A new volume of texts from Hellenistic Uruk.

Author:Wallenfels, Ronald

Hellenistic archival texts were first excavated at Uruk by W. K. Loftus between 1849 and 1852. In the intervening years, many hundreds more have come to light as the result of both controlled and uncontrolled excavations at the site. Today, these tablets are scattered in various collections throughout North America, Europe, and West Asia. (For a comprehensive compilation of published and unpublished cuneiform texts of all types from Hellenistic Uruk, see Oelsner 1986, 146-91.)

The publication of David B. Weisberg's hand copies of the fifty-four cuneiform tablets and unassociated fragments from Hellenistic Uruk in the collection of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago significantly enhances the corpus of such published material. The vast majority of the texts here are economic documents and include sales of prebends (nos. 1-8, 10-12, 15), sales of real estate (nos. 13-14, 16, 19-24, 26-38, 41), the sale of a prebend and real estate (no. 17), sales of slaves (nos. 39-40), dedications of slaves (nos. 43-44), divisions of property (nos. 45-46, 53), quitclaims (nos. 9, 18, 25, 42, 47, 48), and a donatio mortis causa (no. 49). These are supplemented by a letter (no. 50), a literary text (no. 51), an administrative text (no. 54), and an unidentifiable fragment (no. 52). They range in date from perhaps as early as the 20th year of the Seleucid Era (292 B.C.E.) through the 120th year of the Arsacid Era [or 184 S.E.] (128 B.C.E.).

In addition to the clearly drawn copies, the volume contains a brief introduction, classified catalogue of the texts, two comprehensive descriptive catalogues - one of the texts and the other of the seal impressions, indices of all personal and divine names, lists of feminine names, Greek names, the datable texts in chronological order, and a concordance of museum numbers. No transliterations or translations are included; as per prior arrangements, these will be forthcoming from J. Oelsner and G. Sarkisian.

A number of these texts, as well as their treatment by Weisberg in the "Classified Catalogue of Seleucid Texts," merit further attention. All collations noted herein were most generously provided by Professor Martha T. Roth at the specific request of this reviewer, who remains entirely responsible for their interpretation.

Te/t 1 records the sale by one builder to two others of a builder's, rather than a "bow fief," prebend; the relevant signs in text 1, and its duplicate, BRM 2 22, are DIM, not PAN. The text is dated to 77 S.E., i.e., during the reign of Seleucus II (Oelsner 1986, 272).

Texts 2, 5, 7, 9, and 17 treat a type of prebend unknown in previously published Hellenistic Uruk economic texts. It concerns rights to shares of the necks (5:2 ti-ik-ka-nu) of various animals used in temple meat offerings. Such cuts are otherwise only known in this period from an administrative text, a list of rations for kalu-priests (Bagh. Mitt. Beiheft 2 115) datable to ca. 200 B.C.E.

The last two lines (ll. 5[prime]-6[prime]) of the fragmentary text 3 join with the first two lines (ll. 1[prime]-2[prime]) of the fragment Bagh. Mitt. Beiheft 2 132, excavated from the Res temple during the 1959-60 season, and together form part of the duplicate to MLC 2201 (ll. 9-14), dated 12,II,116 S.E. (see Wallenfels 1992).(1)

Text 6 might be a duplicate of VAS 15 7, the latter excavated from the Res temple during the 1912-13 season. Both tablets attest to the sale of a prebend (erib-bituti: VAS 15 7) by La-basi (son of Ina-qibit-Anu: VAS 15 7) to Antiochis, daughter of Diophantos, and wife of Anu-uballit, whose other name is Kephalon, son of Anu-balassu-iqbi, a descendent of Ah-utu. Kephalon's title in text 6 (l. r.5[prime]) is written GAL SAG URU (collated), while elsewhere, in text 54 (ll. 2[prime], 16[prime]), it appears as GAL SAG sa UNUG (cf. GAL SAG URU sa UNUG, e.g., OECT 9 42 6-7).

Text 7 (OITC 2.2) is A 38704 and text 8 (OITC 2.1) is A 38703 (courtesy M. T. Roth).

Text 9 (ca. 75-125 S.E.) is, in part, a quitclaim in which the waiver, Sumuttu-Anu, son of Kitu-Anu, a carpenter,...

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