used as a further pledge to another. There
is often a guarantee that the pledge given has not been already pledged,
that no other creditor has a lien upon it.

(M647) In these cases the creditor enters into possession of the pledge
and enjoyment of it. He has some responsibilities towards it. He cannot
destroy it, or waste it. As a rule, he assumed full liability for all
cases for wear and tear. He also fed and clothed a slave pledged to him.
Now and then we find the debtor responsible for clothing the slave pledged
by him.(694) It is not essential, however, to the idea of pledge that it
should come into the possession of the creditor, only it is hypothecated
to him. This practice was very common in later Babylonian times.(695)

(M648) Such pledges give an eventual possession. Something like a
reversion occurs in the pledge of a share not yet divided.(696) Thus a sum
was borrowed on the understanding that if not returned by the proper time,
a slave shall be handed over as an antichretic pledge.(697) The man who
gives a pledge may not be in actual possession of it, but pledges it on
the understanding that he will hand it over as soon as it becomes his.
Thus B bought a slave and her two young children for sixty-five shekels,
but before they were handed over, he pledged them for fifty-five shekels.
Nine months later he sold them for sixty shekels.(698)

(M649) A common case is where the debtor pledges all he has to the
creditor, a pledge usually greatly in excess of the value of the loan and
its interest for a reasonable term, but remains in possession himself.
Hence the creditor has only a right over the pledge, a lien upon it, but
no usufruct. For this he had the bond. This also gives only an eventual

(M650) We often meet with after-pledge. The creditor, being in possession
of the pledge, might traffic in its profits. If he held a house as pledge,
he was not bound to live in it, but could sublet it. Hence he might pledge
the rent of it. Or he could repay himself his loan by repledging the house
to another. He could also pledge the loan which was due to him. This makes
a rather complicated case.

(M651) Thus L makes an advance _a_ to D and receives a pledge _p_. He may
then pledge both _a_ and _p_. If these are given to two separate persons,
_a_ to A and _p_ to P, then P has a cause for uneasiness. If D comes in
and pays up _a_, he has a right to the pledge _p_ which is in P’s
possession. But the money he advanced is not thereby paid to him. Further,
A has a right to the money _a_ just paid in by D, which is all that is in
evidence. Hence L will have succeeded in getting two sums, and unless he
can succeed in realizing his investments of them, is called on to pay both
A and P with one amount. Either A or P may suffer. But if L pledges both
_a_ and _p_ to one man C, then C is quite independent of the relations of
L to D. Now D simply has to pay C and gets his pledge back. C is sure of
his money.

(M652) Such a transfer of the responsibility of D from L to C was effected
by handing over to C, with the pledge, also D’s bond to L. C now holds
this bond, which, with his pledge, D wishes to get back. The following is
a complicated case illustrating these points:(699) D had a house and
pledged it to L, who lived in it. Two others were guarantees that D would
repay the loan. The pledge was antichretic, “rent nothing, interest
nothing.” Now L wanted money; so he pledged the house to C. But he did not
wish to vacate. So he hired it of C, at such a rate that he would repay
C’s loan in about five years. It is clear that this house was not good
security for C, since D might turn out L at any time by repaying him. L
would then owe money to C for which C had no security at all. But L in
addition pledged all his own property, his slave, and all his goods in
town and country. Further, he not only pledged the house, but handed over
D’s bond to him. C thus held the house in after-pledge, and the advance
with its security in pledge. He was therefore amply secured, since D must
pay him.

Now L died and was succeeded by his son M. L had already paid nearly a
third of his debt. M thus owed less interest on the loan still due and was
accepted by C as tenant at a lower rent. By this means M really made a
small profit to himself. In three years M had paid off the whole sum
borrowed by his father, and due from him as heir and executor, so he gave
back his father’s bond to C, also D’s bond to L. Now D paid back his loan
to M. His bond to L was destroyed. The claim of C on D was annulled, the
guarantees of D were free. A final deed of settlement was drawn up, in
which C acknowledged that he had no claims on D or M, nor on D’s sureties.
He had to say this, because he was not only creditor to M, but as long as
he held transferred to him the pledge of D, and the credit of L, he was a
creditor with claims on D also. Further, M declares that he has no credit
on D.(700)

(M653) A guarantee arises from certain persons undertaking to fulfil a
responsibility which is legally incumbent on another, in case he fails to
do so himself; or to secure that he shall fulfil it himself. Thus,
guarantees are very frequent at all times, especially in the later
Babylonian period, and are of many different kinds.

(M654) A guarantee for debt was an additional security to the creditor. Of
course, the original debtor is the security that the guarantor shall not
lose. A good example showing all sides is the following bond for three
minas due from D to L. G and W come in and guarantee that D will pay; if
not, they will. To protect themselves, they take as a pledge of D some of
his people. But D paid and received back his people, so that the bond was
returned to D.(701) Why D did not give his people as pledge to L direct is
not clear. G and W were probably persons of greater credit and perhaps
related to D. The guarantor was sometimes called on to pay. Thus G
guarantees for D, is called on to pay and D repays him.(702) The guarantor
was legally protected against the defaulting debtor.(703)

(M655) A guarantee for appearance may have been only to come and pay, as
when G guarantees the creditor, a temple, that D will come on a fixed
date, and pay his debt; or if not, G will himself pay.(704) It may be a
guarantee that a man will not go away; by which may be meant escape
payment, or fail to appear for judgment. This is called a guarantee “for
the foot of” the person thus indorsed. The “foot” is said to be in the
“hand” of him who demands the guarantee. It often refers to debt. G
guarantees for the foot of D, out of the hand of L. If he goes away, G
will pay thirty-five _GUR_ of dates. Here G is the mother of D.(705) So,
probably on account of debt, G guarantees for the foot of D, his
son-in-law, from the hand of L;(706) again, G guarantees for D to L that D
will come on a certain day. G takes the responsibility for all D owes to
L, and will pay if D does not come.(707) Or, G guarantees for D and E that
they will not leave for another place. If they do, he will pay six

(M656) But the appearance may be needed for a different purpose. G
guarantees to bring a witness to Opis, and give witness against L that one
who was guarantee for the foot of someone to L shall return at the right
time. If the guarantee shall prove that L was paid, he is free; if not, he
is bound to pay.(709)

D owed L a debt. L ceded this debt to M, but had to guarantee that D will
come and pay.(710)

(M657) Solidarity is in some cases a form of guarantee. Thus two men D and
E owe a debt to L. Each is taken as guarantee for the other that they will
pay.(711) This is one of the commonest forms of guarantee. The debt could
then be recovered in its entirety from either.

(M658) An example of a guarantee against theft is also found.(712)

(M659) A warrant against defects in a slave is very common. The seller
warrants that if the slave prove to have certain undisclosed defects,
vices, or liabilities, which would detract from his value to the buyer,
the seller will indemnify the buyer. This indemnification seems to be
effected by a return of the purchase-money and accepting the slave back.
But, in some cases, the seller returned part of the purchase-money
according to a fixed scale of allowances. In the sale of an estate, the
seller guarantees that he will indemnify the buyer in case of any defect
of title to sell, or any lien upon the estate.

(M660) Very common at all times was a personal guarantee not to dispute
the compact entered into. In fact, this may always be said to be assumed.
The oaths by which parties swore to observe the terms of the compact are a
form of this guarantee. The penalties, so prominent in Assyrian times, are
voluntary undertakings to forfeit stated sums, if found attempting to go
behind the contract.

(M661) As the pledge did not always leave the debtor’s possession, the
creditor only had a lien upon it. Hence the giver of the pledge had to
guarantee that no creditor had a previous lien upon it. This is also
extremely common. A slave pledged for debt might run away. His labor as
the offset against the interest was thus annulled. The borrower then
becomes liable for the interest lost to the creditor.(713)

XXV. Wages Of Hired Laborers

(M662) Despite the existence of slaves, who were for the most part
domestic servants, there was considerable demand for free labor in ancient
Babylonia. This is clear from the large number of contracts relating to
hire which have come down to us. The variability of the terms agreed upon
is witness for the existence of competition. As a rule, the man was hired
for the harvest and was free directly after. But there are many examples
in which the term of service was different—one month, half a year, or a
whole year.

(M663) One might hire labor from the master of a slave, or from the
parents of a young man, not yet independent, and then the wages were
small, a shekel or two. These wages were paid to the master or parents,
not to the laborer himself.

Reapers for the harvest had half a shekel,(714) or two shekels,(715) each.
The first may be the daily wages, the latter the price for a specific job.
It is probable that the _GUR_ of corn for ten days also represents the
wages for the whole period.(716)

(M664) Average wages have been estimated by Meissner(717) to be six
shekels per year, according to the Code, and some actual examples of
contracts. But it was evidently a matter of agreement, for we have rates
as low as four shekels and as high as eight. Usually the employer paid
down a sum, for example, a shekel, as earnest-money; the rest was paid by
a monthly or daily rate, or in a lump sum at the end of the term of
service. Occasionally the wages might be paid down at the start, but this
was rare and the amount less.

(M665) Very frequently, of course, the wages were paid in corn instead of
money. Many difficulties lie in the way of finding an equivalent of the
shekel in corn. Harvest labor was probably far dearer than any other,
because of its importance, the skill and exertion demanded, and the fact
that so many were seeking for it at once. Further, after harvest, when the
wages were paid, corn was at its lowest price. Meissner’s actual examples
show that two hundred and fifty _ḲA_ might be accepted as yearly wages. We
have such a variety of rates that it is difficult to draw any clear
conclusion, but two young slaves at harvest could earn three hundred _ḲA_,
and for a whole year the wages might be over six hundred _ḲA_, or even as
much as three _GUR_, or nine hundred _ḲA_.(718) The Code names ten _ḲA_ as
daily wages. The average value of a _GUR_ of corn was a shekel, hence this
gives a yearly rate of twelve shekels. In this case we may suppose that
the laborer supported himself.

(M666) The laborer had to be bound to perform his task. A penalty was
attached to his failure to appear at the proper time, and guarantees were
sometimes taken for his appearance. In other cases it is stipulated that
the penalty for non-appearance shall be fixed by the king’s decision.(719)

(M667) It was usual to name expressly the time of his commencing and
leaving off his work. These clauses are incidentally of importance as
fixing the names and sequence of the months at this period. Thus, from the
example below we see that the month Tirinu preceded Elul.

(M668) Of course, the employer took all responsibility for the slave whom
he hired. He fed and clothed him during his term of service. If he
suffered any injury, the employer had to compensate the master.
Occasionally the slave clothed himself,(720) and then his wages were

As an example we may take the following:(721)

    Nâmir-nûrshu from Rutum, Rîsh-Shamash, son of Marduk-nâṣir, for
    wages, for one year, has hired. His wages for one year,
    twenty-four _ḲA_ of oil, he shall pay, and he shall clothe him. In
    Elul he shall enter, in Tirinu he shall leave. Two witnesses.
    Dated in the reign of Ḥammurabi.

(M669) In the Assyrian times we have certain examples of advances of corn,
or money, at harvest-time for the payment of reapers, which have already
been noticed under loans.(722) An advance of money and food to workmen may
perhaps be put here. But it is also a contract to do work. It reads thus:

    Shamash-bâni-aplu, Latubashâni, Ukîn-abîa, Aḫu ... in all four
    workmen. Two talents of bronze, three homers one _ŠE_ of cooked
    corn. On the tenth of the month they shall do the work. All the
    repairs and the beams they shall make fast. They shall fix the
    balks, and set up the roof. If the bricks are not sufficient ...
    the month they do not give, they shall work and finish. Then
    follow seven witnesses. Dated on the sixth of some month, B.C.

Unfortunately, parts of the tablet are injured and so the sense is not at
all clear; but the workmen seem to have had four days in which to do the
work. The price offered was considerable.

In later Babylonian times we do not obtain much further information. Here
is a good example:(723)

    From the twentieth of Nisan to the tenth of Ab, Zamama-iddin, son
    of Shamash-uballiṭ, son of the smith, shall be at the disposal of
    Nabû-usallim, son of Limnîa, and he shall pay him as his wages ten
    shekels of silver. He shall pay half the wages in Nisan and the
    rest in Tammuz. Whoever breaks the contract shall pay five shekels
    of silver.

The hire is nearly thirty shekels a year, as in the next example:(724)

    Bultâ, son of Ḥabaṣiru, son of the oxherd, has put himself in the
    hands of Marduk-nâṣir-apli, son of Itti-Marduk-balâṭu, son of
    Egibi, for wages of half a mina of silver for one year. From the
    first of Sebat shall Bultâ be at the disposal of
    Marduk-nâṣir-apli. Bultâ has received one-third of a mina of
    silver from Marduk-nâṣir-apli.

XXVI. Lease Of Property

(M670) In case of lease, the specifications of the house are usually the
same as in a sale. But this is often not so full, since the identity of
the house is less in evidence. A very interesting text referring to the
sale or lease of a house next to the palace, in the district of Tirḳa, a
house belonging to gods Shamash, Dagan, and Idur-mêr is published by M.
Thureau-Dangin in _Revue d’Assyriologie_.(725) It belonged to the King of
Ḥana, whose seal it bears. His name was Isar-lim, son of Idin-Kakka. The
receiver was Kaki-Dagan’s son. The oath was by Shamash, Dagan, Idur-mêr
and Isar-lim the king. The names are very interesting—Igid-lim, an
official of the god Amurrû; Idin-abu, king’s son; Ili-esuḫ, a judge;
Idin-Nani, son of Idin-Marduk; Sin-ukûr, son of Amur-sha-Dagan;
Iazi-Dagan; Ṭuri-Dagan; Ṣilli-Shamash. These prove that the land of Ḥana,
already known by a votive offering of one of its kings, Tukulti-mêr, was
largely Semitic. The names are either of the Babylonian or Aramaic type.
It is, of course, not easy to date, as the style of writing in Ḥana may
have been different from that in Babylonia at the same epoch.

(M671) Meissner estimates the average rent of a house to be one shekel per
annum. But there are noteworthy variations which, with our available data,
cannot be explained. Perhaps the best way is to take account of the size
of the house, usually given in the Babylonian fashion by the area of its
ground-plan. Rents were often paid in corn, but are so variable that a
value for corn in money cannot safely be deduced.

(M672) A small part of the rent was usually paid as earnest-money to close
the bargain. In the case of short leases the rest was paid on quitting the
house, in longer leases half-yearly. Usually the term of tenancy was
carefully stated. It was most commonly one year. The cost of repairs fell
on the tenant, according to the Code,(726) but he was forbidden to make
any alterations until he had paid over the earnest-money. The Code perhaps
only means to forbid his closing the door and fastening it, until the
deposit was made. The landlord, in fact, preserved the right of free entry
until then.

(M673) The usual term of lease for fields was three years. It is not
possible as yet to explain why three years was stipulated, but it was
probably due to something more than an accident of custom. Possibly a
rotation of crops or an alternation of crop and fallow may have been in

(M674) According to the Code the tenant was bound to keep the land in good
condition. His duties included the ploughing or trenching, sowing the
seed, snaring or driving off the birds and stray beasts, weeding,
watering, and harvesting. Gardens he had to fence. The watering-machines
were of great importance and had to be kept in order. They were worked by
oxen—often as many as eight oxen were required to work them. A certain
amount of stock was frequently leased with the land. It is not clear that
oxen were used for the plough; they may have been kept for the

(M675) The landlord was in a very real sense a partner with his tenant,
though he may be described as a “silent partner”.

In the case of the great temple landowners it seems to have been the
custom to supply a very large amount of the tenant’s necessities.
Seed-corn was frequently furnished, also corn for food for farmer and men,
until the crop was gathered. The stock and farm implements were also
provided by the landlord. This metayer system of leasing land probably
accounts for loans without interest. It is not clear that such a system
was already in vogue in early times.

(M676) In hiring a field it might be stipulated that the lessee should
place a dwelling upon it,(727) _manaḫtu ana eḳlim išakkanu_. Here the
field was at a distance from the city, “beyond the upper stream.” If the
crop was to be properly looked after, protected from birds, stray beasts,
and robbers the farmer must live there some part of the year. There was no
dwelling. The lessee was therefore called on to erect a dwelling. Probably
a simple edifice sufficed. At the end of the tenancy the tenant was called
on to resign this building.

(M677) There were two sorts of land. That called _AB-SIN_ or _šeru’_,
seems always to have paid six to eight _GUR_ of corn per _GAN_. The other
sort, _KI-DAN_, probably read _kigallu_, and certainly meaning land, not
cultivated but to be brought into cultivation, was exceedingly variable in
quality. It is set down for a rent of from three up to eighteen _GUR_ per
_GAN_, but some land is rented at seventy-two _GUR_ per _GAN_.(728)

(M678) On account of the hire, some deposit was usually made, which seems
to bear no direct relation to amount of rent. But while this was in many
cases money—one to three shekels—a number of cases exhibit a list of
quantities of food and drink. What these were it is difficult to say, as
the terms are written ideographically. But joints of meat, pieces of
flesh, drinks, bread and oil, seem to be intended. The custom is obscure.
Possibly these are set down as weekly or monthly rations secured on the
whole rent and to be set off against it later. That the quantities are in
some sense distributive is certain, “so much each,” but whether “each
person,” “each day,” “each month,” or “each year” is not stated. One
plausible suggestion is that the landlord, like the votary in the Code
whose brothers do not content her, let the farm to a man who covenanted to
support or maintain him. The contention is strengthened by the fact that
the cases known to us are all female landlords, and may actually be
examples of what the Code contemplates. Having only a life interest in the
property and being without capital, they could not afford to wait until
harvest to receive the rent, but needed a frequent allowance for

(M679) (M680) The lease of an estate for a term exceeding a few years was
always rare. One is found on a tablet which is one of the most interesting
of all those supposed to be of the First Dynasty of Babylon. The script
and the language recall Assyrian types most vividly and it is full of
non-Babylonian names, which suggest Hittite, or even Armenian, origin.
Unfortunately, it is not dated. It might well have been found at Kalaḫ, or
Asshur, and belong to somewhat early Assyrian times, perhaps before
Assyrian independence of Babylonia. Not one person named in it occurs in
the other tablets of the Bu. 91-5-9 Collection—a thing which cannot be
said of another of them. If this was really found with them, we can only
suppose that centralization was carried to such a pitch that important
legal documents, even when executed as far away as Assyria, or Mesopotamia
proper, had to be sent in duplicate to the capital of Babylonia. Or was it
possible that the principal party came to the capital with this document
in his possession, deposited it in the temple archives there, and died,
leaving no one to reclaim it.

Dr. T. G. Pinches gave a transcription and translation of the text in the
_Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_, 1897, pp. 589 ff., with many
interesting and valuable comments:

    Six homers of corn [land] belonging to Ishtar-KI-TIL-LA, son of
    Teḫip-TIL-LA, Kibîa, son of Palîa, Urḫîa, son of Itḫip-sharru, and
    Irishenni, son of Iddin-PU-SI, have taken for three homers of
    land, to harvest and transport. As long as Ishtar-KI-TIL-LA lives,
    Kibîa, Urḫîa, and Irishenni shall transport the crop of three
    homers of land and shall deliver the same in caldrons. If Kibîa,
    Urḫîa, and Irishenni do not harvest and transport and deliver the
    same in caldrons, and the corn perish, they shall pay in full one
    mina of silver and one mina of gold to Ishtar-KI-TIL-LA. Each is
    surety for the other. Before Aḫli-Têshup, son of Taishenni; before
    Ukuia, son of Geshḫai; before Shellu, son of Wantia; before
    Kushshu, son of Ḥuluḳḳu; before Durar-Têshup, son of Gil-Têshup;
    before Aḫli-Babu, the _ḫazânu_, son of Nubananu; before Zinu, son
    of Kiannibu, the scribe.

(M681) The names of the witnesses are here given in full because of their
exceptional interest. Until we are sure of his nationality it is scarcely
safe to suppose the principal’s name was really pronounced
Ishtar-kitilla—the latter part of the name may well be an ideogram. The
name of his father ending also in _TIL-LA_ suggests that that group of
signs is separable. If so, the signs read Ishtar-_KI_ may perhaps be
ideographic also. It is evident that Teḫip is from the same root as Itḫip,
and the form looks Semitic.

Kibîa, Palîa, Urḫîa are Semitic, but Irishenni and Taishenni remind one of
the Erisinni, of the son of U’alli, King of the Mannai in Ashurbânipal’s
time. Still, neither can be said to be non-Semitic with certainty, when we
recall the many names ending in _enni_ or _inni_ formed from verbs and
compare the names formed from _erêšu_, _erêsu_. Names containing the name
of the god Teshup were known long ago, as Ḥu-Teshup, Kali-Teshup,
Kili-Teshup, where the other element of the name does not seem to be
Semitic. Egyptian records give us other compounds of the name of this god,
who was the sky-god among the pre-Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia

Here we have Aḫli-Teshup, Gil-Teshup, and Durar-Teshup. With the former,
Professor Hommel compares Aḫlib-shar. With the next compare the Mitanni
name Gilîa, also Gilûa. Aḫli-Babu is a closer parallel.

Of the other names, Shellu, Kushshu, Ḥuluḳḳu, and Zinu seem to be Semitic;
at any rate they occur frequently, or in cognate forms, well known among
the Assyrians and Babylonians. The others are all very unfamiliar. We are
as yet so imperfectly acquainted with the onomastics of the nations
surrounding the Semites that it is hazardous to attempt to locate these
people. Supposing them to be all of one race, they may belong to a colony
settled near Sippara, but the whole style of the language is so unlike the
Sippara documents that we can hardly suppose that to be the case.

XXVII. The Laws Of Trade

(M682) The oldest form of business in Asiatic life is _commenda_: the
commendatist gives a fixed sum of money to the agent with which he does
his business. The former takes a fixed share of the profit, say half, in
addition to the original sum invested. The agent usually secures
guarantees for the capital. This method of carrying on business is
customary in the early times. The Code regulates the relations between
principal and agent. The former is called _tamkaru_, usually rendered
“merchant,” and the latter is _šamallû_, often rendered “apprentice.” The
merchant is, however, a trader in many ways, and in the Code he is usually
named, where we expect lender or creditor. Hence there is little doubt
that his name is derived from _magâru_, or _makâru_, with a meaning “to
traffic” (?). He seems to have been a monied man, who was ready to make to
cultivators advances on their crops—a practice always liable to great
abuses, which the Code aims to check.

(M683) The merchant principal also furnished goods, among which are
mentioned corn, sesame, oil, wool, wine, and manufactured articles. The
agent did the trading, and regularly rendered his accounts to his
principal. He travelled from place to place to find a market for his
goods, or to make purchases, which could be profitably sold at home. The
principal paid no salary, but received again his capital, or the value of
his goods, and an interest or share of the profit. It is clear that the
merchant also moved from place to place, and there is evidence that many
of them were foreigners. The travelling agents with their goods formed the

(M684) This kind of trading was regulated by the Code.(729) Unfortunately,
the opening sections of the part dealing with the relations of principal
and agent are lost; but from what is left we see that it insisted on exact
accounts being taken, on both sides, of the amounts of money or value of
goods thus invested. If the merchant intrusted money to his agent, he was
to take a receipt for it. If the agent received goods, he was to enter
their money value and obtain his principal’s acknowledgment of the amount
of his debt. If he suffered loss of goods from his caravan by bandits, or
in an enemy’s land, he could swear to his loss, and be exempt from
repayment to his principal. But if he did not prosper in his business, or
sold at a loss, he had to make good the capital, at least, to his
principal. The Code leaves nothing to chance. If the agent is foolish
enough not to obtain a sealed memorandum of the amounts received, or a
receipt for what he pays to his principal, it is enacted that money not
sealed for cannot be put in the accounts. Much was clearly left to the
good faith of the agent. The principal was tolerably secure of receiving
back his money and had hope of profit. Against that he had to set possible
loss by robbery of the caravan. But he was not bound again to employ the
same agent. An agent detected defrauding his principal had to pay
threefold. But it speaks well for the Code as protector of the weak that
it made the capitalist who defrauded the agent repay sixfold.

(M685) From the contemporary documents we learn that the name for the
business was _girru_. That this was also the name for an “expedition,”
warlike as well as peaceable, points to its connection with the caravan
trade. The sign for _girru_, also used for _ḫarrânu_, a “journey,” came in
later times to be used for all kinds of business transactions. That the
relations noted in the Code actually were carried out in practice, many
tablets show. Thus we read:

    One shekel of silver, price of one hundred and eighty _ŠE_, and
    three shekels of silver which Zuzana lent Aplâ son of Edishu, for
    five _years_, to enter on his _girru_. He shall pay one hundred
    and eighty _ŠE_ and three shekels of silver to take back his
    sealed receipt.(730)

Here the capital intrusted was a quantity of corn worth a shekel, and
three shekels in money. This was in order to enter on a business journey.
The agent Aplâ had to return the capital in full, as the Code enacts, to
take back his bond. There is no agreement as to profits, which might be
wanting; that was left to be understood. As a rule, the time was shorter,
generally “one year.” The agent appears to have often borne the name of
_muttalliku_, “one who wanders about,” “a hawker.” The same may be denoted
by _AḪ-ME-ZU-AB_, a group of signs whose reading is not yet clear, but may
be a variant of the ideogram for _šamallû_.

(M686) Business was also done, as the Code shows, as speculation in
futures. Thus(731) we read:

    Sibbat-asê-iddina hired as “business” the produce of a field from
    three men. The produce of the business was to be three and
    seven-fifteenths _GUR_ of corn, according to the standard measure
    of Shamash paid in Kar-Sippar, and one shekel was to be profit.

This was what he had to pay, and evidently, if the crop yielded more, that
was his profit; if less, he had to stand the loss. Similarly, other crops
were let on the terms that at harvest, or at the end of the “business,” a
specified amount should be paid.

(M687) We learn from many hints, that caravan trade was always active. The
name of Ḥarran in Mesopotamia is supposed to be derived from the numerous
caravan routes that crossed there. The Tell el Amarna tablets tell us of
the complaints made by the kings of Babylonia of the robbery of caravans
in districts nominally under the control of Egypt.

(M688) In the more private documents of the later Babylonian times, there
is again plentiful evidence that this form of trade was common. The money
was loaned out “to buy and sell.” It was given _ana ḫarrânu_, “for hawking
trade.” Then whatever profit was made upon the money, the agent “will
give” to the principal. The agent binds himself to undertake no other
agency. He gives a guarantee for the money. The principal had no further
responsibility for the business, and would not meet any further call. It
is obvious that in a sense the principal and agent were partners, and many
transactions in later times are difficult to distinguish from cases of
partnership in the ordinary sense.

(M689) It has long been recognized that the canals controlled the
prosperity of the country, but it is only lately that their importance as
waterways has been fully realized. In the early period we read of flour
sent by ship to Nippur for certain officials.(732)

(M690) The Code has much to say about ships. Temples owned them, as well
as private persons. It was a crime, punishable with death, to steal a
ship.(733) We read of fees for building or navigating various ships.(734)
The responsibilities and damages in collisions and wrecks are
apportioned.(735) A shipowner might hire a captain to navigate a ship for
him, or might hire the captain and ship together. The usual freight
included corn, wool, oil, and dates, but many other things were also
carried. The wages of a captain was six _GUR_ of corn yearly. There are
frequent references to ships in the contemporary letters.(736) They were
named according to their carrying capacity, which was five or more _GUR_.
A ship of seventy-five _GUR_ is named. They carried wood, for King
Ḥammurabi ordered seven thousand two hundred pieces of _abba_ wood to be
brought to Babylon, three hundred pieces in a ship. A number of boat
captains or perhaps shipping agents were ordered to proceed from Larsa to
Babylon and arrive with their ships in Adar. He gave orders for the
furnishing of the crews. We further have a correspondence concerning the
invasion of certain fishing rights by boats from another district. In the
contemporary contracts we meet with several long lists of ships divided
into little groups, of five, six, or seven, each with its captain named,
each group under a head captain, all set down as at anchor at the port of
Shamash, or the like.(737) There is a case of the hire of a boat of six
_GUR_ freight by two persons for two months.(738)

(M691) In Assyria, canals served chiefly for water-supply. Except when the
Assyrian kings went outside their own lands to Babylonia or Mesopotamia,
we hardly read of ships. Sennacherib’s ships were built abroad and served
abroad. There is no hint of their ever coming up to the walls of Nineveh.
The contracts only once mention a ship(739) in which booty was brought
from somewhere.

(M692) In the later Babylonian times there are many references to the hire
of boats and their crews. They appear to be a regular conveyance of

    One shekel and a quarter of silver for the hire of a ship which
    brought three oxen and twenty-four sheep from the king’s son
    [Belshazzar], for Shamash and the gods of Sippara. Further, fifty
    _ḲA_ of dates for the rations of the two boatmen.

Thus the receiver paid carriage and expenses. The daily hire of a boat is
now one shekel, and the wages of the crew amount to half as much.(741) A
boat might be bought for twenty shekels or half a mina.(742) The wages of
the boatmen included corn, dates, salt, and onions. The freight was
exceedingly varied as before. One boat appears to have carried fresh

(M693) There are less obvious references to roads in the literature; but
that they were in excellent condition has been conjectured from the many
evidences of postal service and ready carriage even in early times.
Convoys travelled from Agade to Lagash as early as the time of Sargon
I.(744) Innumerable labels are found on lumps of clay with the name and
address of the consignee. These were attached to consignments of money and

(M694) The Code contemplates consignments being sent from a great
distance, even from abroad.(745) It regulates the charges for a wagon,
with oxen and driver,(746) or a wagon alone.(747) There are several cases
in the contracts of the hire of wagons, for varied prices per year,
one-third of a shekel(748) to twelve shekels;(749) but it is not certain
that these were for conveyance from place to place. They may have been for
agricultural purposes only. The usual means of conveyance seems to have
been by asses.

(M695) In Assyrian times we find it part of the duty of a founder of a
city to open up the roads leading to it.(750) The land was intersected
with roads in all directions, so that a field often had two roads as its
boundaries. The whole plain outside Nineveh was cut up by roads, which
here take the place of the canals of Babylonia. In this period we find
horses and camels in use as beasts of burden as well as the asses.

XXVIII. Partnership And Power Of Attorney

(M696) Association, or partnership, makes its appearance very early and in
a highly developed state. Some forms are very simple, as when two or more
men buy or hire a piece of land together. There may, or may not, be any
family relationship between the partners. In some cases we learn nothing
about the terms of partnership. But where we are able to discern them,
they follow the natural course that profits were divided, _pro rata,_
according to the capital contributed. More obscure is the question how far
the personal exertions of each partner were pledged to the benefit of the
firm. There is a suggestion that some partners were content with
furnishing capital, and obtaining a fair return upon it, while the others
were actively engaged in the business of the firm. Prolonged study and
comparison are, however, needed before all these points can be definitely

(M697) The name for a “partner” is _tappû_, and the sign _TAP_ serves as
ideogram. This sign consists of the two horizontal strokes used to denote
“two,” and may have been used to denote “union,” or partnership, and so
from its name _tap_ have given rise to the name for “partner.” In the new
Babylonian times the ideogram is the sign usually read _ḫarrânu_, also
formed of the two horizontal strokes crossed by two connecting strokes or
bonds. There is little doubt that in early times this was read _girru_,
when denoting “business,” undertaken in association. Later the dualism of
the partnership was marked by the addition of the dual sign to _ḫarrânu_.
That both _ḫarrânu_ and _girru_ are used as words for “way,” “journey,”
“expedition,” may well point to the prominence of the idea of trade
journeys with caravans. But partnerships were made with less ambitious
aims and confined to holding and sharing in common varied sources of

(M698) To make a partnership, _tapputam epêšu_,(751) it seems that each
partner contributed a certain amount of capital, _ummânu_.(752) Yearly
accounts were rendered and the profit then shared. This took place by a
formal dissolution of partnership, when each partner took his share. This
in no way prevented a renewal of partnership. For the satisfaction of the
partners sworn declarations as to the property held in common and the
profit made were deposed before judicial authorities. These often take the
form of a suit by one partner against the other, but it seems that they
might be only formal suits to clear up the points at issue and secure a
legal settlement.

(M699) A considerable number of tablets are drawn up to embody a
settlement on dissolution of partnership. Some do not make any reference
to a law officer as arbitrator; but all contain a careful setting-forth of
each partner’s share and an oath to make no further claim. It is
practically certain that these were drawn up with the cognizance of the
local law-court.

(M700) The Code has nothing to say as to partnership, unless its
regulations on the point were embodied in the lost five columns.

A good example of partnership documents is the following:(753)

    Erib-Sin and Nûr-Shamash entered into partnership and came into
    the temple of Shamash and made their plan. Silver, merchandise,
    man-servant, and maid-servant, abroad or at home, altogether they
    shared. Their purpose they realized. Money for money, man-servant
    and maid-servant, merchandise abroad or at home, from mouth to
    interest, brother with brother will not dispute. By Shamash and
    Malkat, by Marduk and Ḥammurabi, they swore. Then follow seventeen
    witnesses. The document is not dated.

(M701) The word for plan, _ṭêmu_, means the basis of partnership, that is,
its terms. Here it was “share and share alike.” The phrase _babtum_,
“merchandise,” includes all the material in which they traded, excluding
the living agents. The phrase _ša ḫarrânim_, literally “on the road,” may
well have denoted the merchandise not in warehouse, but in circulation.
Whether _ḫarrânu_ actually referred to a caravan may be doubtful. We often
read of goods _ša suḳi_, “on the street,” in the same sense, “out on the
market.” If the partners dealt in corn, and had a quantity lent out on
interest, that was _ša suḳi_. Whether a distinction between _ša ḫarrânim_
and _ša suḳi_ was kept up is not clear. But if they invested their capital
in merchandise which they sent to a distant market for sale, the former
phrase would be more appropriate, while if they bought wool to manufacture
into cloth or garments and to sell in the bazaars of their own town, _ša
suḳi_ would be more suitable. The gate of the city was a market, and money
or goods _ša bâbi_, “at the gate,” was as we should say “on the market.”
In contrast to these phrases, _ina libbi alim_, “in the midst of the
town,” answers to our “in stock.” While the term _mitḫariš_ literally
means “altogether,” “without reservation,” it implies exact equality of
share. The _amâtu_ was the “word,” literally, but, applied to business,
means the agreement as to their mutual transactions. The completion of
that was reached when they took the profits and divided them. It might
include the mutual reckoning of profit and loss. The phrase “from mouth to
interest” is very idiomatic. The “mouth,” or verbal relationships,
included all they said, the terms they agreed upon. The word “interest”
here replaces the more usual “gold;” both mean the “profit,” or the
balance due to each. Usually we have the words “is complete,” the idea
being that no verbal stipulation has been overlooked, no money or profit
left out of reckoning.

(M702) As will be remarked, such pregnant forms of expression evidently
presuppose a long course of commercial activity. They can only have arisen
as abbreviations of much longer sentences. Clear enough to the users of
them, they do not admit of literal rendering, if they are to be
intelligible to us. But they are eloquent witnesses of an advanced state
of commerce.

(M703) Traces of partnership are difficult to find in the Assyrian tablets
which have reached us. We must not confuse with partnership the holding in
common of property or lands, which may be due to heritage. Two or more
brothers may sell their common property, for greater ease of division, but
they are not exactly partners.

(M704) In the later Babylonian times, as is natural to expect with the
larger number of private documents, there is much evidence regarding the
many forms of association for business. We have such simple forms as the

    One mina which A and B have put together for common business. All
    that it makes is common property.

Or thus:

    Two minas each, A and B, have as _ḫarrânu_. All that it makes, in
    town and country, is in common. Rent of the house to be paid from

(M705) They had a house, as shop and warehouse, the rent of which was a
charge upon the business. Slaves might be partners with free men, even
with their masters. A partner might merely furnish the capital or both
might do so, and commit it to the hands of a slave or a free man with
which to do business. The slave took his living out of such capital, and
the free man received either provisions or a fixed payment. Thus we

    Five minas and six hundred and thirty pots of aromatics belong to
    A and B as partners. This stock is given to C, a slave, and D,
    another slave, with which to do business. Whatever it makes is A
    and B’s in common. C and D take food and clothing from the profits
    where they go.

It is not unlikely that each slave was to look after his own master’s
interests. For we read:(757)

    Six minas belong to A and B and are given to C the slave of B as
    capital. A and B share what it makes. A will give another slave D
    to help C.

Even women entered into business as agents. We read:(758)

    Two-thirds of a mina belonging to A and B are given to a free
    woman with which to trade.

(M706) As in earlier times, the dissolution of partnership usually
involved a reference to the law-courts. Thus we have(759) a reckoning
before judges of two brothers and a third who were in a partnership from
the eighth year of Nabopolassar to the eighteenth of Nebuchadrezzar. “The
business is dissolved” (_girru paṭrat_). All the former contracts were
broken and shares are assigned to each. The first two brothers were in
possession of fifty shekels which were to be divided.

(M707) Provisional reckonings were constantly made at frequent intervals,
but did not involve dissolution of partnership, nor need to be referred to
a law-court.(760) Some cases are interesting for additional items of
information. Thus we note:(761)


    Two partners put in each fifty _GUR_ of dates. Whatever it makes
    is to be in common. They take a house in Borsippa for one year at
    rent of half a mina. The rent is to be paid out of profits. B
    holds the house and apparently carries on the business. At the end
    of the year he returns it and all the utensils to A.

It seems likely that he carried on some kind of manufacture. A held the
south house, next door. B also paid the tithes. A similar case where some
manufacture from dates is supposed, is thus stated:(762)

    A lends one hundred _GUR_ of dates, fifty _GUR_ of corn, sixty
    large pots, to B and C two of his slaves, on a partnership. They
    are to take in common whatever it makes, in town and country. The
    venture is to last three years. But, in this case, they are to pay
    interest two minas _per annum_. At the end of the three years, the
    two slaves returned all.

They were given a house for which they paid no rent.

(M709) Closely allied with agency is the power of attorney. In the
Code(763) a son in his father’s house could not contract, buy or sell, or
give on deposit, except by power of attorney empowering him to act for his
father. The same was true of the slave. The contemporary documents contain
many references to business done by agents on the order of their
principals.(764) The Assyrians also make frequent mention of persons
acting as _bêl ḳâtâti_, having the power of another’s hands, being in fact
allowed to act as their attorney or agent. The king was represented in the
law-courts by his agent.(765) Sometimes the agent was called _bêl paḫâti_
of the king’s son.(766) It even seems to be the case that _ḳâtâtu_
acquired the sense of agency, or business, and _bît ḳâtâti_ came to mean a
“shop,” or bazaar. In many cases “agency” was expressed by _ša ḳâtâ_, “by
the hands of.” Aliens had to act through such an agent.(767) When three
men borrow a quantity of straw, one alone sealed the receipt and bond to
repay, and was said to be _bêl ḳâtâti ša tibni_, “agent for the
straw.”(768) A female slave was sued for property said to be due from her
master, in his absence. A free man, perhaps the judge, was _bêl ḳâtâti_
for the woman that her master would take up the case on his return, and
undertook to satisfy the suitor, if she could not do so.(769)

(M710) In later Babylonian times the phrase survived. The commissary acted
“with the hand” of his principal. We may take this to be the hand-sign, or
seal, representing written authority. It involved a reckoning with his
master, and naturally gave rise to a number of delicate questions. If a
man bought a house for another, having been commissioned so to do, his
principal must of course pay the price. But was he bound to accept his
agent’s selection? Could he not demur regarding the price? One of these
points at least was dealt with by the later Code. Law A deals with the man
who has concluded a purchase for another, without having a power of
attorney from him in a sealed deed. If he has had the deed made out in his
own name, he is the possessor. Of course, he can sell again to his
principal, but he could not do so at a profit. Nor is the principal under
any obligation to accept the purchase at the price the agent gave for it.
Actual examples are far from rare: A buys a field, crop, date-palms and
all, for C and D. This purchase was made on condition that all copies of
the transaction be destroyed. The condition was not observed, as we still
possess one of them. Later A received from C, one of his principals, about
half the price he had paid. But it does not appear that D ever paid his
share, and this is why the condition was not carried out. Presumably A and
C remained owners of the field.(770)

(M711) There is no limit to the varieties of agency or representative
action. At all periods we meet with a brother, usually the eldest, acting
for his other brothers. A brother acting with the hand of his brother also
occurs in the time of Evil Merodach.(771)

(M712) The power of attorney was also given to receive money and give a
receipt, under seal.(772) Again: A bought some slaves of B and paid in
full. B gave receipt for the money, but did not undertake to deliver the
slaves at A’s house. A can send a messenger or agent to take the slaves,
and B agrees to deliver them to such. Whatever is born or dies from among
the slaves is credited to A.(773)

XXIX. Accounts And Business Documents

(M713) There are lists which are not formal contracts, but may have been
used as legal evidence. The stewards of the great temples, of the palaces,
and even of wealthy men in business, kept most careful accounts. These
lists have some features peculiar to themselves and are not without
considerable interest.

(M714) The tablets which have reached our museums from Telloh, Nippur, and
elsewhere, belonging to the ages before the First Dynasty of Babylon, are
for the most part temple accounts. They often concern the offerings made
by various persons, often officials of high standing, and some may well
have been the notes sent with the offerings. But many were drawn up as
records of the receipts for a certain day, month, or year. Interesting as
they are for the class of offerings, for the names of offerers, or of
priests, and for the cult of particular gods, or the localities near
Telloh and Nippur, and often containing valuable hints for the history and
chronology of those times, they do not give us the same insight into the
daily life of the people that the longer legal documents do, in later

(M715) An important class consists of receipts for loans. Those drawn up
at full length and witnessed, have already been considered. But the
majority may only contain a list of articles delivered, with the name of
the receiver, the lender being the holder as a temple official, while the
receiver is a subordinate. These may have been as effective as the fuller
bonds, but they furnish little information, except regarding the current
prices of articles.

(M716) Some tablets are concerned with hire. The amounts paid by the
temple for repairs, fresh robes for gods and officials, even maintenance
of the workmen, are all set down with their totals for a week, or a month.

(M717) An important class consists of the records of the measurements,
length, breadth, and area of fields, together with the amounts of corn
which they were expected to produce. Were these available for a widely
extended area, we might be able to map out the district round the temple
from whose archives they come.

(M718) The temples and large landowners had great flocks and herds.
Consequently, there is much evidence concerning the pastoral occupations
of the people of Babylonia. The Code regulates the relations of the
shepherds and herdsmen to the flock-masters.(774) Thus an owner might hire
a shepherd, _nâkidu_, for his sheep or cattle, at the wages of eight _GUR_
of corn _per annum_. The shepherd or herdsman took out the flock or herd
to the pasture and was responsible to the owner for them. They were
intrusted to him, and if sheep or ox were lost through his fault, he had
to restore ox for ox and sheep for sheep. If he was hired and had received
satisfactory wages, he had no power to diminish, or abstract from, the
flock or herd for his keep or private use. He entered into a contract with
the owner, and that stipulated for the restoration of the entire flock or
herd, together with a proper increase due to the breeding of the flock or
herd. He had to make any deficiency good, by statute.(775) This applied
also to the stipulated profit in wool or other produce. It seems clear
that his own profit was any excess above the stipulated return. Otherwise
it is difficult to see what source he had from which to make good the loss
to his master. He was forbidden to alter the agreement into which he had
entered in any particular, or to sell any of the flock, under penalty of a
tenfold restitution. He was, however, protected from liability for loss by
wild beasts or accident. But, if the loss was due to his fault, by
neglecting to keep the fold secure, he had to make up the loss.

(M719) It is obvious that he gave a receipt for what was intrusted to him
and made his account on return from the pastures. These accounts are
plentiful among the temple accounts in the earliest periods, but being
written for the most part in Sumerian, have still many obscurities for us.
As a rule, each deals with the liabilities of one man, whose “account,”
_nikasu_, it is said to be. At the beginning are recounted the details of
his trust, so many oxen, cows, sheep or goats, of varied ages and
qualities. Here it is very difficult to translate. Anyone who knows the
variety of names which are given to an animal by agriculturists according
to its age, sex, and use, need not be surprised to find that the
Babylonians had many names for what we can only render by “sheep.” As a
rule, we know when the ram, ewe, or lamb is intended. But this by no means
exhausts the variety. Anyone who glances through an Arabic lexicon must
notice how many different names the Arabs have for the camel in its
different aspects. But in our case we often have no clew to what was meant
by the signs beyond some variety of sheep, ox, or goat. At any rate, the
first section enumerates the cattle or sheep delivered to the herdsman.
Then follows a section devoted to those “withdrawn,” taken back by the
owner, or exacted as some due from the flock. Others are noted as taken
for sacrifice, used for the wages or support of the herdsman, or else dead
or otherwise missing. These the herdsman was allowed to subtract and then
had to return the balance. There are similar lists of asses or goats. The
tablets hardly lend themselves to connected translation because of the
absence of verbs. The following is an example:

    Forty-three ewes, forty-three rams, seven ewe-lambs, seven
    he-lambs, three she-goats, one sucking kid, to start with.
    Expended in ewes and rams, none; six ewes, seventeen rams,
    snatched away; no lambs lost: no ewes, one ram, no lambs. Total:
    one hundred and four to start with. Total expended: none. Total:
    twenty-three snatched away. Total: one lost. Namḫâni, shepherd.
    Overseer: Duggazidda. At Girsu. The year after the king devastated

The meaning of the words is somewhat conjectural. “Expended” may mean used
for the shepherd’s own maintenance. “Snatched away” means probably
deducted for revenue purposes, about one in five. The scribe did not write
“none.” He merely left a blank.(776)

(M720) The similar lists for the second epoch are not yet available for
study. Only one(777) appears to have been published,(778) but there are
many still unpublished. It is not easy to translate them, because, though
many Semitic names occur, there is still a tendency to use the old
Sumerian, or ideographic writings. Such a list as:

    Eight oxen, twenty-three work-oxen (for watering-machines), eleven
    milch cows, sixteen steers, sixteen heifers. In all seventy-four
    oxen (or cattle) belonging to Marduk-uballiṭ in the hands of
    Bêlshunu, fifth day,

may serve as an example, but does not convey much information to us. These
lists are chiefly valuable for the means of comparison they afford. A
three-year-old ox was worth half a mina of silver.(779)

(M721) For Assyrian times we have a few interesting examples, just enough
to show that the same customs survived. There are no less than thirty-five
kinds of sheep and goats, and fifteen kinds of cattle named in the lists;
also eleven kinds of birds. Here is a specimen list of asses which gives
some prices:(780)

    One male working ass for one and a half minas seven shekels, one
    she-ass for thirty-seven shekels, a second she-ass for one mina, a
    third she-ass for one royal mina, a fourth she-ass for thirty-two
    shekels, in all five and a half minas two shekels.

There is nothing to show for whom or why the list was drawn up, but if the
total is correct, we learn that a royal mina was worth one mina forty-six
shekels of the ordinary standard. The lists of horses are now very
numerous, some dozen varieties being distinguished. Many of these lists
give the numbers of horses of different kinds which entered a certain city
on a certain day.(781) The horses are often distinguished as coming from
certain countries, being called Kusai, or Mesai, horses. The camels are
frequently mentioned, and we learn that one was worth a mina and a
third.(782) Dromedaries are also named(783) and seem to have been worth
three minas apiece.

(M722) Wool accounts play an important part in documents of the early
times. They may be regarded as of two kinds. The first are shearers’
accounts returned by the shepherd of a flock; the second are concerned
with the amounts of wool given out to weavers.

(M723) Shearers’ accounts enumerate four sorts or qualities of wool. The
best was called royal wool, that which was of the highest quality. The
others were second, third, and fourth quality. Poor wool and black wool
are also named. Sometimes we are told from what part of the sheep’s body
it was taken. Other terms applied are less easy to recognize. This wool
was received by weight.

(M724) The weavers’ accounts give a list of quantities of wool, with the
same distinctions as to quality, and the price at which it was assessed.
This was doubtless the sum to be paid by the weaver, if the wool was not
returned made up. The values attached show very clearly the difference in
quality. Thus, while two looms of royal wool were worth thirty minas,
seven looms of second quality went for the same value, eleven looms of
third quality for a talent, and thirty-two looms of fourth quality for one
talent, one loom of another sort for one talent, and the same amount of
black wool for the same value.(784) It is evident that the black wool was
highly valued. The loom, literally, “beam,” of wool, was some measure,
perhaps what would occupy one weaver. The price was probably fixed in
silver. The price of the same quality varied from time to time.

(M725) In the letters of Ḥammurabi and his successors there are frequent
references to the shearing, and orders for the inspection of flocks and
herds.(785) The Code does not refer to sheep-shearing, though it mentions
wool. The shearing was concluded by the New Year feast in Nisan. In the
contemporary contracts there are several wool accounts. As a rule, one
talent, or sixty minas’ weight, of wool was served out to several men who
were to pay for it, to the palace, at the rate of one shekel of silver
_per mina_.

(M726) In Assyrian times we have great wool and weaving accounts. Some
deal with the huge amounts of wool received as tribute from the great
cities of the empire and then served out to bodies of weavers in various
palaces with specifications of the species of cloth or sorts of garments
which were to be returned. In the later Babylonian times we have a large
number of wool accounts recording the amounts given out from the temple to
various persons to weave or make up into garments.(786)

(M727) Skins are also named in the accounts. They are distinguished as the
skins of certain kinds of animals. Various amounts are credited to
different persons, but whether as giving or receiving, and in what
capacity, is not clear. Sheep and goat skins are most common, but ox and
cow hides are named.

(M728) The Code does not refer to these, nor the letters of Ḥammurabi and
his successors, but we have lists of skins and carcasses of animals.(787)
The purpose of the lists is not clear. In Assyrian times there are
frequent references to hides. There was a distinct grade of official
called a _ṣârip taḫšê_, “dyer of skins.” Large quantities were bought in
the markets of Kalaḫ and Ḥarrân. The price was about two shekels of silver
for a skin.(788) The articles made of leather are very numerous; shoes,
harness, pouches, even garments, are named. It was used for buckets,
baskets, bottles, shields, and many other things not clearly recognized.

(M729) Fairly frequent also are accounts of the quantities of corn
expended for the keep of flocks and herds. The amounts allowed _per diem_
are the chief items of interest. Sheep were allowed from one to one and a
half _ḲA_ a day, lambs half a _ḲA_, oxen six to eight _ḲA_.(789) In the
Code we find allowances for the keep of animals. There are very frequent
lists in Assyrian times of amounts of corn given to various animals. These
also occur at later times. The amounts allowed per day are various and by
no means uniform. A very good example gives as the allowance of corn for a
full-grown sheep two _ḲA per diem_, for a young sheep, one _ḲA_, for a
lamb one-half _ḲA_.(790)

(M730) Acknowledgments of advances, or loans, occur in the first epoch. As
a rule, we are not told what was the ground of the loan. The fact that
these loans were to be repaid is not stated, and we may take the tablets
to be merely receipts for things given out to officials who had a right to
them. The substances were corn of different kinds, wine, beer,
sesame-wine, butter, flour and other food-stuffs, wool, and other
supplies. We sometimes learn prices from these tablets. Thus a _GUR_ of
corn cost one shekel.(791)

(M731) Long lists of accounts are very common at all epochs. They relate
what sums or amounts were paid out to various officials for certain goods
or for wages, keep, and the like. In fact, they are stewards’ accounts.
Unfortunately, the way in which most collections have been formed, and
even more the way in which they have since been preserved, renders it
impossible for us to make the use of them which has often been made of
mediæval accounts. Otherwise we could obtain from them many interesting
items. They are, however, most valuable for prices and names.

(M732) Thus, in such lists we find mention of articles which would
otherwise remain unsuspected. The first reference to iron is in the
Ḥammurabi period,(792) whence we learn that a shekel of silver would buy
eight times its weight of iron. Sometimes we get an important contribution
to chronology. It is well known that there is no certainty as to the order
of the Eponyms after B.C. 648, but we know their names for at least forty
years later. Any contribution to the order of these names would be
welcomed with avidity. Thus, one scribe writes: “Income from the Eponymy
of Sagab to the Eponymy of Nabû-shar-aḫêshu, for six years, which was paid
in as maintenance, eleven talents ... besides twenty-seven plates of
silver.” We cannot say whose income it was, but the previous section dealt
with the income of the crown prince, and this may be only a _résumé_ of
the last. But we now know that from Sagab to Nabû-shar-aḫêshu was six
years in all.

Thus, from the most varied and often most unpromising sources are derived
those important details which make it possible to attain an exact and
realistic conception of Babylonian and Assyrian history and life.


I. Letters And Letter-Writing Among The Babylonians And Assyrians

(M733) (M734) The ancient Babylonians early discovered the convenience of
written communication between friends at a distance. The origin of
letter-writing is not yet clear; for, when we first meet with letters,
they are fully developed. A piece of clay, usually shaped like a miniature
pillow, was inscribed and then enclosed in an envelope made of a thin
sheet of clay. On the envelope was written the address. As a rule, the
letter was baked hard before being put into its envelope. Powdered clay
was inserted to prevent sticking. The envelope, after being inscribed, was
also baked hard. Of course, the letter could not be read without breaking
the envelope, which was therefore a great protection to the interior
letter. The envelope was naturally thrown away after being broken. Hence,
extremely few envelopes have been preserved.

(M735) The practice of dating letters does not seem to have been common.
We have dated letters at all epochs, but they are few. In some cases the
date may have been on the envelope. It is more common for the writer to
give the day of the month, sometimes also the month. But the date of a
letter was probably not then of any great importance.

(M736) Some letters seem to have been covered with coarse cloth, on which
was impressed a lump of clay, to act as a seal and bind down the edges.
The lumps were then sealed with a signet-ring, or cylinder-seal. The clay
envelopes were also sealed, before baking, with the sender’s seal. So
usual was this habit, that the word for seal, _unḳu_, is often used to
denote a sealed letter. Thus when an official acknowledges the receipt of
the king’s “seal,” it means a sealed order or rescript.

(M737) The early Babylonian letters usually open with the formula, “To A
say: Thus saith B.” The formula probably goes back to the times when the
message was verbally delivered. These would be the words used to a
messenger who had to remember the message. The verb “saith” is not
expressed exactly. The word used is _umma_, which is often rendered
“saying”; it introduces a direct quotation. We might render, “In the name
of B.” But the written letter replaced the spoken message. Some think the
letter was read by a professional reader. Such readers are common still,
where education is not widely diffused. It is very clear that the letter
was generally written by a scribe. Thus, all Ḥammurabi’s letters show the
same hand, while those of Abêshu or Ammi-ditana are quite different. In
the case of private letters we have less proof. But it is possible that
the king sometimes wrote with his own hand. Some terms of expression
render that very likely. It is, however, quite impossible to be certain on
such points.

(M738) The same opening formula also appears in the Tell el Amarna
letters. It is not known in Assyrian letters, but survived in Babylonia to
a late period. In Assyria the formula is nearly the same; with the
omission of the _ḳibi_, or “say,” it reads “To A thus B.” In addresses to
superiors, B usually adds “thy servant.” Polite letters generally add good
wishes for the recipient. These are exceedingly varied. The word _šulmu_
plays a great part in them. Literally it denotes “peace.” “Peace be to
thee” is very common. But it soon came to mean the “greeting of peace.”

Thus “I have sent _ana šulmika_” means “I have sent to wish thee peace,”
“to greet thee.” But it also takes the more general meaning of well-being.
Thus _šulmu iâši_ means “I am well,” “it is peace with me”; not only
absence from war, but health and all prosperity was included. Hence
Joram’s inquiry of Jehu, “Is it peace, Jehu?” means “Is everything all
right?” “Be thou at peace” may be rendered loosely, “I hope you are well,”
in the fullest sense that “all is well with you.” No consistent rendering
can be given for such phrases as these.

(M739) Very often letters quote the previous message of the present
recipient, _ša tašpuranni_, “what thou didst send me.” But the quotation
is often omitted and then this becomes an awkward rendering. We have to
fill up some general sentence such as, “as to what you sent about.” A very
difficult sort of construction arises when the writer sets down a list of
questions, which he has been asked, and the answer to each. As there are
no capitals, periods, or question-marks, there is often some difficulty in
separating a question from its answer. This may be done differently by
different translators, with startlingly different results.

(M740) Very many sentences are elliptical. Thus, it was common to add at
the end of the letter something like, “I leave it to you to decide.” This
might be put, “As the king, my lord, sees fit, let him do.” But a scribe
would often merely say, “As the king sees fit.” Such elliptical sentences
are often very difficult to complete. They were obviously clear to the
recipient. To us they leave a wide margin for conjecture.

(M741) Very early indeed in the history of Babylonia a sort of postal
system had been developed. At any rate, in the time of Sargon I., B.C.
3800, an active exchange of commodities existed between Agade and
Shirpurla. Packages or vessels of produce or goods were forwarded and with
them small blocks of clay, impressed with seals and inscribed with the
address of the recipient. These were probably used to prevent the
fastenings of the packages from being untied, and on their backs may be
seen the impressions of the strings which fastened the packages.(793) As
it happens, no letters have yet been published from the era preceding the
First Dynasty of Babylon; but we can hardly doubt that such exist.

(M742) In the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon letters appear
frequently in the collections of tablets brought to our museums. The
volumes of _Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, etc., in the British
Museum, published by order of the Trustees_,(794) contain a large number
of letters from copies made by Mr. T. G. Pinches. These have been made the
subject of a study by Dr. Mary Williams Montgomery.(795) Mr. L. W. King,
in his work, _The Letters and Inscriptions of Ḥammurabi_, published
fifty-five letters of Ḥammurabi to his subordinate officer, Sin-idinnam,
six letters of Samsuiluna, thirteen of Abêshu’, two of Ammiditana, five of
Ammizaduga, and two private letters. These were all transcribed,
translated, annotated, and, with a number of other contemporary
inscriptions, issued with admirable introductions, glossary, and
index.(796) Nowhere can a more vivid picture be obtained of the great
empire and the manifold duties of a Babylonian king. A number of the texts
published in the first volume were translated and commented upon by Dr. G.
Nagel under the title, _Die Briefe Ḥammurabi’s an Sin-idinnam_.(797)
Professor Delitzsch added some valuable notes. Dr. B. Meissner had already
published the text of four letters as _Altbabylonische Briefe_.(798)
Professor V. Scheil gave the text of two letters of this period, found by
him at Sippara, in the _Recueil de Travaux_(799) and noticed others, and
some more in his _Une Saison de fouilles a Sippar_.(800) These are
preserved at Constantinople, but the text has not yet been published. They
are chiefly private letters and of a business nature. There are a great
many other letters in American and European museums, the publication of
which should not be longer delayed.

(M743) For the long period before the Tell el Amarna times, _circa_ B.C.
1500, nothing of any extent seems to have been published, though letters
are also known to exist of this period. A late copy of one such letter,
addressed by Adadi-Shumnâṣir, King of Babylon, to Ashur-narara and
Nabû-dâni, kings of Assyria, about B.C. 1250, is partly preserved in the
British Museum.(801)

(M744) The Tell el Amarna tablets, some three hundred in number, were
discovered in 1887-88, at the ruins of the palace of Amenophis IV., in
Egypt. They will form the subject of a separate volume of this series.
They consist of the letters or despatches sent to kings of Egypt by the
kings of Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, and the subject-rulers of many Syrian
and Palestinian cities and states. From these can be obtained a very clear
view of the state of Syria and Palestine just before the exodus of the
Israelites from Egypt. Naturally, these letters have formed the subject of
a very large literature. The most complete edition of the texts is by
Winckler, _Der Thontafelfund von el Amarna_.(802) With these should be
compared Dr. J. A. Knudtzon’s _Ergebnisse einer Collation der El Amarna
Tafeln_ and _Weitere Studien zu den El Amarna Tafeln_.(803) A full
transcription with translation and glossary to these texts has been given
by Winckler, as _Die Thontafeln von Tell el Amarna_.(804) An excellent
English translation by J. P. Metcalf is to be had. There are a few of
these tablets, which found their way into private hands, or to other
museums than London, Berlin, and Gizeh, whence Winckler’s copies were
obtained. It is a duty to science that these should now be published. In
the _Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie orientale_, t. II.,
published at Cairo, Professor Scheil gives the text of two more of these
important letters. The explorer, Dr. F. Bliss, found another in the ruins
of Lachish. It is included in Winckler’s work above. Professor Sellin has
lately found several tablets, which by their script and personal
references are shown to belong to this period. They were found at
Ta’annek, and are published by Dr. Hronzy in the _Anzeige der philos.
hist. Klasse der Wiener Akademie_.(805) The interest of these additions
lies in the fact that they were found in Palestine itself.

(M745) The numerous Cappadocian tablets are now generally recognized by
their language and script to belong to this period. They also show
considerable affinity with the documents of the First Dynasty of Babylon,
and the Tell el Amarna letters preserve many characteristic expressions.

(M746) The subsequent periods in Babylonia are represented by few letters.
It is not until we come down to the end of the eighth century and the
Sargonide times that we meet with many letters. The archives of Nineveh
contained immense numbers. A great many of these are now in the Kouyunjik
Collections of the British Museum. There they early attracted attention.
Being written by the imperial officials to the kings of Assyria, they
contain most valuable material (M747) for history. George Smith in 1871
gave extracts from several of them in his _History of Ashurbanipal_. A
number were published in Rawlinson’s _Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western
Asia_. Mr. S. A. Smith, in the _Proceedings of the Society of Biblical
Archæology_, 1887-89,(806) and in the second and third volumes of his
_Keilschrifttexte Asurbanipals_ gave some seventy more. Professor
Delitzsch also published a number in his _Zur assyrisch-babylonischen
Briefliteratur_,(807) and in his translations and comments laid the real
foundation for their interpretation. In 1892 Professor R. F. Harper began
the colossal task of publishing the text of all the letters from Nineveh,
in his _Assyrian and Babylonian Letters belonging to the K Collections of
the British Museum_, of which eight volumes are already published.(808)

(M748) A considerable number of scholars have busied themselves with the
translation and elucidation of these texts. Professor C. Johnston in his
work, _The Epistolary Literature of the Assyrians and Babylonians_;(809)
C. van Gelderen, _Ausgewählte babylonisch-assyrische Briefe_;(810) A. J.
Delattre, _Quelques Lettres Assyriennes_;(811) G. R. Berry, _The Letters
of the Rm. 2 Collection_, in _American Journal of Semitic Literature_,
xi., pp. 174-202; F. Martin, _Lettres assyriennes et
babyloniennes_—besides the many articles by other scholars on particular
words or subjects—have contributed to the understanding of these difficult
texts. Professor R. F. Harper has published a few preliminary studies on
these texts.(812) Dr. H. Winckler not only gave several important texts in
his _Texte verschiedenen Inhalts_,(813) but translations and comments on
them in his _Altorientalische Forschungen_.(814)

(M749) The letter-texts of the latter Babylonian period at present
published are extremely few. Some may be found in Strassmaier’s great
collection of _Babylonische Texte_, among the contracts. A list of those
for the reigns of Nabonidus and Nebuchadrezzar is given in Dr. K. L.
Tallqvist’s _Die Sprache der Contracte Nabû-nâ’ids_, p. xviii.

(M750) One of the uses to which the letters may be put is to illustrate
the history of the time. From the letters of Ḥammurabi we can gather a
great deal of information as to the civil policy of the reign. From the
Tell el Amarna tablets we may reconstruct almost a complete survey of the
condition of politics in Palestine. From the Assyrian letters we can
rewrite the history of affairs in Armenia at the end of Sargon’s reign, or
the wars with Elam in Ashurbânipal’s time.

(M751) The letters are also a rich mine of information on all sorts of
topics, and those very often on which almost all other literatures are
silent. We gain here a closer and more intimate acquaintance with humanity
than at any other period of ancient history. We must not expect finality
in our translations for a long while to come. Fresh documents will
continually be found or published that will help us to revise our views.
But that is the perennial interest of the letters. We may read and reread
them, always finding something fresh to combine with every new piece of

(M752) Several different methods of classifying the letters suggest
themselves. One plan would be to group those letters which illustrate some
phase of civil life. Thus we may collect the references to medical cases,
or the illustrations of religious life, or the contributions to astronomy
and astrology. But none of these methods will be exhaustive or generally
applicable. A letter rarely deals with only one subject. The only
scientific classification seems to be that adopted by Professor Harper in
his edition of the Nineveh letters, or Mr. King in his letters of
Ḥammurabi. This is to place together all the letters written by one
scribe. Here we have two difficulties. There may be more than one scribe
of the same name. Thus it is practically certain that in Professor
Harper’s groups of letters apparently assigned to one man, more than one
person is often really involved. Again, a very large number of letters no
longer preserve the name of their scribe. Only a prolonged study can
reduce these difficulties; it is not likely that we shall ever quite
eliminate error.

(M753) There is one large group that has a claim to separate
consideration. Many letters are written by, or to, a king. They are on
various subjects. A subdivision might be made of reports sent by officials
concerning public affairs. But even these often contain side-references;
and at the last we have really to consider each letter as a separate

II. The Letters Of Ḥammurabi

(M754) The letters of Ḥammurabi are by far the most important collection
of letters hitherto published for the period of the First Dynasty of
Babylon. They had a certain adventitious value at one time, because one of
them was thought to contain the name of Chedorlaomer, and this association
with Ḥammurabi, as Amraphel, was exploited in the interests of a defence
of the historical value of Genesis xiv. Mr. L. W. King’s edition of the
letters, however, showed that such a use was unwarranted. But it served a
much more useful end, giving us a very full picture of the times of the
founder of the First Babylonian Empire. The excellent account given by Mr.
King of the contents of these letters is fairly exhaustive. The importance
of such sources for history cannot be overestimated. They are
contemporary. They are not written to impress posterity, but with absolute
fidelity to fact. We may disbelieve some of the excuses made for
misconduct, but in the references to current events or general customs we
have a sure witness, if only we can understand them. This is often
difficult because a letter presupposes relations between the
correspondents which we must conjecture.

(M755) Since Mr. King’s introduction to his first volume gives a full
account of the few letters previously published, this need not be
reproduced here. Of Ḥammurabi’s letters fifty-three are addressed to one
and the same man, Sin-iddinam. It is doubtful whether he was the King of
Larsa who bore this name, or the official who in the next reign seems to
be Governor of Sippara. There are many persons who bore this name known at
this period. However, several mentions of the temple of Shamash at Larsa
occur in these letters and there is a certain presumption that Sin-iddinam
of Larsa was the person intended.

(M756) Ḥammurabi’s ability as an administrator, which these letters
reveal, and his care even for small details of his rule, may well be the
reason why his empire proved so stable. He established a tradition which
was long followed by his successors. He organized his land, appointed
governors, and held them responsible to himself. He had a direct interest
in their doings and sent minute written instructions, demanding reports,
summoning defaulters to his presence, or directing their punishment where
they were. The dates for his reign, as for others of the dynasty, show,
not only raids and conquests, but chiefly public works of utility. The
construction or repair of canals, public buildings, temples, the ordering
of justice, are works that repaid his care.

(M757) Ḥammurabi was a man of many business enterprises. The collection of
the temple revenues was an object of his attention. There is no evidence
that these were available for his use, but he had a personal interest in
all that was right and just. To him the herdsmen and shepherds of the
temple flocks and herds had to report. He often appears as restoring,
rebuilding, or adorning shrines, and he was careful of his religious
duties. Thus he postponed a case because of a festival at Ur, which he
seems to have found demanded the presence of one of the parties.

(M758) He had to settle important questions concerning the calendar;
whether or not reports of astronomical observations were then received is
not clear, but at any rate the king decided when the intercalary months
should be inserted. Thus he told Sin-iddinam there was to be a second

(M759) The administration of justice was also no small part of his work.
Not only did he promulgate a code, but he also superintended its
execution. There was a right of appeal to his judgment. He actively
supervised his judges in the provinces. Thus a case of bribery was
reported from Dûr-gurgurri and he instructed Sin-iddinam to investigate
the case and send the guilty parties to Babylon for punishment. He upheld
a merchant’s claim against a city governor, for the recovery of a loan. He
protected the landowners against money-lenders. He examined claims to land
and sent instructions to Sin-iddinam to carry out his decision. Thefts of
corn, loans withheld, rents, were adjudicated by him. He summoned not only
the parties, but the witnesses, to Babylon. Prisoners were sent under
escort, and arrests ordered.

(M760) The king’s own herds and flocks were a personal care to him. They
were stationed in various parts of the country. He received reports about
them, or sent inspectors to report upon them. On one occasion he summoned
forty-seven shepherds to come and report to him in Babylon. He ordered
additional shearers to assist those already at work. He regulated supplies
of wood, dates, seed, and corn. These were often sent by ship, and there
is evidence of a large number of ships being employed, of varied

(M761) Public buildings demanded large gangs of workmen. They were drawn
from the slave and serf population. A great many letters are concerned
with the supply and movements of these laborers. Whether forced labor was
inflicted as a punishment may be doubted. But the _corvée_ was in full
operation. The hire of laborers is referred to, and it is probable that
the forced laborers were fed and clothed at the expense of the state. Thus
we see that Ḥammurabi was a busy man and worked hard to build up his
empire. His successors, though we have fewer of their letters, seem to
have been fully as active.

(M762) It is not easy to select specimens for this period. Each letter has
an interest of its own, and it is tempting to include most of them. But we
may take the two letters referring to the goddesses of Emutbal, because
one of them by a series of misreadings and misunderstandings was made to
contain the famous reference to Chedorlaomer. The first(815) may be

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Now I am sending
    Zikir-ilishu, the _AB-AB-UL_, and Ḥammurabi-banî, the _DU-GAB_, to
    bring the goddesses of Emutbal. Do thou forthwith embark the
    goddesses in a procession-boat (state barge) and let them come to
    Babylon. Let the hierodules come with them. For the sustenance of
    the goddesses embark food, drink, sheep, ship’s furniture, and
    travelling expenses for the hierodules, until they reach Babylon.
    Appoint men to draw the ropes, and _biḫru_ men, that the goddesses
    may come safely to Babylon. Let them not delay but come quickly to

(M763) These goddesses were very likely captured during an expedition to
Emutbal which was a border province of Elam. It is natural to associate
this with the thirty-first year of Ḥammurabi, for which the full date is:

    “The year of Ḥammurabi, the king, in which by the help of Anu and
    Bêl he established his good fortune, and his hand cast to the
    earth the land of Iamutbal and Rim-Sin, the king.”(816)

The transport of the goddesses was made possible by the system of canals.
Intercommunication was in an excellent state, for Ḥammurabi ordered a man
to be sent to Babylon from Larsa, and allowed him two days, travelling day
and night. The hierodules are the female attendants of the goddesses. The
officers whom Ḥammurabi sent bear titles not yet clearly recognized. The
name Ḥammurabi-banî points to a deification of the king. Whether the
goddesses reached Babylon and there brought misfortune on the country and
so were sent back again, or whether their restoration to their shrines in
Emutbal was part of the king’s policy for a pacification of the conquered
country, does not appear. But we read in another letter:(817)

    “To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: The goddesses of
    Emutbal, which are in thy command, the troops of Inuḫsamar shall
    bring safely to thee. When they shall reach thee, combine the
    troops with those in thy hands and restore the goddesses to their

The construction of the passage seems to imply that the goddesses had
protected Inuḫ-samar. The latter was in command of troops that were within
Sin-iddinam’s jurisdiction; for when Sin-mâgir complained to Ḥammurabi
that Inuḫ-samar had impressed some of his servants for military service
contrary to a bond given him by the king, Ḥammurabi referred the matter to
Sin-iddinam, ordering the servant to be given up.(818) It was this name
Inuḫ-samar that Scheil misread as Kudur-nûḫ-gamar.

(M764) A number of letters concern the canals of the country. Thus we

    “To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Summon the people who
    hold fields on the side of the Damanu canal, that they may scour
    the Damanu canal. Within this present month let them finish
    scouring the Damanu canal.”

Here we are introduced to the duty which lay upon riparians to keep the
canals running alongside their land in order. This was part of the _ilku_,
or customary obligation. It lay with the governor to enforce it. In
another letter(820) the king complains that a canal which had been partly
cleared had not been cleared as far as Erech, and so the boats could not
enter that city. Here Sin-iddinam was ordered to do the work with the men
at his disposal and complete it in three days. After that he was to go on
with the work he had already been ordered to do. In another fragmentary
letter the king orders the clearing away of the water-plants which had
obstructed the course of the Euphrates between Ur and Larsa. One is
reminded of the _sudd_ on the Nile.(821)

(M765) The case of bribery is referred to in a way that leaves it rather
doubtful whether a theft may not be meant. The meaning of the word
rendered “bribe” by King is unknown, and his identification of _tâtu_ with
_da’tu_ is not certain. But at any rate the wrong was brought under the
cognizance of Ḥammurabi, and he writes:(822)

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Shumma-ilu-lâ-ilu saith
    thus, so saith he, “In Dûr-gurgurri bribery has taken place. The
    people who took the bribe and the witnesses who know the affair
    are here.” Thus he saith. Now I will send this same
    Shumma-ilu-lâ-ilu, a _DU-GAB_ and a ... to thee. When this letter
    is seen inquire into the matter. If there is bribery, take the
    money, or what was given as a bribe, seal it up and send to my
    presence. The people that received the bribe, and the witnesses
    who know the case, whom Shumma-ilu-lâ-ilu will disclose, send to

(M766) A case of oppression by a governor is complained of, and redressed
by the king. He writes:(823)

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Lalu, the _kadurru_,
    hath informed me thus, saith he, “Ani-ellati, the governor
    _rabiânu_, has laid claim to [alienated] the field which I have
    held since ... and [taken] the corn of the field.” Thus he hath
    informed me. The tablet can be seen in the palace. Lalu holds two
    _GAN_ of land. Why has Ani-ellati, the governor, laid claim to
    Lalu’s field? Inquire into the matter. If Ani-ellati has lent on
    mortgage to Lalu, the _kadurru_, grant him his debt and lay the
    blame on Ani-ellati, who lent on pledge.

It is clear that Lalu was one of those privileged officials who held lands
by royal charter, and who could not be dispossessed of their land. The
Code directs(824) that a governor shall not lend on mortgage to a reeve or
runner or tributary, under pain of death. Although a _kadurru_ is not
there named, this letter makes it probable he was similarly protected. It
is interesting to notice where the record was to be found. The palace, or
“great house,” was the residence of the governor. The tablet probably
recorded the appointment of Lalu to his benefice; it therefore was his
title-deed. An interesting question may be raised here. Did Ḥammurabi mean
in his own palace? It may be so, for he writes in another letter:(825)


    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: One _GAN_ of
    water-meadow, a field in the district of Dûr-gurgurri is an old
    possession of Ea-lubanî. In a tablet it is inscribed as his. Give
    the field to Ea-lubanî.

Now how could Ḥammurabi know this unless the tablet had been shown to him?
Perhaps the claimant brought his tablet with him when he came to lay his
plea before the king. That is quite possible, but it may well be that the
king insisted that all title-deeds be deposited in the capital.

(M768) An order for the restoration of stolen corn appears in another

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Ṭummumu of Nippur hath
    informed me thus, saith he, “I deposited seventy _GUR_ of corn in
    a granary in Unabu and Amêl-ili has opened the granary and taken
    the corn.” Thus he hath informed me. Now I will send Ṭummumu
    himself to thee. Send and let them bring Amêlili to thee. See what
    they have to say. The corn belonging to Ṭummumu which Amêl-ili
    took let him return to Ṭummumu.

Another letter reads thus:(827)

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Ilushu-iḳîsh, the
    merchant, over five, has informed me thus, saith he, “Thirty _GUR_
    of corn I gave to Sin-mâgir, the _Šakkanak_, and I took his
    receipt. I have asked for it for three years and he has not given
    back the corn.” Thus hath he informed me. I have seen his receipt.
    Cause Sin-mâgir to give up the corn and its interest and give it
    to Ilu-shu-iḳîsh.

The title “over five” seems to be meant literally. He was a superior
merchant. Like many another hint, this speaks for the strict organization
of each class of the community. The _Šakkanak_ was usually the superior
official, “governor,” of a city, or of a ward of a city. We are not told
what was Sin-mâgir’s district. But it was under Sin-iddinam’s rule. In
other letters we read of a Sin-mâgir being sent to Babylon.(828) Perhaps
he refused to give up the corn.

Another letter illustrates the incidence of taxes and the relations of
landlord and tenant:(829)


    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: As to what I sent to
    thee about the corn that is the tax on the field of Ibni-Martu,
    which is in the hands of Etil-bi-Marduk, to be given to
    Ibni-Martu; thou didst say, “Etil-bi-Marduk hath said thus, saith
    he, ‘I have cultivated another field together with the field of
    Ibni-Martu, and the corn is all garnered in one place, let them
    declare on oath before God how much corn was from the field of
    Ibni-Martu and let them take the tax.’ Thus he said. But
    Ibni-Martu did not agree. Saith he, ‘Without Ibni-Martu one can do
    nothing.’ Thus he said, and went away.” As to what thou didst
    send, “the corn, as much as was in his field, should be declared
    before God and the tax given him.” As thou didst send, let them
    declare before God how much corn was in the field of Ibni-Martu,
    and pay Ibni-Martu the corn that is the tax on his field.

The case is not quite clear, but Ibni-Martu owed a tax on his field. He
had either mortgaged or let his field to another. This tenant had not
given him the corn to pay the tax and excused himself on the ground that
the produce of the field was now mixed up with that of another field.
Hence he could not say how much the tax should be; clearly it was
proportionate to the yield. The method of solving the difficulty was that
a sworn estimate had to be taken from competent witnesses and the tax
levied on that basis. This course was recommended by Sin-iddinam in a
previous report on the situation. The amount was to be given to the
landlord, who then had to pay the tax. He clearly had no rent in corn from
the land; but he could not sell or mortgage his crop except subject to the
tax. The mortgagee was liable for the tax and the owner was bound to pay.
The mortgagee must furnish him the means to do so; he had no right to
claim the part of the crop due as tax, whatever bargain he had made with
the owner of the land.

(M770) (M771) While agriculture was in the hands of free men who only paid
on produce, there are indications that commerce was very strictly
controlled by the State. The merchant was the only money-lender as a rule.
He also seems to have acted as contractor, or farmer of taxes. The
merchant, or factor, was under the king’s protection and also directly
responsible to him. Hence some have regarded him as a royal official. But
this is hardly correct. He was to Ḥammurabi what the Jew of the Middle
Ages was to the king then, or the Stock Exchange or Bourse is now.
Probably we should not be far wrong in applying to him the term
“publican,” in the New Testament sense. He owed a certain amount to the
treasury, which he recouped from the taxes due from the district for which
he contracted. If he did not secure enough, he had to make up the deficit.
The following letter(830) deals with what was probably common, namely, an
evident reluctance on the part of such officials to settle accounts:

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus Ḥammurabi: Concerning the chief
    collector, Shêp-Sin, I wrote to thee, saying, “send him with one
    thousand eight hundred _GUR_ of sesame and nineteen minas of
    silver, due from him, as well as Sin-mushtal, the chief collector,
    with eighteen hundred _GUR_ of sesame and seven minas of silver,
    due from him, send them to Babylon, and send with them the market
    rates (?)...” But thou didst say that these chief collectors had
    said, “Just now is harvest-time, after harvest we will go.” Thus
    they said, and thou didst tell me. Now the harvest is over. On
    receipt of this tablet, when I have sent to thee, send Shêp-Sin,
    the chief collector, with one thousand eight hundred _GUR_ of
    sesame and nineteen minas of silver, his due, and Sin-mushtal, the
    chief collector, with one thousand eight hundred _GUR_ of sesame
    and seven minas of silver, his due, to Babylon; and with them thy
    trustworthy guard, and with all their property let them come and
    appear before me.

The title which I have rendered “chief collector” may be read “scribe of
the merchants.” The sign _PA_, read _aklu,_ does in some of its
connections mean “scribe,” as _tamkaru_ does mean “merchant.” But the sign
often denotes merely an overseer. Hence we may take it that this was the
derived meaning. The reason may well be that over a group of shepherds or
merchants, one was always set who could keep accounts. Hence the term
_aklu_, properly a “scribe,” came to be an “overseer.” Such a high
official as the _PA Martu_ would be the Superintendent of Martu. The
person referred to in this letter, Shêp-Sin, occurs also in two other
letters of Ḥammurabi.(831) In one, Sin-iddinam is told to send him to
Babylon with money; in the other, he complains of not being able to
collect money due to a temple, and having to make up the deficit himself.

(M772) The officials who were under obligation to furnish men for public
work and the army, doubtless often found a difficulty in making up their
quota, and impressed men who were not strictly liable for duty. Such men
as those called _KA-DUR_, _KAPAR_, _MU_, _PATESI_, are named on the
letters as exempt from the service. But even this is not conclusive. They
are not exempted because they are of these ranks, but because they have
been wrongly assigned to the service. Their masters may have been exempt
from the liability to furnish a man; or already engaged in royal service.
Slaves and poor men were subject, as we know from the Code. Here is one of
the letters on the question:(832)

    To Sin-iddinam say, thus saith Ḥammurabi: Naram-Sin, the shepherd,
    hath said thus, saith he, “The herdsmen in my hands have been put
    in the _corvée_.” Thus he said. The herdsmen which are the
    property of Apil-Shamash and Naram-Sin shall not be put in the
    _corvée_. Now summon Etil-bi-Marduk and the officials and order
    them to return the herdsmen of Apil-Shamash and Naram-Sin, whom
    they have taken.

Here the _KABAR_, or herdsmen, are the employees of the shepherd, his
“sheep-boys.” Their absence would be a danger to the flocks. The
delinquent Etil-bi-Marduk was often in fault. Several other complaints
against him appear in the letters, in his capacity of money-lender.(833)
On two occasions he was sent for by the king, evidently with a view to
punishment. Further, a _patêsi_ in his service appealed to be transferred
to another master.(834)

III. The Letters Of Samsu-Iluna And His Immediate Successors

(M773) The discovered letters of Samsu-iluna are as yet comparatively few.
They are not all addressed to one man. We may take one or two specimens.

(M774) Like his father Ḥammurabi, Samsu-iluna cared for the health of the
goddesses, providing them with an occasional change of scene. This time it
is the goddess Anunitum, who makes a journey:(835)

    To Haiab ... say, thus saith Samsu-iluna: Concerning Anunitum’s
    going to Sippar-edina, I have sent an officer. Forthwith let
    Anunitum go to Sippar-edina.

The name of the official to whom the letter is sent is broken and it could
be completed in several different ways. Sippar-edina was one quarter of

(M775) The following letter is concerned with the supply of corn for the
Shamash temple at Larsa. It is addressed to three officials:(836)

    To Sin-ilu, Bîtu-rabi, and Nîḳ-Sin say, thus saith Samsu-iluna:
    The corn for the treasure-house of the temple of Shamash of Larsa,
    the property of Igmil-Sin which ye deliver, verily ye shall
    deliver. Forthwith, from the corn that is in your hands, give corn
    for the supply of food for the treasure-house of the temple of
    Shamash; what is now standing due make up.

The “treasure-house” may be only a “store-house” in general. Instead of
“make up,” we may render “buy.”

(M776) Samsu-iluna looked into the details of his government quite as
closely as his father. We see him regulating fishing rights:(837)

    To Sin-iddinam, Kâr-Sippar, and the judges of Sippara, say, thus
    saith Samsu-iluna: They tell me that the ships of the fishermen go
    down to the districts of Rabî and Shamkâni and catch fish. I am
    sending an official of the palace-gate; when he shall reach thee
    [summon] the ships of the fishermen (who have been catching fish)
    in the districts of Rabî and Shamkâni, and let it not occur again
    that the ships of the fishermen go down to the districts of Rabî
    and Shamkâni.

Clearly each district owned its own fishing rights, as it was responsible
for the repairs of the banks and scouring the beds of the water-ways in
it. It is far from unlikely that Kâr-Sippar denotes some ruling body in
Sippara, for in the contracts we find that cases were brought before the
Kâr-Sippar. As they are associated with the judges of Sippara, they may be
the town elders. Sin-iddinam here is hardly the official of Larsa to whom
Ḥammurabi usually wrote, though he might have been promoted to Sippara in
the meantime.

(M777) Two other letters were addressed to him by Samsu-iluna,(838) one
about corn due from certain persons, the other about a contingent of men
sent to strengthen the walls of Sippar-Amnanu. In another letter, the king
summons to Babylon, Sin-iddinam, Ibni-Marduk, the Kâr-Sippar, and the
judges of Sippara, but the letter(839) is too defaced for us to determine
the reason. It was to be “at seed-time.”

(M778) The letters of Abêshu’ are somewhat more numerous. Mr. King
published thirteen. They are all more or less defective, and add nothing
to our knowledge beyond the fact that the same policy of centralization
went on.

(M779) The letters of Ammi-ditana, two in number, are more interesting.
One deals with the supply of corn for men at work on the citadel of
Shagga, a town probably near Sippara. The king orders the authorities of
Sippara to make up and send on the supply, and adds that the soothsayers
were to be consulted as to favorable auspices for sending the corn.(840)
The other deals, as do three letters of Abêshu’, with tribute due in wool
from Sippar-iaḫruru. The report from the superintendent of this source of
revenue in each case is that the tribute is over-due and the king sends a
peremptory order for it to be sent forthwith to Babylon.

(M780) Ammi-zadûga’s letters, five in number, all happen to be concerned
with the annual sheep-shearing at Babylon. They differ slightly, in the
person addressed, and the date assigned for the shearing. Thus one(841)

    To Ibni-Sin, son of Marduk-nâṣir, say, thus saith Ammi-zadûga: A
    sheep-shearing will take place in the House of the New Year’s
    Festival. On receipt of this note, take the sheep ... and the
    sheep which are sealed, which thou shall set in motion, and come
    to Babylon. Delay not, reach Babylon on the first of Adar.

(M781) The one letter written by Sin-iddinam(842) is addressed to the
_rabiânu_ of Katalla, ordering him to send the plaintiff in a suit to him.
Very interesting is a letter from Tabbi-Wadi and Mâr-Shamash to Aḫâti, the
wife of Sin-iddinam,(843) asking her to intercede for them with
Sin-iddinam. He had himself referred them to her, perhaps because their
offence immediately concerned her. They say that they are ill acquainted
with the ways of the court. From several unusual forms of expression it
may be concluded that they were strangers who had settled in Babylonia.
They do not state either their offence or the grounds on which they would
be excused, but ask for an interview, that they may remove Aḫâti’s
resentment against them.

(M782) Some letters are addressed to “the man whom may Marduk make to
flourish.”(844) Some have taken this as a proper name. But that seems very
unlikely. Others regard it as a sort of polite address to a superior.
Winckler(845) suggested that it was an address to the king. The Code has
made it clear that the _amêlu_ was the “gentleman,” or “noble,” who lived
in a “palace,” or “great house.” Hence, these letters may be addressed to
any great official. But many turns of expression support the view that the
king is really meant; he was thus the “First Gentleman” of Babylonia. It
was not till Ḥammurabi that the title “king” was generally given. Perhaps
the old nobles were slow to admit a king over them.

(M783) As an example we may take:(846)

    To “the man whom may Marduk make to flourish” say, thus saith
    Ashtamar-Adadi: May Shamash and Marduk ever make thee flourish.
    The gardeners, inhabitants of Sippara, have spoken concerning
    their servants who fled and have been recaptured. Therefore I have
    sent a note thus to thee, I sent those men to thee. Accept their
    petition (?) and may they be acceptable to thee before Shamash.
    Grant their entreaty and set them free. If they come not to
    Babylon, do this in my name.

It is probable that recaptured runaway slaves, who would not name their
owners, were forfeit to the State. The king is the only one who would have
power to release such slaves. It is clear that the recipient of the letter
was at Babylon.

IV. Private Letters Of The First Dynasty Of Babylon

(M784) In these cases, as a rule, we know neither the sender nor receiver,
beyond their names, and what we can gather from the letter itself. Hence a
great deal must always remain uncertain. Here is a letter which comes from
a prisoner, who says he is nearly starved and does not know why he was


    To my lord say, thus saith Bêlshunu, thy servant: From the time
    that I was shut up in the house of the _abarakku_, thou, my lord,
    hast kept me alive. What is the reason that my lord has neglected
    me for five months? The house where I am imprisoned is a
    starvation-house. Now have I made the jailer carry a letter to my
    lord. When thou, my lord, shalt make an end of my misery, send,
    and the imprisonment, since it has been ended by thee, I will
    cause to conduce to thy blessing (I will even thank thee for). I
    am ill ... ten _ḲA_ of _SU-DA_, thirty-one _ḲA ZAG-ḤI-LI_ ... two
    _ḲA SAR-SAR EL-SAR_ send me that I die not; and clothing send me
    that I may cover my nakedness. A _ḫubidu_ has come upon me on
    account of thee, my lord. Either half a shekel of silver, or two
    minas of wool, send to me, for my service, let him bring it. Let
    not the jailer be sent away empty-handed. If he comes
    empty-handed, the dogs may eat me. As thou, my lord, and the
    people of Sippara and Babylon, all of them know, I am imprisoned,
    not for robbery, nor was I caught at burglary. Thou, my lord,
    didst send me with oil across the river, but the Sutû fell upon me
    and I was imprisoned. Speak a friendly word to the servants of the
    king’s _abarakku_. Send, that I die not in the house of misery.
    Send a _ḲA_ of oil and five _ḲA_ of salt. That which thou didst
    lately send no one gave me. Whatsoever thou sendest, send it
    fastened up (?).

There are many obscurities about this letter. Some are caused by the
difficulty of reading the defaced characters. Some by the fact that the
signs, printed here in capitals, are ideograms whose meaning is not yet
clear. The prisoner, if his plea is true, was sent on an errand for his
master, apparently to trade for him. He was either robbed by the nomad
Sutû, or compelled to give up his oil to them. Why this led to
imprisonment is not clear, unless it was regarded as furnishing supplies
to the enemy. But though his master did not get him out of prison, it
seems that he had sent him supplies from time to time. The word rendered
“jailer” is perhaps a name, Mâr-abulli, “son of the gate.” But it may be a
title used as a name, “Mr. Jailer.” The prisoner thinks that it is in the
power of his master to put an end to his imprisonment and promises to be
grateful. But he does not seem sure whether his master can do this. He
asks, however, for further supplies, if he is to live. Let us hope he was
released or at least fed. We may perhaps conclude that imprisonment was
the punishment due for robbery and burglary.

(M786) Here is a letter reminding a father of a broken promise:(848)

    To my father say, thus saith Elmeshu: Shamash and Marduk fill with
    well-being the days of my father perpetually. My father, be thou
    well, flourish; the God that preserves my father direct my
    father’s source of grace. I have sent to greet my father. May my
    father’s peace endure before Shamash and Marduk. From the time
    that Sin Amurrû named my father’s name, and I answered for my
    fault, thou, my father, didst say, “When I shall go to
    Dûr-Ammi-zadûga, which is on the River Sharḳu, I will forward a
    sheep and five minas of silver, in a little while, to thee.” This
    thou saidest, my father, and my expectation was from my father.
    But thou hast not sent; and now, my father, thou hast returned to
    the presence of Taribu, the Queen. I have sent a note to my
    father’s presence. My father, thou shalt not ask the purport of my
    note, until Lashêr has brought me my father’s note. My father has
    not sent one to bring even a single shekel, in accordance with thy
    promise. Like Marduk and Sin Amurrû, who hearken to my father, my
    ears are attentive. Let my father send and let not my heart be
    vexed. Before Shamash and Marduk, may I pray for my father.

The letter suggests that the father was king, by the phrase so common in
the historical inscriptions, “named his name,” usually equivalent to
“nominated” to rule. The word rendered “fault” is _sardu_, which may be
for _sartu_. There is nothing to show whether Elmeshu is a man or woman.
There was an Elmeshu (the name means “Diamond”) who was daughter of
Ammi-ditana.(849) But the mention of Dûr-Ammi-zadûga seems to demand a
date at least as late as that in which this wall or city was built. But
Ammi-zadûga succeeded Ammi-ditana. Unless the latter built Dûr-Ammi-zadûga
and called it after his son, we can hardly identify this Elmeshu with the
daughter of Ammi-ditana. The mention of Sin Amurrû is not quite clear. We
may suppose two gods, Sin and Amurrû, or take the latter name as an
epithet, “Sin of the Amorites.” To have “the ears attentive,” is to be in
a state of expectation. In the last sentence, Elmeshu seems to hint that,
if she does not have a favorable answer, she will not be able to pray for
her father. This may be regarded as an un-Christian attitude, but people
then thought more of the efficacy of prayer; and it was a threat, if so
meant, likely to have great weight with the father. But it may mean that
Elmeshu being vowed to a religious life, yet needed material means to
maintain her alive, and she merely hopes, by her father’s continued
sustenance of her, to be long spared to pray for him.

(M787) Another letter is apparently from a tenant, or serf, to his

    To my lord say, thus saith Ibgatum thy servant: As, my lord, thou
    hast heard, the enemy has carried off my oxen. Never before have I
    sent to thee, my lord. Now I have caused a letter to be brought to
    thee, my lord. Do thou, my lord, send me one young cow. I will
    weigh out and send five shekels of silver to thee, my lord. My
    lord, what thou sayest, under the command of Marduk, thy
    protector, what pleases thee, no one can hinder thee, my lord. My
    lord, do thou make her worth the five shekels of silver that I
    have weighed out and sent to thee. Do thou, my lord, treat
    seriously this request, do not trifle with my wish. Let my lord
    not wonder at this request, which I send my lord. I am thy
    servant. I will do thy will, my lord. As to the young cow, which
    thou, my lord, dost send, let her be on credit, and either to
    Baṣu, or wherever is convenient to my lord, do thou send. With
    Ili-iḳîsham, my brother, let the young cow come. And I, in order
    that my lord should quickly consent and send the young cow, will
    forthwith weigh out and send fifteen shekels of silver to thee, my

Evidently, the wise man sent only five shekels on deposit with his
brother, holding back the rest of the price, till he had seen what sort of
a cow he was to get for his money. It was from this letter that
Winckler(851) deduced a meaning for _ṣamâdu_ something like “weigh out,”
“pay,” whence a better meaning for _ṣimittu_ than “yoke” was readily
obtained. As Dr. Peiser pointed out, the word is also used in the
Cappadocian tablets in a way that leaves small doubt of its meaning. It
may have come to mean simply “pay,” but must have ordinarily meant
“measure,” or “weigh,” according as it was applied to grain, or money.

(M788) Here is a very interesting example showing how the merchants of
those days transacted business at a distance:(852)

    To Erib-Sin say, thus saith Ibni-Nabû, I am here (?): As to the
    case of Ardi-ilishu, son of Ibni-Dibbara, I gave him two-thirds of
    a mina of silver, and it was acknowledged in writing, in the
    presence of my witnesses. He went to Assyria. He did not give the
    money to Shamaiatu. I and Shamaiatu met in Daganna and disputed
    over the affair. Said I, “I sent thee money by Ardi-ilishu.” He
    said, “If Ardi-ilishu has paid the money, let him [_here come some
    uncertain signs_].” And concerning what thou didst send about
    Shamash-bêl-ilâni’s fourteen shekels, I did not give him the
    money. There is two-thirds of a mina due from Ardi-ilishu; take
    Ardi-ilishu and cause him to weigh out the money, and its
    interest, more or less, and from that take the fourteen shekels
    and send the surplus.

The two, Erib-Sin and Ibni-Nabû, are either partners, or agents. The
former had asked the latter to pay over fourteen shekels to a certain
Shamash-bêl-ilâni, either because the latter had money of his, or had
promised to honor his order. But this particular order was not honored.
Ibni-Nabû had intrusted a sum of forty shekels to one Ardi-ilishu, with
which to pay Shamaiatu. But Ardi-ilishu had gone off to Assyria without
discharging the obligation. So Shamaiatu had demanded payment and perhaps
the doubtful signs express the fact that Ibni-Nabû had to pay a second
time. Fortunately, he could prove that Ardi-ilishu had had the money,
having taken a receipt. He seems to think that Erib-Sin can find
Ardi-ilishu. Was the former resident in Assyria? If so, this must be a
copy of the letter sent him. But perhaps Erib-Sin was to arrest the
defaulter on his return to Sippara. At any rate, this was a warrant for so
doing. That, perhaps, is why the letter was kept. If Erib-Sin could get
forty shekels and the interest, he had a fair margin from which to pay the
fourteen shekels, due to him from Ibni-Nabû. But he had to take risks. If
Shamash-bêl-ilâni had given Erib-Sin consideration for his order on
Ibni-Nabû for fourteen shekels, he was badly served.

(M789) Here is a letter, warning a man of a suit brought against him in
his absence:

    To my lord, say, thus saith Sin-taiar: May Shamash and Marduk give
    thee health. As to the case of the field about which thou didst
    send, belonging to the sons of Sin-rêmêni, which is in Bitûtu,
    which my lord sold me for five minas of silver; Sin-aḫam-iddinam,
    Marduk-taiar, and Nabû-malik, have gone about to the king, and
    have turned over this title to Nûr-parim. Hasten, come, save thy
    title from Nûr-parim.

The word of most difficulty is _nistu_, rendered “title.” It may mean
something different, but the “title” seems the most likely thing to be

(M790) A letter to a father from an absent son(853) is interesting for its
personal character:

    To my father say, thus saith Zimri-eraḫ, may Shamash and Marduk
    give thee health forever. Be thou well. I have sent for thy
    health. Tell me how thou art. I am located at Dûr-Sin on the canal
    Kashtim-sikirim. There is no meat fit to eat. Now I have made them
    bring two-thirds of a shekel of silver to thee. For this money
    send some nice fish and something to eat.

(M791) The following is what may be fairly described as a love-letter,
though the real relation between the correspondents is not certain:(854)

    To Bibêa say, thus saith Gimil-Marduk: May Shamash and Marduk for
    my sake preserve thy health forever. I have sent for thy health.
    Tell me how thou art. I went to Babylon and did not see thee. I
    was greatly disappointed. Send me the reason of thy leaving, and
    let me be cheered. In Marchesvan do thou come. For my sake keep
    well always.

It is certain that Bibêa was a lady, perhaps the writer’s wife.

(M792) The interest which these ancient letters inspire in us was felt in
the seventh century B.C., for there are two Assyrian copies of early
Babylonian letters, preserved in the remains of Ashurbânipal’s library.
One was a letter from the Babylonian King Adadi-shum-uṣur to Ashur-nirari
and Nabûdaian, kings of Assyria, about B.C. 1250.(855) It is too
fragmentary to translate. Another(856) is a letter from a King of Assyria
to his father, who is King of Babylon. The names are lost, and its
contents cannot now be made out. It was a copy made for Ashurbânipal, and
has his “library mark.”(857)

V. Sennacherib’s Letters To His Father, Sargon

(M793) Among the Ninevite collections we can single out several periods
where the history is supplemented by the letters. Thus Sennacherib’s
letters to his father, Sargon, chiefly deal with events in Armenia, which
must have transpired during Sargon’s last few years, when his annals and
other historical inscriptions are silent. This view of them was first
worked out by the present writer,(858) and later with increased material
by R. C. Thompson.(859) Briefly put, the argument from them is this: a
person called Sennacherib, who might be any officer from the times of
Sargon onward, writes to the king, whom he does not address as his father,
on the reports which have reached him from a number of officials,
concerning events in Armenia. We have, however, two letters which refer to
the same events, naming the same officials and certainly from the same
Sennacherib. In one of them he is twice referred to as the king’s son. The
officials named are all found in documents of the reign of Sargon, or the
early part of Sennacherib’s reign. The King of Armenia is named Argista in
one of these reports to the king, which belongs to the same group. The
King of Assyria himself is said to be at Babylon at the time. One report
quoted comes from Tabal, and is brought by the major-domo of the Princess
Aḫat-abisha, probably the daughter of Sargon, who was married by him to
the King of Tabal. We have independent copies of these reports, quoted by
Sennacherib, which enlarge our knowledge of the events. Hence, there can
be no doubt that we have here Sennacherib’s letters to his father, Sargon,
while that king was absent in Babylonia. We are, therefore, able to
reconstruct a chapter of Assyrian history, on which the historical
monuments have nothing to say. The first letter reads thus:(860)


    To the king, my lord, thy servant Sennacherib. Peace be to the
    king, my lord. There is peace in Assyria, peace in the temples,
    peace in all the fortresses of the king. May the heart of the
    king, my lord, be abundantly cheered. The land of the Ukkai has
    sent to me, saying, when the King of Armenia came to the land of
    Gamir, his forces were utterly defeated; he, his commanders, and
    their forces were driven off; [_then comes a broken space from
    which the few traces left refer to __“__two commanders,__”__
    someone who __“__came,__”__ someone or something __“__was
    captured,__”__ someone __“__came to me,__”__ something __“__of his
    country,__”__ something __“__he appointed.__”_] This was the news
    from the land of the Ukkai. Ashur-riṣûa has sent, saying, “News
    from Armenia. What I sent before, that is so. A great slaughter
    took place among them. Now his land is quiet. His nobles are dead.
    He has come into his own land. Ḳaḳḳadânu, his tartan, is taken,
    and the King of Armenia is in the land of Uazaun.” This is the
    news from Ashur-riṣûa. Nabû-li’, the commander of Ḥalṣu, has sent
    to me, saying, “Concerning the garrisons of the fortresses which
    are on the border, I sent to them for news of the King of Armenia.
    They report that when he came to the land of Gamir, his forces
    were all slain, three of his nobles together with their forces
    were killed, he himself fled and entered into his own land; but
    that as yet his camp is not attacked.” This is the news from
    Nabû-li’. The King of Muṣaṣir, his brother, and his son, have gone
    to greet the King of Armenia. A messenger from Ḥupushkia has gone
    to greet him. The garrisons of the fortresses which are on the
    boundary all send news like this. The letter of Nabû-li’, the
    major-domo of Aḫat-abisha, brought from Tabal; to the king, my
    lord, I have sent it on.

(M795) The second letter(861) began in exactly the same way, so far as one
can judge from the traces of the first seven lines. As before, Sennacherib
quotes reports, which he has received, in the sender’s own words. From
what is left of the first report we learn that the King of Armenia had
ordered the forces at his command to capture the commanders of the King of
Assyria and bring them alive to him. The city of Kumai is named as the
place where these commanders were. As yet the sender “is cut off” and has
not withdrawn from his post. But, as he has heard, so he has sent to the
king’s son:

    “Now let him quickly send forces. This is the news from Ariê: On
    the fourteenth of Elul, a letter came to me from Ashur-riṣûa,
    saying that the King of Armenia, when the Zikirtai brought things
    to him, at least obtained nothing, they returned empty-handed;
    that he went to the city Uesi with his forces and entered it, that
    his forces are in the city Uesi, that he and his forces are few,
    that they are with him with their possessions.”

This seems to be the end of Ashur-riṣûa’s news. A few traces refer to news
from the Mannai concerning some “letter,” “as yet” something has “not”

    “As I have heard I have sent, that the commander in the district,
    in the midst of the city Uesi, he and his forces are assembled;
    that with his troops he has set out and driven him out of Uesi,
    that he has not seen the roads (to some place), that he has made
    good the bridges, that as he has heard, whatever takes place,
    whether he comes with his forces, or whether he goes off free, I
    will quickly send to the king’s son.”

These fragments of the report are difficult to disentangle, as the person
referred to seems sometimes to be the King of Armenia, sometimes another
person. But all may be news sent from the Mannai to Ashur-riṣûa.

    This is the news from Ashur-riṣûa: The land of Arzabia sends word,
    saying, The land of the Ukkai has broken away from me (?), that
    now they are killing me; you care for yourselves. I have sent my
    body-guards to the Ukkai. The messengers of Arzabia said, ...

Then follow a few traces from which we gather that a messenger came to the
writer and brought a present; that the “Mannai said” something, someone
“returned” and “I appointed him” something, that a messenger from the land
of Sadudai came to Kalaḫ, that “I received and sealed” something, and “I
appointed” something. Again we have a reference to the month of Elul, a
letter, and the word “brought.”

(M796) This letter is very obscure from the many lacunæ. We naturally turn
to the letters of Ashur-riṣûa. This man may well be the same as the
witness, _shaḳû_, and scribe of the queen, at Kalaḫ in B.C. 709. We have
nine letters of his referring to Armenian affairs. In one of them(862) he
announces that “at the commencement of Nisan the King of Armenia set out
from Ṭurushpîa and went to Eliṣada, that Ḳaḳḳadânu, his tartan, went into
the city Uesi, that all the forces of Armenia have gathered to Eliṣada.”
The rest of the letter is obscure. At the end of another(863) he says: “I
have heard, saying, ‘the king has come into the midst of Uesi, as yet he
has not left.’ ” In the same letter he reports that “three thousand
foot-soldiers, with their officers, belonging to Sêtini, his military
commander, have set out to Muṣaṣir, crossed the river by night, that
Sêtini has camels with him, and that Sunâ, who is in command among the
Ukkai, has started with his troops for Muṣaṣir.” It is clear from these
that the movements here refer to the beginning of the year after that in
which, in Elul, the King of Armenia was in Uesi, and before the defeat of
Armenia by the Gimirri.

A mere glance at the contents of his other letters will show their
connection with these events. In one,(864) he sends Naragê, a colonel,
with twenty men who had plotted against the king and were caught. He
mentions the capture of a second tartan, Urṣini, in Ṭurushpîa and the
mission of Urṣini’s brother, Apli-uknu, to see him there. The King of
Armenia had entered Ṭurushpîa with a number of restless men. In
another,(865) he reports the return to Assyria of a messenger from the
Ukkai, who had gone up into Armenia; and mentions Muṣaṣir. In a
third,(866) he reports that “Gurânia, Nagiu, the fortresses of Armenia and
Gimirri, are giving tribute to Armenia.” But that “when the Armenians went
to Gimirri, they were badly defeated.” The rest is so injured as to give
little sense. In another,(867) he names Ariê and Ariṣâ, Dûr-Shamash,
Barzanishtun, the city of Ishtar-dûri, and Shulmu-bêl-lashme; but the text
is so defective that one cannot discern what he had to say about them. In
another,(868) he acknowledges the king’s order to send scouts into the
neighborhood of Ṭurushpîa. In another,(869) he writes that “the Mannai in
the cities of Armenia on the coast of the sea rebelled, that Apli-uknu,
the commander of Muṣaṣir, and Ṭunnaun, the commander of Kar-Sippar, went
to the borders of the Mannai, to garrison Armenia and made a slaughter
there, that all the commanders are present.” But these are not the only
references to him. Ṭâb-shâr-Ashur(870) writes to the king that he has
received a letter from Ashur-riṣûa: “Thus it is written in it, saying, a
messenger of the Ukkai went to Armenia, he has sent a letter to the
palace, and these are the contents of the letter, on the morning of the
sixth, this letter came to me; he sent, saying, the Ukkai have heard
concerning Ariê that he went against him (the king of Armenia) and his
city.” Then the letter becomes very defective, but we hear again of Kumai
and Eliṣ (clearly the Eliṣada above). Ṭâb-shâr-Ashur again mentions
Ashur-riṣûa,(871) saying that a letter of his was brought, which referred
to the King of Armenia entering some city. But too little is preserved to
make out the message. In a report(872) about beams of wood, collected by
Ashur-riṣûa, he is associated with Ariê, and Uriṣâ, evidently the Ariṣâ
above, and the city Kumai. Finally, on a letter by Gabbu-ana-Ashur he is
mentioned in a most significant way. The writer says: “Concerning the news
which the king gave me about the garrisons of Armenia, from the time that
I entered the city Kurban, my messengers went to Nabû-li’, to
Ashur-bêl-danân, to Ashur-riṣûa; they came to me.” After a break he goes
on, “Like this I have heard; the Armenian (king) has not gone out of
Ṭurushpîa.” After some more uncertain traces, he adds: “On the
twenty-third of Tammuz I entered into Kurban, on the twentieth of Ab I
sent a letter to the king, my lord.” It is evident that Nabû-li’,
Ashur-bêl-danân, and Ashur-riṣûa were the commanders most concerned in
these events. Nabû-li’, we have already seen, sent reports to Sennacherib;
no letters of Ashur-bêl-danân, yet published, seem to refer to these
events. But clearly the king was concerned to hear from other quarters
than Kalaḫ, where Sennacherib evidently was. Ashur-riṣûa is also named
elsewhere on fragments not yet published.

We may now pursue the clew given by the fact that Uesi was the city which
seems to have been the bone of contention. Thus Urzana, whose name recalls
that of the King of Muṣaṣir, who may have been reinstated as a vassal by
Sargon, writes(873) to the _nâgiru_ of the palace:

    “What thou didst send me, saying, Has the King of Armenia with his
    troops moved away? He has gone. Where is he dwelling? The
    commander of Uesi, the commander of the district of the Ukkai,
    came, they sacrificed in the temple, they say that the king has
    gone, he is dwelling in Uesi; the commanders returned and went
    away. In Muṣaṣir they sacrificed. What thou didst send, saying,
    Without the king’s order let no one put his hand to the work, when
    the king of Assyria shall come, I will serve him, what I have
    [always] done I will keep doing, and this according to his hand

Evidently Urzana lived in Muṣaṣir and was anxious to be thought a faithful
vassal. An unknown writer(874) tells the king that

    “five commanders of Armenia entered the city of Uesi, Sêteni [_of
    whom we heard above_] commander of ... teni, Ḳaḳḳadânu of the
    writer’s district, or of Ukkai, Sakuatâ of Ḳaniun, Siblia of Alzi,
    Ṭutu of Armiraliu, these are their names. With three underlings,
    they entered Uesi. Now their forces are weak and weakening (?),
    the forces are (?), the king has set out from Ṭurushpîa, he has
    come into Kaniun. What the king, my lord, sent me, saying, ‘Send
    scouts,’ I have sent a second time. The spies (?) came, these are
    the words they say, and the spies as yet have not started.”

The whole tone of the letter and the fact that Ashur-riṣûa above
acknowledges having received an order to send scouts make us think he is
the unknown writer. But, of course, the king may have sent the order to
other commanders as well. In an unpublished text we read that the
commander of Uesi was slain.

The references to Ṭurushpîa are also significant. We know that this city
was once the stronghold of Sardaurri, King of Armenia, and was doubtless
still attached to its old rulers. We have a letter written by Upaḫḫir-Bêl,
doubtless the Eponym of B.C. 706, and governor of Amedi. He writes in the
same style as Sennacherib and Ashur-riṣûa:(875)

    Concerning news of Armenia I sent scouts, they have returned; thus
    they say: “The commander of that district, and the
    deputy-commander with him, in Ḥarda, the district of the
    _sukallu_, keep ward from city to city as far as Ṭurushpîa;
    weakness is written down, the messenger of Argista has come,”

and so on. The rest does not concern us here. But another letter,(876)
evidently from the same writer, gives news from Armenia and a message from
Argista, which the writer says he has answered, as the king directed. It
also states that the commander keeps ward in Ḥarda. Ṭurushpîa is also
mentioned on fragments not yet published.

Other fragments occur which clearly belong to this group. Thus(877) a
letter from an unknown writer names Ashur-riṣûa in connection with Kumai,
Babutai, Ukkai, and Uliai, and narrates something about ten commanders.
The loss of nine commanders in Armenia, at one time, is the subject of a
very fragmentary letter,(878) but it is not clear that it refers to this

To the same period seems to belong another letter of Sennacherib, probably
to his father Sargon.(879) It begins with precisely the same formulæ of
greeting in the first seven lines. Then it goes on:

    The chieftains of the land of Kumuḫai (Commagene) have come and
    brought tribute. Seven mule mares apiece they brought and tribute
    with the mules. The chieftains are in the house appointed for the
    Kumuḫai. They are fed at their own expense, they would journey on
    to Babylon [where Sargon evidently is]. They have brought _šaklâ_
    (?), they have received them here. As we have told the king, my
    lord, let him send quickly. They brought cloth and fruit each of
    them. The factors say that we have received seven talents from
    them, that the Kumuḫai are not contented, saying, “Our produce is
    reduced, let them bring the king’s weavers and let them take
    charge.” Let the king, my lord, send word to whom they shall
    assign them.

(M797) Another letter-fragment only preserves the opening address.(880)
Another very defective letter(881) with the same introduction refers to

    “in the district of Kurban are excessively great floods, they go

We know from another source that this was the case, in B.C. 708, when the
floods came into the lower part of the city, and the tribute could not be
levied in the district.(882) Yet another fragment, opening in precisely
the same manner, refers to a certain Nabû-eṭir-napshâte and the city of
Kalḫu.(883) Here also we have too little left to make out any connected

VI. Letters From The Last Year Of Shamash-Shum-Ukîn

(M798) Another period on which the letters throw considerable light is the
close of the reign of Shamash-shum-ukîn in Babylon. This was coeval with
the suppression of a great combined rebellion against the rule of Assyria.
From the historical texts of Ashurbânipal’s reign we know the names of
many of the actors in that great struggle. They are frequently referred to
in the letters. Already G. Smith, in his _History of Assurbanipal_, 1871,
had used the information given by some of the letters. This was utilized
by C. P. Tiele in his _Babylonisch-assyrische Geschichte_.

(M799) But much more may be made out when the letters are fully available.
Thus Nabû-bêl-shumâte, grandson of Merodach Baladan II., had been made
King of the Sealands on the death of his uncle, Nâ’id-Marduk. When the
revolt broke out, Ashurbânipal sent Assyrian troops to help
Nabû-bêl-shumâte to repel Shamash-shum-ukîn. During the long process of
suppressing the revolt, it is clear that Nabû-bêl-shumâte conceived the
idea of reasserting the independence of the Sealands. He endeavored to
gain the alliance of the Assyrian garrison, some he imprisoned, others may
have joined him. On the fall of Babylon, in B.C. 648, he saw that
Ashurbânipal’s vengeance must overtake him, so he fled to Elam. He took
with him a certain number of Assyrians, evidently to hold as hostages.
Ashurbânipal had a long score to settle with Elam. He began by demanding
of Indabigash the surrender of Nabû-bêl-shumâte and the Assyrians with
him. But before the ambassador could deliver the message, Indabigash had
been succeeded by Ummanaldash. Nabû-bêl-shumâte was evidently a difficult
person to lay hands upon. At any rate, Ummanaldash’s land was invaded and
devastated. But when the Assyrian troops were gone, he again returned to
his capital, Madaktu, and Nabû-bêl-shumâte joined him there. Again
Ashurbânipal sent to demand his surrender. Rather than further embarrass
his host, and quite hopeless of protection or pardon, Nabû-bêl-shumâte
ordered his armor-bearer to slay him. Ummanaldash attempted to conciliate
Ashurbânipal by sending the body of the dead man and the head of the
armor-bearer to him. Such is the story as Ashurbânipal tells it in his
great cylinder inscription.

(M800) The letters make no less than fifty distinct references to him. The
officers write many bad things of Nabû-bêl-shumâte, and it is plain that
he had been a very vicious enemy. We have a number of letters from a
writer of his name, who may well be the King of the Sealands before he
broke with Assyria. Thus we read:(884)


    To the king, my lord, thy servant Nabû-bêl-shumâte. Verily peace
    be to the king, my lord; may Ashur, Nabû, and Marduk be gracious
    to the king, my lord. Cheer of heart, health of body, and length
    of days may they grant the king, my lord. As I hear, the King of
    Elam is deposed and many cities have rebelled against him, saying,
    “We will not come into thy hands.” According to what I hear I have
    sent to the king, my lord. I have inhabited the Sealands from the
    time of Nâ’id-Marduk. The brigands and fugitives who came to the
    Gurunammu, five hundred of them, did Sin-balâṭsu-iḳbi, when he
    caught them, lay in fetters and hand over to Natânu, the King of
    the Uṭṭai, their ruler, whom the king had given them.

Then come a number of defective lines, from which not much can be made
out. But there can be little doubt that this letter was written in the
days when policy still kept him faithful to Assyria. There was another
Nabû-bêl-shumâte, whose letters(885) begin quite differently, and refer to
horses and troops. There is even a third, a _ḳêpu_ of Birati, named by
Tâb-ṣil-esharra,(886) who was concerned in repelling a raid on Sippara,
and is named in a contract of B.C. 686.(887) It is just possible that the
second and third are the same man. But while we must exercise care in
assigning the references of the letters, we have a guide in the historical

(M802) Bêl-ibnî was a very important officer who held the position of a
_manzâz pâni_, having the right of access to the royal presence and a
place near the king on all state occasions. He is probably to be
distinguished from the Bêl-ibnî set on the throne of Babylon by
Sennacherib in B.C. 702. He is a frequent writer to the king during this
period. Ashurbânipal placed him over the Sealand after the flight of
Nabû-bêl-shumâte. The king’s proclamation to the Sealanders(888) reads


    Order of the king to the Sealanders, elders and juniors, my
    servants: My peace be with you. May your hearts be cheered. See
    now how my full gaze is upon you. And before the sin of
    Nabû-bêl-shumâte, I appointed over you the courtesan of Menânu.
    Now I have sent Bêl-ibnî, my _dubašu_, to go before you. Whatever
    order is good in my opinion which is [written] in my letters

Then after some defaced lines, he threatens that if they do not obey,

    “I will send my troops.”

This order is dated the fifth of Iyyar, B.C. 650. By that date
Nabû-bêl-shumâte had fled. It is not easy to say whether Ashurbânipal had
appointed a lady, once the _ḫarimtu_, or courtesan, of Menânu, as ruler of
the Sealand before Nabû-bêl-shumâte, or whether he means to call
Nabû-bêl-shumâte by this opprobrious epithet. Who is meant by Menânu is
hard to see, unless it be the Elamite King, Umman-minana, the contemporary
of Sennacherib, who had protected the family of Merodach-Baladan II.

(M804) We have a fragmentary letter(889) from the King of Elam,
Ummanaldash, to Ashurbânipal, which says:

    Letter of Ummanaldash, King of Elam, to Ashurbânipal, King of
    Assyria, peace be to my brother. From the beginning, the Martenai
    [_Elamite name for the Sealanders, from Marratu, __“__the Salt
    Marshes__”_] have been sinners against thee. Nabû-bêl-shumâte came
    from there. The crossing of the land ... over against Elam I broke
    down, [to keep him out]. Thou hast sent letters [_or forces?_]
    saying, “Send Nabû-bêl-shumâte.” I will seize Nabû-bêl-shumâte and
    will send him to thee. The Martenai whom from the beginning
    Nabû-bêl-shumâte brought us ... they are people who came by water
    from ... it entered into their minds and they came, they broke
    into Laḫiru and there they are. I will send to their border my
    servants against them and by their hands I will send those who
    have sinned against us. If they are in my land, I will send them
    by their hands; and, if they have crossed the river, do thou [take

The rest of the letter is hard to make out. It was dated on the
twenty-sixth of Tammuz, in the Eponymy of Nabû-shar-aḫêshu, probably B.C.

(M805) Bêl-ibnî had a great hatred for Nabû-bêl-shumâte. For the latter
had years before laid hands upon Bêl-ibnî’s eldest brother, Bêlshunu, and
put him in prison. This we learn from a letter to the king,(890) which,
although the name of the writer is lost, is clearly from Bêl-ibnî. The
first few lines yield no connected sense, but name Umman-shimash and the
nobles with him:

    When they assembled they spoke evil words against their king. From
    those days they kept on plundering his land. Before the forces of
    the lord of kings, my lord, want, like a pestilence, entered the
    land. When the forces of the lord of kings, my lord, have arrived
    at Dûr-ili, they shall not take a holiday; that smitten of Bêl,
    accursed of the gods, Nabû-bêl-shumâte, and the sinners with him,
    they shall capture and give them to the lord of kings, my lord.
    And the Assyrians, as many as are with them, they shall release
    and send to the lord of kings, my lord. Bêlshunu, my eldest
    brother, a servant of the lord of kings, my lord, now four years
    ago, did that smitten of Bêl, that accursed of the gods,
    Nabû-bêl-shumâte, when he revolted, bind hand and foot with bronze
    and imprison him.

The rest is obscure, but names Ṣalmu-shar-iḳbi as sending news to the

(M806) The Bêlshunu here named is probably the Eponym of B.C. 648, who was
then governor of Ḫindana, who also dates a letter from the king to
Umman-shimash, which names Bêl-ibnî. There are over fifty references in
the letters to Bêl-ibnî, most of which directly connect him with these
events. His duties in command of the Sealand brought him into relations
with the many Elamites, who in the frequent revolutions in that land, fled
for refuge to the Assyrians. Here is one of the best of his letters to the


    To the lord of kings, my lord, thy servant Bêl-ibnî. May Ashur,
    Shamash, and Marduk decree length of days, cheer of heart, and
    health of body to the lord of kings, my lord. Shumâ, son of
    Shum-iddina, son of Gaḫal, sister’s son to Tammaritu, fled from
    Elam and came to the Daḫḫai. From the Daḫḫai, when I had taken
    him, I made him cross over. He is ill. As soon as he has
    completely recovered his health, I will send him to the king, my
    lord. A messenger is here from Natan and the Pukudu, who are in
    Til-Ḥumba, to say that they came before Nabû-bêl-shumâte at the
    city Targibâti. They took an oath, by God, one with another,
    saying, “According to agreement we will send thee all the news we
    hear.” And according to contract they furnished fifty oxen for
    money at his hands, and said to him, “Let our sheep come and among
    the Ubânât in the pasture let them graze among them. Thou mayest
    have confidence in us.” Now let a messenger of the king, my lord,
    come and make Natan learn in his mind, that “if thou dost send
    anything for sale to Elam, or one sheep be allotted to pasture in
    Elam, I will not suffer thee to live.” I have sent trustworthy
    reports to the king, my lord.

The incident here referred to, the reception of the fugitive Shumâ, who
probably on account of his illness was unable to join his uncle Tammaritu,
is very similar to that related of Tammaritu himself. This King of Elam
succeeded his cousin Ummanigash, whom he dethroned, but after a short
reign was himself dethroned by the usurper Indabigash. He and his brothers
and family and eighty-five princes of Elam, his supporters, fled by sea
from Elam to the marshes at the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates. There
he fell sick. But Ashurbânipal sent him a friendly message, and he came
before the Assyrian governor, and kissed the ground in token of
submission. We learn that Marduk-shar-uṣur was the officer who received
him, and a very mutilated letter seems to refer to it. He was probably the
Rabshakeh to whom Bêl-ibnî wrote(892) complaining of certain slanders
about him. So even the faithful servant was not entirely free from court
intrigues. In another letter Bêl-ibnî refers to his having received and
sent on to the king, Tammaritu, his brothers, family, and nobles.(893)

(M808) Like Ummanigash and Indabigash, Tammaritu corresponded with
Ashurbânipal. We have letters from him to the King of Assyria and from
Ashurbânipal to him. Unfortunately these letters are very imperfect, or
not yet published. He is mentioned continually in the letters. There were
several of the name: (1) son of Urtaku, third brother of Teumman, (2) son
of Teumman, slain with his father, (3) son of Ummanigash, King of Elam,
succeeded his cousin Ummanigash, whom he dethroned, (4) son of Attamitu.
To which of these a reference is made is often hard to decide.

VII. Letters Regarding Affairs In Southern Babylonia

(M809) (M810) Another group refers to the events at Ur, in the far south
of Babylonia. Sin-tabni-uṣur, son of Ningal-iddina, was governor there
during the time of Shamash-shum-ukîn’s great rebellion. This we learn from
some of the forecast tablets, published in George Smith’s
_Assurbanipal_.(894) The greater part of these tablets is unintelligible,
containing a record of the omens observed, probably on inspection of the
entrails of the slaughtered sacrifices. What these symptoms were cannot
yet be determined. Much has been done by Boissier in his _Textes Assyriens
relatifs au Présage_, and many articles contributed to various journals.
The omens are generally such as also occur in the tablets published by Dr.
Knudtzon in his _Gebete on den Sonnengott_, and ably discussed by him
there. The tablet evidently was meant to submit these omens to some oracle
that a prediction might be given on their authority. The king also usually
stated his cause of anxiety and asked for guidance and direction. These
forecast tablets, many of which are dated, are of the greatest service for
the chronology of the period. They have been partly discussed by the
present writer.(895) Thus the two, which refer to Sin-tabni-uṣur, announce
that he is governor of Ur, and seem to inquire whether he can be relied
upon to prove faithful. We may conclude that his appointment took place in
Ab, B.C. 648.

(M811) From a letter,(896) which G. Smith(897) ascribes to Kudur, governor
of Erech, we learn that he had heard from Sin-tabni-uṣur, who reports that
a messenger had arrived from Shamash-shum-ukîn, inciting the people to
rebel against Ashurbânipal. As a result,

    “the Gurunammu have rebelled against me. Re-enforce me at once.”

The good Kudur sent five or six hundred archers and joined Aplîa, the
governor of Arrapḫa, and Nûrêa, governor of Ṣameda, and went to Ur. He was
able to seize the leaders of the revolt, among them Nabû-zêr-iddin. But
someone had captured Sin-tabni-uṣur. Bêl-ibnî is named, and later
Nabû-ushêzib, the archer, but the text is too mutilated to make out a
clear account. But it seems likely that Sin-tabni-uṣur was rescued, and
being re-enforced, held out well for his master. Ashurbânipal writes to
assure him of his continued confidence.(898)


    Message of the king to Sin-tabni-uṣur: It is well with me. May thy
    heart be cheered. Concerning Sin-shar-uṣur, what thou didst send.
    How could he say evil words of thee and I hear anything of them?
    Shamash perverted his heart and Ummanigash slandered thee before
    me and would give thee to death. Ashur, my god, withholds me. I
    would not willingly slay my servant, and the support of my
    father’s house. In that case, thou wouldst perish with thy lord’s
    house. I would not see that. He and Ummanigash have compassed thy
    death, but because I know thy faithfulness I have increased my
    favor and bestowed honor upon thee. Is it not so? For these two
    years thou hast not caused hostility or want to thy lord’s house.
    What could they say against a servant who has loved his lord’s
    house and I believe it? And with respect to the service which thou
    and the Assyrians, thy brothers, have done, what thou sendest, all
    that thou hast done and the guard thou hast kept, ... which is
    pleasing before me [I will reward] and return thee favors to thy
    children’s children.

(M813) It is clear that Sin-shar-uṣur and Ummanigash had been intriguing
against Sin-tabni-uṣur. There are several persons of the name
Sin-shar-uṣur about this time. No less than three Eponyms bear the name
after B.C. 648. The _aba mâti_, or governor of Hindana, or the _arḳû_
might be meant here. But there was a brother of Sin-tabni-uṣur, of this
name, who perhaps coveted his post. Among the many unpublished texts which
refer to him one may, perhaps, be found to explain the hostility. Nor is
it clear which Ummanigash is meant. There was one of the three sons of
Urtaku, who took refuge at the court of Ashurbânipal, when their father
was murdered and dethroned by his brother, Teumman. When the Assyrian king
espoused his cause, he was enabled by Assyrian troops to defeat and slay
the usurper Teumman and take the throne of Elam. But he was faithless and
allied himself with Shamash-shum-ukîn. He was dethroned by his cousin,
Tammaritu, shortly before the fall of Shamash-shum-ukîn. That he, while at
the Assyrian Court, should have slandered the governor of Ur, is quite in
accordance with his character, but what was his purpose, or what he
alleged, we do not know. There was another Ummanigash, brother of Urtaku;
another, son of Umbadara; another, a son of Amedirra. The latter raised a
rebellion against Ummanaldash, as we learn from a report by Bêl-ibnî.(899)
After his usual salutations, Bêl-ibnî reports,


    When I left the Sealand, I sent five hundred soldiers, servants of
    my lord, the king, to the city Ṣabdânu, saying, “Hold a fort in
    Ṣabdânu and make raids into Elam, slay and make prisoners.” When
    they went against Irgidu, a city two leagues this side of Susa,
    they slew Ammaladin, the sheik of Iashi’ilu, his two brothers,
    three brothers of his father, two of his brother’s sons, Dalâ-ilu,
    son of Abi-iadi’, and two hundred well-born citizens of that city.
    They had a long journey before them. They took one hundred and
    fifty prisoners. The sheiks of Laḫiru and the people of Nugû’,
    when they saw that my raiders had extended on their farther side,
    were full of fear, sent word and took the oath to Mushêzib-Marduk,
    my sister’s son, a servant of the king, my lord, whom I had
    appointed over the fort, saying, “We will be servants of the King
    of Assyria.” When they had gathered their bowmen, as many as they
    had, they went with Mushêzib-Marduk, and marched into Elam.

Here follows a bad break in the narrative, but Iḳisha-aplu is named, and
Bêl-ibnî promised to send on to the king whatever they captured and
brought to him. The letter then resumes:

    News from Elam: they say that Ummanigash, son of Amedirra, has
    rebelled against Ummanaldash. From the river Ḥudḫud as far as the
    city Ḥa’adânu they have sided with him. Ummanaldash has gathered
    his forces, and they are now encamped on the river opposite one
    another. Iḳisha-aplu, whom I have sent to the palace, has
    penetrated their designs. Let one question him in the palace.

(M815) Kudur, governor of Erech, who sent news of the outbreak of
rebellion in the south, gives us further information about
Mushêzib-Marduk, who was a favorite with the king. After a long salutation
occupying nearly the whole of the obverse, with a short reference to a
certain Upaḳu, the reverse side goes on:(900)

    Mushêzib-Marduk, Bêl-ibnî’s sister’s son, who has come two or
    three times into the presence of the king, my lord, on a message
    from Bêl-ibnî, Bêl-ibnî has appointed him concerning it (the case
    in hand). The gate-keepers have told him that those soldiers are
    not lovers of the house of my lord. It is not good for them to
    cross over to our midst. They will give news of the land of the
    king, my lord, to Elam, and if there be a famine in Elam, they
    will furnish them provisions. To the king, my lord, I have sent;
    let the king, my lord, do what he sees fit.

(M816) The king himself writes to Bêl-ibnî(901) in a most friendly way
about Mushêzib-Marduk:

    Message of the king to Bêl-ibnî: I am well. May thy heart be
    cheered. Mushêzib-Marduk, about whom thou didst send, in the
    fulness of time he shall enter my presence, I will appoint the
    paths for his feet (_i.e._, make a way for his advancement). The
    holiday in Nineveh is not finished.

Mushêzib-Marduk is also mentioned by Nabû-zêr-ukîn, in a letter to the
king,(902) in close connection with Shum-iddin, the governor of Dûr-ilu.
It is not clear what the writer had to say of him, but farther on in the
letter Bêl-ibnî is named. The same Nabû-zêr-ukîn is mentioned in a tablet
of epigraphs,(903) where he is associated with Shamash-shum-ukîn,
Tammaritu and Indabigash. He is there said to be son of Nabû-mushêṣi. In
another letter he writes with Adadi-shum-uṣur, Nabû-shum-iddin, Ardi-Ea,
and Ishtar-shum-êresh to the king,(904) but hardly anything remains except
a mention of Nineveh. The same group of writers is elsewhere associated
with Nabû-mushêṣi. Of another letter(905) from him to the king only the
introduction is found.

(M817) Kudur, governor of Erech, was a frequent correspondent with the
king. A score of letters from him to the king, or from the king to him,
are preserved. They are nearly all concerned, more or less, with the
events during the great rebellion. There were several others of the name,
one an Elamite prince, son of Ummanaldash. The name itself may be Elamite
and may point to a strong admixture of Elamite blood in Erech. The element
Kudur occurs in such names as Kudur-Mabug, Kudur-Naḫunte, and
Kudur-lagamar, the prototype of Chedorlaomer. There was another Kudur, son
of Dakkuri, who was brought captive to Assyria with Shum-iddin. We may
take as one example:(906)

    To the king of countries, my lord, thy servant Kudur. May Bêl and
    Nabû decree peace, health, and length of days for the king, my
    lord, forever. Since I was in the enemy’s country the Puḳudu have
    made an end of the Bît-Amuḳâni, servants of my lord, the king, by
    their attacks. The cities which were to be held for the king, my
    lord, they captured. Let the servants of the king, my lord, march.
    They have occupied the cities, killed the men and ravished the
    women. Also they have attacked Ṣâbâ, the body-guard. The day they
    reached Bît-Amuḳâni, it is said, the attackers attacked the
    body-guard. I sent soldiers, saying, “Go, slay ‘Ala’ with the
    pike, save the garrison and take them captive.” When on the king’s
    canal they attacked Nabû-shar-uṣur, the colonel, he took them
    captive. Let the king, my lord, inquire of them, as he can. The
    king, my lord, knows how Bît-Amuḳâni is destroyed. The Puḳudu keep
    their land. The soldiers with us have not set out, and they are
    the attackers, and we abhor the alienation of territory. Let the
    king, my lord, give orders and the soldiers shall set out against
    the cities, where they dwell.

It seems that the men of Pekod (see Jer. i. 21, Ez. xxiii. 23) had made an
attack upon Bît-Amuḳâni and nearly destroyed the country. Kudur moved into
the country, but sent for explicit orders as to what he should do. He
changes his subject rather abruptly at times and it is not quite clear
always of whom he is speaking. The most obscure sentence is where he says
that “we abhor the alienation of territory,” literally “the sin of the
land.” It seems that a land sinned when it was occupied by an enemy.

Ashurbânipal was deeply attached to his faithful servant, as the following
letter shows:(907)


    To the king of countries, my lord, thy servant Kudur. Erech and
    E-anna (the temple there) be gracious to the king of countries, my
    lord. Daily I pray to Ishtar of Erech and Nanâ for the health of
    the king, my lord’s life. Iḳîsha-aplu, the doctor, whom the king,
    my lord, sent to heal me, has restored me to life. The great gods
    of heaven and earth make themselves gracious to the king, my lord,
    and establish the throne of the king, my lord, in the midst of
    heaven forever. I was one who was dead and the king, my lord, has
    restored me to life. The benefits of the king, my lord, toward me
    are manifold. I will come to see the king, my lord. I say to
    myself, I will go and I will see the face of the king, my lord;
    then I will return and live. The chief baker made me return to
    Erech from the journey, saying, “A special messenger has brought a
    sealed despatch to thee from the palace, thou must return with me
    to Erech.” He sent me this order and made me return to Erech. The
    king, my lord, must know this.

The king had sent a doctor who had restored Kudur, when he had despaired
of himself. Then he started to come and thank the king in person, but when
on the road the chief baker (if that was his right title) recalled him,
because a sealed despatch had reached Erech addressed to him from the
king. He sends at once this letter, not having reached Erech again; at any
rate, he does not refer to the contents of the despatch.

Letters About Elam And Southern Babylonia

(M819) In Elam, during the reign of Ashurbânipal, there was a protracted
series of revolutions, interspersed with invasions of, or by, Assyria. The
result was the utter decay of Elamite power, and after Ashurbânipal’s
final reduction of the country and sack of Susa, the land was an easy prey
to the Aryan invaders. From the story, as told by Ashurbânipal, the
Elamites richly deserved their fate, and lest we should suspect him of
undue partiality, the matter-of-fact letters of his officers give us
substantial grounds for crediting his view. It seems that Urtaku, who came
to the throne of Elam in B.C. 675, was always on good terms with Assyria.
We have a letter from Esarhaddon to him(908) in very friendly terms. It


    Letter of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, to Urtaku, King of Elam: I
    am well. Peace to thy gods and goddesses. There is peace in my
    land and with my nobles, peace be to Urtaku, King of Elam, my
    brother. There is peace with my sons and my daughters, peace be to
    thy nobles and thy land. Now what Ashur, Sin, Shamash, Bêl, Nabû,
    Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela, the gods ... have said, I
    have (fully?) accomplished.

(M821) The rest is obscure by reason of lacunæ. The reverse seems to be
inscribed with numerals, perhaps relating to items of presents sent.
Ashurbânipal kept up the friendship, and, when a famine broke out in Elam,
allowed some (M822) (M823) Elamites to take refuge in his land, and
afterwards restored them to their country. He also sent grain into Elam
itself. But, perhaps as consequence of having spied out the land, the
Elamites contrived to make Urtaku attack Assyria. He was incited to this
act by Bêl-iḳisha, prince of the Gambûlai, who inhabited the marshes about
the mouth of the Uknû, or Blue River, perhaps the modern Karoon, bordering
on Elam. Bêl-iḳisha rebelled against Assyria, and with his troops joined
Elam. Nabû-shum-êresh, the _TIK-EN-NA_, apparently sheik of the district
of Dupliash, another Assyrian subject, seems to have done the same.
Marduk-shum-ibnî, the general of Urtaku, who led the invasion, was
evidently not an Elamite, but perhaps a Chaldean, or renegade Babylonian.
At any rate, the Elamites invaded Akkad and covered the land like
grasshoppers. They laid siege to Babylon. On the approach of the Assyrian
army, the invaders fled. Urtaku died. Bêl-iḳisha was killed by a wild
boar. Nabû-shum-êresh was smitten with dropsy and died. “In one year the
gods cut them off.” The throne of Elam fell to Teumman, a brother of
Urtaku, who maintained a hostile attitude. Dunânu, son and successor of
Bêl-iḳisha, joined Teumman. Ashurbânipal accordingly invaded Elam,
defeated and slew Teumman, ravaged the land of Gambulû and captured
Dunânu, who was taken to Nineveh and made to march in the triumphal
procession, with the head of Teumman slung about his neck, and was finally
tortured to death.

(M824) All the time that Shamash-shum-ukîn was king in Babylon,
Ashurbânipal seems to have retained the rule over Southern Babylonia. At
any rate, the governors of the cities there wrote to him as their king and
lord. The above-mentioned revolt in Gambulû was a direct concern of the
governor of Erech, who seems to have suffered severely. As late as the
twentieth year of Ashurbânipal, Nabû-ushabshi was governor there. We have
many letters from him to the king. One(909) refers to the above events:

    To the king of countries, my lord, thy servant Nabû-ushabshi.
    Erech and E-anna (the temple of Ishtar at Erech), be gracious to
    the king of countries, my lord. Daily I pray to Ishtar of Erech
    and Nanâ for the well-being of the life of the king, my lord. The
    king, my lord, sent, saying, “Take troops and send against
    Gambulû. The gods of the king, my lord, assuredly know how, from
    the time that Bêl-iḳisha revolted from the hands of the king, my
    lord, and went to Elam, he plundered my father’s house and went
    about to kill my brother.”

Then comes a break, in which the fragments indicate that Nabû-ushabshi
prayed daily for revenge. Then we read:

    Now as the king, my lord, has sent, I will go and fulfil all his
    bidding. If on any ground, over there, the inhabitants of Gambulû
    will not obey, if it be pleasing to the king, my lord, let a
    messenger come and let us assemble all Akkad and we will go with
    him, we will win back the land and give it to the king, my lord. I
    have sent. Let the king, my lord, do what he will. Preserve this

The last request is very unusual, but we are glad it was obeyed. Another
of his letters refers to the intrigues of Pir’-Bêl, son of Bêl-eṭir. This
Bêl-eṭir may be the son of Nabû-shum-êresh, who, with his brother,
Nabû-nâ’id, was carried captive to Nineveh, along with Dunânu, and there
made to desecrate the bones of their father. But it seems possible that we
have here to do with another Bêl-eṭir, as these events seem earlier in the
history. After the same introduction as before, the letter(910) reads:

    Pir’-Bêl, the son of Bêl-eṭir, sometime after he and his father
    went, some ten years ago, to Elam, came again from Elam to Akkad,
    he and his father. When they came, whatever was evil against
    Assyria, they kept on doing in Erech. Afterwards when they went
    back to Elam, Bêl-eṭir, his father, died in Elam; and he in
    Marchesvan brought letters to me, and to Aplîa, the governor, we
    sent the letters on by Daru-Sharru, the body-guard.

After some broken lines:

    “Now a certain servant of ... came with him to Erech.”

we read:

    If he say to the king, my lord: “I have come from the land of
    Elam,” let not the king, my lord, believe him. From the time when
    in the month of Marchesvan, he brought the letters and we sent
    them to the king, my lord, until now, he has not returned to Elam.
    If the king, my lord, desire to verify these words, Idûa, a
    servant of Kudur, who brought him to Erech, the contents are known
    to him [_there are some very obscure phrases in the next two
    lines_], and those letters, what lies are written, let him tell
    the king, my lord, and as to those letters, which, in the month of
    Marchesvan we sent to the king, my lord, by the hands of
    Daru-sharru, if the king, my lord, does not understand, let the
    king, my lord, ask Daru-sharru, the body-guard. To the king, my
    lord, I have sent, let the king, my lord, be aware.

(M825) One event, very characteristic of the times, is the subject of
three letters. The sanctuary of Ishtar, at Erech, was celebrated far and
wide, and on one occasion the King of Elam sent gifts to it. These
Nabû-ushabshi seems to have been unable to possess himself of, or to send
to the king. Thus, we read:(911)

    To the king of countries, my lord, thy servant, Nabû-ushabshi
    [_after the same introduction as before_]; the sheep of the temple
    and of the city Puḳudu are detained in the city Ru’ua, two
    shepherds of them, one belonging to the temple, and the second
    from Puḳudu, three white horses with harness and trappings of
    silver, and fittings of bronze. On the trappings were written ...
    which the King of Elam had sent to Ishtar of Erech. The horses,
    which they brought, I will now preserve. Before the king, my lord,
    I was afraid and in the temple I will not place them, until the
    shepherds bring the three horses. To the king, my lord, I have
    sent, and the bronze inscribed fittings, when I see them, I will
    send on to the king, my lord. What the king my lord will, let him

The king replied:(912)

    To Nabû-ushabshi, concerning the horses about which thou didst
    send, as yet thou hast not sent them to me. I have sent
    Ashur-gimil-tirru, the _abarakku_, and troops with him. Whatever
    is good to do, that do; whether the River Ḥarru be dammed, or
    whether those people come, and as to the contents of the letter
    which thou didst send. Bêl-eṭir, Arbaia, the colonels, two hundred
    horses in their hands, I have sent to thee; let them stand on your
    side, let them do the work.

Evidently in consequence of this, we have another letter,(913) where both
writer and recipient are unknown. It is much injured, and while there are
a few sentences intelligible, it is not easy to say to what they refer.
But on the reverse after the first six or seven lines, the words of the
last letter are repeated verbatim. It is perhaps another letter from the
king to Nabû-ushabshi. The governors of Laḫiru and Arbaḫa are said to be
with the receiver of the letter.

IX. Miscellaneous Assyrian Letters

(M826) A very interesting group may be made up of letters concerned with
omens and predictions. The Assyrian kings were firm believers in omens.
They did not venture upon any great undertaking without consulting the
augurs. We have numerous letters telling the king what days were
propitious for certain projects which he had formed. For the most part,
the whole point is obscure to us. We know neither the purpose he had, the
omens relied on, nor the real grounds of the decision. Very often
translation is impossible. In some cases the publication of the
innumerable omen texts may give some light on the subject, but usually it
is quite impossible to see how these were made to apply to the actual
case. It is very like the case of Nebuchadrezzar’s dream. We are without
any data to work from.

(M827) Here is an example of some interest, and more easily understood
than many:(914)

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Nabûa. May Nabû and Marduk be
    gracious to the king, my lord. On the seventh of Kislev a fox
    entered into the city, and fell into a well, in the grove of
    Ashur. They got him out, and killed him.

Whether this was a good or evil omen, or even an omen at all, we do not
know. Nabûa is a very common name. There are fourteen or fifteen
astrological reports which bear his name. In these he appears as an
inhabitant of the city Asshur. The name occurs some forty times in the
contracts, but it is clear that there were several of the name. Perhaps
the scribe who appears from B.C. 668 down to post-canon times may be our
writer, but, as he lived at Nineveh, that is doubtful.

(M828) Another case which is fairly intelligible is a letter of Balasi and
Nabû-aḫê-erba,(915) on a question of auspicious days for a journey. It

    To the king, our lord, thy servants, Balasi and Nabû-aḫê-erba.
    Peace be to the king, our lord. May Nabû and Marduk be gracious to
    the king, our lord. As to Ashur-mukîn-palêa, about whom the king,
    our lord, has sent to us, may Ashur, Bêl, Sin, Shamash, and Adad
    be gracious to him. May the king, our lord, see his well-being.
    Things are auspicious for a journey. The second is auspicious. The
    fourth extremely auspicious.

We have fairly frequent references to Ashur-mukîn-palêa in a way that
shows that he was delicate. From a letter of Ardi-Nabû’s we learn that the
order of seniority in the family of Esarhaddon was Ashurbânipal,
Shamash-shum-ukîn, Sherûa-eṭirat (a princess), Ashur-mukin-palêa,
Sharru-shame-erṣiti-balâṭsu-(iḳbi). He is often named in the letters,
usually as king’s son. But despite his delicate health he survived to be
made high-priest of Sin at Ḥarrân, by his royal brother, and even as late
as B.C. 648 his name occurs in the contracts.(916)

(M829) Balasi is a frequent writer of astrological reports, some five and
twenty being preserved, besides some fifteen letters. In the latter he is
associated with Nabû-aḫê-erba no less than seven times, once with
Ishtar-shum-êresh also. In these cases we probably have the same person.
But the name occurs often in the contracts, and there belongs to at least
three different men. Nabû-aḫê-erba was the writer of some five and thirty
astrological reports, besides some seven or eight letters, usually with
Balasi. The name belongs to several persons named in the contracts.

(M830) Ardi-Êa was also a frequent writer to the king. Besides three or
four astrological reports, he wrote nine letters to the king. He is
generally associated with Adadi-shum-uṣur, Ishtar-shum-êresh, Akkullânu,
or Marduk-shâkin-shum. But one letter,(917) written to Sargon II., and
mentioning Merodach-Baladan II., clearly belongs to another Ardi-Êa. Most
of his letters are defective. The most intelligible(918) reads thus:

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Ardi-Êa. Peace be to the king,
    my lord. May Nabû, Marduk, Sin, Ningal, and Nusku be gracious to
    the king, my lord. Sin, Ningal (and other gods) shall grant
    health, long days, to the king, my lord. Day and night I pray for
    the life of the king, my lord.

(M831) The great group of writers with whom he is associated is
responsible for a large number of letters. Adadi-shum-uṣur wrote some
thirty-five letters and five or six astrological reports. He is especially
prolix in his introduction. Here is a specimen:(919)

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Adadi-shum-uṣur. Peace be to the
    king, my lord. May Nabû and Marduk be excessively gracious to the
    king, my lord. The king of gods shall decree the name of the king,
    my lord, to the kingdom of Assyria. Shamash and Adad, in their
    changeless regard to the king, my lord, have confirmed him in the
    kingdom of all lands. A gracious reign, settled days, years of
    righteousness, plenteous rains, copious floods, high prices. The
    gods are reverenced, the fear of God increased, the temples are
    flourishing. The great gods of heaven and earth are exalted in the
    reign of the king, my lord. Old men dance, young men sing, the
    women and girls are given in marriage, the bridegrooms marry
    wives, marriages are consummated, sons and daughters are begotten,
    children are born. To those that have sinned and look for death,
    the king, my lord, has given new life. Those that for many years
    (M832) were captive, thou hast freed. They that many days were
    sick have recovered. The hungry are satisfied. The lean grow fat.
    The plantations are covered with fruits. Only I and Ardi-Gula
    among them have our soul depressed, our heart disturbed. Lately
    has the king, my lord, shown love for Nineveh, to his people, to
    his chiefs, saying, “Bring your sons, let them stand before me.”
    Ardi-Gula, my son is he, let him stand with them, before the king,
    my lord. We with all the people will rejoice indeed, and dance for
    joy. My eyes are set upon the king, my lord. They that stand in
    the palace, all of them, love me not. There is not a friend of
    mine among them, to whom I might give a present, and they would
    receive it, and take up my cause. Let the king, my lord, take pity
    on his servant. Among all those people, I hope none of my
    slanderers may see the purpose of their hearts against me.

Judging from the frequent mention of Ardi-Gula in other letters and that
he wrote to the king about his sons, Ashurbânipal and Shamash-shum-ukîn,
we may be sure the old courtier got his request, and that he was writing
to Esarhaddon. The letters of Adadi-shum-uṣur concern domestic affairs,
the sickness of one, an auspicious day, the health of another, rarely does
he mention any news of public interest. The persons about whom he writes
are the members of the royal family, Esarhaddon’s children and the
above-named circle of officials. The king sent him to see certain sick
folk,(920) he writes about an eclipse, or a ring, or something of the
sort. He usually gives a very long introduction; often the real message
occupies only a few lines.

(M833) Marduk-shâkin-shum is another of the same group, with twenty-five
letters. They are of the same domestic nature as the last.
Ishtar-shum-êresh is the writer of a score of letters and about thirty
astrological reports. He was evidently a younger member of the group, son
of Nabû-zêr-lîshir, and chief scribe to Ashurbânipal. In the reign of
Esarhaddon he ranked as a _mašmašsu_. Akkullânu, who was an _êrib bîti_,
of Asshur, writes sixteen letters and some dozen astrological reports.

(M834) We have seen that in the second epoch the king had to fix the time
when intercalary months should be inserted. In this period the calendar
was very carefully regulated by astronomical observations. As a new month
began on the day on which the new moon was seen, it is clear that a month
would often exceed twenty-nine days, but that a new moon might sometimes
be seen on the twenty-ninth. Nabûa, the astronomer of the city Asshur,
sends a number of such letters as:(921)

    On the twenty-ninth, we kept watch, we did not see the moon. Nabû
    and Marduk be gracious to the king, my lord. From Nabûa of Asshur.

So Nabû-shum-iddin writes:(922)

    To the Gardener, my lord, thy servant Nabû-shum-iddin, the
    _rabûte_ of Nineveh. Nabû and Marduk be gracious to the Gardener,
    my lord. On the fourteenth we kept watch on the moon. The moon
    suffered an eclipse.

The gardener, or rather irrigator, may be a royal title. At present these
observations are useless to us in our attempts to fix chronology, as we do
not know the month and year of many of them.

(M835) The queen-mother was always an important personage in the state and
she had very great influence indeed at court. But probably few ladies ever
obtained a higher degree of power than did Naki’a, or Zakutu as she was
also called, the wife of Sennacherib and mother of Esarhaddon. She had a
sister Abirami.(923) The queen-mother resided in Laḫiru, but there seem to
have been more than one city of the name. Her necklace, or some part of
it, is in private possession and has been described by Professor
Scheil.(924) She survived her son, and, with her grandsons, Ashurbânipal,
Shamash-shum-ukîn, and the nobles of Assyria, issued a proclamation to the
empire, declaring Ashurbânipal the true heir to the throne.

(M836) It is, of course, uncertain whether the person addressed as mother
of the king is always Zakûtu, since we cannot always date the letters. But
the letter of Nâ’id-Marduk,(925) which names Ummanigash as King of Elam,
was certainly addressed to her. Nâ’id-Marduk was a son of Merodach
Baladan, who, in the reign of Esarhaddon, when his brother
Nabû-zêr-kînish-lîshir was killed by Ummanaldash II., threw himself on the
mercy of Esarhaddon and was by him made ruler of his ancestral domain of
Bît Jakin, as a vassal king. He speaks for himself:

    To the mother of the king, my lord, thy servant Nâ’id-Marduk.
    Peace be to the mother of the king, my lord. May Ashur, Shamash,
    and Marduk give health to the king, my lord. May they decree the
    cheer of heart of the mother of the king, my lord. From Elam they
    came to me, saying, “They have seized the bridge.” When they came,
    I sent to the mother of the king, my lord. Now let the bridge be
    restored and the bolts of the bridge strengthened. They say, “They
    have burnt it.” I have not sent them, we do not know. They came,
    it was gone. To the mother of the king, my lord, I will send. Do
    thou, my lord, send troops. The son of Ningal-iddina has gone to
    the King of (Elam?) and taken the side of Ḥubanigash. [_Several
    lines follow with only fragments of sentences._] “Since these are
    trustworthy reports, whatever the Chaldees in future send to the
    gods of the king, my lord. If a messenger of the King of Elam does
    not bring messages to me, he shall enter and I will see him, and
    whatever is his message, he shall explain until I understand.”
    They came on the second of Ab, his messenger came to me to the
    border; he did not pass over to hinterland, and I sent my
    messenger to the palace. My lord, may he decide, and what is right
    for the house of my lord, fulfil.

It is evident that the writer regards the queen-mother as so thoroughly
identical with the king that he does not scruple to address her as “my
lord.” Despite several lacunæ the general sense is clear. After the break
the passage in quotation marks seems to be quoted from a report made to
the writer. The sons of Ningal-iddina were Sin-tabni-uṣur,
Sin-balâṭsu-iḳbi, and Sin-shar-uṣur, all of whom were in important
commands in Southern Babylonia. It seems probable that the events referred
to in this letter are those which led up to the Elamite invasion of
Babylonia, when they came raiding as far as Sippara. Esarhaddon was away
at the time in the west. There is no record of how they were driven back.

Here is a letter from the king to his mother:(926)


    Message of the king to the king’s mother: I am well. Peace be to
    the king’s mother. Concerning Amushe’s servant, what thou didst
    send me, as the king’s mother has told me, I will at once order.
    What thou hast said is extremely good. Wherefore should Ḥamunai

The meaning is obscured for us by our complete lack of information as to
the persons concerned. We may conjecture that Ḥamunai was the servant of
Amushe, but we do not know. However, we see that the queen mother gave
good advice.

(M838) Zakûtu must often have been a prey to great anxiety, left in
command as she was in Assyria, with her warrior son nearly always away and
such awkward neighbors as the Elamites. But she was on the whole
faithfully served. It seems that the proud nobles of Assyria became
restless during Esarhaddon’s long absences, for we learn from the
Babylonian Chronicle that, in B.C. 670, Esarhaddon put a number of them to
death. Here is a letter, however, from an attached subject:(927)

    To the mother of the king, my lady, thy servant Aplîa. May Bêl and
    Nabû be gracious to the mother of the king, my lady. Every day I
    pray Nabû and Nanâ for life and health and length of days, for the
    king of lands, my lord, and for the mother of the king, my lady.
    May the mother of the king, my lady, be bright. A messenger of
    good news from Bêl and Nabû has come from the king of lands, my

There is a suggestion in the mention of Nanâ that Aplîa wrote from Erech.
He may be the Aplîa afterwards associated with Bêl-ibnî and Kudur in the
south. If so, we may suppose that the messenger came from Esarhaddon, from
Egypt, by way of Southern Babylonia. One would suppose that a messenger
from Canaan, or the west, would reach Nineveh, before Chaldea. But, of
course, the queen-mother may have been at Laḫiru. Only it is doubtful
whether she lived there, while Esarhaddon was away.

It is more likely still that the Aplîa is the same as the _râb ali_ of
Laḫiru, who in B.C. 678 was over the house of the queen-mother there.(928)

(M839) Another letter(929) conveys assurance of fidelity:

    To the mother of the king, my lord, thy servant Asharîdu. May Nabû
    and Marduk be gracious to the mother of the king, my lord. Daily I
    pray to Nêrgal and Lâz for the life and health of the king, and
    the king’s mother, my lords. There is peace in the city and
    temples of the king and now I keep the watch for the king, my

That Asharîdu is the same as the writer of some thirty astrological
reports who was the son of Dankâ, a _ḳatnu_, and servant of the king, may
be doubted. He is more likely to be the author of several letters who
seems to have been connected with Borsippa. Another letter(930) is from
Nêrgal-sharâni in response to another about some sacrifices, sent by the
queen-mother. He prays for a thousand years of rule for Esarhaddon, so
there can be no mistake about the period. He recounts the preparations
made—an ox, two sheep, and two hundred geese. But he says that Ninḳai, the
handmaid of the queen-mother, for some reason, will not perform the
sacrifice. The queen-mother is asked to send authority for someone to open
the treasury and perform the work. The letter is defective and obscure by
reason of unknown words. Nêrgal-sharâni may be the same Ashur-shum-uṣur
who so often writes to the king about this time. Again Nabû-shum-lîshir
writes to the queen-mother(931) about a woman, Kallati, who was intrusted
to the writer in the house of Shama’, and about some sheep.

(M840) (M841) Another group includes the letters which refer to medical
treatment. Here especially Dr. C. Johnston, himself a medical man, has
made a most valuable start in his Assyrian _Epistolary Correspondence_,
and we can hardly do better than to follow his guidance. As a rule, what
these ancient peoples said and thought of disease is very obscure to us.
Many terms were then, as now, used in the medical vocabulary which were
well known in ordinary language, but which were given a distinctly
different technical meaning. Great attention was paid to surgery and
medicine, as is shown by the clauses in the Code.(932) There are also a
great number of tablets dealing with medicine, some of which have been
published. Long ago Professor Sayce discussed one such text under the
title, “An Ancient Babylonian Work on Medicine,”(933) and from the British
Museum Catalogue fully four hundred and fifty such texts are known. Dr. C.
F. H. Küchler in his _Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Assyrischen Medicin_ has
made great progress toward settling the reading and meaning of certain
words and phrases. Dr. Baron Felix von Oefele, who has devoted much study
to ancient medicine in general, has made noteworthy contributions to the
study, by his articles in learned journals. Still, the (M842) great
obstacle is that so much of the materia medica, which was a very full one,
is unknown; and the diseases appear under names which do not assist us in
determining the meaning. The medical treatises considered affections of
all parts of the body, and made much of symptoms. They prescribe roots and
oils and a great variety of powdered drugs. Some of the treatment is
evidently based on extended trial and observation. But also much reliance
was placed on charms, and diseases were associated with demons. To drive
away the demon, as well as cure the pain, was the doctor’s duty. There was
full recognition of the mental factor in sickness.

(M843) With considerable hesitation the following two letters from the
physician Ardi-Nanâ to the king Esarhaddon are given, in which Dr. C.
Johnston’s rendering is closely followed. In the first, Ardi-Nanâ reports
on the state of a patient, perhaps one of the young princes, who was
suffering from a disease of the eyes, or perhaps facial erysipelas. He was
progressing so well that the physician piously opines that some god has
taken the case under his care. The gods who were special patrons of the
healing art were Ninip and Gula, whose blessing the physician accordingly
invokes. We read:(934)

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Ardi-Nanâ. May it be peace in
    the highest degree to the king, my lord; may Ninip and Gula give
    cheer of heart and health of body to the king, my lord. It is
    extremely well with that poor man whose eyes are diseased. I had
    applied a dressing to him, it covered his face. Yesterday, at
    evening, I undid the bandage which held it, I removed the dressing
    which was upon him. There was pus upon the dressing as much as the
    tip of the little finger. Thy gods, if any of them has put his
    hand to the matter, he has indeed given his order. It is extremely
    well. Let the heart of the king, my lord, be cheered. In seven or
    eight days he will be well.

There is also another letter(935) from Ardi-Nanâ to the king, but part of
it is too defective to render. It begins in exactly the same way as
before, save that greeting is also sent to the king’s son.

    For the cure which we wrought on ... we were given five-sixths of
    a shekel. The day he came, he recovered, he recovered his
    strength, he stayed until.... Concerning the patient who had blood
    run from his nose, the messenger has told me, saying, “Yesterday,
    at evening, much blood ran.” Those dressings are not with
    knowledge. They have been placed upon the breathing passages of
    the nose and oppress the breathing and come off, because of the
    bleeding. Let them be placed within the nostrils, they will
    preserve the breath and the blood will be held back. If it is
    right in the sight of the king, in the morning I will come and
    prescribe for him. Now let me hear his well-being.

The messenger here was a _RAB MU-GI_, in which title it has been proposed
to see the original of the Rabmag of Jeremiah xxxix. 3. He was a high
official charged with the care of horses and chariots, and here sent to
hear news of the patient. There is no evidence that he had any medical
knowledge himself. In another letter,(936) Ardi-Nanâ writes concerning
Ashur-mukîn-palêa, a younger son of Esarhaddon and brother of
Ashurbânipal. He bids the king not to fear. The young prince seems to have
been in the doctor’s care. Further he writes about the health of a tooth
(of the prince’s?) about which the king had sent to inquire. He had
greatly improved its condition (literally, uplifted its head). In another
letter,(937) also partly defective, he directs the king to anoint himself
as a protection against draughts (?), to drink pure water, and to wash his
hands frequently in a bowl. Presently the rash (?) will disappear. In
another still more defective letter(938) he mentions the plant _martakal_,
to which magical efficacy was ascribed. Another long letter,(939) after
the same complimentary opening as the others, goes on:

    Continually has the king, my lord, said to me, thus, “The nature
    of my disease is this, thou hast not seen to it, its recovery thou
    hast not effected.” Formerly I said before the king, my lord, “The
    ulcer is incurable (?), I cannot prescribe for it.” Now, however,
    I have sealed a letter and sent it. In the presence of the king,
    let them read it, I will prescribe for the king, my lord. If it be
    agreeable to the king, my lord, let a magician do his work on him.
    Let the king apply a lotion (?). Shortly the sore will be loosed.
    This lotion of oils (?) let the king apply two or three times. The
    king will know if the king says ...

The rest is obscure, simply because we do not know what the disease, or
remedy, was.

Shamash-mîtu-uballiṭ, probably the youngest son of Esarhaddon, writes to
the king, but whether to his father or his brother Ashurbânipal does not
seem clear, about the health of a lady, in whose well-being the king
seemed to take interest.(940)

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Shamash-mîtu-uballiṭ. Verily
    peace be to the king, my lord, may Nabû and Marduk be excessively
    gracious to the king, my lord. Verily the king’s handmaid,
    Bau-gâmelat is excessively ill, she can eat nothing. Forsooth let
    the king, my lord, send an order and let a doctor come and see

(M844) There is also an interesting letter concerning the appointment of a
successor to a dead official,(941) sent by a writer whose name is lost:

    To the king, my lord, thy servant, ... verily peace to the king,
    my lord. May Ashur and Beltu be gracious to the king, my lord.
    Concerning the overseer of the house of the seers, who is dead, as
    I said in the presence of the king, my lord, to wit, his son, his
    brother’s son, are alive. Now his son, his brother’s son, and
    Simânai, the son of Nabû-uballiṭ, and the son of the father’s
    brother, of Ashur-nâ’id, the deputy priest, with them, shall come
    into the presence of the king, my lord. Whoever shall find favor
    in the sight of the king, my lord, let the king, my lord, appoint.

It is clear that succession was not purely hereditary. Even when the son
was alive, he might be passed over in favor of a cousin, or for a still
more distant relation. There are many other interesting cases where the
king inquires for the proper persons to be placed in the offices vacated
through death or deposition. For example, when Esarhaddon began to set in
order the temple services, he heard the following report:(942)

    To the king, my lord, thy servant Akkullânu. Peace be to the king,
    my lord. Nabû and Marduk be gracious to the king, my lord. In the
    long desuetude of the customary rights of Ashur, regarding which
    the king, my lord, sent word to his servant, saying, “Who among
    the magnates have not complied, have not given, be it much or
    little (their default),” yesterday I could not write to the king,
    my lord. Now these are the magnates who have not given their dues:
    the governors of Barḫalza, Raṣappa, Kalzi, Isana, Bêlê, Kullania,
    Arpadda; these have failed to pay their dues. Raṣappa, Barḫalza,
    Diḳuḳina, the chief of the vineyards, Daian-Adadi, Isana,
    Ḫalziatbar, Birtu, Arzuḫina, Arbailu, Guzana, Sharish, Diḫnunna,
    Rimusu, all these have not given the barley and wheat due from
    them. And as to the overseer of the bakehouse, the overseer of the
    larder and the chief purveyors, concerning whom the king, my lord,
    inquired, they are removed from their posts, and this is alleged
    as the reason: The overseer of the bakehouse is a child,
    Sennacherib removed him; Ashur-zêr-iddin, the priest of Nineveh,
    slandered him. I was frightened at the troubles. He had not
    committed any great crime.... The overseer of the larder had
    broken (?) a dish of Ashur’s, for this deed thy father removed him
    from charge of Ashur’s dish, and appointed a turban-maker’s son;
    he is without education. And concerning the chief purveyors,
    Sennacherib made a reduction of their allowances, and the son of
    the turban-maker receives the rest. Now for six years he has been
    dead and his son indeed stands in his office. Justice has been in
    abeyance since Sargon. Sennacherib was the remover. This is
    according to their reasons. The king, my lord, as he will, let him

The text is difficult, partly because some signs are defaced, partly
because some words could be read more ways than one, and others are
obscure. It seems quite clear that the cult of Ashur had greatly suffered.
We know from the Ḥarrân census that certain lands were charged with dues
to the temples, others with salaries to officials. The list of defaulters
is of geographical value. The deposition of rightful temple officers and
the intrusion of unworthy substitutes, on slight grounds, is charged to
Sennacherib. He was evidently estranged from the cult of Ashur. Doubtless
a comparison of other letters will clear up some of the obscurities, but
sufficient is clear to indicate the importance of such documents.

(M845) It is of interest to note that we have a few letters sent by women.
We may select the following:(943)

    To the scribe of the palace, my lord, thy handmaid Sarai. Bêl,
    Bêltu (of Nineveh?), Bêltu of Babylon, Nabû, Tashmetum, Ishtar of
    Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela, be gracious to my lord. Long days,
    health of mind, health of body, may they give to my lord. The
    servants of my lord, whom the governor of Bît Naialani took, seven
    souls in all, he gave to Marduk-erba. Now the people are here,
    they have come to me and say thus: “Say to the scribe of the
    palace, Do not cause them to enter into the house of Marduk-erba.”
    The _šâḳu_ has sealed for them, now he is with them.

Evidently the lady Sarai had great influence with the scribe of the
palace; perhaps she was his wife. The reason why the governor took certain
servants of his and gave them to Marduk-erba is not clear. Perhaps they
were sold for some government claim. It seems that the lady wished to keep
them back, but that the purchaser had called and was about to take them
away, unless the scribe in some way intervened.

(M846) A few quite private letters found their way into the archives of
Nineveh, unless indeed this is a mere freak of the discoverers. Thus:(944)

    Note from Marduk to Kurigalzu, his brother: Bêl and Nabû seek the
    peace of my brother. Wherefore have I not seen thy messenger?
    Until he enter Borsippa, when I see thy messenger, my heart shall
    drink the wine of joy. Let my brother send so many pots.

Here is another from Borsippa:(945)

    Note from Bêl-upaḳ to Kunâ, his father: Peace be to my father.
    Daily I pray to Nabû and Nanâ for my father’s health of life and I
    have fulfilled the duty to Ezida (the temple of Nabû at Borsippa)
    for thy sake. When I inquired of Mâr-bîti (a divine name) for thy
    sake, a fixed time of peace was taken up to the fourth day. Thy
    workman is informed concerning everything whatever is safe
    according to his (the god’s) word.

(M847) As before remarked, many letters are notices of the movements of
horses. These are really obscure in that we do not know what the real
purpose of the reports was. They are very similar to many reports which
lack the form of address that marks a letter. Many of the terms applied to
the horses are also obscure and there is no way to translate them. In
other cases we have reports to the king or his officials on various
every-day subjects. A list of slaves assigned to one or more men, a list
of guests, men of high rank, sent to stay with certain officials, lists of
furniture and effects, including books, sent to Ḥarrân with one of the
princes, all serve to throw light upon the daily life at the court of
Nineveh. Incidentally we have many hints for history as well as life and
manners. But such lists and reports do not lend themselves to translation.

(M848) A group of texts, very similar to the letters, only with an
especial character of their own, are the inquiries addressed by Esarhaddon
and Ashurbânipal to the oracle of the sun-god. Their great interest lies
in the fact that they usually state the events which cause the king’s
anxiety and so make important contributions to history. But the larger
part of them consist of a detailed statement of what omens have been
observed by the augurs on examining the entrails of the sacrifices. On
these it is probable that the sun-god was to base his opinion. He would
know and declare what they portended.

(M849) Occasionally a letter serves to make a contribution to some subject
which is of interest apart from the events of the day. Thus, information
is furnished regarding metrology in a letter primarily concerned with
materials for the repair of a temple or palace.(946) There we read of “six
articles of _mismakanna_ wood, six _ḲA_ apiece, one cubit long and one
cubit thick.” The thickness is clearly a cubit each way, and we learn that
a cubit cube contained six _ḲA_. There are many letters and fragments
which concern beams of wood and stones sent from great distances for
buildings and repairs. When these are all published and considered
together, no doubt they will clear up the difficulties which at present
render translation impossible.

(M850) A fragmentary report—it may have been a letter—gives a diary of a
journey. If we could complete it, or find a few more like it, we should
have a knowledge of geography such as we have not for any other part of
the world for early times.(947) We may summarize it as follows: On the
sixth, the writer went from Bagarri to Sarî, from Sarî to Arzuḫina, from
Arzuḫina to Tel-Arzuḫina. He stated the distances from city to city, but
these are now lost. This was the first journey. The second journey was
from Tel-Arzuḫina to Dûr-sisite. The third journey was from Dûr-sisite to
Maturaba, from Maturaba to Dûr-Taliti. The fourth journey was from
Dûr-Taliti to Babiti, from Babiti to Lagabgalagi. The fifth journey was
from Lagabgalagi to the river Radânu, thence to Asri. The sixth journey
was from Asri to Arrakdi. The seventh journey was from Ḥualsundi to
Napigi, thence to Dûr-Ashur. Here we get the whole distance from Arrakdi
to Dûr-Ashur as _two kaspu, twenty-four uš, twenty-four u_. The
identification of these places would be of enormous value for a
determination of the Assyrian measures of length. The distances are
correct to the cubit. The eighth journey was from Dûr-Ashur to Tarzini,
thence to Banbala. The ninth journey was from Banbala to Ishdi-dagurrai,
thence to Gupni-Bêl-Ḥarrân, _one kaspu, five uš, fifty-four u_. The tenth
journey was from Gupni-Bêl-Ḥarrân to Dûr-Adadi-rîmâni, thence to
Dûr-Tukulti-apil-esharra, on the seventeenth. Several of these places are
already known. Others may be identified with some certainty. The whole
would have a great value if preserved complete.

X. Letters Of The Second Babylonian Empire

(M851) Some Babylonian letters of the Second Empire are to be found in the
great collections published by Strassmaier. For the most part they are of
a business nature, asking for some payment to be made or some object sent

Thus,(948) one reads:


    Note from Nabû-shum-lîshir to Bêl-uballiṭ and Ki ... my brothers.
    Bêl and Nabû decree the well-being of my brothers. Two _GUR_ of
    dates to Bêl-nâṣir, two _GUR_ to Shamash-pir’-uṣur, from the store
    for seed let my brothers give. Adar the ninth, year eleven,
    Nabonidus, King of Babylon.



    Note from Shamash-erba to Ḥâr-ibnî, my brother: When I send
    Shamash-uballiṭ to thy presence, do thou send ninety _ḲA_ of meal
    by his hand. Verily thou knowest. Besides the twelve _ḲA_ of meal
    before is this. Adar the thirteenth.

A somewhat longer but imperfect letter(950) reads:


    Note of Nadinu to the priest of Sippara, my brother: Verily, peace
    be with thee. To my brother, may Bêl and Nabû decree the
    well-being of my brother. When to my brother I [send], to the
    presence of my lord.... Thou, my lord, knowest why seeds for the
    _kêpu_ of Raḫza I sent, and money for the seeds I gave him. He
    received it. Let me hear news and the welfare of my brother.

Of some interest for the nature of public works is:(951)

    Note from Shâpik-zêr to Ḥâr-ibnî, my brother: The gods decree thy
    well-being. Give ninety-six _ḲA_ of meal to the men who are
    digging the canal. Kislîmnu, the twentieth, fifth year, Cyrus,
    King of Babylon, king of lands.

Or this:(952)


    Note from the priests to Ḥâr-ibnî, our brother: The gods decree
    thy welfare. Give thirty-six _ḲA_ of meal to Ardi-Ḥâr, for the
    king’s men who dig the canal. Kislîmnu the twenty-fifth, year
    five, Cyrus, King of Babylon, king of lands.

The following is another of the best-preserved letters of this


    Note from Nêrgal-aḫ-iddin to Iddin-Marduk, my father: Bêl and Nabû
    decree the health and well-being of my father. Concerning the
    money my father sent; the money is little, which has been given
    for dates. Two minas of silver is needed. Let my father send it.
    Concerning that (?), as it is good to thee. I have none. See,
    Nabû-mattûa I have sent to my father. The governor has gone to
    Babylon. As long as he is not here (?) at his side, he demands.
    Let me hear news of my father. Whether it be corn or whether it be
    anything that is with me, I will give to my father. Thy word is
    indisputable with me.

(M857) For the most part the others are fragmentary and of no special
interest. It is noteworthy that they all begin with much the same form of

Dr. T. G. Pinches published the text of three letters of this period in
_Recueil des Travaux_.(954) Two are very fragmentary; the third reads

    Note from Suḳâ to Bêl-zêr-ibnî, my father: May Bêl and Nabû decree
    health and wealth to my father. Now I am going without the ass.
    Give the ass to Shamash-eṭir; let him send it. Give him the
    clothes (?).

Here is an interesting letter:(955)

    Note from Daian-bêl-uṣur to Shirḳu, my lord: Every day I pray to
    Bêl and Nabû for the health of my lord’s life. Concerning the
    lambs, which my lord sent, Bêl and Nabû know that there is a lamb
    from before thee. I have set the crop and fixed the stable. I have
    seen thy servant with the sheep; send thy servant with the lambs,
    and direct that one lamb from among them be offered as a gift to
    Nabû. I have not turned so much as one sheep into money. On the
    twentieth I worked [or sacrificed] for Shamash. I saw fifty-six.
    From his hands I sent twenty head to my lord. The garlic which the
    governor received from my lord, the owners of the field, when they
    came, took possession of; the governor of fields sold it for
    money. I am deprived of the yoke of the harrow (?). As to what my
    lord said to me, saying, “Wherefore hast thou not sent a messenger
    and measured out the crop?” Forthwith (?) I will send to thee, let
    a messenger of thy appointing (?) take it and keep it.

Several words in this text are not found elsewhere, but very strangely we
know much about the persons. Shirḳu, whose other name was
Marduk-nâṣir-aplu, son of Iddinâ, was of the important commercial house of
Egibi, and lived in the reign of Darius. He was a great ship-owner, and
had the tolls of a certain bridge. He travelled to Elam in the fifth year
of Darius. A great many of his business transactions are detailed by Dr.
Pinches.(956) Daian-bêl-uṣur and his wife Nanâ-bêl-uṣri were slaves of
Shirḳu, who pledged them with their six children, at one time. In the
sixteenth year of Darius their master gave them as part of her dowry, to
Amat-Bau, daughter of Kalbâ. They lived in the town of Suppatum.

The reader has now before him a few specimens of this extremely valuable
but very obscure class of literature. As time and study avail to clear up
the obscurities, much more will be learned of the life and customs of
these ancient peoples. Enough may have been given to stimulate research,
and interest a wider circle of readers. It is the writer’s hope that many
may be led, even by these scattered and disjointed specimens, to undertake
such studies as may render more perfect his slight contribution and rescue
from oblivion the heroes of a bygone civilization.


I. The Prologue And Epilogue To The Code Of Ḥammurabi

The prologue and epilogue of the Code are very difficult to translate.
Often the phrases are simply stock expressions which occur in most of the
royal inscriptions. The meanings of many of these have degenerated to mere
titles of courtesy and their original significance is obscure. But early
translators found no difficulty in guessing the most complimentary things
to say, and more recent scholars in their efforts to be exact become
grotesque. When an ancient king called himself a “rabid buffalo” it
doubtless gave him satisfaction, but it would be very rude for us to do
so. On the other hand, it is very tiresome to an English reader to read a
sentence of three hundred lines in length before coming to a principal
verb. Such a sentence, a string of epithets and participles, is here
broken up into short clauses and the participles turned into finite verbs.
This is done, not because the translator is entirely ignorant of grammar,
but in pity for the reader. This further necessitates turning the third
person singular, in which the king speaks of himself, like a modern
acceptance of an invitation to dinner, into the more simple direct
narration in the first person. Anyone who wishes to compare this
translation with the original will please recall that this is done for
ease in understanding, not because the original was misunderstood.

A more serious difficulty is, that, as it was customary to apply the same
honorific titles to both a god and the king, it is often uncertain to
which the original meant to apply them. This may have been left
intentionally vague. Some translators have taken on themselves to settle
to which they will refer the epithet, to the god or to the king. Such
translations are only interesting as a record of private opinions. They
settle nothing, do not even give a presumption in favor of anything. It is
more honest to leave the translation as vague as the original, when this
can be done. This part of the stele is full of rare words, or what is just
as bad, words which invariably occur in the same context. If a king calls
himself by some strange honorific title, it is no assistance to
understanding the meaning of it that a score of successors should do the
same. Of many words, all we can conjecture is that the king was honored by
them. There is nothing to indicate what they really meant. In some cases
“mighty” is as likely to be correct as “wise.” There is no reason why we
should prefer either rendering. Both can hardly be right, neither may
really be. Some king may once have prided himself on being an expert
potter, as a modern monarch might on being a photographer. If he called
himself on a monument a “superb potter,” all his successors would keep the
title, though they never made a pot in their lives. We have only to peruse
the titles of modern monarchs to be sure of the fact. It is, therefore, to
be hoped that no one will build any far-reaching theories upon logical
deductions from the translations given here or elsewhere of such honorific

Prologue To The Code Of Ḥammurabi

When the most high God (Anu), king of the spirits of heaven (Anunnaki),
(and) Bêl, lord of heaven and earth, who settles the fates of all,
allotted to Marduk, the first-born of Ea, the lord God of right, a rule
over men and extolled him among the spirits of earth (Igigi), then they
nominated for Babylon a name above all, they made it renowned in all
quarters, and in the midst of it they founded an everlasting sovereignty,
whose seat is established like heaven and earth; then did God (Anu) and
Bêl call me by name, Ḥammurabi, the high prince, god-fearing, to exemplify
justice in the land, to banish the proud and oppressor, that the great
should not despoil the weak, to rise like the sun over the black-headed
race (mankind) and illumine the land, to give health to all flesh.
Ḥammurabi the (good) shepherd, the choice of Bêl, am I, the completer of
plenty and abundance, the fulfiller of every purpose. For Nippur, and
Dûrili (epithet of Nippur or part of it?), I highly adorned Ê-KUR (the
temple of Bêl there). In powerful sovereignty I restored Eridu and
cleansed Ê-ZU-AB (temple of Ea there). By onslaughts on every side (the
four quarters) I magnified the name of Babylon and rejoiced the heart of
Marduk my lord. Every day I stood in Ê-SAG-GIL (the temple of Marduk at
Babylon). Descendant of kings whom Sin had begotten, I enriched the city
of Ur, and humbly adoring, was a source of abundance to Ê-NER-NU-GAL (the
temple of Sin at Ur). A king of knowledge, instructed by Shamash the
judge, I strongly established Sippara, reclothed the rear of the shrine of
Aya (the consort of Shamash), and planned out Ê-BAB-BAR (temple of Shamash
at Sippara) like a dwelling in heaven. In arms I avenged Larsa (held by
the Elamite, Rim-Sin), and restored Ê-BAB-BAR (temple of Shamash at Larsa)
for Shamash my helper. As overlord I gave fresh life to Erech, furnishing
abundance of water to its people, and completed the spire of Ê-AN-NA
(temple of Nanâ at Erech). I completed the glory of Anu and Ninni. As a
protector of my land, I reassembled the scattered people of Nisin
(recently reconquered from the Elamites) and replenished the treasury of
Ê-GAL-MAḤ (temple of Nisin). As the royal potentate of the city and own
brother of its god Zamama, I enlarged the palace at Kish and surrounded
with splendor Ê-ME-TE-UR-SAG (the temple at Kish). I made secure the great
shrine of Ninni. I ordered the temple of Ḥarsagkalama Ê-KI-SAL-nakiri, by
whose assistance I attained my desire. I restored Kutha and increased
everything at Ê-SID-LAM (the temple there). Like a charging bull, I bore
down my enemies. Beloved of TU-TU (a name of Marduk) in my love for
Borsippa, of high purpose untiring, I cared for Ê-ZI-DA (temple of Nabû
there). As a god, king of the city, knowing and farseeing, I looked to the
plantations of Dilbat and constructed its granaries for IB (the god of
Dilbat) the powerful, the lord of the insignia, the sceptre and crown,
with which he invested me. As the beloved of MA-MA (consort of IB), I set
fast the bas-reliefs at Kish and renewed the holy meals for Erishtu
(goddess of Kish). With foresight and power I ordered the pasturages and
watering-places for Sirpurla and Girsu and arranged the extensive
offerings in Ê-50 (the temple of “the fifty” at Sirpurla). I scattered my
enemies. As the favorite of Telitim (a god), I fulfilled the oracles of
Ḥallab and rejoiced the heart of GIS-DAR (its goddess). Grand prince,
whose prayers Adad knows well, I soothed the heart of Adad, the warrior in
Bît Karkara. I fastened the ornaments in Ê-UD-GAL-GAL (temple there). As a
king who gave life to Adab, I repaired Ê-MAḤ (temple at Adab). As hero and
king of the city, unrivalled combatant, I gave life to Mashkan-Shabri and
poured forth abundance on SIT-LAM (temple of Nêrgal there). The wise, the
restorer, who had conquered the whole of the rebellious, I rescued the
people of Malkâ in trouble. I strengthened their abodes with every
comfort. For Ea and DAM-GAL-NUN-NA I increased their rule and in
perpetuity appointed the lustrous offerings. As a leader and king of the
city, I made the settlements on the Euphrates to be populous. As client of
Dagan, who begat me, I avenged the people of Mera and Tutul. As high
prince, I made the face of Ninni to shine, making the lustrous meals of
NIN-A-ZU secure. I reunited my people in famine by assuring their
allowances within Babylon in peace and security. As the shepherd of my
people, a servant whose deeds were acceptable to GIS-DAR in E-UL-MASH
(temple of Anunit) in the midst of Agade, noted for its wide squares, I
settled the rules and set straight the Tigris. I brought back to Asshur
the gracious colossus and settled the altar (?). As king of Nineveh I made
the waters of Ninni to shine in Ê-DUP-DUP. High of purpose and wise in
achievement for the great gods, descendant of Sumu-lâil, eldest son of
Sin-muballiṭ, long descended scion of royalty, great king, a very Shamash
(or sun) of Babylon, I caused light to arise upon Sumer and Akkad. A king
who commanded obedience in all the four quarters, beloved of Ninni am I.
When Marduk brought me to direct all people and commissioned me to give
judgment, I laid down justice and right in the provinces, I made all flesh
to prosper. Then—(_the words of the Code are the completion of the
sentence. The king implies that its regulations were the outcome of this
legislative decision_).

The Epilogue

The judgments of righteousness which Ḥammurabi, the powerful king,
settled, and caused the land to receive a sure polity and a gracious rule.

I am Ḥammurabi, the superb king. Marduk gave me to shepherd the
black-headed race, whom Bêl had assigned me. I did not forget, I did not
neglect, I found for them safe pastures, I opened the way through sharp
rocks, and gave them guidance. With the powerful weapon that Zamama and
Ishtar granted me, by the foresight with which Ea endowed me, with the
power that Marduk gave me, I cut off the enemy above and below, I lorded
it over the conquered. The flesh of the land I made to rejoice. I extended
the dwellings of the people in security. I left them no cause to fear. The
great gods chose me and I am the shepherd that gives peace, whose club is
straight; of evil and good in my city I was the director. I carried all
the people of Sumer and Akkad in my bosom. By my protection, I guided in
peace its brothers. By my wisdom, I provided for them. That the great
should not oppress the weak, to counsel the widow and orphan, in Babylon,
the city of Anu and Bêl, I raised up its head (the stele’s) in Ê-SAG-GIL
(temple of Marduk there), the temple whose foundation is firm as the
heaven and earth. To judge the judgment of the land, to decide the
decisions of the land, to succor the injured, I wrote on my stele the
precious words and placed them before my likeness, that of a righteous
king. The king that is gentle, king of the city, exalted am I. My words
are precious, my power has no rival. By the order of Shamash, the judge
supreme, of heaven and earth, that judgment may shine in the land; by the
permission of Marduk, my lord, I set up a bas-relief, to preserve my
likeness in Ê-SAG-GIL that I love, to commemorate my name forever in
gratitude. The oppressed who has a suit to prosecute may come before my
image, that of a righteous king, and read my inscription and understand my
precious words and may my stele elucidate his case. Let him see the law he
seeks and may he draw in his breath and say: “This Ḥammurabi was a ruler
who was to his people like the father that begot them. He obeyed the order
of Marduk his lord, he followed the commands of Marduk above and below. He
delighted the heart of Marduk his lord, and granted happy life to his
people forever. He guided the land.” Let him recite the document. Before
Marduk, my lord, and Ṣarpanitum, my lady, with full heart let him draw
near. The colossus and the gods that live in Ê-SAG-GIL, or the courts of
Ê-SAG-GIL, let him bless every day before Marduk, my lord, and Ṣarpanitum,
my lady.

In the future, in days to come, at any time, let the king who is in the
land, guard the words of righteousness which I have written on my stele.
Let him not alter the judgment of the land which I judged nor the
decisions I decided. Let him not destroy my bas-relief. If that man has
wisdom and is capable of directing his land, let him attend to the words
which I have written upon my stele, let him apprehend the path, the rule,
the law of the land which I judged, and the decision I decided for the
land, and so let him guide forward the black-headed race; let him judge
their judgment and decide their decision, let him cut off from his land
the proud and violent, let him rejoice the flesh of his people. Ḥammurabi,
the king of righteousness, to whom Shamash has granted rights, am I. My
words are precious, my deeds have no rival. Above and below I am the
whirlwind that scours the deep and the height. If that man has hearkened
to my words which I have written on my stele and has not frustrated
justice, has not altered my words, has not injured my bas-reliefs, may
Shamash make lasting his sceptre; like me, as a king of righteousness, let
him guide his people in justice.

But if that man does not hearken to my words which I wrote on my stele,
forgets my curses, fears not the malediction of God, sets aside the
judgment which I judged, alters my words and destroys my bas-reliefs,
effaces my inscribed name and writes in his own name; or, for fear of
these curses has charged another to do so; that man, be he king, lord,
patêsi, or noble, whose name is ever so renowned, may the great god (Anu),
the father of gods, who named my reign, turn him back, shatter his sceptre
in pieces, curse his fortunes; may Bêl the lord who fixes the fates, whose
command is not set aside, who extended my sovereignty, cause for him an
endless revolt, an impulse to fly from his home, and set for his fortune a
reign of sighs, short days, years of want, darkness that has no ray of
light and a death in the sight of all men. May he decree with his heavy
curse the ruin of his city, the scattering of his people, the removal of
his sovereignty, the disappearance of his name and his race from the land.
May Beltu, the great mother, whose command is weighty in Ê-KUR, the lady
who made my plans prosperous, make his words in the matter of justice and
law to be hateful before Bêl. May she bring about the downfall of his
country, the loss of his people, the efflux of his life like water, by the
order of the Bêl, the king. May Ea, the grand prince, whose destiny takes
premier rank, the messenger of the gods, who knows all, who has prolonged
my life, distort his understanding and intellect, curse him with
forgetfulness, dam up his rivers at their source. In his land may Ashnan
(the deity of wheat), the life of the people, not grow. May Shamash, great
judge of heaven and earth, who governs the creatures of life, the lord of
help, cut off his sovereignty; judge not his judgment; carry away his
path; annihilate the march of his armies; cast an evil look upon him to
uproot his rule, and fix for him the loss of his land. May the evil
sentence of Shamash quickly overwhelm him; deprive him of life among the
living above; and below in the earth, deprive his ghost of water. May Sin,
the lord of the sky, the god who creates, whose ray is splendid among the
gods, deprive him of crown and throne of kinship; surround him with a
great shirt of pain, a heavy penalty, that will not leave his body, and
make him finish his days, month by month, through the years of his reign,
in tears and sighs. May he multiply for him the burden of royalty. May he
grant him as his lot a life that can only be likened to death. May Adad,
lord of abundance, great bull of the sky, and the earth, my helper,
withdraw the rain from the heavens, the floods from the springs; destroy
his land with hunger and want; thunder in wrath over his city, and turn
his land to deluge mounds. May Zamama, great warrior, first born of
_Ê-KUR_, who goes at my right hand on the battlefield, shatter his weapon
and turn for him day into night. May he place his enemy over him. May
Ishtar, the lady of conflict and battle, who prospered my arms, my
gracious protector, who loved my reign, in her heart of rage, her
boundless fury, curse his sovereignty; turn all his mercies to curses,
shatter his weapon in conflict and battle, appoint him trouble and
sedition, strike down his heroes, and make the earth drink of their blood,
scatter the plain with heaps of the carcasses of his troops, grant them no
burial; deliver himself into the hands of his enemy, cause him to be
carried in chains to the enemy’s land. May Nêrgal, the powerful one of the
gods, who meets with no rival, who caused me to obtain my triumphs, burn
up his people with a fever like a great fire among the reeds. With his
powerful weapon may he drink him up, with his fevers crush him like a
statue of clay. May Erishtu, the exalted lady of all lands, the
creator-mother, carry off his son and leave him no name. May he not beget
a seed of posterity among his people. May Nin-karrak, the daughter of Anu,
the completer of my mercies in _Ê-KUR_, award him a severe malady, a
grievous illness, a painful wound, which cannot be healed, of which the
physician knows not the origin, which cannot be soothed by the bandage;
and rack him with palsy, until she has mastered his life; may she weaken
his strength. May the great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunnaki, in
their assembly, who look after the halls and the courts of this Ê-bar-ra
(temple of Shamash at Sippara, where the stele was clearly set up), curse
with a bitter curse his dynasty, his land, his soldiers, his people, and
his subjects. May the judgments of Bêl, which in his mouth are
irrevocable, curse him and quickly overcome him.

II. Chronology

The following tables make no pretence to finality. In Babylonian history
no date before B.C. 747 can be considered absolutely fixed. In Assyrian
history the Eponym Canon certainly goes back to about B.C. 893. Then
scattered notices in later writers enable us to approximate to earlier
dates and the varied synchronisms between Assyrian and Babylonian kings
render the dates probable, as far back as the First Dynasty of Babylon.
There is only one fixed date before that, the period of Sargon I., which
depends on a statement of Nabonidus.

The sequence of monarchs is, however, very probably correct. As knowledge
increases, more names will be added to fill up the gaps, and dated
documents will give the lengths of the reigns. A discussion of the grounds
for the dates cannot be given here. The reader may refer to Dr. P. Rost,
in the _Mittheilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft_, 1897, No. 2,
and _Orientalistische Litteratur-Zeitung_, 1900, pp. 143, 175, 212.
Radau’s _Early Babylonian History_ may be consulted for the earliest

In the early periods, a vertical line between two names denotes that the
second was son of the former. This is often all we know, but it is useful
to mark the fact, as we cannot then insert other rulers between them.
Names printed in capitals are either Sumerian or their true pronunciation
is unknown. When these capitals are in Roman type, we know that they were
kings or Patesis; when they are printed in italic, we only know that they
were the parents of those whose names follow. We do not then know whether
they reigned or not.

For Assyrian chronology, see _Annals of the Kings of Assyria_, by Budge
and King, 1902.


Early Patesis, Dates Conjectural, Order Uncertain

Irishum, _circa_ B.C. 2100
Ishme-Dagan, _circa_ B.C. 1930
Shamshi-Adad I., _circa_ B.C. 1910
Shamshi-Adad II.,
Bêl-upaḫḫir (?),
Shamshi-Adad III.

Early Kings, Dates Conjectural

_circa_ B.C.

Sulili (?),
Bêl-kapkapu,      1700
Ashur-bêl-nishêshu,      1500
Puzur-Ashur,      1470
Ashur-nâdin-aḫê,      1430
Ashur-uballiṭ, son,      1420
Bêl-nirari, son,      1400
Pudi-ilu, son,      1397
Adad-nirari I., son,      1395
Shulmanu-asharid (Shalmaneser) I., son,      1380
Tukulti-Ninip I., son,      1340
Ashur-nâṣir-pal I.,      1330
Ashur-narara,      1300
Nabû-daian,      1295
Bêl-kudur-uṣur,      1290
Ninip-apil-esharra,      1285
Ashur-dan, son,      1260
Mutakkil-Nusku, son,      1250
Ashur-rêsh-ishi, son,      1220
Tukulti-apil-esharra (Tiglath-pileser) I., son,      1200
Ashur-bêl-kala, son,      1090
Shamshi-Adad IV., brother,      1080
Ashur-nâṣir-pal II.,      1050
Erba-Adad (?),
Tukulti-apil-esharra (Tiglath-pileser) II.,      950
Ashur-dan II., son,      930
Adad-nirari II., son,      911

Dates Certain From Eponym Canon

Tukulti-Ninip II., son,      890
Ashur-nâṣir-pal III., son,      884
Shulmanu-asharid (Shalmaneser) II.,      859
Shamshi-Adad V.,      824
Adad-nirari III.,      811
Shulmanu-asharid (Shalmaneser) III.,      782
Ashur-dan III.,      772
Ashur-nirari II.,      754
Tukulti-apil-esharra (Tiglath-pileser, Pul) III.,      745
Shulmanu-asharid (Shalmaneser) IV.,      726
Sharru-ukin (Sargon) II.,      721
Sin-aḫê-erba (Sennacherib), son,      704
Ashur-aḫ-iddin (Esarhaddon), son,      680
Ashur-bâni-pal (Asnapper), son,      668
Ashur-etil-ilâni, son,      625
Sin-shum-lîshir,      (?)
Sin-shar-ishkun,      (?)
Fall of Nineveh,      607

III. Weights And Measures

I. Weights

1 shekel = 180 _šê_.
1 mina = 60 shekels.
1 talent = 60 minas.

The weight of the mina may be reckoned in round numbers as 500 grams.

II. Measures Of Capacity

_Early Scale_

1 GIN = 180 _šê_ (?).
1 ḲA = 60 GIN.
1 GUR = 300 ḲA.

_Later Scale_

1 GUR = 180 ḲA.

III. Measures Of Length

1 ell (U)        = 60 _ubanu_.
1 _ḳânu_ = 6 ells.
1 GAR            = 2 _ḳânu_.
1 KASBU          = 1,800 GAR.

On other measures see A. D. D., ii., pp. 197-218. The ell is about half a

IV. Measures Of Surface

1 GIN = 180 _šê._
1 SAR = 60 GIN.
1 GAN = 1,800 SAR.

The area of the SAR was one GAR square, or 6 metres square. Areas were
also measured by the amount of corn required to sow them, or their average
yield, that is by the GUR and ḲA.

V. Measures Of Time

1 day   = 12 double hours.
1 month = 30 days, average.
1 year  = 12 months, average.

Further details may be obtained from Zimmern’s _Das Princip unserer
Zeit-und Raumteilung_, in the _Berichten d. philolog. histor. Classe d.
Königl. Sächs. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig_. November 14,

IV. Bibliography Of The Later Periods


*Nabopolassar.*—Strassmaier published nineteen texts in _Z. A._, iv., pp.
141-45, of which three are transcribed and translated in _K. B._, iv., pp.
177-81. Dr. Pinches gave another, _C. T._, iv., p. 14, and another in
Peek-Pinches, p. 3. Dr. Moldenke gave nine other texts in his _Cuneiform
Texts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_.

*Nebuchadrezzar II.*—Strassmaier published 460 texts in _Hefts V.-VI._, of
the _Babylonische Texte_, of which thirty-one are transcribed and
translated in _K. B._, iv., pp. 180-201, and forty are discussed in
Kohler-Peiser’s _Aus Babylonischen Rechtsleben_. Two texts are published
by Pinches, _C. T._, iv., p. 38, two more in Peiser’s _Babylonische
Verträge_, six texts from the Liverpool Museum were published by
Strassmaier in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes,
1883_. Some of the above texts belong, however, to the reign of
Nebuchadrezzar III.

*Evil-Merodach.*—Evetts published twenty-four texts in _Babylonische
Texte, Heft VI., B_, of which _K. B._, iv., pp. 200-3, gives
transcriptions and translations of two. Kohler-Peiser discuss eight in
_Aus Babylonischen Rechtsleben_ and add one more. Strassmaier published
two from the Liverpool Museum in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale
des Orientalistes, 1883_.

*Neriglissar.*—Evetts published seventy-two texts in _Babylonische Texte,
Heft VI., B_, pp. 25-82. Of these four are transcribed and translated in
_K. B._, iv., pp. 202-7 and Kohler-Peiser discussed fourteen in _Aus
Babylonischen Rechtsleben_. In _Babylonische Verträge_, Peiser published
another; and Strassmaier published three from the Liverpool Museum in the
_Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes, 1883_.

*Laborosoarchod.*—Evetts published six texts, _Babylonische Texte, Heft
VI., B_, pp. 85-90. Of these, one is transcribed and translated in _K.
B._, iv., pp. 206-7. Strassmaier published four in the _Actes du VIII.
Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes, 1889_.

*Nabonidus.*—Strassmaier published 1134 texts in _Babylonische Texte, Heft
I.-IV._ Of these, _K. B._, iv., pp. 206-59, gives transcriptions and
translations of fifty-six, and three fresh texts from copies by Peiser,
Pinches, and Revillout. Kohler-Peiser discuss sixty-five of them in _Aus
Babylonischen Rechtsleben_ and add one more. Pinches published two, _C.
T._, iv., pp. 30-41, and four in Peek-Pinches. Dr. Peiser gave another in
_Keilschriftliche Acten-Stücke_, No. 3, two from the British Museum.
Strassmaier published six from the Liverpool Museum in the _Actes du VI.
Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes, 1883_. Dr. Moldenke gave
forty-two texts in his _Cuneiform Texts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York_.


*Cyrus.*—Strassmaier published 384 texts in _Babylonische Texte, Heft
VII._, of which _K. B._, iv., pp. 253-85 gives transcriptions and
translations of twenty-four, and Kohler-Peiser discussed thirty-four in
_Aus Babylonischen Rechtsleben_, adding four new texts. In
_Keilschriftliche Acten-Stücke_, Peiser gave two more; in _Babylonische
Verträge_, fourteen more. Strassmaier gave two from the Liverpool Museum,
in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale des Orientalistes, 1883_.
Pinches published another in Peek-Pinches, Dr. Budge another in _Z. A._,
vii., p. 219.

*Cambyses.*—Strassmaier gave 441 texts in _Babylonische Texte, Heft
VIII.-IX._, but in these no distinction is made between the reigns of
Cambyses and Cyrus, Cambyses alone, Cyrus alone. _K. B._, iv., pp. 260-63
gives transcription and translation of four, followed by twenty-five of
Cambyses alone and fourteen of Cyrus alone. Kohler-Peiser discussed
twenty-one in _Aus Babylonische Rechtsleben_. Peiser gave seventeen more
in _Babylonische Verträge_ from the Berlin Museum and one from the British
Museum. Strassmaier gave three from the Liverpool Museum, and one in
possession of Golenischeff in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale des
Orientalistes_. Pinches published one in _C. T._, iv., one in
Peek-Pinches. Dr. G. A. Barton published two in the _American Journal of
Semitic Languages, January, 1900_.

*Barzia.*—Strassmaier published nine texts, _Z. A._, iv., pp. 147 ff., of
which four are transcribed and translated, _K. B._, iv., pp. 294-98.
Peiser gave three more in _Babylonische Verträge_. Strassmaier published
one from the Liverpool Museum in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale
des Orientalistes, 1883_.

*Nebuchadrezzar III.*—In _K. B._, iv., pp. 298-303, three are transcribed
and translated from those published above and ascribed to Nebuchadrezzar

*Darius.*—Strassmaier has published 579 texts in _Babylonische Texte, Heft
X.-XII._, of which _K. B._, iv., pp. 302-11 gives transcription and
translation of nine. Kohler-Peiser discuss ninety-six in _Aus
Babylonischen Rechtsleben_ and add seven more. Pinches published six in
_C. T._, ii., p. 2; iv., pp. 21, 32, 41, 43, 44; and twelve in
Peek-Pinches. Peiser gave fifteen in _Keilschriftliche Acten-Stücke_, and
fifty-five in _Babylonische Verträge_ from the Berlin Museum, twenty-four
from the British Museum. Dr. G. A. Barton gave twenty-seven in _American
Journal of Semitic Languages, January, 1900_. Strassmaier gave six from
the Liverpool Museum in the _Actes du VI. Congrès Internationale des
Orientalistes, 1883_. Dr. Budge published three in _Z. A._, iii., pp. 216

*Shamash-erba.*—Strassmaier published one text of this period in _Z. A._,
iii., p. 157 f.

*Xerxes.*—Evetts published four texts, _Babylonische Texte, Heft VI., B_,
pp. 91-94; of these _K. B._, iv., pp. 310-11 gives transcription and
translation of one. Pinches published one, _C. T._, iv., p. 34, Dr. G. A.
Barton gave one in _American Journal of Semitic Languages, January, 1900_.
Strassmaier published seven in the _Actes du VIII. Congrès Internationale
des Orientalistes, 1889_.

*Artaxerxes.*—Professor Hilprecht and Dr. Clay have published 119 texts
with transcriptions and translations of twelve, in the ninth volume of the
series of Cuneiform Texts of the collections of the University of
Philadelphia. Kotalla has given transcriptions and translations of others
in _B. A. S._, iv. Dr. Peiser gave a transcription and translation of one
from his own copy, _K. B._, iv., pp. 312-13. Kohler-Peiser give two more
in _Aus Babylonischen Rechtsleben_. Dr. G. A. Barton gave four in
_American Journal of Semitic Languages, January, 1900_. Strassmaier
published nine in the _Actes du VIII. Congrès Internationale des
Orientalistes, 1889_, and one in _Z. A._, iii., p. 158.


*Alexander IV.*—Strassmaier, _Z. A._, iii., p. 150, transcribed and
translated one, also _K. B._, iv., pp. 312-13. Pinches gave one, _C. T._,
iv., p. 39.

*Seleucus II.*—Oppert, _Doc. Jur._, pp. 301 ff., gave two, one given
again, _K. B._, iv., pp. 312-17. Pinches gave another, _C. T._, iv., p.
29. Strassmaier published one in _Actes du VIII. Congrès Internationale
des Orientalistes, 1889_; and one, _Z. A._, iii., p. 152 f.

*Demetrius.*—Strassmaier published two, _Z. A._, iii., pp. 148-50.

*Antiochus III.*—Strassmaier published one, _Z. A._, iii., p. 150 f.,
transcribed and translated also, _K. B._, iv., pp. 316-17.


Strassmaier published sixteen texts, _Z. A._, iii., pp. 143 ff., one is
given in transcription and translation, _K. B._, iv., pp. 318-19.


Superior Roman numerals refer to sections of the early Babylonian laws,
superior arabic numerals to the laws of the Code of Ḥammurabi, and
superior capitals to the later Assyrian or Babylonian laws.

  for loss of crop, 48, 45, 46
  for loss of interest, 48, 48

Abêshu’, letters of, 328

Accidental loss:
  by drought, etc., payment postponed, 48, 48
  by storm or rain falls on tenant, 48, 45
  shared by tenant and owner if rent unpaid, 48, 46

Accounts and business documents:
  account books, 295
  acknowledgment of advances, 302
  amounts of food-stuffs, 301
  Assyrian lists, 298
  conditions of service with flock and herds, 296
  herdsman’s, 297
  its obscurity, 297, 298
  iron articles, mention of, 302
  leather, 301
  receipts for loans, 295
  records of measurements, 296
  repairs and expenses, 296
  sheep-shearing, 300
  skins, 301
  steward’s accounts, 302
  weaving, 300
  wool, memoranda regarding, 299

Adjournment of case:
  not to exceed six months, 45, 13
  to call witnesses, 45, 13

  adoption implied inheritance, 157, 160
  brought responsibilities to both parties, 155
  by craftsman, who has taught him his handicraft, 61, 188, 189;
    he cannot be redeemed, 61, 188;
    but redeemable if not taught, 61, 189
  by deed signed and sealed, 155
  by wealthy persons, 160
  consent of others in the family, 156
  duties of adopted children, 158, 159
  such as service, 159
  form of adoption, 157
  frequency and reasons for, 154
  if disinherited, he receives one-third of son’s share before leaving,
              61, 191
    but not field, garden, or house, 61, 191
  method of procedure, 155
  of child of unknown parents, 61, 186
  who shall return to parents when known, 61, 186
  of royal favorite, or courtier, or votary, 61, 187;
    who shall not be reclaimed, 61, 187
  of natural son, 61, 185
  precautions against suits, 159
  punishment of adopted children, 160
  pure and simple, 156
  repudiation and disinheritance, 157 _sq._
  repudiation by adopted son punished, 61, 192 _sq._
  rights of adoption to be accepted, 61, 190
  system considered, 154 _sq._

  charges of, 54, 129, 131, 132
  of wife of captive excused, 54, 134
  penalties for, 117, 118
  penalty, strangling, 54, 129
    drowning, 54, 133

Advocate or pleader, 88

Affidavit as to cause of death, 65, 249

Agent. _See_ Merchant:
  disputing with principal, 51, 106, 107
  his power of attorney, 44, 7, 292
  his relations with the principal, 51, 100-107
  if loses or unsuccessful, or robbed, repays capital, 51, 101-103
  must give strict account of intromissions, 51, 104
  must have power of attorney, 69
  must keep accounts, 51, 100
    of money received, 51, 100
    of interest due, 51, 100
  must receive sealed acknowledgment, 51, 104
  pays threefold for misappropriation, 51, 106
  relation to the merchant, 281 _sq._

Agnates, their power, 137

Agriculture, its form, duties, and risks, 48 _sq._

  by assignments, 218
  by business transfer, 218
  by donations and bequests, 218 _sq._
  by gifts to votary, daughter, wife, 220, 221
  consent of legal heirs, 221
  of property, 218 _sq._
  of public property forbidden, 47, 33 sq.
  restricted by family rights, 219

  to divorced wife, 54, 137
  usufruct to bring up the children, 54, 137

Alteration of bond by post-dating, 48, 48

Ammi-ditana, letters of, 328

Ammi-zadûga, letters of, 329

  as a family bond, 120.
  _See_ Family

  domain, lands subject to, 187
  estates, 194

Apprentice, slave taught as, 181, 182

Armenia, references to, in Sennacherib’s letters to Sargon, 338 _sq._

Artificers of the temple, 213

  friendly letters of, 360 _sq._
  inquiries about oracles, 379
  letters illustrating his reign, 347 _sq._, 352, 353 _sq._, 361 _sq._
  son of Esarhaddon, 366
  value of his library, 6, 10, 31

  fatal, to free-woman, 62, 209, 210
  to plebeian, 62, 212
  to slave, 62, 214
  of freeman by slave, 62, 205
  of man of higher rank, 62, 202, 203
  of pregnant free-woman, causing miscarriage, 62, 209
  of plebeian by plebeian, 62, 204
  of pregnant plebeian, causing miscarriage, 62, 211
  of pregnant slave, causing miscarriage, 62, 213

Assessment of damages. _See_ Damages:
  by sheep to green crop, 49, 57
    to ripe crop, 49, 58
  for assault. _See_ Assault, Fines
  for failing in terms of lease, 48, 42, 44
  for lack of professional skill. _See_ Surgeon, Veterinary
  for neglect. _See_ Neglect
  tree cut without consent, 50, 59

Assignment for debt:
  of all the debtor has, 50, z
  of crop, 48, 49, 49, 50
  of date plantation, 50, x
  of wife, son, or daughter, 52, 117

  epochs, 31
  estimated proportion of slaves, 182
  usages regarding slaves, 171

  power of, for executing a deed, 69
    for representative action, 294
    for protecting rights, 293
    its use, 44, 7, 292
    over funds, 294

  crop in damages, 49, 55
  rent in damages, 48, 42, 43, 50, 62, 65

  boundaries of land, 190 _sq._
  canals, irrigation, 185
  early postal system for letters, 309
  importance of studying, vii _sq._
  influence of natural features, 184
  its epochs, 15, 34, 131, 182
  land tenure in, 184 _sq._
  lasting effects of its civilization, vii
  law later, 69 _sq._
  names in slavery, 177, 178
  ownership of land, 185, 186
  primitive tenure, 185 _sq._
  proportion of slaves in the population, 182
  village lands, 185

Bailiff. _See_ Official:
  has charge of cropping the farm, 48, 49, 49, 52

  from minor or slave without bond or witnesses, 44, 7;
    and penal equals theft, 44, 7

  as an ancient custom, 98
  from the city for incest, 56, 154

Bank, temple the popular place of deposit, 210, 211.
  _See_ Temple

  bound to summon slanderers and brawlers to palace, 52, 108
  gives 60 ḲA of _sakani_ beer for 50 ḲA of corn, 52, 111
  prosecuted and drowned, 52, 108

  closed against votaries, 52, 110
  drink to be not cheaper than corn, 52, 108
  not allowed for unlawful assemblies, 52, 109
  regulation of, 52, 108-110
  votary forbidden, 52, 110

  may be assigned to son, 46, 29
    deputed, 46, 27-29
    forfeited by neglect or disuse, 47, 30
  may not be assigned for debt, 47, 39
    bequeathed, 47, 38
    given for ransom, 47, 32
    given in exchange, 48, 41
  may not be bequeathed or assigned for debt, 47, 38, 39
  may not be given in exchange, 48, 41
  penalty for its abuse or neglect, 46, 27-29, 47, 30, 31
  price paid for it forfeited, 47, 35, 37
    or alienated, 47, 32 _sq._; by sale, 47, 32 _sq._

_Bennu_, slave disease, 67, 280, 170

  power of, restrained, 56, 150
    free, 56, 150

  betrothal in early life, 132
  maiden in her father’s house, 54, 130, 132
  marriage ceremony, 132
  seduction of, 54, 130, 132, 134

  Arsacide Period, 402
  Macedonian Period, 402
  New Babylonian Empire, 399
  Persian Period, 401

  considered as a custom, 134
  in ignorance, 54, 135

  building of, 64, 234
  fast, hired, 67, 276
  in collision, 64, 240
  one of 60 GUR hired, 67, 277
  value in trading, 284, 285
  wreck of, 64, 235-238

Boatmen, carriers and builders, their duties and responsibilities, 64, 234

Bond, written deed or contract sealed:
  Assyrian, of great length, 231
  body of the deed uniform, 229
  deed of house sale, 241
  destroyed on payment, 260
  drawn by scribe, 83
  for adoption, signed and sealed, 155
  for debt, 49, 52
  for deed of gift to son, 57, 165
  for legal marriage, 54, 128
  for legal purchase, 44, 7
  for rent due, 48, 47
  for storage, 53, 122
  in marriage contract, 130
  in Sumerian or in Semitic, 229
  interests safeguarded, 232
  its value as a legal witness, 80 _sq._
  kept how and where, 12
  legal memoranda in security, 10, 12, 282
  marriage contracts, few met with, 137
  marriage deed of gift, 56, 150
  notary’s fee for, 231
  of herdsman, 66, 264
  often the subject in pledge, 263
  power of attorney for sealing, 69
  preserved in temple archives, 227
  production of, 112
  specifications of items, 230, 231
    earnest-money to close the bargain, 230
  specimen deed of sale, 228
  to daughter of concubine, 60, 183
  to votary’s dowry from her father, 59, 178, 60, 179, 180, 181
  usually in duplicate, 12
  valuable for information, 236, 242, 247
  with free gifts, 219

Boundary stones, 191
  as inviolable landmarks, 191, 192
  description of, in deeds, 238
  street named as boundary, 241
  usually rectangular, 238

Branding, brander, 63, 226, 227, 176
  on forehead for slander, 53, 127, 176
  on freeman escaped from levy-master, 176
  or tattooing a slave, 176, 177
  slave without owner’s consent, 63, 226, 227
  son’s wife branded and sold, 140

Brawling in beer-shop, 52, 109

  of contract by lessee, 48, 42, 44
  of promise of marriage, 57, 159, 124

Bribery punished, 321

  and marriage-portion, 55, 138, 57, 159, 123 _sq._, 129
  and trousseau, 129
  assessed at one mina of silver as price of divorce, 55, 139, 125
  assessed at one-third mina of silver if plebeian, 55, 140
  deducted from marriage-portion, 57, 166, 124
  given back to barren wife when divorced, 55, 138
  its ceremonial presentation, 124, 128
  its principle considered, 123, 124, 125, 128, 130
  negotiations regarding the payment, 125, 126, 128
  reserved from father’s estate for minor son, 57, 166, 127, 130
  retained by bride’s father, 57, 159
  returned double, 57, 160, 161, 124

Bronze lancet, for surgical operations, 63, 215, 218, 220

Builder, his duties and responsibilities, 63, 228, 64, 229 _sq._

Burglary, with death penalty, 44, 6, 46, 21

Burial vault in a house, 245

Burning as penalty:
  man and mother in incest, 56, 157
  thief in the same fire, 46, 25

Buyer must discharge duties of subject, 48, 40

Buying and selling, general law of, 44, 7, 45, 9-12

Calling to account:
  for intromissions, 52, 108-116, 53, 124
  for neglect, 48, 42
  in divorce case, 55, 141
  in nursing, 61, 194
  in prosecution, 66, 265

  used in trading, 284, 285, 319, 320, 321
  digging, 383, 24

Cappadocian tablets, 29

  by enemy for ransom, 47, 32
  in war, 54, 133, 135
  question as to marriage relations, 54, 133, 135

Caravans, their place in trading, 282, 283

Carrier’s responsibilities, 52, 112
  fivefold restitution, 52, 112

Cataract, operations for, 63, 215, 218, 220

Chedorlaomer, supposed reference to, 316, 318

Children. _See_ Inheritance:
  age of at majority, 149
  betrothed, remained in the father’s house, 149
  born of supposed widow remain with second husband, 54, 135
  commonly educated, 153
  could be preferred by father, 57, 165, 148
  daughters under the father’s disposing, 148
  dedicated to temple, 224
  legitimate and illegitimate, 134
  may receive bequest from their mother, 56, 150
  of different mothers share equally in their father’s estate, 58, 167
  of different mothers share equally in their own mother’s estate, 58, 167
  of divorced mothers, their legal rights, 54, 137
  of second wife take one-third of the property, 71
  of slave and free-woman provided for, 59, 175, 176
  of wife and maid may share equally, 58, 170
  of wife or those of the maid made free, 58, 171
  punishment of unfilial conduct in, 61, 195, 149
  sacrifice of by fire, 233
  schools for and education of, 152, 153
  sold into slavery, 178
  status of, in the inheritance, 58, 170, 171
  their childhood and early life considered, 151-153
  their obligations and rights, 148 _sq._,
  their relation to paternal rights, 52, 117, 148
  under the mother at their father’s death, 149, 150

  Assyria, 397, 398
  “of the king,” 25
  system of the tablets, 23
  tables of, 396-398

Coin. _See_ Loans:
  current, 253

Collision of boats, law of, 64, 240

Commerce, how controlled by the State, 324

Commission, trade on, 51, 100-105.
  _See_ Agent, Merchant

  as granted by the court, 99
  for eviction of tenant, 50, Y
  for highway robbery, 46, 23
  of official, 76

  for bride-price, 55, 139
  for loss of life, 52, 116

  breaks off a marriage by calumny, 57, 161, 124
  shall not marry the girl, 57, 161, 124

  divorced, free to marry, 54, 137, 135
  had marriage-portion, 134
  her daughter, dowered by deed, shall not share in father’s estate, 60,
              183, 135
  her daughter, if not dowered, shall be presented with marriage-portion,
              60, 184
  if a mother and divorced, her legal rights, 54, 137, 135
  if a mother, cannot be sold, 55, 146, 135
  if childless, may be sold, 55, 147, 135
  may receive a slave-mark, 55, 146, 135
  must not rival wife, 55, 145, 135
  not equal in status to votary, 55, 144-147, 135
  restrictions on her marriage, 55, 144-147

Concubinage as a system, 134, 135

Conjugal rights, denial of, 55, 142, 142
  denial of, counted equal to desertion, 142
  liable to judicial inquiry, 142

Contracts, old, their present value, xii _sq._

  cultivated and paid in rent, 48, 49
  given on loan, 253
  tithed to the temple, 208
  under charge of the bailiff, 48, 49, 49, 52
  with sesame, 48, 49, 49, 50-52

Corporate liability, 46, 23, 47, 32

Corvée. _See_ Militia

Cow in milk, on hire, 65, 243

Courts of law:
  cases before, 87
  form of procedure, 83 _sq._, 87 _sq._
  nature and action, 80 _sq._
  penalties from, 95
  settlements out of, 87, 111

Creditor. _See_ Merchant, Debtor:
  cannot take property without owner’s leave, 52, 113
  in marital responsibilities, 56, 151, 152
  may not pay himself without debtor’s consent, 52, 113
  may sell pledged slave, 53, 118
  must restore all illegally taken, 52, 113; and forfeits his claim, 52,
  punishable for cruel treatment of hostage, 52, 116
  responsible for fair treatment of hostage, 52, 115

Criminal law, 116-118

  in pledge for debt, 48, 48
  its duties, 49, 49-52
  kinds cultivated, 48, 44, 46, 48, 49, 49, 50, 51, 52

  duties and rent, 48, 42 _sq._
  of field described, 48, 43, 44

Custody of child in mother, 46, 29

Cutting down trees, assessment of damage, one-half mina of silver, 50, 59

Damage to crops:
  by cutting down trees, one-half mina of silver per tree, 50, 59
  by flood assessed at average crop, 49, 55;
  assessed at 10 GUR of corn for each GAN of land, 49, 56
  by sheep assessed at 20 GUR of corn for each GAN of land, 49, 57;
    assessed at 60 GUR of corn for each GAN of land, 49, 58

Damages due. _See_ Fines:
  for flooding from open dike wall, 49, 53, 54, 55, 56
  for illegal eviction, 50
  not a fine, 91
  to deceased’s relatives, one mina of silver, 46, 24

  of defendant, 45, 12
  of housebreaker, 46, 21

Death penalty:
  by burning, 56, 157, 97
  by drowning of a woman, 56, 155, 97, 143
  by strangling, 56, 155
  considered as an ancient custom, 96
  for adultery, 54, 133, 142
  for alleged purchase of lost property, 45, 10
  for allowing seditious meetings in beer-shop, 52, 109
  for appropriation of lost property, 45, 9
  for buying from minor or slave, 44, 7
  for conniving at her husband’s murder, impaling, 56, 152
  for dereliction of official duty, 46, 26, 47, 33
  for employing a substitute in official duty, 46, 26, 47, 33
  for harboring fugitive slaves, 5, 16;
    to default the forced labor, 45, 16
  for highway robbery, 46, 22
  for housebreaking, 46, 21
  for kidnapping a child, 45, 14
  for oppressing subordinates, 47, 34
  for perjury, 44, 3
  for procuring desertion of slaves, 45, 15
  for rape of betrothed maiden, 54, 130
  for receiving stolen goods, 44, 6
  for repudiating her husband, 141, 143
  for retaining captured slave, 46, 19
  for sacrilegious theft, 44, 6
  for slander and stirring up strife, 45, 11
  for theft and unable to pay, 44, 8
  for theft at a fire, 46, 25
  for undutifulness and slander, drowning, 55, 143, 143
  for witchcraft, 44, 1
  on adulterers, 54, 129
  on builder for bad work, 64, 229
  on builder’s son, 64, 230
  on votary frequenting beer-shop, 52, 110

  abatement for damages by storm, deluge, or drought, 48, 48
  creditor to have no call for year’s interest, 48, 48
  debtor’s obligation not lessened, 49, 52
  laws of Mancipium, 52, 115-117, 53, 118, 119
  question of ante-nuptial, 56, 151
  property held as security for, 263. _See_ Pledges

  how secured against illegal process, 52, 113;
    illegal distraint, 52, 114
  may pay in kind, 51, Z

  of husband and wife, mutual obligations, 56, 152
  question of pre-nuptial, 56, 151

Decision of judge in lawsuit, 91, 92

Decisions, legal, considered, 100 _sq._

  of land to temple, 223, 224;
    to secure divine favor, 223, 224

Deed. _See_ Bond:
  of gift, with bond, 72, E
  settlement on wife, 132
  with the gifts, 222 _sq._

Defamation of comrade, 57, 161

Deferred payment of debt, 48, 48

Degradation from judgeship, 44, 5

Deification of river Euphrates, 44, 2
  the sacred river, 44, 2

  how recoverable, 53, 123
  from minor or slave, how made legal, 44, 7
  made in temple for safety and banking, 211 _sq._

  by wife, 54, 133
  by husband, who returned to claim the property, 102, 144
  involuntary, of wife by husband, 54, 133, 143
  of adoptive parents, 61, 193
  of city and wife, 54, 136

Detention of slave, penalty death, 46, 19

Diary of a journey, 380

  burst and meadow was flooded, 49, 53
  to be cared for, 199

  by adoptive parents, 157, 160, 167;
    done before the judge, 58, 168, 157, 160
  by due legal process, 58, 168, 149, 167
  carried out before a judge, 167
  of adopted child, not complete, 167
  of adoptive parents, 61, 192, 193, 150, 159
  of mother by her son, 149
  of son by his father, 42, III, 149, 167
  of son by his mother, 42, IV, 149, 150
  of son laid before a judge for inquiry, 58, 168, 167
  of son-in-law, 57, 159
  repudiation and reduction to the condition of slave, 166, 39

Distraint. _See_ Mancipium:
  death of person in, 52, 115, 116
  fine for illegal, one-third mina of silver, 52, 114;
    of working ox, fine one-third mina of silver, 64, 241
  illegal on warehoused goods, 53, 120
  security against illegal, 52, 114

District or city:
  for ransom of official, 47, 32
  liable for highway robbery, 46, 23

  as regulated by the Code, 141
  custody of the children to the wife, 141
  easiest form of, 55, 138, 143
  easy for the man, difficult for the woman, 141
  grounds of, 141
  laws of, 54, 137, 55, 138
  legal ceremony, 134
  man must give wife or concubine a maintenance, 141
  might marry again, 141
  of concubine, 54, 137;
    of votary, 54, 137
  price of divorce, 55, 139, 142
  protection of the wife’s rights, 140, 141
  retains right to her marriage-portion, 141
  shares with her children in deceased husband’s estate, 141
  wife can only divorce by lawsuit, 143
  wife takes her bride-price and marriage-portion, 55, 188, 141;
    if no bride-price, one mina of silver, 55, 139, 141;
    from plebeian one-third mina, 55, 140

Doctor. _See_ Surgeon, Veterinary:
  fees for curing, 63, 215-221
  paid by assailant, 62, 206
  penalties, 63, 218-220
  privileges and responsibilities, 63, 215-221

Donations and bequests:
  as alienation of property, 218 _sq._
  in Assyria, 222
  in second Babylonian Empire, 222
  to temple a free gift, 223
  to the chief priest of the temple, 223

Dowry. _See_ Marriage-portion

Drowning. _See_ Death Penalty:
  as a penalty, considered, 97, 117, 143
  as penalty for selling drink too cheap, 52, 108
  for desertion of husband, 54, 133
  for repudiating her husband, 143
  penalty for adultery, 54, 133
  penalty for incest, 56, 155
  penalty on undutiful and slanderous wife, 55, 143

  of court decision, 87
  of tablet, 79

Ear cut off as penalty, 62, 205

Education in ancient Babylonia, 151-153
  interpretation of signs on the monuments, 165
  phrase-books, 151, 152, 153
  schools, 152
  slaves were apprenticed, 152
  writing and use of word-phrases, 152

Elam, Elamites, troubles of, 360 _sq._

Elamite contracts, 30

Elders as assessors to the judges, 80 _sq._

Endowment of temples by kings, 195, 208 _sq._

Entailed. _See_ Family:
  family property, 122, 184
  land, 184

Equals, assault on, 62, 200, 203, 204

Esarhaddon, King of Assyria:
  his long absences, 371
  inquiries about oracles, 379
  letter from, 360
  sequence in his family, 366, 375, 376
  son of Sennacherib, 108, 369

Estates, great, plans of, 249

  purchaser reimbursed, 45, 9
  tenant reimbursed, 50, Y

Exchange of benefice illegal, 48, 41

Expulsion of judge for altering judgment, 44, 5

Eye torn out, 61, 193
  fee for cure of, ten shekels of silver, 63, 215
  in diseased state, 63, 215
  knocked out by assailant, 62, 196
  loss of eye assessed at half value of slave, 63, 220
  operated on with bronze lancet, 63, 215

False judgment:
  claims for money or goods, 51, 106, 107, 53, 126
  penalty for, 44, 5
  witness, 44, 3, 4

  alienation of property restricted by its rights, 219
  attachment to ancestors, 120, 132
  descendants of artisans, 120
  in guilds of trade, 121
  property entailed, 122
  registration by father or master of the house, 128
  registration of birth, marriage, and death, 128
  relations of, centred in marriage, 119 _sq._
  registration of descent of, 121, 128, 132

Family life, responsibilities of, to the community, 122

Family laws, Sumerian, 9

Farm. _See_ Lease:
  conditions of tenancy, 276
  fields rented, 276
  house rented, 275
    rental variable, 275
  taken on shares, 276

Fatal assaults, 62, 207, 208, 210, 214

Father. _See_ Children, Wife:
  disinheriting a son, 58, 168, 169
  giving dowry to a daughter, votary of Marduk, 59, 60
  rights, duties, and responsibilities of, 148 _sq._

  and son-in-law not to quarrel over the marriage-portion, 72, E
  if guilty of incest, 56, 155, 156
  responsibilities of, to intended son-in-law, 57, 159-161

Fees, to surgeon:
  for limb or bowels cured, five shekels of silver, 63, 221
  for same on plebeian, three shekels of silver, 63, 222
  for same on slave, two shekels of silver, 63, 223
  for serious operation on cataract, ten shekels of silver, 63, 215
  for same on plebeian, five shekels of silver, 63, 216
  for same on man’s slave, two shekels of silver, 63, 217
  for storage of corn, 53, 120, 121
  to builder, two shekels of silver for each SAR built on, 63, 228
  to builder of boat, sixty GUR per man, two shekels of silver, 64, 234
  to veterinary, for curing ox or ass, one-sixth shekel of silver, 63, 224

Field. _See_ Land:
  in relation to real property, 189

Fines imposed for:
  assault on patrician, one mina of silver, 62, 204
  assault on plebeian, ten shekels of silver, 62, 203
  assault on pregnant free-woman, miscarried, ten shekels, 62, 209
  assault on pregnant plebeian woman, miscarried, five shekels, 62, 211
  assault on pregnant slave, miscarried, two shekels, 62, 213
  defrauding, 60 GUR of corn for each GAN, 65, 255
  fatal assault by mischance, one-half mina of silver, 62, 207
  fatal assault on plebeian, one-third mina of silver, 62, 208
  fatal assault on plebeian, pregnant, 62, 212
  fatal assault on pregnant slave, one-third mina of silver, 62, 214
  illegal distraint, one-third mina of silver, 52, 114
  imposing distraint on working ox, one-third mina of silver, 64, 241
  not guarding against viciousness of bull, one-half mina of silver, 65,
    if slave killed, one-third mina of silver, 65, 252
  patrician’s servant’s eye or limb, half his value, 62, 199
  plebeian’s eye or limb, one mina of silver, 62, 198
  plebeian’s tooth, one-third mina of silver, 62, 201
  seducing son’s betrothed, one-half mina of silver, 56, 156
  theft of _shadduf_, or a plough, three shekels of silver, 66, 260
  theft of watering machine, five shekels of silver, 66, 259

Fire, theft at, its penalty, 46, 25

Fishing rights, how regulated, 328

Floods, flooding, by rain, 48, 45, 48

  accounts of, 301
  request for, 336

Forced labor. _See_ Militia

  ancient custom in law courts, 95
  for excessive cruelty, 52, 116
  for illegal seizure, 52, 113
  for illegalities, 47, 35, 37, 59, 177
  for neglect, 65, 255, 256

  her duties and liabilities, 61, 194
  penalty, 61, 194

Freedom to:
  betrothed, after seduction, 56, 156
  brander, if deceived, 63, 227
  concubine, after bringing up her children, 54, 137
  hostage for debt, in fourth year, 52, 117
  widow, if persecuted by her children, 58, 172

Freemen made slaves, 177, 178

Fugitive slave, 45, 16, 46, 17
  or plebeian, 45, 16

Garden plot. _See_ Land, Sales:
  in relation to real property, 189
  leasing and working, 50, 60-65
  sold as stocked, 247, 248
  stock, vegetables, 247, 248

_Gens_, its relation to the family, 120. _See_ Family

  as conditioned, 219
  as duly executed, signed, and sealed, 219
  as pin-money to a wife, 221
  as restricted, 219
  by father to daughter, 220
  dedication to temple as free gift, 223
  to friends and relatives open to suspicion, 223

  a party in every case in court, 90
  has struck ox to death, 65, 249
  oaths by, 186, 187
  his temple the first centre of civilization, 186

Goring by ox, 65, 250, 251

Gouging out eye, 62, 196, 198
  as penalty, 62, 196

Governor, prefect:
  duties and responsibilities, 47, 33 _sq._
  liable to the death penalty, 47, 33
  may not alienate or appropriate public property, 47, 33 _sq._

Granary or barn, safe against creditor, 52, 113

Guarantees. _See_ Pledges:
  against defects in slave, 269;
    suits at law, 270;
    theft, 269
  joint responsibility, 269
  regarding slaves, 174 _sq._ _See_ Slavery
  securities for debt, 268
  security for appearance, as of witness, 268, 269
  value of securities, 270

  of trade, 121
  rival, 121

Guilty knowledge by buyer of stolen goods, 45, 10

  as an administrator, 317
  brought back the goddesses, 319, 320
  building enterprises, 318
  care for temple revenues, 317
  cares for canals, 320, 321
  Code of laws, 44-67;
    its bibliography, 6 _sq._;
    its value, 4, 5;
    its condition, 6;
    history of its text, 5
  decides about taxes, 323, 324
  epilogue to the Code, 389, 392
  letters of, summarized, 316 _sq._;
    belong to the first dynasty of Babylon, 316;
    their importance, 316 _sq._
  ordering the calendar, 317
  private property, 318
  prologue to the Code, 389, 390
  punishes bribery, 321
  redresses wrong, 321
  supervises justice, 318

Hand of God, loss by, 48, 45, 46, 48

Hands cut off as penalty:
  for branding slave without leave, 63, 226;
    careless operation of surgeon, 63, 218;
    striking father, 61, 195

Harboring fugitive slave, 45, 16

Heirs, their reversionary rights, 221

Highway robbery, 46, 22-24
  city or district responsible, 46, 22-24
  penalty, 46, 22
  redress for, 46, 23, 2

Hire. _See_ Labor, Wages:
  by king’s standard, 49, 51
  of boat, 3 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 275;
    fast boat, 2-1/2 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 276;
    freight-boat of 60 GUR, 67, 277
  of slave, adjustment of wages, 271
  of slave, 271
  wages or hire fixed for:
    artisan, 5 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    ass for threshing, 10 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 66, 269
    boatman, 6 GUR of corn _per annum_, 64, 239
    builder, (?) ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    carpenter, 4 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    field laborer, 8 GUR of corn _per annum_, 65, 257
    herdsman or shepherd, 8 GUR of corn _per annum_, 66, 261
    laborer, first five months, 6 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 66, 273
    laborer, last seven months, 5 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 66, 273
    milch cow, 3 GUR of corn _per annum_, 65, 243
    ox herd, 6 GUR of corn _per annum_, 65, 258
    ox for threshing, 20 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 66, 268
    oxen, wagon, and driver, 160 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 66, 271
    potter, 5 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    ropemaker, 4 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    slave, 10 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 42, VII
    stone-cutter, (?) ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
    tailor, 5 ŠE of silver _per diem_, 67, 274
  wages and time limit, 272, 273
    wagon alone, 40 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 272
    working ox, 4 GUR of corn _per annum_, 65, 242
    young animal for threshing, 1 ḲA of corn _per diem_, 66, 270

Hiring, risks in:
  bull, known to be vicious, kills freeman, one-half mina of silver, 62,
  bull, known to be vicious, kills slave, one-third mina of silver, 62,
  bull, mad and gores, the owner free, 65, 250
  ox, broken horn or torn muzzle or tail cut off, quarter the value of ox,
              65, 248
  ox, cut or broken leg, ox for ox, 65, 246
  ox, died from the elements, on affidavit man is free, 65, 249
  ox gored to death or killed by blows, ox for ox, 65, 245
  ox, loses an eye, half the value of ox, 65, 247
  ox or ass killed by lion in open field, owner’s risk, 65, 244
  slave killed, one-third mina of silver, 65, 252

Hostage for debt. _See_ Mancipium

Housebreaking, its penalties, 44, 6, 46, 21, 53, 125

  block of, in Nineveh, 245
  bought as area of land, 187, 188
  burial vault in, 245
  contracts for building, 240
  cost, 246
  deed of sale, 241
  description for sale, 240
  in relation to land, 188
  plans of, and description, 239
  price, 243
  side buildings, 246
  size, 246
  various parts of, 244

Hypothecation, law of, 48, 49

Identification of lost property, 45, 9

Ignorance, plea of, 62, 206, 63, 227

Illegal purchase and its penalty, 47, 35, 37

  as a penalty considered, 97
  death penalty to wife for conniving at her husband’s murder, 56, 153

  crime of, 56, 154-158
  of man and daughter, 56, 156
    penalty, man banished the city, 56, 156
  of man and daughter-in-law, 56, 155, 156
    penalty, man strangled and woman drowned, 56, 155
  of man and his mother, 56, 157
    penalty, both burnt, 56, 157
  of man and step-mother, 56, 158
    penalty, to be cut off from his father’s house, 56, 158
  of man and woman betrothed to his son, 56, 156
    penalty, half mina of silver and marriage-portion, 56, 156

Inheritance. _See_ Marriage:
  implied in adoption, 157, 160
  of sons by second marriage, 71, D
  rights of, considered, 161 _sq._
  succession by law of descent, 121

  by the king’s standard, 49, 51
  calculated by the merchant, 51, 100
  on bond to creditor, 48, 48, 255
  on temporary loan, 251, 255
  on use of corn, 256
  postponed for a year, 48, 48
  relations between interest and profit, 265

Iron, mention of, 302

  acts on marriage-portions, 72, E, G
  duties and liabilities, 44, 5, 45, 9, 13, 53, 127, 59, 177, 72, 73, 80
              _sq._, 102 _sq._
  his position in ancient Babylonia, 80 _sq._
  how the case was submitted, 88
  inquires in interest of children of first marriage, 59, 177
  list of sentences and decisions by, 102
  name of officials in Assyrian times, 106
  to witness branding, 53, 127

Judgment, false. _See_ False:
  by default, 45, 13
  not to be altered, 44, 5

Kidnapping, 45, 14

  could impress laborers, 205
  endowed temples, 195, 208 _sq._
  gave loans, 258;
    often before harvest, or at seed-time, 258
  granted privileges, 195
  had power of life, 54, 129
  his power over lands, 192;
    limited, 192;
    limited by rights of private property, 192, 193
  made large land grants, 193, 194
  power to pardon, 330
  presents made between kings, 131
  probably wrote, 308

King’s standard of money, 49, 51

Kudur, Governor of Erech, letters of, 356, 357, 358, 359

Labor, forced. _See_ Militia:
  free, in demand, 269
  guaranteed, 272
  in competition, 269
  time hired, 269

Lancet. _See_ Bronze

  as a field, 189
  as garden, 189
  ancestral domain, claimed, 187
  boundary stones, 191
  dedication to a temple, 223
  different from personal property, 184 _sq._
  different kinds of real property, 187
  entailed property, 184
  great estates, 249;
    their plans, 249
  hired or let on shares, 197
  how described for identification, 237
  in relation to houses, 188
  its individuality, 190, 191
  king’s power over, 192
  landmarks, 191
  leases, 198
  loans on, 197
  obligations of many kinds, 205
  ownership of cultivated, 185
  primitive tenure, 185
  sale of, 187 _sq._, 227 _sq._
  settled hamlet, temple, etc., 186
  sold subject to its dues, 187
  systems of measurement, 189
    by the yield, 190
  tenure in Babylonia, 114, 184 _sq._
  terms applied to, 188, 189
  the Metayer system, 65, 253-256, 196
  the purchaser, how protected, 228
  under manorial obligations, 199
  village, 185

Landlord. _See_ Metayer, Temple:
  loans to tenants, 211
  risks, 48, 46

Landmarks, inviolable, not to be encroached upon, 191

Lease, tenancy, tenant, farm:
  abatements for losses by flood, etc., 48
  allowances, 277
  damages incurred, 48, 42 _sq._
  different forms of, 198; fixed rent, 198;
    improving lease, 198, 277
  duties and responsibilities of, 48, 42 _sq._
  field to cultivate, 48, 42, 43
  garden on five-year lease, 50, 60
  land on three-year lease, 48, 44
  life, rare, 278
  not invalidated by neglect to cultivate, 49, 52;
    but damages to be given, 50, 63
  of property generally, 275 _sq._;
    farm-house, 275;
    rental variable, 275
  questions of rent and adjustments, 49, 50-52, 277
  rights as between money-lender and owner of farm, 48, 49
  rent due at harvest-time, 48, 47, 49
  risks are the farmer’s, 48, 45
    as between owner and tenant, 48, 46
  stipulations, 277
  subletting, 48, 47
  tenant cannot be evicted, or can have damages, 50, Y

Leather, accounts of, 301

  decisions, 100 _sq._;
    defects in slaves, 171;
    difficult to classify, 101
  legal procedure in Babylon illustrated, 108 _sq._

Letters and letter-writing in Babylonia, 307 _sq._
  about Elam and southern Babylonia, 360-364
  Assyrian, 312
  business, and orders, 382 _sq._
  Cappadocian, 312
  classification of, 314
  colloquial phrasing, 308, 309
  difference in deciphering, 309
  elliptical phrases, 309
  form of letter, baked clay, 307
    its envelope, 307
    its date, 307
  from the last year of Shamash-shum-ukin, 347-352 _q.v._
  historical value of, 314
  love-letter, 336
  methods of securing privacy, 307
  miscellaneous Assyrian, 365-381
  of Abêshu’, 328
  of Ammi-ditana, 328
  of Ammi-zadûga, 329
  of first Babylonian dynasty, 310
  of Ḥammurabi, _q.v._
  of Samsu-iluna, 327 _q.v._
  of Sin-iddinam, 316, 329
  of subsequent period, 311
  of Tell el Amarna, 311
  of the second Babylonian Empire, 382-385
  old Babylonian, 336
  other letters, 330
  postal system for, 309
  private, 308
  private, of first Babylonian dynasty, 331 _sq._
  regarding affairs in southern Babylonia, 353-359
  royal, 315
  Sennacherib to his father Sargon, 338-346 _q.v._
  style of address, 308
  translations of, 313
  variations of formula in, 308

Levy-master, warrant-officer, tributary. _See_ Militia:
  brands an escaped slave, 176
  his duty and privilege, 46, 26-29, 47, 30-39

Lion, destruction by, 65, 244, 66, 266

Litigation not encouraged, 95

Loans. _See_ Metayer, Trading:
  by merchants and agents, 281 _sq._
  for payment of taxes, 252
  from the temple, 252
  giving pledges as security, 262, 263
  in series of advances, 234
  made by the king, 258
  of corn, 253, 258, 259
  of current coin, 253
  of material or property, 256
  of oil, 257
  of other produce, 253, 259
  of property on approval, 256
  of wine, 257
  of working material, 255
  on exchange, 255
  on land, 197. _See_ Land
  on pledges named, 264. _See_ Pledges
  on promissory notes, 251
  on usual interest, 255 _sq._
  on vineyard of slaves, 264
  receipts for, 295
  receipts for repayment of, 259
  records of, 253
  temporary, at harvest-time, 251
  value of preserved bonds, 250 _sq._

Local liability for:
  compensation for highway robbery, 46, 23, 24, 115
  redemption of captive official, 47, 32

  by God’s hand, 65, 249, 66, 266
  by housebreaking or rebellion, 53, 125
  of claim in court, 98
  or no claim allowed, 99
  of crop, shared by landlord, 48, 45
  of flock or herd, 63, 226
  of hired animals, 65, 245, 249
  of interest, 48, 48

Lost property:
  pretence of losing, how punished, 53, 126
  recovery by owner, 45, 9
  sale by finder equals theft, 45, 9

Lying in claiming goods, 45, 9-13

Magistrate, city or district governor,
  is liable for crime within the bounds, 46, 23, 24

Maid. _See_ Slave:
  given by votary to husband to have children, 55, 144
  her children free, 58, 171;
  how made equal to wife’s, 58, 170
  may be sold if childless, 55, 146
  not to be sold if a mother, 55, 146
  not to rival her mistress, 55, 146
    penalty, to receive the slave-mark, 55, 146

  of concubine and divorced wife, 54, 137
  of wife secured, 54, 133-135

Mancipium, hostage to work off debt:
  difference in free born or slave, 52, 116
  in natural death, 52, 115
  in violent death, 52, 116
  slave may be sold by creditor, 53, 118
    redeemed by debtor, 53, 119
    but not if mother of creditor’s children, 53, 119
  wife, son, or daughter free in fourth year, 52, 117

  by blow in quarrel, 62, 207, 208
  of hostage, 52, 116
    penalty, if a slave, one-third mina of silver, 52, 116

Manufacturing partnership, 292

  at Babylon, 78
  had votaries at Babylon, 60, 182
  oath by, 92, 165
  of Eridu, 133

Marking. _See_ Branding:
  other than slaves, 177
  slaves, 176

  bride given away usually by the father, 126;
    sometimes by the mother or brother, 126, 127;
    or by agnates, 127
  ceremony, 132, 133
  fatherless girls in, 137
  home and home-going, 133
  monogamy and polygamy, 134
  not quite free to man or woman, 127
  of king’s daughter, 137
  of second wife in the time of the first wife, 56, 148
  of two sisters to one man, 138, 139
  preliminaries, 128
  presents and payments, 130-132
  registration, 128
  rôle of contracting parties, 126
  the bond of the family organization, 119 _sq._
  unhappy, and its results, 142
  votaries, 137
  wife required father-in-law’s consent, 128
  with attached conditions, 140
    husband to maintain mother-in-law, 140
    dower his wife if he sends her away, 140
    wife to be thrown from a pillar if she leaves him, 140

Marriage conditions. _See_ Children, Marriage, Share, Widow, Wife:
  at a definite place, “wedding-house,” 128
  in ancient Babylonia, 119 _sq._
  presents to the parents of the bride, 128
  questions owing to unfaithfulness, 54-56
    having concubines and maids, 54, 137, 55, 138 _sq._
  registration, 128
  suitor rejected through slander, 57, 161
  there must be marriage contract, 54, 128, 119

Marriage contract. _See_ Bond:
  ceremonies, 132 _sq._
  preliminaries, 123 _sq._

Marriage-portion. _See_ Bride-price, Marriage:
  accompanies widow to a second husband, 73, H, 127
  belongs to her and all her children, 73, H, 130
  belongs to the children only, 57, 162, 130, 134
  by “deed of gift,” as pin-money, 132
    good against husband’s heirs, 132
    but forfeited by second marriage, 132
  childless widow takes it from the estate, 72, G
  could not be reclaimed as against children, 130
  doubt in case of free wife of slave, 50, 175
  father cannot reclaim against children, 57, 162, 130
  in lands, oxen, furniture, etc., 131
  its nature, 129, 130
  its relation to the bride-price, 71, C
  lawsuit about, 132
  less bride-price, if not repaid to husband, 57, 164, 124
  nature of, 130
  of concubine, 134
  presented to concubine’s daughter, 60, 184
  receipts for the payment of, 131
  returned to injured wife, 55, 142
    invalid wife, 56, 149
  returned to the wife’s father’s house, 72, F, 122, 124
  returned to wife’s father, if no children, 57, 163, 124
  separate estate, 55, 138, 142, 56, 149, 156, 57, 162, 163, 59, 174-176,
              61, 184, 72, 73, 122, 127 _sq._, 219
  settlement of, by bride’s father, 71, C, 219
  shall be adjudged an equivalent, 72, G
  shared by children of both marriages, 58, 173, 71;
    or by children of first only, 58, 174
  taken by widow to second husband, 59, 172, 127
  trousseau, 129
  when not paid through inability, 72, E, 131
    not to be cause of quarrel, 72, E, 131
  when paid in full, 131

Marriages in ancient Babylonia, 114 _sq._, 123 _sq._

Master, rights and duties, 59, 175, 176, 63, 217, 223

  of land by area, 189, 249
    by the average yield, 190
  of timber or stone, 380

Merchant, agent, money-lender, 79
  acting by caravans, 282
  bound to receive payment in kind, 51, Z
  business with agents, 51, 100-107
  capital out on speculation, 281, 283
  has crop assigned for debt, 50, X
  has to be reimbursed for ransoming official, 47, 32
  his position in ancient Babylonia, 79
    trading, 281 _sq._
  his relation to business agent, 281 _sq._
  in a distant transaction, 334, 335
  in different relations of business, 48, 49, 49, 50-52, 52, 116-119, 56,
              151, 50, X, 51, Z
  in purchasing foreign slaves, 67, 281
  legal memoranda for security, 282
  must keep accurate accounts, 51, 100
  sharing in the farm with owner, 48, 49, 49, 50, 51
  using canals, 284

Metayer. _See_ Land:
  employed by the temples, 211
  form of tenancy, 65, 253-256, 196, 197

Metrology, contributions to, 380

Micheau stone, 131

Militia, statute-labor, corvée. _See_ Slavery:
  classes subject to, 202, 326
  considered as a system, 201 _sq._
  duty and privilege of its officers, 46, 26-29, 47, 30-39, 48, 40-41, 205
  forced service, 45, 16, 200, 201 _sq._
  illegal impressment, 325
  in the army, 203, 204
  service in weaving establishments, 203
  some cities were exempted, 202
  supplied from slavery, 173, 175, 203

  as incapable, with slave, 44, 7
  rights reserved, 161

Miscarriage. _See_ Assault, Fine:
  aggravation in assault, 62, 209, 211, 213

Money. _See_ Hire, Fines:
  as earnest to close the bargain, 230
  current coin, 253
  deferred payments of, 235
  letter requesting, 383
  precautions in giving and receiving, 51, 105
  said to belong to a god, 256

Monogamy. _See_ Marriage:
  in early days, 134

  entire pledging, 266
  related to pledges, 265. _See_ Pledges
  second, debarred, 265
  second mortgage secured, 267

  in charge of son’s education, 46, 29
  incest with, 56, 157
  power over children, 148-150

Mutilations, by order of judge, 97

Nabonidus, his place in chronology, 181

  his chronology, 181, 230, 291
  his exploits, 194

  clan, from office in the temple, 214
  Semitic, 279
  show slave’s origin or nationality, 178
  significant, 176, 177, 178

Notary, his fee for writing out a bond, 231

Nurse, her duties and responsibilities, 61, 194, 153, 155

Oath. _See_ Affidavit, Bond:
  about foreign slave, 67, 281
  as to death of ox, 65, 249
  deposit, 53, 120
  depreciation, 53, 126
  estimate of goods on lost boat, 64, 240
  as to loss, 53, 120
  by brander, that he was misled, 63, 227
  disclaiming evil intention, 62, 206, 207
  for confirmation of sale, 233
  for purgation, taken by agent, 51, 102, 103, 106;
    taken by principal, 51, 107;
    taken by owner of corn, 53, 120
  how administered, 92
  its purport and where taken, 93, 94
  on loss by lightning or lion, 66, 266
  to clear from charge of adultery, 54, 131

Octroi duties, 206

Official. _See_ Bailiff:
  cannot give his benefice in exchange, 48, 40, 41
compensation of official, 76
  duties and responsibilities, 46, 26, 27, 47, 30-39, 76 _sq._
  duty and position considered, 76 _sq._
  has his own private rights, 47, 39
  holds lands by royal charter, 322
  if captured on the king’s business, 47, 32
    to be ransomed, 47, 32
    how the ransom is to be paid, 47, 32
  liable to death penalty, 46, 26
  may resume use of the benefice, 46, 27
  not to appropriate or alienate public property, 47, 33-38
  not to be hired out, plundered, or oppressed, 47, 35
  not to depute duty, 46, 26
  on enforced absence, 46, 27
  one year allowed, 47, 30
  penalty for neglect, 47, 30, 31
  provision for son in absence, 46, 29
  rights as against substitutes, 46, 26-29
  service of, 77
  son may be deputy, 46, 28
  the benefice or feoff, 76
  three years’ limit, 47, 30

Old age provision:
  by adoption, 155, 158, 160
  by son, 224

Omens and predictions, letter illustrative of, 365 _sq._

Ordeal by water:
  considered as a legal custom, 96, 97
  for witchcraft, 44, 2
  nature of, 44, 2, 54, 132, 97
  to purge from slander, 54, 132

Owner’s risk in hiring. _See_ Hire:
  horse killed, at God’s hand, 65, 249
  loss by lightning or lion, on herdsman’s oath, 66, 266
  ox or ass, killed in open field, 65, 244

  its relation to the priesthood, 211 _sq._
  place for archives, 322
  title for the royal state authority, 61, 187, 192, 193

  a manufacturing, 292
  dissolution of, 288, 291
  its earliest appearance, 287
  its evidence in Assyrian literature, 290
    later Babylonian, 290, 291
  its ideogram, 287-289
  its relation to capital, 288
  old commercial custom, 290
  partnership documents, 288 _sq._
  powers of attorney, for protection, 292
  reckonings, 291

Patrician, highest class in the state, 74 _sq._

  as demanded for wrong-doing, 96
  blood vengeance commuted, 116
  for adultery, 117, 118
  for perjury in courts of law, 94, 95
  imprisoned and bailed out, 117
  in courts of law, 94
  to prevent failure in contract, 233
  woman thrown from a pillar, 140

Penalty due for. _See_ Retaliation, Fines:
  adultery by a wife, strangling, 54, 129
  adultery, drowning, 54, 133
  death of hostage slave, one-third of a mina of silver, 52, 116
  fatal assault on pregnant woman, death of his daughter, 62, 209
  imprudent speech, tongue cut out, 61, 192, 150
  incest, mother and son burnt, 56, 157
  incest, banished the city, 56, 156
  incest, half mina of silver and the marriage-portion, 56, 156
  incest, strangling, 56, 155
  incest, the man cut off from his father’s house, 56, 158
  incest, woman drowned, 56, 155
  on brander for branding without leave, hands cut off, 63, 226;
    if deceived, accused is free, 63, 227
  son for striking father, hands cut off, 61, 194
  slave for striking freeman’s privates, ear cut off, 62, 205
  veterinary, for loss of ox or ass, one-fourth of its value, 63, 225
  wet-nurse for neglect, breasts cut off, 61, 194
  permanent injury in a quarrel, pay the doctor, 62, 206
  rape of betrothed, death, 54, 130
  slander, forehead branded, 52, 127
  striking a superior’s privates, 60 blows of ox-hide scourge, 62, 202
  undutifulness and slander, 55, 143
  unnatural conduct, eyes torn out, 61, 193, 150
  unsuccessful operation by surgeon, hands cut off, 63, 218;
    same on slave, slave for slave, 63, 219;
    loss of slave’s eye, half his value, 63, 220

  in capital trial, has death penalty, 44, 3
  in civil case, gives damages, 44, 4, 45, 13, 94

  Babylonian, 8
  their plan, 8, 9

Pillar, thrown from, a penalty, 140

Pin-money, gift to a wife, 132, 221

Plaintiff, his position in a case, 88, 89

Plebeian, poor man, between patrician and slave:
  abduction of slave from, 45, 15
  assault by, 62, 204, 208
  cheaper divorce, 55, 140
  fees paid by, 62, 208, 63, 222
  harboring fugitive slave, 45, 16
  slave-owner, 45, 15, 59, 175, 176
  theft from, 45, 8
  value of eye or limb, one mina of silver, 62, 198
  value of tooth, one-third mina of silver, 62, 201

Pledges and guarantees. _See_ Loans, Mortgages:
  an after-pledge, 266, 267
  antichretic pledges, 262, 263, 264, 265
  complications, 265-268
  information meagre, 262
  loan on vineyard and of slaves, 264
    on service of a maid, 264
    on the borrower’s service, 264
  mortgages, 265
  on land to secure a loan, 263
  property in satisfaction of debt, 262, 263
  the subject held as security, 262, x, xi
  their relation to the interest, 263
  value of the pledge, 265
    creditor’s responsibility toward it, 265

Polygamy. _See_ Concubinage, Marriage, Monogamy:
  in Assyrian times, 134
  clear evidence of, among serfs and slaves, 134
  distinguished from bigamy, 134

Pregnant woman. _See_ Assault, Fine

Price of drink, how regulated, 52, 108, 111

  artificer, 213
  his relation to the king, 211, 212
  honors paid to the priesthood, 211, 212
  public position and duties, 212, 213
  slave, 214
  steward, 213
  warden, 213

  pleads for liberty, 331
  recaptured slave pleads, 330

Private property, its rights, 192, 193

Produce rent:
  as agreed upon, 48, 46
  of field, on shares, 48, 41-46
  of garden, on shares, 50, 64

Promissory notes on loans, 251

  alienation of its rights, 218 _sq._, 227 _sq._
  alienation by sales. _See_ Sales
  consent of heirs to its disposal, 221
  devolution of, by gifts, bequests, 222 _sq._
  importance of studying its alienation, 218, 227
  method of describing, for identification, 237
  methods of identifying on sale, 228
  protection of purchaser from fraud, 228, 235
  sales, conditions, payments, 235

Proprietary rights in temple income, 215

  forced labor, 45, 16. _See_ Militia
  obligations, 204

Ransom, of captive official, 47, 32
  by himself, 47, 32
  by the State, 47, 32
  from temple treasury, 47, 32
  not from his benefice, 47, 32

Rape of betrothed maiden, 54, 130

Rebellion, loss by, 53, 125

Receipt, sealed document:
  as taken by agent and depositor, 53, 124, 125, 61, 204, 260, 261
  for a fine, 259
  for deposits rare, 260, 261
  for loan, 295
  for repayment of loan, 259

Receiving of stolen goods, death penalty, 44, 6

Records of business transactions, 253. _See_ Bond

  by power of attorney, 79
  of lost property, 45, 9, 10, 53, 124, 125

Redemption. _See_ Mancipium:
  of maid, held for debt, 53, 119

  by slave to name his owner, 46, 18
  of conjugal rights, 55, 142

  by the master of the house, 128
  guarantee of ancestry, 128
  of birth, marriage, and death, 128

  marriage-portion goes to the children, 59, 173, 174
  of divorced woman, 55, 141
  of widow, 59, 173

Remission of penalty, 54, 129

  average, made payable, 48, 42, 43, 49, 55, 50, 62, 65
  five ḲA of corn on each GUR of corn, 53, 121
  for storage of corn, 53, 121
  of garden plot, 50, 60, 61, 62
  of unbroken land, on three-year lease, 48, 44
  on garden plot, ten GUR of corn for each GAN of land, 50, 63
  paid at harvest-time, 48, 47
  payments in kind, 48, 47, 49
  ten GUR of corn for each GAN of land, 48, 44
  wrought on shares, 50, 64, 65

Repatriation of slave, 67, 280, 281

  of adoptive parents, 61, 192
  of father by son, 41, I
  of husband by wife, 42, V, 138, 142
  of mother by son, 41, II
  of wife by husband, 42, VI, 138, 142

Responsibility in service:
  of employer, 42, VII
  of tenant farmer, and neglect punished, 65, 253-256

Restitution, compensation, damages, reimbursement:
  accident, builder gives slave for slave, 64, 231
  boatman must restore the weak boat, 64, 235;
    must restore the lost boat, 64, 236;
    must restore boat and cargo, 64, 237
  builder must rebuild, 64, 232
  builder of unkeyed wall must rebuild, 64, 233
  considered as an ancient custom, 98
  death in highway robbery, one mina of silver to relatives, 46, 24
  depreciation of property, make it good from the corn hoed, 65, 254
  diminishing ox or sheep, give up to the agreements, 66, 264
  embezzlement of goods, sheep or ox, tenfold return, 66, 265
  fatal operation on slave, slave for slave, 63, 219
  fivefold by carrier for goods lost, stolen, or appropriated, 45, 12, 52,
  loss made good, if herdsman at fault, 66, 267
  loss of goods, goods for goods, 64, 231
  owner of boat in collision responsible for boat and cargo, 64, 240
  ox gored, ox for ox, 65, 246
  ox injured seriously, ox for ox, 65, 246
  ox or ass lost, restore ox or ass, 66, 263
  _shadduf_, or plough, three shekels of silver, 66, 260
  simple, 44, 4, 5, 8, 45, 9, 10, 12
  sixfold for overcharging agent, 51, 107
  tenfold for theft by poor man, 44, 8
  thirtyfold for theft by patrician, 44, 8
  threefold for cheating principal, 51, 106
  twelvefold for false sentence by judge, 44, 5
  twofold for goods in store, 53, 120, 124, 126
  twofold for pretence of losing goods, 53, 126
  watering machine stolen, five shekels of silver to owner, 66, 259

Retaliation. _See_ Penalties:
  dishonesty in stewardship, hands cut off, 65, 253
  eye for eye, 62, 196
  for defrauding, torn to pieces on that field by the oxen, 65, 256
  if builder’s son dies, builder’s son is put to death, 64, 230
  if slave is killed, builder gives slave for slave, 64, 231
  its principles in Babylonia, 74, 98
  limb for limb, 62, 197
  slave for repudiating master, ear cut off, 67, 282
  tooth for tooth, 62, 200

Return of slave purchased:
  for defect, 67, 279
  within one month for _bennu_ disease, 67, 278

Reward for slave capture, 46, 17

Riparian responsibilities, 49, 53-56, 114, 199, 321

  farmer’s, 48, 45, 46
  owner’s. _See_ Owner
  tenant’s, 48, 45
  warehouseman’s, 53, 125

Roads, their maintenance, 286

Robbery, highway, 46, 22, 23

Runnel for watering, 49, 55

Sacred river, for ordeal, 44, 2, 54, 132

  shared in by the temple, 210
  sometimes sold for cash, 210

Sacrilegious theft from temple, 44, 6, 8

  of crop for debt, 49, 51
  of man and goods to pay debt, 49, 53, 54

  agent in, 243
  alienation of property, 227
  all interests safeguarded in the deed, 232
  deferred payments, 235
  formal preliminaries, 227
  fraud in, 235
  gardens, 246, 247, 248
    stocked, 247, 248
  granaries, 246
  occasional use of oath in, 233
  of fields in first Babylonian dynasty, 248
    in Assyrian times, 248
  of houses, 240 _sq._ _See_ Houses
  penalties for failure, 233
  records at early date, 236
  registration of, in temple archives, 227
  retention till payment, 225
  returned on failure to pay, 235
  rights of purchaser, 234
  transaction of the business, 227 _sq._
  unimproved land, 246

  care for deity, 327
    temple dues, 327
  his canal dug, 24
  letters of, summarized, 327 _sq._
  few in number, 327
  their subject, 327
  regulates fishing rights, 328
  writes on business, 328

Sargon, King of Babylon:
  his date fixed, 202, 396
  letters to, from Sennacherib, his son, 338 _sq._

Scandal, met by ordeal, 54, 132

Scourge of ox-hide, 62, 202

  as a penalty, sixty blows, 63, 202
  considered as an ancient custom, 97

  male and female, 84
  not a priest or judge, 84, 85
  often a woman, 151
  the profession, 83, 151

Seal. _See_ Bond

Seditious meetings not allowed in beer-shops, 52, 109

  of betrothed daughter-in-law, 54, 130, 56, 155, 132, 134
  of slave from service, 45, 15

  father of Esarhaddon, 108, 369
  letters to his father, Sargon, 338 _sq._
    argument for identification of writer, 338, 339
  relating to Armenia, 338
  their value for reconstructing history, 339

  husband deserted home and wife, 55, 142
  wife deserted home, belittled husband, etc., 55, 141

Serfs, _glebae adscripti_, 172, 202
  different from slaves, 172, 203
  disappearance, 173
  hereditary condition, 173, 202

  crop with corn, 48, 49, 49, 50-52, 208
  receipts for, 208

  for children of second wife, 71, D
  mutual deeds in, 71, C
    given by fathers of bride and bride-groom, 71, C
  of pin-money, 132
  on wife by “deed of gift,” 132
  on wife by husband, 56, 150, 132
  on widow, 58, 171, 172
    by widow on children, 58, 171
  out of court, 87

_Shadduf_ stolen, fine three shekels of silver, 66, 260

Shalmaneser IV., 202

  contemporary events, 360 _sq._, 368
  letters illustrating his reign, 347 _sq._ , 353 _sq._
  son of Esarhaddon, 366

Share. _See_ Bond, Inheritance:
  belonging to votary or vowed woman, 60, 179-182
  between brothers, cases of, 161-165
  children of first and second husband share equally in marriage-portion,
              59, 173
    of first share it all, if no second family, 59, 174
  children of maid, if acknowledged by father, share with children of
              wife, 58, 170;
    but children of wife take precedence, 58, 170
  children of two marriages, 73, K
  dividing of father’s estate, 161 _sq._
  division at father’s death, 58, 167;
    mother’s death, 58, 167
  divorced wife has a child’s part, 54, 137
  farmed, leased on shares, 48, 41-46, 270
  form of land tenancy, 197
  of deceased father’s estate to eldest son, 57, 165
  of sacrifices by temple, 210
  sometimes sold for cash, 210
  reversionary interest to brothers, 60, 178
  sons of second wife, 91, D
  widow on remarriage, 73, H
  with reservation, gift to favorite, 57, 165
  wife’s marriage present, 56, 150
    bride-price for unmarried son, 57, 166
    portion for votary sister, 59, 178

  damage done by, 49, 57, 58
  manner of grazing them, 49, 58
  sheep-shearing, 300

Shepherd, duties and responsibilities of, 66, 262-267

  boats hired, 285
  its value in trading, 284, 285

Sin-iddinam, letters of, 316, 329

Skins, account of, 301

  against votary or unmarried woman, 53, 127
  in capital suit, 44, 3
  not to be profitable, 57, 161
  of title to property, 45, 11
  of wife, to be purged by ordeal, 54, 132
  seditious, 52, 109

Slave, one of the three estates, domestic, inferior. _See_ Slavery:
  a chattel, property, 168
  apprenticed, 152, 181
  as an institution, 168 _sq._
  assaults freeman, 62, 205
  Assyrian usages regarding, 171 _sq._
  authorities upon the system and facts, 168, 169;
    its history, 169
  bad wife reduced to, 55, 141
  been gored by a vicious ox, 65, 252
  branding or tattooing, 176
  child of slave, 203
  children to the master, may succeed equally with wife’s children, 58,
    or only obtain their freedom, 58, 171
  condemned to forced labor, 45, 16
  cure of, master pays bill, 63, 217, 219, 223
  different from the serfs, 172
  diseases of, bennu, 170
  evidence not good against a free man, 179
  fees paid for teaching apprentice, 182
  foreign born, 178
  foreign slaves, 67, 281
  free child made slave as a provision for life, 173
  fugitive, harboring, 45, 16
  guarantees in sale, 174 _sq._
  had much freedom, but bound, 168
  had private property, 178, 179
  hired laborer, 271. _See_ Hire, Wages
  her children, how legitimatized, 58, 171, 135
  his children free, 59, 175
  his obligations to the state, 205
  his tablet or name-plate, 177
  his widow takes her marriage-portion and half their goods, 59, 175, 135
    or at least half the goods for her children, 59, 176
  history of one traced, 180
  how estimated in Babylonia, 74 _sq._
  if child-bearing, maid could not be sold, 135
  in _bennu_ disease, returned on seller, 67, 280
  intermarriage and inheritance, 136
  laws of capture, 46, 17-20
  legal defects, 171
  letter on runaway slaves, 330
  manumission of slaves, 67, 280
  married, 136, 203
  marries free woman, 59, 175, 136
  master’s maid and fruitful, cannot be sold, 53, 119
  master apprenticed slave, 182
  means of identification, 176, 177
  names significant, 177, 178
  not free to make bargain, 44, 7
  not to rival her mistress, 135
  on different footing with concubine, 135
  price of, 182
  punished, for repudiating his master, by loss of ear, 67, 282
  recaptured runaway forfeit to the state, 330
  relative proportion in the population, 182
  responsibility of seller of, 70
  reward for capture and restoration, 46, 17
  right to his family and property, 172, 178, 179
  rights of, 168
  rights and obligations of owners, 46, 17-20
  runaway, question of return, 181
  sale of, 170
  security against defects in, 269
  seduction from service, penal, 45, 15
  skilled artisan, 173, 181, 182
  status, complex, 168, 169, 180, 181
  supplied the militia, 173
  value estimated, 179, 180
  value of female slave’s children, 70
  widow has one son’s share of estate, 58, 172
    free at her master’s death, 135

  advantages of, 172, 173
  branding, tattooing, 176, 177
  children sold into, 178
  discussed, relating to Babylonia, 168 _sq._
  guarantees against rebellion, 174
    flight, 174
    untimely death, 175
    unexpected claims, 175
    over-exaction in the public service, 175
    redemption as men of family, 175
    illegal enslavement, 176
  means of indicating, 176, 177
  modes of entering into, 178
  recruited from freemen, 172, 175, 177, 178
  relative proportion to the population, 182
  sales, 174
  significant names in, 177, 178
  supplied the army, 173, 203
    the militia, corvée, or levy for forced labor, 173

  a public obligation, 204
  might pay substitutes, 204
  their place in the state, 201, 202
  their relations to the forced labor, 202, 203
  their system, 202

  by adoption, 61, 185 _sq._, 154 _sq._
  disinheritance of, to be inquired into by judge, 58, 168, 169;
    allowed or disallowed by judge, 58, 168, 169
  first crime against father pardoned, 58, 169
  his wife abused by his father, 56, 155, 156
  must have father’s consent to marry, 127, 149
  of the royal favorite, royal household, or votary, 61, 187, 192, 193
    must be prudent of speech, 61, 192, 193
    under penalty, 61, 192, 194
  penalty for striking father, hands cut off, 61, 195, 149
  privileges as father’s substitute, 46, 28, 29
  receives deed of gift from father, 57, 165
    also his share in estate, 57, 165
  rights given by adoption. _See_ Adoption
  young son, unmarried, to be provided for, 57, 166

  composed of three classes, 74
  having other grades, 76 _sq._

  accounts from, 302
  temple officer, 213

Stolen goods, retention of equals theft, 45, 10

Strangling, penalty of, 56, 155

Striking. _See_ Assault, Fines:
  of father by son, 61, 195, 149

  his relation to bride’s parents, 123
  rejected, his rights, 57, 160
  rejected through calumny by comrade, 57, 161
  refuses to marry, 57, 159

Suits of many kinds, 102-107

Suits at law:
  damages for loss and breach of trust, 107
  deposit, 106
  family dispute, 104
  forged will, 106
  for income, 102, 103, 104
  gift, 103
  house, 104
  inheritance, 103, 106
  land, 104
  legacy, 106
  loss of hired ass, 106
  over adoption, 106
  partnership, 102
  property, 102, 103, 104
  rent, 106
  theft of a bull, 107
  theft of four slaves, 107
  title to garden, 105
  vexatious persecution, 104, 107

Summons to appear in court, 53, 127

  operations and fees, 63, 215, 223. _See_ Fees
  penalties for unsuccessful operations, 63, 218-220

Sworn depositions. _See_ Oath:
  for lost property, 45, 9, 46, 23, 53, 120
  for lost money, 51, 102, 103
  for quarrel and striking, 62, 206
  on cost of boat and cargo, 64, 240
  on gored ox, 65, 249

  an irrevocable witness, 92
  bibliography, 13
    as classified, 13 _sq._
  broken, breaking a contract, 91
  Cappadocian, 29
  contract, its real character, 10
  duplicate of, 69, A
  its form, 10, 11
  on loan, its modern value, 250
    value for chronology, 250, 251
  peculiarity of, on corn loan, 258
  present location, 18
  sealed, 69, A, 127, 151
  served as name-plate, 177
  shows the same handwriting throughout, 151
  signed by the seal, 151

Tattooing and branding escaped slave, 176

  loaning money to pay, 252
  question of ancient, 115
  their collection, 323, 324, 325

Tell el Amarna letters, 14, 311

  a business institution, 211
  a place of deposit and traffic, 211
  a trading institution, 211, 212, 216, 217
  as landowner, 209
  centre of civilization, 186, 208 _sq._
  clan names from office in, 214
  dedication of children to, 224;
    of land to, 223;
    to secure divine favor, 224
  endowed by kings, 195, 196
  endowments, 215
  had large dues, 208, 209, 210
  hereditary rights in, 214
  its archives for registers, 227
  its importance in the state, 208 _sq._
  its relation to ethics, divination, magic, 212, 213
  its relation to the palace, 212, 216
  its relation to the state, 216
  its rights and influences, 186, 193
  its slaves were as serfs, 173
  its staff and influence, 211, 212
  its tithe, 205, 206
  its treasuries and storehouses, 211
  kings made enforced loans from, 216
  large landowner, 173, 193, 208 _sq._
  lending money, 252
  loans from, 216
  negotiable rights in, 215
  officials as witnesses, 86
  officials in, 212, 213, 214
  origin of the dues, 208, 209
  property protected, 44, 6, 8
  proprietary rights in income, 215, 216
  right to income, 216
  shared in the sacrifices, 210
  testamentary devolution of property, 224, 225, 226
  treasury used for ransom, 47, 32
  value of its archives, ix

Tenant. _See_ Lease, Land, Farm:
  defrauding owner, 65, 255
    torn to pieces on the field by the oxen, 65, 256
  fixed rent, 198
  form of holding, and amenities, 65, 253
  forms of tenancy, 184 _sq._ , 196 _sq._
  his duties and responsibilities, 198 _sq._
  improving lease, 198
  on shares, 197
  redress from, 65, 254
  risks, 48, 45-47

  first order, from temple or house, 44, 6
  from deposit, 53, 120
  from fire, 46, 25
  made good by banker, 53, 125
  penalties, 44, 7, 8, 46, 25
  recovered from thief, 53, 125
  second order, 44, 8
  securities against, 269
  under Metayer, 65, 253-256

  evidence needed, xi
  how paid, 206
  to the temple, 205, 206

Title-deed destroyed for illegal purchase, 47, 37

Tongue cut out as penalty, 61, 192, 150

Trading, trade:
  between capital and labor, 281
  its laws, 281 _sq._
  money out on speculation, 51, 102, 103, 281 _sq._
  relations in, by principal and agent, 51, 100-107, 281 _sq._

Trespass, law of, 49, 54, 55

Trousseau, bride’s, 129

Trust, deposit, storage. _See_ Carrier:
  care in depositing valuables, 53, 122-126
  corn put in store, and amount disputed, 53, 120

  claim is contested, 53, 123-126
  deposited before witnesses, 53, 122-124
  on deposit, care of, 53, 122-126

  difference of free-born and slave as hostage, 52, 116
  sixty ḲA of _sakani_ beer for fifty ḲA of corn, 52, 111

Veterinary surgeon:
  his duties and responsibilities, 63, 224-226
  penalty for unsuccessful operation, 63, 225

Vicarious punishments, 98

Village lands and tenure in Babylonia, 185, 186

  their position, 73, 74
  succession of, 159

  a mother and divorced, her legal rights, 54, 137
    her children’s legal rights, 54, 137
  belonging to convent, 52, 110
  devoted by mother, 137
  donation from father, 219
  dowered as for marriage, 59, 178, 130, 219
  expected to keep her virginity, 137
  free to leave her portion, if allowed by father’s deed, 60, 178, 179,
    otherwise, brothers assume the estate and manage it, 60, 178;
    or, if not content, she can farm it out, 60, 178;
    but cannot alienate it from her brothers, 60, 178
  frequenting beer-shop, 52, 110
  has dowry by deed of free gift from her father, 60, 179, 220
  if dedicated to Marduk of Babylon, and not portioned, shall have
              one-third of child’s share, 60, 182
  if not given a portion, is entitled to one-third of child’s share, 60,
  leaves property as she pleases, 60, 182, 158
  liable to death penalty, 52, 110
  low in rank, 137
  marriage with, 55, 144, 137
  may give maid to her husband, 55, 144;
    but husband may not marry a concubine, 55, 144;
    or the concubine will not equal the votary, 55, 145
  may sell a barren concubine, 55, 147
  must leave share to her brothers, 60, 181
  not to be beer-seller, 52, 110
  not to be slandered, 53, 127
  relation to adopted son, 158
  rights in gift made by, 220
  shall not admit the concubine to an equality, 55, 146
  shall pay no taxes, 60, 182
  son of, shall not be reclaimed from adoption, 61, 187

Wages. _See_ Hire, Labor:
  advances made in lieu of, 273
  average, estimated, 271
  liable to adjustment, 271
  living included, 272
  often paid in produce, 272

Warden, temple officer, 213

  claims contested, 53, 124, 125
  fee or rent, five ḲA of corn for each GUR of corn, 53, 121
  precautions in depositing valuables, 53, 122, 123
  responsibilities, 53, 120-126

  accounts of, 300
  establishments, 203

Weights and measures, tables of, 398

  cannot legally sell anything, 59, 177, 145, 147
  children of second wife, their rights, 71
  children’s inheritance, 58, 167-172, 71
  could not marry and desert children in minority, 146
    without consent of law court, 146
  free to marry the man of her choice, 146
  gift, made by deed, her own, 58, 171, 105
  has, as a portion, one son’s share, 58, 172
  has right to remain in husband’s house, 58, 172, 145
  her conduct and character inquired into, 58, 172, 145
  her rights, 145-147
  marriage-portion her own, 58, 171, 172, 145
  may leave, and be married again, 59, 172
    can only take her marriage-portion, 58, 171, 172, 59, 172, 145, 146
    children of both marriages share equally in the marriage-portion, 59,
                173, 174, 145, 146;
      or, if only one family, 59, 174, 146
  may marry again, but children’s interests conserved, 59, 177, 145, 146
    must give bonds as trustee with second husband, 59, 177, 146
    gives inventory of property and obligation to preserve the property,
                59, 177, 146

  as trustee of children of first marriage, 59, 177
  bad, may be prosecuted, 55, 141
    divorced without compensation, 55, 141, 141 _sq._
    reduced to the status of slave, 55, 141
  betrothal and marriage ceremony, 132
  character of good, 55, 142
  childless, her marriage-portion returns to her father’s house, 72, F
  children of second wife take one-third of property, 71, D
  conniving at her husband’s murder, impaled, 56, 153
  consent of father-in-law, 128
  deceased, her marriage-portion is the children’s, 57, 162
  degraded to the condition of slave, 142
  denies conjugal rights, its complications, 55, 142, 142;
    may take her marriage-portion and return to her father, 55, 142, 142
  deserted by husband, free to marry, 54, 136, 143
  desertion by husband, involuntary, 143;
    by husband, voluntary, 144
  divorced, her legal rights, if a mother, 54, 137, 142
    if not a mother, 55, 138, 142
  dowry and marriage-portion, 128, 129, 130, 131
  falsely accused, and cleared by oath, 54
  financial responsibilities between husband and wife, 56, 151, 152;
    question as to ante-nuptial, 56, 151
  first home and home-going, 133
  her marriage registered, 128
  her pin-money, 132
  her rights, if sent away, 140, 142
  her trousseau, 129
  if childless, it returns to her father’s house, 57, 163
    husband has no claim to it, 57, 163
    bride-price to be deducted from the marriage-portion, 57, 163
  in monogamy and polygamy, 134
  invalid cannot be put away, 56, 148, 142;
    or divorced, 56, 148, 142;
    but may claim her marriage-portion and go to her father, 56, 149, 142
  laws and conditions of divorce, 141 _sq._ _See_ Divorce
  marriage performed at “wedding-house,” 128
  may be saved by husband from death penalty, 54, 129
  may be a votary, 55, 144-146, 137
  may claim separation on account of cruelty, 55, 142, 142
  may sell a childless concubine, 55, 147, 135
  must have marriage contract, 54, 128
  not to be slandered, 53, 127
  of captive and not maintained, 54, 134, 143
    marries another, and returns to first, 54, 135, 143, 144;
      children remain with their father, 54, 135, 143
  penalty for adultery, strangling, 54, 129
  results to a bad wife, 142
  retains legal power over marriage deed of gift, 56, 150
    may leave it to her child, but not to her kindred, 56, 150
  rights if a widow, once or twice, 58, 171, 172, 59, 173, 174;
    and of her children, 59, 172-174
  second, different kinds of, 134
  second, when allowed, 55, 137, 56, 138-141, 57, 148
  shares of two wives and their families, 58, 167
  slandered, cleared by ordeal, 54, 132
  sold into slavery, 178
  son’s wife, rude to mother-in-law, may be branded and sold, 140
  undutiful and slanderous, may be drowned, 55, 143, 142
  widow and childless, takes marriage-portion from the estate, 72, G
    takes any marriage gift, 72, G
      and it shall be adjudged an equivalent, 72, G
  widow, on remarriage, takes her marriage-portion, 73, H
    is succeeded in her marriage-portion by children of both marriages,
                73, H
    takes her marriage gifts, 73, H

  and ordeal, 44, 2
  laws against, 44, 1, 2

  examined on oath, 86
  false, in civil suit, pays the expenses, 44, 3
  for deposits, 53, 122, 123, 124, 125
  must know the lost property, 45, 9
  perhaps attached to law court, 81, 85
  production of, 111
  required for legal purchase, 44, 7, 45, 9
  suffers death for perjury, 44, 3
  the position considered, 85
  time extended for production of, 45, 13
  to a bond or deed, 229
  to sign or seal, 151

  different kinds of, 299, 300
  memoranda regarding, 299

  cured by surgeon, 63, 215-218
    by veterinary surgeon, 63, 224
  in quarrel, 62, 206, 207, 63, 218

Writing, Babylonian and Assyrian, 151


    1 A. D. D., iii., p. 83.

    2 A. D. D., vi., 218.

    3 A. B. R., iii., pp. 24 ff.

    4 A. B. R., iv., pp. 21 ff.

    5 A. B. R., iv., pp. 41 ff.

   M1 Character of the available material

    6 Pages 147-62.

   M2 Division of subject
   M3 Laws and contracts
   M4 Letters
   M5 Chronologically treated
   M6 The Code of Ḥammurabi

    7 Cf. Appendix.

   M7 Later copies

    8 B. A. S., III., pp. 473-523.

    9 Jurisprudentiæ, pp. 5-35.

   10 B. A. S., IV., pp. 78-87.

   M8 Bibliography of this Code

   11 T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh.

   M9 Mosaic parallels
  M10 The legal phrase-books

   12 Z. A., VII., p. 16 ff.

  M11 Their plan
  M12 Sumerian family laws

   13 Page 115 of Delitzsch’s edition.

   14 Dr. B. Meissner has made excellent use of them in his
      _Altbabylonische Privatrecht_.

   15 H. W. B., p. 218a.

  M13 Legal documents
  M14 Real character of the contract tablets
  M15 Their external form
  M16 How kept
  M17 The parties possessing copies
  M18 Scope of legal documents
  M19 General works on the subject
  M20 Different epochs represented
  M21 Local features
  M22 Characteristics of each group
  M23 First period: the early Babylonian

   16 Such as that published by Professor G. Barton, in the _American
      Oriental Society’s Journal_, 1902, pp. 19-28.

   17 First published by Professor H. V. Hilprecht, in _Old Babylonian
      Inscriptions_, I., plates vi., vii., viii.; again with additions and
      corrections by Professor V. Scheil, _Receuil de Travaux_, XXII., p.

_   18 Heft XVI._ of the _Mittheilungen aus den Orientalischen Sammlungen,
      Berlin, 1901_.

   19 Pages vii-xviii and 1-58.

   20 From the _E. A. Hoffman Collection of Babylonian Clay Tablets in the
      General Theological Seminary, New York_.

   21 Pages 322-29.

   22 IV., pp. 69-86; V., page 3.

   23 III., pp. 118-46.

  M24 The second period: the First Dynasty of Babylon

   24 Parts I., III., V., VII., IX., X.

   25 XVIII., p. 73, XIX., pp. 54 ff., Nos. 1, 3, 11, 17, 20, 46, 48, 56,

   26 XVII., p. 30, XIX., p. 58, No. 335.

   27 XXII., p. 153 f.

  M25 Present location of the tablets: London
  M26 Paris

   28 Pl. 41.

  M27 Berlin
  M28 Philadelphia

   29 V., pp. 74-76; and VI., pp. 59, 60.

   30 J. S., 41, 42, 43, 142, and Kh. 19, 198.

  M29 Constantinople
  M30 Publications

   31 Page 589 f.

   32 Page 103 f.

  M31 The chronological system
  M32 Key to the order of events in a reign

   33 P. S. B. A., 1884, pp. 193-204.

  M33 The chronicle of the king

   34 P. S. B. A., XXI., pp. 11-17, January, 1899.

   35 Pages 338-409.

   36 Pages 342-43.

  M34 Other kings mentioned

   37 B. A. S., IV., pp. 382 ff.

  M35 Era of Isin

   38 See Lindl, B. A. S., IV., pp. 384-85.

  M36 Various historical identifications

   39 B1 58, 346. B2 318, 2439a, 2527, V. A. Th. 863.

   40 B2 318.

   41 B3 380, 2378.

   42 B. A. S., IV., p. 363, foot-note.

   43 L. H., III., p. 220, note 16.

  M37 The third epoch: the Kassite kings

   44 Vol. XIX., pp. 56 ff., Nos. 70, 133, 147, 266, 572.

   45 Pages 85-89.

   46 B. A. S., II., pp. 111-205.

   47 III.1, p. 154 f., 164 f.; IV., p. 56 f.

   48 The so-called _Caillou de Michaux_ was published I. R. 70, and
      discussed by Oppert, _Doc. Jur._, pp. 87 ff., and Boissier,
      _Recherches sur quelques contrats babyloniens_, K. B., IV., pp. 78
      ff. A fine charter from the time of Merodach-baladan I. was
      published IV. R. 38, discussed by Oppert, _Doc. Jur._, pp. 129 ff.,
      and K. B. IV., pp. 60 ff. Another of the same date was published, K.
      B. IV., pp. 164 ff.

  M38 The Cappadocian tablets

   49 P. S. B. A., November 1, 1881.

_   50 Abhand. d. phil. hist. Classes der K. Sachs. Ges. d. Wiss._ 1893,
      No. IV.

   51 Z. A., IX., pp. 62-81.

   52 K. B., IV., pp. 50-56.

   53 P. S. B. A., XXII., p. 106 f.

  M39 The Elamite contracts

   54 Pages 169-94.

  M40 The fourth epoch: Assyria
  M41 Aramaic dockets
  M42 The collections of tablets

   55 Deighton, Bell & Co., Cambridge, England.

  M43 Their peculiar style

   56 Vol. XX., pp. 202 ff.

  M44 The plan of arrangement in the volume
  M45 Contemporary Babylonian documents
  M46 Fifth epoch: the second Babylonian empire
  M47 Persian Empire, and later
  M48 Classification

   57 Pages xi-xx.

   58 Pages xi-xviii.

  M49 Monographs

   59 In the _Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft_, 1896, No.

  M50 Nature of the oldest Babylonian laws
  M51 Data hitherto uncertain
  M52 Evidence that there were very ancient codes
  M53 Codes antecedent to that of Ḥammurabi
  M54 Sumerian laws found in the phrase-books
  M55 Repudiation of father by son
  M56 Repudiation of mother by son
  M57 Disinheritance of son by father
  M58 Disinheritance of son by mother
  M59 Repudiation of husband by wife
  M60 Repudiation of wife by husband
  M61 Responsibility of employer

_   60 Sumerische Lesestücke_, p. 112.

   61 H. W. B., p. 542.

  M62 Witchcraft and the ordeal by water
  M63 False witness in capital suit
  M64 In civil case
  M65 Judgment once given not to be altered
  M66 Burglary and acceptance of stolen goods
  M67 Dealings with irresponsible persons
  M68 Theft
  M69 Procedure in case of the discovery of lost property
  M70 Judgment by default
  M71 Kidnapping
  M72 Abduction of slave
  M73 Harboring a fugitive slave
  M74 The capture of a fugitive slave
  M75 Burglary
  M76 Highway robbery
  M77 Theft at a fire
  M78 Duties and privileges of an officer over the levy
  M79 Rights and duties of his son
  M80 Penalty for neglect of his benefice
  M81 His ransom, if captured
  M82 Duties of district governors
  M83 Governors not to oppress subordinates
  M84 The benefice of a levy-master, warrant-officer, or tributary
  M85 Not to be bequeathed to his family
  M86 The obligation resting upon a buyer of real estate
  M87 A benefice not to be exchanged
  M88 Responsibilities of land-tenants
  M89 The rent of unbroken land
  M90 Loss of crop by storm apportioned between landlord and tenant
  M91 Landlord cannot restrain a satisfactory tenant from subletting
  M92 Abatement of debt on account of storm, flood, or drought
  M93 Rights in a crop pledged for debt
  M94 Riparian responsibilities
  M95 Penalty for neglect to shut off water
  M96 Damage done to growing crop by sheep
  M97 Cutting down a tree without permission
  M98 Rent of a garden-plot
  M99 Garden rented on shares
 M100 Obligations of owner to gather a date-crop assigned for debt
 M101 Eviction of house-tenant
 M102 Acceptance of goods in payment of debt, in default of money or corn
 M103 Responsibility of a travelling salesman
 M104 Robbery, substantiated by oath, a valid excuse
 M105 Responsibility to be indicated by legal receipts
 M106 Punishment of fraud of an agent
 M107 Fraud practiced by principal
 M108 Fraud in ordinary drink-traffic
 M109 Connivance at unlawful assemblages
 M110 Drink-traffic forbidden to votaries
 M111 Rate of payment with produce
 M112 Carrier’s liability for misappropriation of goods
 M113 Unauthorized seizure of goods denied a creditor
 M114 Punishment of vexatious distraint
 M115 Creditor responsible for fair treatment of a man held as security
      for debt
 M116 Limitations on the holding of such hostages
 M117 Responsibility of owners of warehouses
 M118 Rate of payment for storage of corn
 M119 Receipt for deposit of valuables
 M120 Responsibility of bankers
 M121 Their own losses no excuse
 M122 Depreciation of property
 M123 Slander of votary or married woman
 M124 Marriage-bonds
 M125 Punishment of flagrant adultery
 M126 Rape of a betrothed virgin
 M127 Suspicion of adultery cleared by oath
 M128 Ordeal of water permissible to accused wife
 M129 Rights and duties of the wives of those who have been taken captive
      in war
 M130 Right of a deserted wife to remarry
 M131 Rights of a divorced woman who has borne children
 M132 Rights of a divorced woman who is childless
 M133 Status of a worthless wife
 M134 Status of a wife who repudiates her husband
 M135 Marriage with a votary
 M136 A votary’s rights against a maid assigned to her husband
 M137 Status of a wife afflicted with a disease
 M138 Wife’s right to property deeded to her by her husband
 M139 Marital responsibility for ante-nuptial debts
 M140 Connivance at husband’s murder by a wife
 M141 Incest with own daughter
 M142 Incest with daughter-in-law
 M143 Incest with mother
 M144 Incest with step-mother
 M145 Penalty for breach of promise
 M146 Rights of a rejected suitor
 M147 Slandering rival not to profit by his calumny
 M148 Disposal of a wife’s marriage-portion
 M149 Effect upon the inheritance of a father’s gift to a favorite son
 M150 Reservation of a bride-price for a young unmarried brother
 M151 Inheritance of children in case of two fruitful marriages
 M152 Disinheritance of a son
 M153 Status of children by a slave-woman
 M154 The rights of a widow in personal property
 M155 Her rights in the home
 M156 Dower rights of her children by second marriage
 M157 Property rights of the children of slave-father and free mother
 M158 Property rights of the young children of a widow who remarries
 M159 The property rights of a votary
 M160 Her right to convey property
 M161 Her right of inheritance
 M162 Her proportion of her father’s property
 M163 Additional privileges of votary of Marduk of Babylon
 M164 Rights of a daughter by a concubine, if provided for by father on
 M165 If not so provided for by father
 M166 Adoption of natural son
 M167 Adoption of child of living parents
 M168 Responsibilities of a craftsman to his adopted child
 M169 Rights of inheritance of an adopted son
 M170 Obligations on discarding an adopted son
 M171 Punishment for the repudiation of adoptive parents
 M172 Penalty of substituting one infant for another
 M173 Assault on a father
 M174 Graded penalties for assault and battery
 M175 Brutal assault
 M176 Fatal assault
 M177 Assaults upon pregnant women
 M178 Gradation of surgeon’s fees
 M179 Penalties for unskilful operations
 M180 Cure of limb or bowel
 M181 Fees for the treatment of the diseases of animals
 M182 Brander’s liabilities
 M183 Builder’s fee and liabilities for bad workmanship
 M184 Boatmen’s fees and liabilities
 M185 Hire of boats
 M186 Responsibility of boatmen carrying goods
 M187 Law of collision
 M188 Working ox not to be distrained
 M189 Hire of oxen and cows
 M190 Liability for loss of ox or ass by accident
 M191 Compensation for loss of ox by ill-treatment
 M192 Responsibility for unavoidable accidents to a hired ox
 M193 Death by goring, accidental
 M194 Responsibility for a vicious ox
 M195 Responsibility of a tenant farmer
 M196 Wages of laborers
 M197 Theft of agricultural instruments
 M198 Wages of herdsmen
 M199 Their liability
 M200 Hire of animals for threshing
 M201 Hire of wagon, oxen, and driver
 M202 Graded wages of day-laborers
 M203 Wages of artisans
 M204 Hires of various boats
 M205 Compensation for defect discovered in a slave after sale
 M206 Manumission of native slaves taken captive and bought back by
      travelling merchant
 M207 Of foreign slaves
 M208 Punishment for repudiating a master
 M209 General character of the Ḥammurabi Code
 M210 Bibliography
 M211 Agent not able to recover without power of attorney
 M212 Responsibility of one who sells
 M213 Permanent settlements at marriage between father of bride and the
 M214 Inheritance rights of children of second marriage
 M215 Procedure in case the father-in-law is unable to carry out his
      promise of dowry
 M216 Marriage-portion of childless wife
 M217 Rights of inheritance of a childless widow
 M218 The rights of a widow with children in case of re-marriage
 M219 Division of the estate of a man twice married
 M220 The three great classes of the population: the gentry, the common
      men, and the slaves

   62 § 15.

   63 § 140.

   64 §§ 273, 274.

   65 § 16.

   66 §§ 16, 17, 19.

   67 § 199.

   68 §§ 205, 282.

   69 §§ 218, 223.

   70 § 6.

 M221 The levy-master and the warrant-officer
 M222 Their compensation

   71 § 26.

   72 § 28.

   73 § 29.

   74 § 29.

   75 § 30.

   76 § 31.

 M223 The risks of public service

   77 § 32.

 M224 The tributary
 M225 All land subject to royal taxation

   78 § 183.

 M226 The votaries

   79 For fuller information and references, see A. J. S. L., XIX., pp. 98

 M227 The merchant
 M228 Antiquity of the judicial organization
 M229 Sources of our knowledge of early legal procedure
 M230 Judges not often mentioned
 M231 Their varied duties

   80 § 5.

   81 § 9.

   82 § 13.

   83 § 169.

 M232 Special directions to judges

   84 § 177.

   85 § 127.

   86 § 168.

   87 § 172.

 M233 Position, rank, and qualifications
 M234 Method of appointment

   88 B2 327.

 M235 The chief-justice

   89 A. D. D. § 567.

 M236 The scribes
 M237 Their duties
 M238 Female scribes

   90 A. D. D., 827, 2.

 M239 The scribe not a judge
 M240 The scribe not a priest
 M241 The witnesses
 M242 The elders of a city

   91 M. A. P., 80, B1 199, B2 2458.

   92 § 202.

   93 § 5.

   94 B2 2182.

 M243 Their jury duties

   95 M. A. P., 80.

   96 B2 824, 838.

   97 B 34.

   98 B1 99.

 M244 Trial witnesses

   99 § 13.

 M245 Witnesses to deeds
 M246 Settlements out of court

  100 B1 38, B2 838.

 M247 Recourse to a judge
 M248 The advocate
 M249 The plaintiff in the reports

  101 M. A. P., 79.

 M250 Summons before the judge

  102 M. A. P., 100, B1 294.

  103 B2 272.

 M251 Appeals

  104 King, _Letters of Ḥammurabi_, p. xxxix f.

 M252 Various places for holding a court

  105 B2 360.

  106 B1 711.

  107 M. A. P., 100.

  108 B 57, 73.

  109 B2 279.

 M253 Legal procedure

  110 § 9.

  111 B2 2444 A.

 M254 The deity the theoretical source of all judicial authority

  112 M. A. P., 79, 105.

  113 B2 2463.

  114 B2 327.

  115 B2 301.

  116 B2 272.

 M255 Summoning witnesses

  117 §§ 122, 123.

  118 § 13.

 M256 Bribing witnesses

  119 §§ 3, 4.

  120 B1 160.

 M257 Different kinds of testimony

  121 B2 2182.

  122 B2 2181.

 M258 Rendering the decision

  123 B2 2474.

  124 B2 2458.

  125 B2 2516.

 M259 The collection of damages

  126 B2 387.

  127 B2 2182.

  128 B2 2458.

 M260 Breaking a contract-tablet

  129 § 37.

  130 B2 586, 2177 A.

  131 A. B. R. _passim._

 M261 The legal decision

  132 B2 327.

  133 § 5.

 M262 Documentary form

  134 B2 387.

 M263 Administration of oaths

  135 §§ 20, 131, 227, 266.

  136 §§ 23, 103, 120, 126, 206, 240, 249.

  137 § 9.

 M264 Form of the oath

  138 B1 160.

  139 B1 188.

  140 B1 295.

_  141 Letters of Ḥammurabi_, pp. 212-54.

  142 B. A. S., iv., p. 338 f.

 M265 The place where it was administered

  143 B1 199.

  144 B2 2178 A.

  145 B2 2182.

  146 B1 199.

 M266 Its purport
 M267 Its gradual decrease in importance

  147 A. D. D., § 604.

 M268 Its preservation as an antique form

  148 Nbk., 368.

  149 Cyr., 277.

  150 Cyr., 312, A. B. R., II., pp. 16, 73.

 M269 Penalties for perjury

  151 § 3.

  152 § 127.

  153 B2 2190.

  154 §§ 4, 13.

  155 Nbd. 13.

 M270 Forfeits
 M271 Nature of the forfeits
 M272 The ordeal
 M273 The death-penalty
 M274 Drowning
 M275 Burning
 M276 Impalement
 M277 Ordeal by water
 M278 Mutilations
 M279 Scourging
 M280 Banishment

  156 § 154.

 M281 Simple restitution

  157 §§ 9, 10, 12, 125, 219, 231, 232, 245, 246, 263.

 M282 Multiple restitution

  158 § 106.

  159 § 112.

  160 § 107.

  161 §§ 8, 265.

  162 § 5.

 M283 Retaliation

  163 §§ 196, 197, 200.

  164 §§ 116, 210, 219, 230, 231.

 M284 Vicarious punishment

  165 §§ 116, 210, 230.

 M285 Loss of claim
 M286 Cases where no claim is allowed

  166 § 123.

  167 § 115.

  168 § 250.

 M287 Compensation

  169 § 42.

  170 § 44.

  171 § Y.

 M288 Meaning of the term

  172 B2 316.

  173 Rev. 1-4.

 M289 Technical terms used
 M290 Their arrangement

  174 B2 511.

 M291 Suit concerning inheritance

  175 B2 2474.

 M292 Suit for paternal power over daughter

  176 § 136.

  177 M. A. P., 39.

  178 M. A. P., 41.

  179 M. A. P., 44.

  180 M. A. P., 79.

  181 M. A. P., 111.

  182 B2 301.

  183 B2 2465.

  184 B2 2473.

  185 M. A. P., 40.

  186 M. A. P., 78.

  187 M. A. P., 80.

  188 M. A. P., 110.

  189 B 199.

  190 B2 327.

  191 B2 511.

  192 B2 586.

  193 B2 2175 A.

  194 B2 2177 A.

  195 B2 2178 A.

  196 B2 2181.

  197 B2 2186.

  198 B2 2190.

  199 B2 2444 A.

  200 B2 2458.

  201 B2 2463.

  202 B2 2502.

  203 B2 2193.

  204 B2 824.

  205 M. A. P., 42.

  206 M. A. P., 43.

 M293 Right of a widow on remarriage to her husband’s property or gifts

  207 M. A. P., 100.

  208 B1 40.

  209 B1 188.

  210 B1 295.

  211 B1 160.

  212 B1 711.

  213 B2 272.

  214 B2 2182.

  215 B2 2516.

 M294 Legal practice of Assyrian times

  216 A. D. D., No. 160.

  217 A. D. D., No. 161.

  218 A. D. D., No. 164.

 M295 Damages for loss by agent
 M296 Additional cases
 M297 Later Babylonian decisions
 M298 Method of procedure
 M299 The possible complications
 M300 Dispute for the possession of a sum of money
 M301 Suit regarding loan on mortgage

  219 Nbn. 1128.

 M302 Regarding possession of a slave

  220 Dar. 53.

 M303 Acknowledgment of a debt
 M304 Settlement out of court

  221 Dar. 260.

 M305 A private settlement

  222 Dar. 410.

  223 A. B. P., ii., pp. 70 ff.

 M306 Agreements to appear in court

  224 Dar. 159.

  225 Dar. 229.

 M307 Production of witnesses

  226 Dar. 299.

  227 Dar. 176.

  228 Nbk. 52.

  229 Nbk. 183.

  230 A. B. P., i., pp. 31 ff.

 M308 Production of bond

  231 A. B. P., ii., p. 67.

  232 Camb. 384.

 M309 The mixed population of Babylonia
 M310 Position and rights of resident aliens

  233 § 40.

  234 Dar. 201.

  235 Dar. 57.

  236 Dar. 410.

  237 Dar. 509.

 M311 Tax on landed property

  238 Cyr. 231, 232.

  239 § 53.

 M312 State liabilities

  240 § 32.

 M313 District liabilities

  241 § 24.

  242 § 40.

 M314 General system of taxation
 M315 Reason for the lack of information regarding criminal law
 M316 Blood-vengeance commuted for a gift

  243 A. D. D., No. 321.

 M317 Imprisonment

  244 Cyr. 281.

 M318 Assault

  245 Cyr. 328, 329.

 M319 Tempting a slave to desert

  246 § 15.

  247 Dar. 207.

 M320 Adultery and its punishment

  248 § 129.

  249 § 132.

  250 Z. A., iii., p. 78.

  251 § 153.

 M321 The punishment of incest

  252 § 154.

  253 § 155.

  254 § 156.

  255 § 157.

  256 § 158.

 M322 The sources of information
 M323 The marriage-contract and its obligations

  257 § 128.

  258 § 157.

 M324 Family relations
 M325 Ancient _gentes_
 M326 Guilds of working-men
 M327 Their rivals
 M328 Public registration of family events

  259 Nbn. 69.

  260 Z. A., iii., p. 87 f.

 M329 Entailed family property
 M330 Responsibilities of family to its individual members

  261 B2 419.

 M331 Amount of the bride-price

  262 S. 34.

  263 § 139.

 M332 Its disposal
 M333 Its presentation

  264 V. R., 24, 48.

  265 § 160.

  266 § 161.

 M334 Penalty for breach of promise

  267 § 156.

 M335 Preliminaries of marriage

  268 Nergl. 1.

  269 Nbn. 243.

 M336 Negotiation of a father for his son

  270 Nbk. 101.

 M337 Negotiation with a mother for her daughter

  271 Cyr. 183, B. A. S., iv., p. 7.

 M338 Rôle of the contracting parties
 M339 Giving away the bride

  272 See pages 162, 163.

  273 B. A. S., iv., pp. 14-22.

 M340 Widows free to dispose of themselves
 M341 Consent of bridegroom’s father or guardian requisite for a legal

  274 §§ 155, 156.

  275 Cyr. 312.

 M342 The court of registration

  276 Cyr. 307.

 M343 The bride’s dowry

  277 Nbk. 101.

 M344 Her marriage-portion

  278 Page 163.

 M345 Her trousseau

  279 § 182.

  280 § 178.

  281 § 180.

  282 B1 10.

  283 §§ 162, 163.

 M346 Nature of the marriage-portion

  284 B1 19, B1 163.

  285 K. B., v., pp. 390-404.

 M347 Later usage

  286 K. B., iv., pp. 78 ff.

  287 Camb. 193.

  288 Nergl. 25.

  289 Page 69.

  290 B. A. S., iv., p. 13 f.

 M348 Payment of the marriage-portion

  291 B. V., 19, 100, 122.

  292 Cyr. 143, Camb. 23.

 M349 Wife’s pin-money

  293 § 171.

  294 § 172.

 M350 The period of betrothal

  295 § 130.

 M351 The wedding-ceremony

  296 Pages 35 ff.

 M352 The first home

  297 § 156.

 M353 Monogamy prevalent in early days

  298 § 167.

 M354 Polygamy in later times

  299 See on these points _Assyrian Deeds and Documents_, iii., p. 385 f.;
      _Assyrian Doomsday Book_, p. 25 f.

  300 Camb. 193.

  301 Nbk. 101.

 M355 Concubinage

  302 § 137.

  303 § 137.

  304 § 183.

  305 § 184.

 M356 The maid as the wife of her master
 M357 Marriages and inheritance among slaves

  306 § 176.

 M358 Data from the contracts

  307 M. A. P., 88.

 M359 Fatherless girls

  308 B1 617.

  309 M. A. P., 92.

  310 M. A. P., 90.

  311 M. A. P., 90.

 M360 The marriage of votaries

  312 B2 366.

 M361 Power of agnates
 M362 Marriage of a king’s daughter

  313 B2 394.

  314 B1 193.

 M363 Marriage of two sisters to one man

  315 A. P., 89.

  316 J. R. A. S. 97, pp. 407 ff.

  317 B. A. L., p. 27 f.

  318 B1 21 and B2 2176 A.

  319 § 146.

 M364 Marriage with attached conditions

  320 B2 407.

  321 B2 707.

 M365 Early regulations regarding divorce

  322 Law VI.

 M366 Rights of a divorced wife

  323 § 137.

 M367 Grounds of divorce

  324 § 138.

  325 §§ 139, 140.

 M368 Protection of the wife’s rights

  326 § 142.

  327 § 143.

  328 § 141.

  329 § 149.

  330 § 150.

 M369 Illustrations from the contracts

  331 §§ 136-40.

  332 M. A. P., 91.

  333 M. A. P., 90.

  334 § 138.

  335 § 142.

 M370 Involuntary desertion

  336 § 133.

  337 § 134.

  338 § 135.

 M371 Voluntary desertion

  339 § 136.

  340 B1 2474.

 M372 The authority of the widow in the home

  341 § 172.

  342 § 173.

 M373 Rights of inheritance

  343 § 171.

  344 § 172.

 M374 Later usages

  345 Camb. 273.

 M375 Remarriage of a widow

  346 § 172.

  347 § 173.

  348 § 174.

 M376 Disposal of her first husband’s property

  349 § 177.

  350 § 177.

 M377 Absoluteness of the paternal power over the family

  351 § 117.

  352 § 7.

  353 M. A. P., p. 11.

 M378 His power of preference

  354 § 165.

 M379 His control of his daughters

  355 § 178.

  356 § 179.

  357 § 183.

  358 Page 127.

  359 § 166.

 M380 The age of majority
 M381 Punishment of unfilial conduct

  360 § 195.

 M382 Disinheritance

  361 § 168.

 M383 Relations of mothers and sons

  362 M. A. P., p. 15.

 M384 Duties to adoptive parents

  363 §§ 192, 193.

 M385 Number and importance of scribes

  364 Page 84.

 M386 Sumerian words and expressions in the legal literature
 M387 Schools

  365 P. S. B. A., xviii., pp. 250-56; xxiii., pp. 188-210.

 M388 Apprenticeship
 M389 Naming of children

  366 Nbd. 832, Nbk. 67.

  367 Nbk. 100.

  368 D. S., p. 24, note.

 M390 Rearing of babies

  369 II. R. 9, 28 cd. ff.

  370 § 194.

 M391 Number of children who could read and write

  371 II. R. 9, 66 cd.

  372 Page 82.

 M392 Frequency and reasons for adoption
 M393 Children who might be adopted

  373 B1 54.

  374 II. R. 9, 28 cd. ff.

  375 M. A. P., p. 15.

 M394 The method of procedure

  376 § 199.

  377 § 188.

 M395 Adoption pure and simple

  378 § 185 ff.

  379 M. A. P., 95.

  380 M. A. P., 98.

  381 M. A. P., 97.

 M396 Consent of other members of the family involved

  382 M. A. P., 94.

 M397 Disinheritance of a son

  383 § 168.

  384 M. A. P., 93.

  385 § 168.

  386 M. A. P., 98.

 M398 Form of adoption
 M399 Phrases which express the idea
 M400 Settlements which assume adoption

  387 B2 565.

 M401 Precautions against suits

  388 B1 368.

 M402 Duties of adopted child to parents’ support
 M403 Service

  389 B2 375.

  390 B3 2484.

  391 B2 609.

  392 B1 2489.

 M404 Punishment for neglect of these duties

  393 § 168.

  394 B2 360.

 M405 Care of aged parents

  395 B2 2460.

 M406 Inheritance rights

  396 B2 2179.

 M407 The division of an inheritance
 M408 Usage as illustrated by the contracts

  397 M. A. P., 105.

  398 M. A. P., 106.

  399 M. A. P., 107.

  400 M. A. P., 109.

  401 § 116.

  402 B1 33.

  403 B1 12.

  404 B1 14.

 M409 Division of property between three brothers

  405 B1 60.

  406 B1 31 = M. A. P., 103.

  407 B1 46 = M. A. P., 104.

  408 M. A. P., p. 145.

 M410 The great difficulty of interpreting details in testamentary
 M411 Disinheritance in the Sumerian laws

  409 See page 39.

 M412 In the Code of Ḥammurabi

  410 §§ 168, 169.

 M413 In the case of adopted children

  411 § 191.

 M414 The slave a chattel
 M415 Rights of a slave
 M416 Complexity of the evidence regarding slavery
 M417 Its very early existence

  412 D. E. P., ii., p. 25.

  413 Chapter XXII.

  414 § 6.

  415 § 15.

  416 § 16.

  417 § 17.

  418 § 19.

  419 § 20.

  420 § 16.

  421 § 119.

  422 § 175.

  423 §§ 218, 223.

  424 § 99.

  425 Cf. § 251.

  426 § 280.

 M418 Sale of slaves
 M419 Diseases regarded as just cause for a repudiation of the contract to
      buy a slave

  427 K. B., vi., p. 389.

 M420 Legal defects
 M421 Assyrian usages regarding slaves
 M422 Right of a slave to the enjoyment of his property and family
 M423 The serfs
 M424 Advantages of slavery
 M425 Liability for forced labor

  428 See _Assyrian Doomsday Book_, p. 24.

 M426 Opportunity to acquire skill as artisans
 M427 The slave an independent asset
 M428 The later disappearance of the serf
 M429 Slave sales
 M430 Guarantees exacted in such deeds:
 M431 Against rebellions (?)

  429 K. B., ii., p. 282.

  430 Cyr. 310, Nbk. 201.

 M432 Against flight
 M433 Against untimely death

  431 Z. A., iii., p. 86.

 M434 Against unexpected claims

  432 Cyr. 146.

 M435 Against over-exaction in the public service

  433 Cyr. 146; Camb. 15.

 M436 Against redemption as men of family
 M437 Against illegal enslavement

  434 Dar. 212.

 M438 The branding or tattooing of slaves

  435 § 103.

  436 M. A. P., 95.

 M439 The other ways of indicating servitude

  437 § 226.

  438 K. B., vi., p. 377.

  439 K. 3787 K. B., iv., p. 166 f.

  440 Camb. 291.

_  441 De serv._, p. 20.

  442 P. S. B. A. 83, p. 104.

  443 P. S. B. A. 84, p. 102.

 M440 Significance of slave-names

  444 Nbk. 70.

  445 Nbk. 625.

  446 Nbk. 311.

 M441 Foreign-born slaves

  447 Camb. 334.

  448 Nbd. 697.

  449 Z. A., iii., 135.

 M442 Various methods of making slaves
 M443 A slave’s right to hold and use property

  450 A. B. R., i., pp. 1 ff.

 M444 A slave’s evidence not good against a free man

  451 Nbn., 738.

 M445 A slave’s value proportioned to his producing power

  452 Nbn. 573.

 M446 The history of the slave Bariki-ilu

  453 Z. A., iii., p. 87.

  454 Nbk. 408.

 M447 A runaway slave not always returnable
 M448 Apprenticing slaves to a trade

  455 Cyr. 64.

  456 Cyr. 248.

  457 Cyr. 325.

  458 Cyr. 313.

 M449 Fee paid by service
 M450 Relative proportion of slaves to free men

  459 S. 10.

  460 A. D. D., No. 424.

 M451 Price of a slave

  461 M. A. P., p. 7.

  462 § 252.

 M452 Distinction between real and personal property

  463 § 191.

  464 Page 188.

 M453 Entailed property

  465 Page 122.

 M454 Natural features of Babylonia in their influence on property rights
 M455 Primitive land tenure
 M456 Ownership of cultivated land
 M457 Theoretical ownership of the land by the local deity

  466 Z. A., iii., 369.

 M458 Private ownership absolute in historical periods
 M459 Right to retain ancestral estates

  467 M. A. P., 42.

  468 A. D. D., § 600.

 M460 Different kinds of real property
 M461 Terms used in descriptions of real property
 M462 Systems of land measures: (1) computation by area

  469 Cf. also Appendix.

 M463 (2) Computation by an average yield
 M464 Descriptions and plans of plots of land
 M465 Boundary-stones
 M466 Inviolability of landmarks
 M467 Encroaching on the highway

  470 Melishiḫu.

  471 Merodoch-baladan I.

  472 Marduk-nâdin-aḫi.

  473 I. R. 7, 12 ff.

 M468 The king’s power over land

  474 D. E. P., ii., 91.

  475 Scheil, _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_, Tome II.

 M469 Recognition of private rights of possession

  476 I. R. 36, 40-42.

  477 Like Araunah the Jebusite.

  478 A. D. D., No. 809.

 M470 Royal grants to temples and favorites

  479 Scheil, _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_, Tome II.

  480 Idem.

  481 Scheil, _Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse_, Tome II., p. 95.

  482 Idem, p. 97.

  483 Idem, pp. 99 ff.

  484 Idem, p. 112.

  485 C. T., ix., No. 92987.

  486 C. T., ix., No. 90922.

  487 K. B., iv., pp. 57 ff.

  488 K. B., iv., pp. 60 ff.

  489 K. B., iv., pp. 68 ff.

  490 A. D. D., Nos. 651-56.

  491 A. D. D., Nos. 658, 659.

  492 A. D. D., Nos. 646-48.

  493 A. D. D., Nos. 649, 650.

 M471 Restoration of ancestral estates

  494 K. B., iii., pp. 154 ff.

  495 K. B., iv., p. 64.

 M472 Granting of especial privileges

  496 K. B., iii., pp. 164 ff.

  497 K. B., iv., pp. 90 ff.

 M473 Temple endowments

  498 K. B., iii., pp. 174 ff.

 M474 An illustration

  499 Vol. xxiii., pp. 19 ff.

 M475 The metayer system
 M476 Illustrations from the Code

  500 § 253.

  501 B2 509.

 M477 From the Assyrian period

  502 A. D. D., p. 21.

 M478 From the Persian period

  503 Cyr. 26.

  504 Hilprecht, B. E. P., ix., p. 40.

 M479 The system of shares

  505 §§ 46, 64.

  506 M. A. P., 76, B2 460.

 M480 Duties of tenants

  507 M. A. P., p. 12, note 3, p. 143, No. 77.

  508 § 42.

 M481 Fixed rental
 M482 Improving lease

  509 § 44.

  510 § 60.

 M483 Manorial obligations
 M484 Their basis in the obligation of fair maintenance

  511 § 53.

  512 K. L. Ḥ., p. xxxvii.

  513 Ib., p. 16.

  514 C. T., IX., No. 92987.

 M485 The levy

  515 § 16.

 M486 Forced labor

  516 A. D. D., ii., p. 172.

 M487 Exemption of certain cities

  517 A. O. F., i., p. 404.

  518 H. A. B. L., p. 89.

  519 A. D. D., ii., p. 174 f.

  520 C. T., xv., 50.

 M488 Classes subject to the levy

  521 A. O. F., i., p. 404 f.

 M489 Service at the royal weaving establishments

  522 Rev. Ass., III., p. 140.

  523 A. D. D., 951 ff.

  524 B. A. S., i., pp. 492-536, 632-36.

 M490 Obligations of slave to the state
 M491 Public obligations
 M492 To take a share in the expense of warfare

  525 Dar. 164.

  526 Dar. 156.

  527 Dar. 481.

  528 Dar. 253.

  529 Camb. 276.

 M493 To pay dues for the land

  530 § 35.

  531 D. E. P., II.

 M494 The temple tithe
 M495 In Assyria

  532 A. D. D., § 236.

 M496 Common among Neo-Babylonians

  533 Nbn. 2.

  534 Sayce.

  535 Nbd. 270.

 M497 Often paid collectively

  536 Nbk. 220.

  537 B. E. P., ix., p. 36.

 M498 Usually in kind
 M499 Octroi duties
 M500 The great importance of the temple
 M501 Varieties and origin of temple dues

  538 A. D. D., 998-1092.

 M502 The temples as owners of rented land

  539 Nbd. 428, 439.

  540 Page 196.

 M503 Their income from private sources
 M504 Share of the temple in the sacrifices

  541 A. D. D., Nos. 998-1013, etc.

  542 Haupt, _Journal of Biblical Literature_, xix., p. 60.

 M505 Sometimes sold for cash

  543 Nbk. 213 with Nbk. 396.

 M506 The temple as a business institution
 M507 The temple as a place of deposit and traffic
 M508 The temple staff
 M509 The priestly influence over the king
 M510 Their influence on the whole predominantly ethical
 M511 Honors paid to priesthood
 M512 Additional duties

  544 Camb. 19.

 M513 Their college
 M514 Their exact functions uncertain

  545 Professor H. Zimmern has made a splendid beginning in his _Beiträge
      zur Kenntniss der Babylonischen Religion_ by determining the
      functions of the _barû_, the _âsipu_, and the _zammaru_. He calls
      them all “priests.” But he does not show that either was a _šangû_.
      It may really be so, but why confuse what the Babylonians kept

 M515 The warden

  546 Cyr. 292.

 M516 The steward
 M517 The workmen

  547 Cyr. 352.

 M518 Similarity of the temple to the monastic system

  548 Page 76.

  549 Nbd. 773.

 M519 Hereditary rights
 M520 Origin of clan names
 M521 Proprietary rights to share in temple incomes
 M522 These rights negotiable

  550 M. A. P., 41.

  551 B2 2175 A.

  552 P. A. S., II., 8.

  553 P. A. S., II., 23.

 M523 Other endowments of office
 M524 Also the great offices at court
 M525 These rights maintained by inheritance
 M526 The relation to the state
 M527 The loaning of money

  554 A. D. D., No. 930.

 M528 Forced loans
 M529 The temple a trading institution
 M530 Alienation of property
 M531 Importance of the fact of ownership
 M532 Peculiar forms of assignments
 M533 Restrictions on free gifts
 M534 The conditions of any gift
 M535 Establishment of a daughter who became a votary
 M536 Rights in a gift made by a votary

  555 M. A. P., 7.

 M537 Gifts made by a father to a daughter

  556 B1 675.

  557 B1 39.

  558 M. A. P., 6.

  559 B2 324.

 M538 Pin-money for a wife

  560 B2 2504.

 M539 Consent of heirs to the disposal of property

  561 B2 544.

  562 B2 729.

 M540 Donation in Assyria

  563 A. D. D., No. 619.

 M541 In the Second Babylonian Empire

  564 Nbd. 65.

  565 Nbd. 1098.

  566 Nbd. 334.

  567 Nbd. 368.

  568 Nbd. 113.

  569 Nbd. 258.

  570 Nbd. 348.

 M542 An example

  571 Nbk. 109.

 M543 Dedications

  572 § 180 f.

  573 B2 704.

 M544 To the chief priest of a temple
 M545 Of children to Shamash

  574 B3 2183.

  575 B2 349.

 M546 To secure divine favor

  576 A. D. D., 640.

  577 A. D. D., 641.

  578 A. D. D., 643.

 M547 Testaments or bequests

  579 § 178.

 M548 Later Babylonian examples

  580 Cyr. 277.

  581 A. B. R., ii., 20 f.

 M549 Their importance
 M550 The formal preliminaries
 M551 The registration of titles
 M552 The method of identifying the property transferred and the parties
 M553 Means of protecting the buyer from fraud
 M554 The legal verbiage

  582 M. A. P., p. 37.

 M555 A specimen deed of sale
 M556 The body of the document in Sumerian
 M557 Later deeds often in Semitic only
 M558 The specifications of the deeds the items of permanent interest
 M559 The earnest money
 M560 Common in later Babylonian deeds

  583 D. E. P., ii., p. 1-f.

  584 See p. 236.

  585 M. A. P., p. 96.

  586 B. 320.

  587 K. B., IV., p. 298 f.

  588 B. V., p. 168.

  589 K. A. S., p. 48.

 M561 The notary’s fee

  590 A. D. D., pp. 35 ff.

  591 A. D. D., No. 173.

  592 A. D. D., No. 176.

 M562 Assyrian deeds of greater length
 M563 Various interests regarded as having claims which must be distinctly
 M564 Occasional use of the oath of confirmation
 M565 Penalties for the failure to carry out a contract
 M566 Rights of the purchaser

  593 For details see A. D. D., iii., pp. 288-368.

 M567 Late tablets include the details of bargaining
 M568 Deferred payments

  594 Page 104.

  595 Nbd. 807.

  596 Camb. 114.

  597 Nbk. 103.

 M569 Return of purchase on failure to pay

  598 Camb. 165.

 M570 Retention of purchase without settlement

  599 Nbk. 103.

 M571 Fraud

  600 L. 19.

 M572 The records of sales found at an early date

  601 Col. 8, l. 5.

 M573 Their varied information
 M574 Method of legally describing real estate
 M575 Importance of these boundary inscriptions
 M576 Many of the details puzzling
 M577 Plots often, but not invariably rectangular
 M578 Plans of houses

  602 One such plan is published by King (L. Ḥ., ii., p. 242) and
      discussed by him later (L. Ḥ., iii., p. 255 f.). There are many
      others in our museums, several of which have been published
      (_Receuil de Travaux_, xvii., pp. 33 ff.; _Saison de fouilles a
      Sippar_, pp. 125, 126, 128). The plans of the buildings excavated at
      Khorsabad form our most perfect specimen of an Assyrian city and
      palace. Besides the original sketches and plans in Botta’s _Nineve_,
      excellent studies of them will be found in Perrot and Chipiez,
      _Assyrian and Babylonian Art_. There are also many plans of the
      early cities and palaces in De Sarzec’s _Découvertes en Chaldée_;
      also, _Receuil de Travaux_ and _Revue d’Assyriologie_ _passim_.

 M579 Description of houses in the contracts of sale

  603 Good examples of deeds of sale of this class of real property will
      be found in Dr. Meissner’s A. P., pp. 31-35. The principal terms
      used in such conveyances are well discussed and for the most part
      correctly explained in his commentary (pp. 119-23). In all these
      cases we have the phrase, _bîtu epšu_. Dr. Meissner also regards as
      “houses” the plots of land called _Ê KI-GAL_ and _Ê KISLAH_; they
      are, however, mentioned later with some other plots of land where
      _Ê_ denotes a “plot,” not necessarily a “house.”

  604 Page 244.

  605 K. 1297.

 M580 The streets mentioned as boundaries
 M581 A deed of the First Babylonian Dynasty

  606 B2 476.

 M582 Its interesting historical information

  607 B2 476.

  608 B2 332.

  609 B2 1058.

  610 B2 331.

  611 B2 2192.

 M583 Mention of the business agent

  612 B2 2190.

 M584 Mention of the price of a house
 M585 An Assyrian deed for sale of a house

  613 K. B., iv. p. 170 f.

 M586 Various parts of the house

  614 § 266.

  615 H. W. B.

  616 A. D. D., 320.

  617 A. D. D., Nos. 325-40.

  618 A. D. D., Nos. 341, 342.

  619 A. D. D., Nos. 326-34.

  620 A. D. D., Nos. 326-32.

  621 A. D. D., Nos. 340-49.

  622 A. D. D., Nos. 329-40.

 M587 The burial-vault

  623 A. D. D., No. 646.

  624 A. D. D., No. 340.

 M588 Block houses in Nineveh
 M589 Size not mentioned

  625 A. D. D., No. 349.

  626 A. D. D., No. 345.

 M590 The usual cost
 M591 Side buildings

  627 M. A. P., 25.

 M592 Unimproved land

  628 § 44.

  629 B2 377.

  630 B2 446.

 M593 Granaries

  631 § 113.

  632 S. 67.

  633 B2 2192.

  634 B2 2518.

 M594 The term _bîtu_ means not only “house,” but “field”

  635 A plot of land or house called _Ê burbalum_ is sold (B1 280, B2 838,
      B2 2462), but there is no information given as to its special
      nature; so also a _bît kidim_ (B2 2444a), but there is no means of
      deciding what it was. A term applied to land which may be read
      _ḳirubû_ is perhaps to be taken as “arable land” (_M. A. P., p.
      122_). But the occurrences are not sufficient to fix the meaning
      clearly. It was bounded by a house and the street.

  636 A. D. D., Nos. 350-58.

 M595 Sales of gardens
 M596 These sales less frequent in Assyrian times

  637 A. D. D., No. 362.

  638 Z. A., vi., pp. 291 ff.

 M597 Sales of fields: in First Dynasty of Babylon

  639 B1 43.

  640 B2 330.

  641 B1 194.

 M598 In Assyrian times

  642 A. D. D., Nos. 359-413.

 M599 Great estates
 M600 Plans of estates

  643 This plan is published in _Découvertes en Chaldée_, plate 15 ff.

  644 Published best in _Rev. Ass._, iv., p. 13 f.

  645 Much earlier plans will be found, pp. 21 ff. They are ascribed to
      the age of Sargon I. and Naram-Sin. A plan, or rather map, of
      Babylon was also published by Dr. Peiser. [_Z. A._, iv., 361 ff.]
      This is rather geographical than cadastral, and, perhaps, mythical,
      since it refers to the king Shamash-napishtim-uṣur, who may be the
      Shamash-napishtim of the flood story.

      A number of other plans are given, or referred to, by Father Scheil
      in _Rec. des Trav._, xvii., 1 and 2, pp. 33 ff. A good many more
      appear in _Une Saison de fouilles a Sippar_. There are many others
      in the great museums and in private hands. For conclusions regarding
      linear and square measures, cf. Appendix III.

 M601 Records of loans of an early period
 M602 Their value for chronology

  646 E. B. H., pp. 254 ff., etc.

 M603 Second Epoch. Repayments in kind or its stated equivalent
 M604 Promissory notes
 M605 Temporary loans at harvest-time

  647 B3 2524.

  648 M. A. P., 15.

  649 B2 2519.

  650 M. A. P., 19.

 M606 Loans for the payment of taxes

  651 B1 218.

_  652 Kanik mušaddinim utbalunimma kanikšu illikû_, B2 754.

 M607 The temple as places of temporary loans

  653 M. A. P., 8, 9.

 M608 Current coin

  654 B1 218.

 M609 Loans of corn

  655 B2 771.

  656 B1 642.

  657 B1 655.

  658 M. A. P., 24.

  659 B2 1182, S. 76.

 M610 Other loans of produce

  660 B2 869.

 M611 Record of a loan
 M612 Loans or allowances in series

  661 B2 687.

 M613 Formal advances of working materials

  662 B2 684.

  663 B2 701.

 M614 Assyrian loans _ana pûḫi_
 M615 Usual rate of interest
 M616 For the use of corn
 M617 The coinage

  664 A. D. D., No. 1.

 M618 Loans on property often mere advances of material

  665 A. D. D., No. 115.

 M619 Property on approval

  666 A. D. D., No. 117.

  667 A. D. D., Nos. 118, 119.

 M620 A loan of wine

  668 A. D. D., No. 124.

  669 A. D. D., No. 127.

 M621 Of oil
 M622 Of corn

  670 A. D. D., No. 128.

 M623 The peculiar shape of the tablets recording loans of corn
 M624 These loans made by the king
 M625 Often made just before harvest
 M626 Sometimes at seed-time

  671 P. 256.

 M627 Receipts for payment of a loan of money

  672 A. D. D., No. 155.

  673 A. D. D., No. 134.

 M628 Of a loan of corn

  674 A. D. D., No. 135.

 M629 Of a fine

  675 A. D. D., No. 162.

 M630 Explicitness of the Code regarding legal responsibility

  676 § 7.

  677 § 123.

  678 § 125.

  679 § 121.

 M631 The bond destroyed on payment

  680 M. A. P., p. 27.

 M632 Examples of deposit rare

  681 B2 1058.

  682 M. A. P., p. 28.

 M633 Receipts

  683 S. 62, 69, 73, etc.

 M634 No examples in later literature
 M635 Pledges given as security in early times

  684 M. A. P., p. 9, and notes 1 and 2.

 M636 Similarity of this custom to distraint

  685 §§ 114, 115.

 M637 The practice in later periods
 M638 Very frequent in Assyria

  686 A. D. D., No. 58.

 M639 A loan secured by land and seven slaves

  687 A. D. D., No. 66.

 M640 A loan secured by a vineyard and slaves

  688 A. D. D., Nos. 73, 74.

 M641 A loan secured by a field

  689 A. D. D., No. 76.

 M642 By the service of a maid
 M643 By the borrower’s service

  690 A. D. D., No. 152.

 M644 In later Babylonian times by the free use of a house

  691 Nbd. 655.

  692 Ev. Mer. 24.

 M645 Relations between profits and interest

  693 B. V., p. 282 f.

 M646 Second mortgages barred
 M647 The creditor’s responsibility

  694 Nbk. 408.

  695 Dar. 294.

 M648 Pledges often anticipated and readily transferable

  696 Dar. 144, 235.

  697 Nbn. 655.

  698 Nbn. 765, 772, 832.

 M649 Mortgages
 M650 The creditor in free use, within his needs, of pledged property
 M651 Possible complications
 M652 Method of securing the holder of a second mortgage

  699 Nbk. 132, 142, 172.

  700 Such is an actual case traced through its phases by Kohler and
      Peiser.—A. B. R.

 M653 The occasion for guarantees
 M654 Guarantees for debt

  701 Dar. 319.

  702 Dar. 310.

  703 A. B. R., ii., p. 73.

 M655 For appearance

  704 A. B. R., p. 6.

  705 Cyr. 147.

  706 Nbk. 342.

  707 Nbk. 86.

  708 Nbk. 83.

 M656 For a witness’s appearance

  709 Nbk. 366.

  710 Cyr. 119.

 M657 Joint responsibility

  711 Nbd. 133.

 M658 Against theft

  712 Dar. 93.

 M659 Of full value of property sold
 M660 Against suits at law
 M661 Of the value of securities

  713 Dar. 431, 434, Nerig. 39.

 M662 Free labor in demand
 M663 Slaves or dependents secured from owners

  714 B1 327.

  715 B2 2425.

  716 M. A. P., 57.

 M664 Wages subject to adjustment

  717 A. P., 10.

 M665 Often paid in produce

  718 S. 61.

 M666 The labor duly guaranteed

  719 B2 2455.

 M667 Duration of service fixed
 M668 Living usually included

  720 B2 938.

  721 B2 1137.

 M669 Assyrian contracts name both wages and time-limit of work

  722 Page 251.

  723 Nbn. 210.

  724 Dar. 215.

 M670 Form of house-rental

  725 IV., p. 85 f.

 M671 The rental variable
 M672 The usual conditions of tenancy

  726 § Y.

 M673 Fields rented for a limited term
 M674 Usual conditions of tenancy
 M675 Land often taken on shares
 M676 Stipulations regarding improvements

  727 B2 361.

 M677 Varying rentals

  728 B2 797.

 M678 Allowances for maintenance sometimes a part of the agreement
 M679 Life leases rare
 M680 One such tablet known, but difficult to localize
 M681 The names of the witnesses seem to be North Semitic
 M682 The fitting-out of traders by capitalists a very early practice
 M683 The agent repaid the value of the outfit with interest
 M684 Legal memoranda essential as security

  729 §§ 100-107.

 M685 This business done mainly by caravans

  730 B1 549.

 M686 Speculation not unknown

  731 B1 110.

 M687 Caravan trade
 M688 These dealings frequent in later times
 M689 Importance of the canals for commerce

  732 E. A. H., 27.

 M690 Navigation laws for shipping of great number and variety

  733 § 8.

  734 § 234.

  735 §§ 235, 236.

  736 K. L. Ḥ., _passim_.

  737 S. 160.

  738 S. 244.

 M691 In Assyrian tablets

  739 A. D. D., No. 468.

 M692 Boat hire a regular stipulation in Babylonia

  740 Nbd. 401.

  741 Nbd. 1019.

  742 Nbd. 180.

  743 Cyr. 343.

 M693 The maintenance of roads

  744 K. L. Ḥ., p. xxi.

 M694 A regular tariff for land-transportation

  745 § 112.

  746 § 271.

  747 § 272.

  748 B1 564.

  749 S. 572.

 M695 Roads in Assyria of prime importance

  750 K. B., vi., p. 106.

 M696 Partnership in business common from early times
 M697 Origin of the word for partner
 M698 The usual conditions

  751 M. A. P., 78.

  752 M. A. P., p. 13.

 M699 Always legally defined
 M700 The Code silent

  753 B2 358.

 M701 Explanation of the terminology
 M702 Evidence of long-established commercial customs
 M703 In Assyrian literature
 M704 In later Babylonian times such evidence common

  754 Nbn. 199.

  755 Nbk. 88.

 M705 The many varied details

  756 Nbn. 572.

  757 Nbn. 653.

  758 Nbn. 652.

 M706 A formal dissolution of partnership

  759 Nbk. 116.

 M707 Reckonings

  760 A. B. P., ii., 59.

  761 Dar. 280.

 M708 A manufacturing partnership

  762 Dar. 395, 396.

 M709 Power of attorney recognized and frequently used

  763 § 7.

  764 Page 243.

  765 A. D. D., No. 94.

  766 A. D. D., No. 152.

  767 A. D. D., No. 307.

  768 A. D. D., No. 151.

  769 A. D. D., No. 166.

 M710 Protection of the rights of the principal

  770 Nbn. 132, 133; A. B. P., p. 11.

 M711 Representative action

  771 Ev. Mer., 13.

 M712 Power of attorney over funds

  772 Dar. 386.

  773 A. B. P., ii., 34.

 M713 Account-books
 M714 Those of the first epoch mainly temple accounts
 M715 Receipts for loans
 M716 Accounts of repairs or expenses
 M717 Records of measurements
 M718 The conditions of service with flock and herds

  774 §§ 261-67.

  775 § 264.

 M719 Herdsmen’s accounts

  776 E. A. H., 14. For fuller details the reader should consult Radau’s
      _Early Babylonian History_.

 M720 Lists of second epoch unavailable

  777 B2 447.

  778 In C. T., vi., p. 24.

  779 B2 448.

 M721 The Assyrian lists indicate new varieties of animals

  780 A. D. D., No. 732.

  781 They are published by Professor R. F. Harper in his _Assyrian and
      Babylonian Letters_, _passim_.

  782 H. A. B. L., p. 690.

  783 A. D. D., No. 117.

 M722 Memoranda regarding wool
 M723 The four kinds of wool
 M724 Black wool very highly valued

  784 E. A. H., 50.

 M725 Sheep-shearing

  785 K. L. Ḥ., pp. xlvi. ff.

 M726 The weaving accounts

  786 These have been discussed by Dr. R. Zehnpfund, B. A. S., i., pp.
      492-536. He has striven to identify the garments as far as possible;
      but when we recall that over eighty such garments are named in these
      lists, most of which are merely names, with no indication of their
      uses, it is clear that a translation is generally out of the
      question. We know something of their material and often of their
      color, but nothing further. It is curious that in many cases these
      names are the same for Assyrian and later Babylonian times.

 M727 Memoranda regarding skins of animals
 M728 Leather

  787 B2 406, 611.

  788 A. D. D., No. 872.

 M729 Amounts allowed for the food of animals

  789 E. A. H., 152.

  790 Cyr. 250; Nbd. 841.

 M730 Acknowledgment of advances

  791 E. A. H., 100.

 M731 Stewards’ accounts
 M732 The earliest mention of iron

  792 B2 405.

 M733 External form of the letters
 M734 Their envelope
 M735 Their dates
 M736 Another method of insuring privacy
 M737 Style of the opening address
 M738 Variations of the formula
 M739 References to a former correspondence
 M740 Elliptical phrases
 M741 Inscribed seals on packages

  793 Heuzey, _Revue d’Assyriologie_, iv., pp. 1 ff.

 M742 Letters of the First Dynasty of Babylon

  794 Vol. II., 1897; Vol. IV., 1898; Vol. VI., 1898; Vol. VIII., 1899.

_  795 Briefe aus der Zeit des Babylonischen Königs Ḥammurabi_, Leipzig,

  796 Three volumes, 1898-1900, Luzac, London.

  797 B. A. S., iv., p. 434-500.

  798 B. A. S., ii., pp. 557-64, 573-79.

  799 XVI., p. 189.

  800 Pages 105, 106, 107, 116, 123, 124, 125, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137.

 M743 Of the subsequent period

  801 Published III. R. 4. No. 5.

 M744 The Tell el Amarna letters

  802 Heft I. of _Mittheilungen aus den Orientalischen Sammlungen der
      Königliche Museen zu Berlin_, Speman, Berlin.

  803 B. A. S., iv., pp. 101-54, 279-337, and 410-17.

  804 Vol. V. of Schrader’s _Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek_, Reuther and
      Reichard, Berlin, 1896.

  805 June 17, 1903.

 M745 Cappadocian letters
 M746 Assyrian letters
 M747 Published texts

  806 IX., pp. 240-56; X., pp. 60-72, 155-77, 305-15.

  807 B. A. S., i., pp. 185-248, 613-31; ii., 19-62.

_  808 University of Chicago Press_; Luzac, London.

 M748 Translations

  809 Baltimore, 1898.

  810 B. A. S., iv., pp. 501-45.

  811 P. S. B. A., 1901, pp. 331-59.

  812 A. J. S. L., x., pp. 196-201; xiii., pp. 209-12, xiv., pp. 1-16,
      171-82; xv., pp. 129-44.

  813 Pfeiffer, Leipzig.

  814 II., pp. 52, 58, 184 f., 302 f.

 M749 Late Babylonian letters
 M750 Historical value of the letters
 M751 General value
 M752 Methods of classification
 M753 Royal letters
 M754 Great historical value of this collection
 M755 The letters to Sin-iddinam
 M756 Ḥammurabi as an administrator
 M757 His care for the revenues of the temples
 M758 The ordering of the calendar
 M759 His supervision of justice
 M760 His private property
 M761 His building enterprises
 M762 The return of the goddesses of Emutbal to their homes

  815 K. L. Ḥ., No. 34.

 M763 The date of their capture

  816 K. L. Ḥ., iii., p. 237.

  817 K. L. Ḥ., No. 45.

  818 K. L. Ḥ., No. 26.

 M764 The care of the canals

  819 K. L. Ḥ., No. 71.

  820 K. L. Ḥ., No. 5.

  821 K. L. Ḥ., No. 4.

 M765 A case of bribery

  822 K. L. Ḥ., No. 11.

 M766 A case of oppression redressed

  823 K. L. Ḥ., No. 6.

  824 § 34.

  825 K. L. Ḥ., No. 76.

 M767 The depository for deeds
 M768 Restitutions ordered

  826 K. L. Ḥ., No. 12.

  827 K. L. Ḥ., No. 24.

  828 K. L. Ḥ., Nos. 13, 41.

  829 K. L. Ḥ., No. 28.

 M769 About taxes
 M770 Commerce under strict control by the State
 M771 The collection of taxes

  830 K. L. Ḥ., No. 33.

  831 K. L. Ḥ., Nos. 16, 30.

 M772 Illegal impressment for public service

  832 K. L. Ḥ., No. 3.

  833 K. L. Ḥ., Nos. 18, 30, 73.

  834 K. L. Ḥ., No. 38.

 M773 Few in number
 M774 About change of air for a goddess

  835 K. L. Ḥ., No. 81.

 M775 Temple dues

  836 K. L. Ḥ., No. 49.

 M776 Fishing rights

  837 K. L. Ḥ., No. 80.

 M777 Business details

  838 K. L. Ḥ., Nos. 79, 104.

  839 K. L. Ḥ., No. 105.

 M778 Letters of Abêshu’
 M779 Of Ammi-ditana

  840 K. L. Ḥ., No. 56.

 M780 Of Ammi-zadûga

  841 K. L. Ḥ., No. 50.

 M781 Of Sin-iddinam

  842 K. L. Ḥ., No. 47.

  843 K. L. Ḥ., No. 48.

 M782 Periphrasis for “king”

_  844 Ana Amélim-šha-Marduk-ubalaṭušhu._

  845 A. O. F., ii., 312.

 M783 Freeing of runaway slaves

  846 V. A., Th. 793; B. A. S., ii., p. 563.

 M784 Many details uncertain

  847 B. 290 ff.

 M785 A prisoner’s plea to his master for deliverance
 M786 A father reminded of a broken promise

  848 B2 212.

  849 B1 193.

 M787 Request from a tenant for the grant of a good cow

  850 B2 2185.

  851 A. O. F., ii., p. 90.

 M788 Authorization to compel a creditor to pay his debts

  852 B2 315.

 M789 A warning connected with the filing of a suit
 M790 A request for fish and other food

  853 S. 273.

 M791 A love-letter

  854 S. 274.

 M792 Assyrian copies of old Babylonian letters

  855 III. R. 4, No. 5.

  856 K. 2, 41.

  857 K. L. Ḥ., i., p. xxiii., note 2.

 M793 The proof that the letters are Sennacherib’s

  858 P. S. B. A., 1895, p. 220 f.

  859 A. J. S. L., xvi., pp. 160-67.

  860 K. 181; H. 197.

 M794 A letter concerning events in Armenia
 M795 Another letter regarding the movements of the Armenian king

  861 H. 198.

 M796 These letters explained by a comparison with those of Ashur-riṣûa

  862 H. 492.

  863 H. 380.

  864 H. 144.

  865 H. 145.

  866 H. 146.

  867 H. 147.

  868 H. 148.

  869 H. 381.

  870 H. 101.

  871 H. 488.

  872 H. 490.

  873 H. 409.

  874 H. 444.

  875 H. 424.

  876 H. 548.

  877 H. 619.

  878 H. 646.

  879 H. 196.

 M797 A letter about the chieftains of the Kumuḫai

  880 H. 199.

  881 H. 731.

  882 A. D. D., 1141.

  883 H. 730.

 M798 The period well known
 M799 The case of Nabû-bêl-shumâte
 M800 Letters about him

  884 H. 839.

 M801 A letter reporting the dethronement of the King of Elam

  885 H. 832, 833, 835, 836, 837.

  886 H. 88.

  887 A. D. D., 9.

 M802 Bêl-ibnî’s letters

  888 H. 289.

 M803 Letter appointing him governor of the Sealands
 M804 Letter of Ummanaldash offering to give up Nabû-bêl-shumâte

  889 G. Smith, ii., pp. 51 ff.

 M805 Letter of Bêl-ibnî accusing Nabû-bêl-shumâte of imprisoning his

  890 H. 460.

 M806 Bêlshunu’s identity

  891 H. 282.

 M807 His letter about the fugitive Shumâ

  892 H. 283.

  893 H. 284.

 M808 Many letters of this period
 M809 Their character that of forecasts or omens
 M810 Their great value

  894 Pages 184, 185.

  895 In P. S. B. A., etc.

 M811 A letter of the governor of Erech

  896 H. 754.

  897 Page 201.

  898 H. 290.

 M812 The king’s reply
 M813 The persons mentioned

  899 H. 280.

 M814 Bêl-ibnî’s letter about Ummanigash
 M815 Kudur’s letters about the king’s favorite

  900 H. 277.

 M816 The king’s reply

  901 H. 399.

  902 H. 412.

  903 K. 4453.

  904 H. 332.

  905 H. 513.

 M817 Kudur’s letters about the rebellion

  906 H. 275.

  907 H. 274.

 M818 His affectionate letter of thanks for the king’s favors
 M819 The downfall of Elamite power

  908 G. Sm., p. 24.

 M820 A friendly letter from Esarhaddon to Urtaku
 M821 This friendship at first maintained by Ashurbânipal
 M822 The Elamites invade Babylonia
 M823 The punishment
 M824 Nabû-ushabshi’s letters as governor of Southern Babylonia

  909 H. 269.

  910 H. 266.

 M825 Letters about presents sent to the sanctuary of Erech

  911 H. 268.

  912 H. 273.

  913 H. 543.

 M826 Letters about omens and predictions
 M827 About a fox’s falling into a well

  914 H. 142.

 M828 Regarding auspicious days for a journey

  915 H. 77.

  916 A. D. D., 1053.

 M829 Balasi’s letters about astrology
 M830 Ardi-Êa’s letters of congratulation

  917 H. 30.

  918 H. 28.

 M831 Adadi-shum-uṣur’s letters

  919 H. 2.

 M832 A plea for his son to be appointed to the court

  920 H. 1.

 M833 Miscellaneous letters
 M834 Nabûa’s letters about the calendar

  921 H. 825.

  922 H. 816.

 M835 The queen-dowager’s importance

  923 A. D. D., 70.

  924 Rec. Trav., xx., p. 200.

 M836 Letter of Nâ’id-Marduk to her

  925 W. Sm., p. 7.

  926 H. 324.

 M837 King’s letter to her
 M838 Aplîa’s cordial letter to her

  927 H. 303.

  928 A. D. D., No. 301.

 M839 Asharîdu’s letter of loyalty

  929 H. 254.

  930 H. 368.

  931 H. 263.

 M840 Medical letters
 M841 Medical records numerous

  932 §§ 215-21.

  933 Z. K. F. II.

 M842 Exorcism as well as healing the duty of a physician
 M843 A letter reporting the progress of a disease

  934 H. 392.

  935 H. 108.

  936 H. 109.

  937 H. 110.

  938 H. 111.

  939 H. 391.

  940 H. 341.

 M844 Letters regarding the appointment of officials

  941 H. 577.

  942 H. 43.

 M845 Women’s letters

  943 H. 220.

 M846 Private letters

  944 H. 345.

  945 H. 219.

 M847 Reports and lists
 M848 Inquiries of the oracles
 M849 Metrology

  946 H. 566.

 M850 Diary of a journey

  947 A. D. D., No. 1096.

 M851 Business letters

  948 Nbd. 574.

 M852 Order for seed

  949 Nbd. 1134.

 M853 Another for supplies

  950 Nbk. 460.

 M854 Explanation of the filling of an order

  951 Cyr. 207.

  952 Cyr. 209.

 M855 Requisition for supplies for canal digging

  953 Cyr. 376.

 M856 Request for some money
 M857 Fragmentary notes

  954 XIX., p. 104 f.

  955 Peek-Pinches, No. 22.

  956 Peek-Pinches, pp. 85 ff.

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