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Aks̆ak

(69 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] Main location of a northern Babylonian city state which ruled northern Babylonia around the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Located opposite  Seleucia on the Tigris. More recent sources identify it with Upī (Greek:  Opis) [1. 111, n. 608; 2. 46-48], but this identification is debated. Neumann, Hans (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. A. Brinkman, A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia. 1158-722 B.C, 1968 2 D. R. Frayne, The Early Dynastic List of Geographical Names, 1992.

Loan

(1,744 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient As a contractual service, in which the recipient of money or other negotiable items undertakes to return them and/or provide a service in recompence, lending is attested in Mesopotamia [4. 189-203] from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC [1. 141-145] into the Hellenistic period [2. 43-45; 3. 119]. As well as private individuals, (representatives of) institutions (temple, palace) are recorded as creditors. The loans involved comprised for the most part silver and ba…

Professional associations

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Burford-Cooper, Alison (Ann Arbor)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Certainly there is evidence of the emergence and activity of joint representatives of specific branches of the professions in the Ancient Orient, such as merchants, craftsmen and priests, but there is no proof of PA in the sense of voluntary federations for the protection and defence of political and economic interests [1. 79-82; 2. 161f.]. Neumann, Hans (Berlin) Bibliography 1 A.L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 1964 2 H.M. Kümmel, Familie, Beruf und Amt im spätbabylonischen Uruk, 1979. [German version] II. Greece and Rome Three different …

Letter

(2,221 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Peter L. (Constance) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] A. Types of letter In addition to the few texts on letter theory and letter writers ( Epistolography), the ancient genre of ‘letters’ comprises the following: 1. official letters (edicts) comparable to laws, 2. everyday official correspondence, 3. ‘open’ letters akin to oratory a) with one or several senders and multiple addressees (e.g. letters to the Christian community) or b) letters sent to a specific addressee that had a potentially broad public, and finally 4. letters of a priva…

Homicide

(422 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General In antiquity homicide is often not yet differentiated from other crimes of killing ( Killing, crimes of). In many ancient laws the special reprehensibility or danger of a behaviour that resulted in the death of another human being was not yet considered a reason for a respective sanction. Thus, in the case of ancient Oriental laws, it would be inappropriate both with regard to the term and the matter to speak of particular offences amounting to homicide within the framework of crimes of killing. Neumann, Hans (Berlin) [German version] II. Greece In archaic Gre…

Sargon

(888 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] [1] of Akkad (Akkadian Šarru[ m]- kīn, 'the ruler is legitimate'). Founder (2340-2284 BC) of the so-called dynasty of Akkad in Mesopotamia. According to later Sumerian and Akkadian literary and historiographical tradition, S. was said to have been the son of a certain Lāipum and a priestess [1. 69; 2. 36-49] and to have begun his career as a cupbearer under King Ur-Zababa of Kiš [1; 2. 51-55]. S. established his own (to date unidentified) residence, Akkad, and created by his conquests …

Punishment, Criminal law

(1,758 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Römer, Malte (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East The Sumerian-Akkadian terminology regarding punishment and criminal law implies that in Mesopotamia, this was already understood to be a consequence of mischief [1. 77 with note 35], directed either against the divine order [2] or the (state-sanctioned) political and social structures [3]. The same is true of Egypt [4. 68]. There was no distinction between civil and criminal law in the modern sense. The relationship between private law and so-called public law (an…

Oath

(846 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Since the second half of the 3rd millennium BC [1. 63-98; 2. 345-365], a distinction was made in Mesopotamia between promissory (assuring) oaths in contract law and assertory (confirming) oaths taking effect in lawsuits. A promissory oath served as an absolute assurance of a renunciation or intended action and was performed by invoking the king or a god, or both. An assertory oath had probative force as an oath for witnesses or parties, e.g. an oath of purification …

Bilingual inscriptions

(1,899 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] A. Definition Bilingual inscriptions (or ‘bilingues’) are inscriptions that present the same text in two languages so as to be comprehensible to different readerships. Thus, bilingual inscriptions (BI), with closely corresponding texts, are distinguished from others in which one of the texts only summarizes the other. -- ‘Quasi-BI’ do indeed differ in their text format but treat the same subject matter or the same personalities. BI are only such texts as are composed contemporaneou…

Work

(2,798 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol)
[German version] [1] The Ancient Near East Work in the Ancient Near East was normally identified with physical labour in the agricultural and craft sectors, as well as in construction and haulage. Free labour was the province of self-employed producers and wage workers in institutional households (palace and temple). In the latter contexts, unfree labour was performed by dependents of many kinds, and also existed in the form of a state-decreed obligation of service. Slave labour was present to a varyin…

State

(1,994 words)

Author(s): Eder, Walter (Berlin) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Müller-Wollermann, Renate
[German version] I. General Neither the states of the ancient Near East nor those of classical antiquity had a word corresponding to the modern, impersonal concept of the state. There was no abstract idea of state separate from the ruler or distinguished by law. In particular, the state did not appear as a perpetrator of action. The use of the term 'state' for these pre-modern societies is none the less justified, because, on the one hand, they did fulfil the minimum formal criteria: permanent state…

Atraḫasis

(230 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (‘the extremely wise one’). Protagonist of an Akkadian mythic poem from the ancient Babylonian era (early 2nd millennium BC), of which there were two or three diverging versions. The myth was carried forward in Babylonia and Assyria until the first millennium BC. A newer version arose in the New Assyrian era (7th cent. BC). Texts from  Ugarit and  Hattuša attest to the spread of the myth in the 2nd millennium BC, even beyond Mesopotamia. It treats the creation of human beings from…

Banks

(2,042 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) | Andreau, Jean (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Banks as institutions whose specific task consists of arranging payment transactions, accepting deposits and granting credits, did not exist in the Ancient Orient. There is evidence of deposit and credit operations in ancient oriental societies of differing quantity and intensity, both in the domain of palace and temple economy and in individual private legal and economic transactions, but they were always subordinate to the respectively dominating redistributive an…

Communications

(2,916 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Kolb, Anne (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the ancient Orient, oral and written messages ( Letter) were transmitted by messengers. Messengers handled the supra-regional diplomatic traffic (e.g. the  Amarna letters between Egypt and Palaestine, Cyprus ( Alaschia), Syria, the Hittite kingdom, Mittani, Assyria, Babylonia and Elam), forwarded political or military news (at times gained through espionage), handled interior administrative communication, and transmitted (private) information in the area of comme…

International treaties

(2,514 words)

Author(s): Kehne, Peter (Hannover) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Starke, Frank (Tübingen) | Beck, Hans (Cologne)
[German version] I. General International treaties (IT) are official and binding agreements under international law between two or more subjects of international law, which are legally binding for the entire citizenship in question. They were stipulated orally or in writing; they took the form of unilateral, bi- or multilateral agreements, and always implied the recognition of the other party under international law. IT were often the result of preliminary negotiations; they required ratification by…

Purchase

(1,351 words)

Author(s): Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] I. Introduction After the supersession of the concept that the ideal economic form was an autarkic entity of production and consumption not depending upon trade (e.g. the Homeric oîkos), and after the invention of means of payment - whether in the form of unstamped precious metals or coins - purchase, i.e. the exchange of goods for money, was a self-evident element of ancient societies. In spite of its presumably general distribution, however, purchase was underdeveloped in terms of legal provision. Laws and…

Justice at the gate

(129 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] In Mesopotamia, from the 3rd millennium BC, the gates of temples, cities and other locations (e.g. palaces) could serve as venues for jurisdiction [1. 140 f.; 2. 66 with n. 6; 3. 321-325]. The same was true in Egypt [4. 782]. This was associated with the role of gates as foci of public and economic life in cities, and in the case of temple doors it was also linked to the temple's function as a venue for the taking of oaths of testimony and purification. Door Neumann, Hans (Berlin) Bibliography 1 A. Falkenstein (ed.), Die Inschriften Gudeas von Lagaš, vol. 1: Intro…

Akkad

(105 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (Agade). There is documentary evidence of this city in northern Babylon that dates up to the second half of the 1st millennium BC, however, no archaeological evidence of its existence has been found. It achieved particular significance as the king's residence and capital city of the Akkadian kingdom, the first large territorial state in  Mesopotamia.  Akkadian Neumann, Hans (Berlin) Bibliography B. R. Foster, Select Bibliography of the Sargonic Period, in: History of the Ancient Near East. Stud. 5, 1993, 171-182 Répertoire géographique des textes cunéiforme…

Leasehold

(919 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt Leasehold in the sense of the limited taking over of the use of land used for agricultural or gardening purposes against payment of a rent, was attested in Mesopotamia from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Both institutional households ( Palace; Temple) as well as private individuals could function as lessors. The rent was set either at an absolute value in kind or silver, or as a part of the harvest. The one third leasehold, which meant that the lessor received 1/3 of the harvest and the leaseholder received 2/3, was typical above all for the ea…

Surety

(967 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Hans (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Meissel, Franz-Stefan (Vienna)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East There is evidence of personal (corporal) liability through surety (especially standing surety for another, rarely for oneself) as a means of guaranteeing a contract in Mesopotamian cuneiform texts from the mid-3rd millennium BC [2. 253] into the Hellenistic period [3. 64-69], using different terminologies and in different forms. The Gestellungsbürgschaft ('surety of appearance') was common (promise of the guarantor to deliver the debtor to the creditor for enforcement). In the late Babylonian (6th-4th cents. BC) Stillesitzbürgschaft ('s…
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