Die aramdischen Texte aus Tall Seh Hamad/Dur-Katlimmu/Magdalu. By WOLFGANG ROLLIG. Berichte der Ausgrabung Tall Seh Hamad/Dur-Katlimmu, vol. 17. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2014. Pp. lxiv + 284, illus. [euro]84.
During the seventh century BC Shulmu-sharri, an Assyrian royal official, lived at Dur-Katlimmu on the Habur river. His mansion, the "Red House," was excavated by a German team under the leadership of Hartmut Kuhne between 1984 and 2010. In it lay the remnants of his archive: clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform and other clay documents inscribed in Aramaic. They reveal he acted as a money-lender and acquired property and slaves and livestock on a large scale. Karen Radner edited the 205 cuneiform tablets, mainly legal deeds, from his and other houses in Die neuassyrischen Texte aus Tall Seh Hamad (2002) with a few additions, including a literary fragment and pieces of two letters ("Neue neuassyrische Texte aus Dur-Katlimmu: Eine Schulertafel mit einer sumerisch-akkadische Konigshymne und andere Keilschriftfunde aus den Jahren 2003-2009," in Dur-Katlimmu 2008 and Beyond, ed. Hartmut Kuhne [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010], 175-89).
Wolfgang Rollig cooperated with her in that volume because five dozen or so of the tablets bore Aramaic notes scratched or written in ink on them. As well as writing notes on cuneiform tablets, scribes also wrote texts entirely in Aramaic. Most of those found are on triangular tablets, "dockets," which were formed around the knots of strings possibly in order to attach them to duplicate texts on leather or papyrus, types of document well attested at Assyrian sites. Now Rollig presents his edition of 174 dockets (D 1-183) and some other Aramaic texts found by the archaeologists (1-27**), adding ten "stray" dockets found accidentally or by treasure hunters, sold on the antiquities market and published elsewhere (D1 -10*). Regrettably, this significant addition to the corpus of Old Aramaic texts is limited because of damage done during the burning and destruction of the buildings; Rollig's patience and discernment in editing them evokes admiration and gratitude. Only about a dozen dockets are completely preserved and several are no more than fragments bearing traces of a few letters. However, their contents are readily recognizable as deeds of loan, mostly of grain or money (silver), thanks to the examples from other sites.
Following preliminaries on pp. I-LXIV, including lengthy bibliographies and...