The present paper offers an analysis of certain Northern Mesopotamian demons attested on an Aramaic incantation bowl in square script. This object displays at its centre a list of evil entities drawn from a Mandaic forerunner, some of which are paralleled in the epigraphic corpus of Hatra and nearby sites. The analysis explores whether this may provide new evidence regarding the fate of Hatra’s inhabitants and cults in the aftermath of the fall of the city in 240/1 AD; the suggested scenario is that some Hatrenes could have been deported to Babylonia, where they encountered the Mandaean culture in its early phases and acquainted it with a part of their pantheon.
Based on an analysis of marriage contracts, this paper argues that at the time of the Persian conquest (539 BCE) Babylonians practiced two types of marriage depending on their social status. Non-elite families negotiated different terms of marriage than elite families, in three areas: bridal wealth, household creation, and regulations about adultery and divorce. However, these divergent marriage practices became less pronounced and eventually obsolete in the course of the Persian period. This article first presents the evidence for the two marriage types and then seeks to find an answer, albeit a partial one, to the question why these traditions changed from c. 490 BCE onwards.
Tuṭṭanabšum, daughter of Naram-Suen, was one of the most powerful women of the Akkadian dynasty. The princess was installed as the high priestess of Enlil at Nippur; she held one of the highest cultic positions for the head of the Sumerian pantheon, in a city whose temple served as the religious capital of Sumer. Now, an administrative tablet from the Iraq Museum shows that Tuṭṭanabšum, like her father, was also elevated to the realm of the divine. Never before has there been evidence that a member of the Akkadian royal family other than the king was given divine status. The tablet demonstrates that the divinity adopted by Naram-Suen after his victory in the Great Rebellion applied not only to the king, but to other members of the royal family. Tuṭṭanabšum, therefore, was not only a member of the royal house and one of the highest cultic officials in the empire, but was also elevated to the divine realm.
This article focuses on female devotees and divine beneficiaries in Early Mesopotamia, analyzing the nearly 600 known objects dating to the third and second millennia BCE and dedicated by non-royals to the gods, in order to memorialize themselves and others. It seeks to track patterns of gendering objects, namely through the lens of female identities. Such patterns include the relationship between female devotees, goddesses, and particular object types, such as female genitalia. In addition, by taking an intersectional approach to women’s identities, we demonstrate that factors such as status complicate the overarching patterns in object choice. Certain elite women, for example, dedicated mace-heads – normally a male-coded object – to the gods. Commemorative objects dedicated by private individuals thus comprise a crucial data set for not only examining religious belief and practice across Mesopotamia, but also the particular ways in which dedicatory practice represented female identities and commemorated individual women.
The site of Sirkeli Höyük in the province of Adana in modern Turkey is one of the largest settlement mounds in Plain Cilicia. In 2012, a geophysical survey revealed that the ancient settlement was not confined to the höyük, but also encompassed an extensive lower town to the southeast of the main mound. To gain information on the dating and development of this part of the settlement, an excavation area (“Sector F”) was opened at a spot where the magnetometry survey suggested the presence of a city gate. Since then, archaeological work in this area has continuously produced new discoveries that help us understand how this residential area and its inhabitants developed throughout the periods of its occupation. Especially the Iron Age (Neo Cilician period) levels, which cover approximately the 11th–7th centuries B.C., provide important information on how this urban center of the Neo Hittite kingdom Hiyawa/Que changed over time and to which extent historical events impacted the people living in one of its residential areas. This contribution discusses the stratigraphic sequence, the pottery, and the archaeobotanical remains discovered in Sector F during the 2013–2019 campaigns, and concludes with a synthesis of the development in this area from a historical perspective.
Since 1927, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has kept a large collection of written objects excavated at Nuzi. While many complete tablets have been published over the years, many fragments still await study, and they are of prime interest for possible joins and for the reconstruction of fragmentary tablets. That is the case of this study, which offers the edition of a composite text. The joined fragments were initially catalogued as part of the same original tablet and later considered to belong to different texts; they finally turned out to belong together. The text adds new data to two extensively debated but not yet fully known topics: the organisation of the Arrapḫean army and the last period of existence of Nuzi. Almost a century after their recovery, the Chicago Nuzi texts keep yielding new information.
The first part of this article offers a structural analysis of the literary letter of petition Abaindasa to Sulge, one of the most unstable OB literary compositions that has posed considerable problems to scholars in the past. Both the difficult reconstruction of the text and questions as to its connection to other Sumerian literary letters will be analyzed. A close examination of the sources and identification of intertextual relations will help our understanding of its textual reconstruction and its place among different subgroups of Sumerian literary letters. The second part of the article will be dedicated to the edition of a previously unpublished duplicate of this letter in the Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva, supplemented by a comparison to another tablet with a Sumerian literary letter in the same museum, which might have been written by the same scribe.
This paper addresses developments in the prediction of weather phenomena in Late Babylonian scholarly texts. Previously published and unpublished texts are analyzed and the underlying methods are compared with omen-based weather prognostication, developments in Babylonian astronomical prediction and reporting practices in the astronomical diaries. It is found that some texts combine long-term astronomical prediction with inferential methods for predicting weather phenomena. It is argued that these new methods for predicting weather phenomena are part of a larger Babylonian effort to predict and explain non-astronomical phenomena by relating them to predictable astronomical phenomena.