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Old Babylonian Legal and Administrative Texts from Philadelphia.

Many thanks are due Karel van Lerberghe, the editor of this excellent collection of OB "Sippar" texts from Abu-Habbah and Tell ed-Der. Several groups of texts in the book call for special attention and have been singled out by the editor in the introduction. For example, there are three documents which deal with the "rental of the journey of the divine weapon" (see R. Harris, AS 16: 217-24 and A. Finet, Akkadica 21: 1-13).

A second group consists of eight tablets classified "Quasi-Hullentafeln," i.e., late OB documents whose seal impressions completely encircle the tablet (see Claus Wilcke's detailed study of sealing: "Zwei spat-altbabylonische Kaufvertrage aus Kis (Exkurs B)" in Zikir Sumim [Leiden, 1982], 450-83). These texts (nos. 17, 37, 64, 71, 73, 77, 78), as well as no. 63, are related to a group of documents from the archive of Ur-Utu from Tell ed-Der which are also of the style Quasi-Hullentafeln."

Three tablets, one dated to year 30 of Samsuiluna, yield more information on the role of Kassites in OB society. In his catalogue, van Lerberghe suggests that no. 20 mentions "offerings" to Kassite kings. From the content and style of this administrative document, the reviewer suggests [sa.dug.sub.4] (= sattukku) and suk (= kurummatu) to be understood as food portion/allotment' rather than `offering'.

In all, the volume contains 101 OB tablets of varying content. In addition to those singled out above, there are seven sales (real estate, slaves, fields, a donkey); thirty-three administrative texts, including some lists, which deal with commodities (barley, dates, silver, reeds, etc.) and laborers; nine which van Lerberghe calls "memos"; seven receipts; three deliveries (no. 18 mentions a dozen or so commodities all valued in silver); seven contracts (feedlots, harvesters, servants); two litigations; several field rentals (erresutu), five dealing with barley and three dealing with date cultivation; and perhaps a letter. (Incidentally, nos. 34 and 35 are Iltani texts.)

Although the catalogue for no. 7 indicates a transaction involving "strings of red garlic,"sum.hus sar could very well refer to "red onions" (see M. Stol, Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture 3 [Cambridge, 1987]: 61). Also of interest are no. 18:col.C:16 which gives the current value of gold in silver (1 gin ku-ge ku-bi 5 gin) and no. 21 which contains a lengthy exemplar of Abiesuh year "h":

14'. mu a-bi-e-su-uh lugal-e

15'. e-kis-nu-gal e sa-ge pad-da [nannar-kam.sup.d]

16'. [] a mu-un-du-a

Of the examples so far collected, this is the most complete (we thank Malcolm Horsnell for corroboration of the last statement). Further, M. Stol (Melanges Birot, 274) calls attention to the fact that, in CT 8 33c, a single individual simultaneously bears the titles na.gada and sipa; OLA 21 23 yields a second example of the same, viz., Ina-palesu in lines 15 and 18.

Finally, text 95 contains a lawsuit pertaining to a naditu adoption/inheritance, a most common procedure at Sippar. An interesting and unusual section of the suit describes the judges establishing the facts of the case (awatisunu imuru) without benefit of witnesses who would have been present when the original tablets pertinent to the property rights of the defendants were written. After gaining a clear picture of the legal situation and verifying as best they could the legitimacy of the tablets, the judges swore an oath (dayyanu itmu) regarding their findings! This phrase is normally reserved for an oath imposed by the judges upon witnesses who swore to uphold the verdict of the court. As well, tablet 95 will be of interest to scholars investigating the tuppi ummatim (see C. Wilcke, op. cit., and D. Charpin, Cuneiform Archives and Libraries, ed. K. R. Veenhof [Leiden, 1986], 133-35).

I offer only a few additions and corrections: p. 9, no. 54: read day 15 for 5; p. 17: add a-ha-am-i-din-nam PA.PA. 61:6; p. 17 and p. 22: add a-hu-um-wa-qar s. of hu-za-lum; p. 18: for annum-pi-sa/annum-[pi.sub.4]-sa read annum-pi-samas etc. (see CT 47 63:38' [tablet] and 37' [envelope] - thanks to Rivkah Harris for this reference); p. 20: since no. 96 is the envelope to no. 95, be-le-su-nu d. of i-din-samas 5. is identical to 6. (as well, p. 25); p. 35: sub ris-samas, add 7. 4:17; p. 37: sin-magir 1. and 6. are the same person; p. 39: sub samas-ha-zi-ir strike 18:col.C.3 and add to p. 40, sub samas-na-sir, 11. 18:col.C.3.; p. 41: sub sum-ma-samas, 2. add 18:colB.2"; p. 43: warad-sin 2. and 3. are the same person; p. 44: sub ab.ab.[du.sub.7], for 21:13 read 21:12; p. 45: sub dub.sar [eren.sub.2], read ka for ka; p. 45: sub [gudu.sub.4].ZU.AB add 6:rev.3'; p. 46: sub na. gada strike 23:19.

There is very little if anything to criticize in this beautifully produced book. We are all grateful to Prof. van Lerberghe and colleagues for this welcome volume, which he promises is only the first volume in a series dedicated to the publication of several collections of northern Babylonian tablets of the period.
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Author:Veenker, Ronald A.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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