Part of the multi-volume work
Volume 17,1 in this series
Despite siginificant advances in annual chronology, the Old Assyrian trade fundamentally lacked a regime of time at the level of the merchant’s commercial and personal activities. In this book, Stratford sets out to recapture time through narrative, drawing on the relationship between the two described by the philosopher Paul Ricouer. Investigating a possible case of revenge leads to weaving together more than a hundred mostly undated documents to form a narrative within the course of a single year of vengeance, including trade disruptions, illnesses, and commerce. This process demonstrates relationships between document and material context, and time and narrative. Along the way, Old Assyrian commercial time and its tempos become more clear, leading to descriptions of the scale of the trade and the nature of Old Assyrian archives as they have survived. Ultimately, the Assyrians involved appear as the earliest historical individuals in world history. The treatment of Šalim-aḫum’s apparent revenge comprises a practicuum in historical interpretation in the ancient world of interest to practitioners and theoreticians of both the ancient world and world history.