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On some Basic Concepts in the Law of People Seeking Refuge and Sustenance in the Ancient Near East

Pages 323 - 342



1 Cf. E. Ebeling, Flüchtling, RLA 3, 1957–71, 88–90.

2 Not according to Biblical law (cf. Deuteronomy 23:16).

3 For provisions governing the extradition of fugitives already in the treaty of the third millennium between Narām-Sin, king of Akkad, and Elam, see W. Hintz, Elams Vertrag mit Narām-Sîn von Akkade, ZA 58, 1967, (66–96) 76, 91 and 93 (§ IV: 15–23). For evidence from Mari on the extradition of fugitives, intimating the existence of extradition clauses in the treaties of the Old Babylonian period, see J.M. Sasson, Instances of Mobility among Mari Artisans, BASOR 190, 1968, (46–54) 51. For treaties of the late 16th century BCE from Alalah, which include such provisions, see AT 2 and 3. For such provisions in the Hittite treaties, see V. Korošec, Hethitische Staatsverträge, LRWS 60, Leipzig 1931, 64f., 80f.

4 See E. Ebeling, Flüchtling (see note 1 above), 89.

5 That is, that his declaration of his readiness to enslave himself was made in the presence of witnesses, and that the act was embodied in a written document.

6 The basic meaning miqtu is “collapse, downfall, defeated”: CAD M/II, 105ff., sub miqtu. As a term, when applied to a person in the meaning of a social class (see there sub meaning 7), may be understood as one who has been thwarted by fate, a beaten person. The term is related to maqtu, which, when applied to a person, means a “destitute, uprooted person, fugitive”: cf. CAD M/I, 255, sub maqtu, meaning 2.

7 For a more recently rendering see CAD M/II, 105b, sub miqtu, meaning 7, as well as M.T. Roth, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (edited by P. Michalowski), Writings from the Ancient World series, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia 1995, 29, whose translation is followed here.

8 The text, indeed, does not explicate that the reference is to a free person, but this may be inferred from a comparison with clauses 12–14, which refer to a female slave or a male slave (géme arad).

9 MSL I, pp. 48–50. For the section under discussion, see M. David, Die Adoption im altbabylonischen Recht, LRWS 23, Leipzig 1927, 21f.; B. Landsberger, Die Serie ana ittisu, MSL I, Roma 1937, 149, as well as pages ii-iii for the date of this work, which most likely originated in the beginning of the second millennium.

10 See AHw III, 1171b, sub šapāru(m), Gtn meaning 8; CAD Š/I, 431b, šapāru meaning 1a2′.

11 Pace M. David, Adoption (see note 9 above), 116, who took the following lines (47–55) to be part of this case, and accordingly understood it that beside the payment of the 2 minas of silver, he was reduced to slavery until the death of his adoptive father. That these lines should not be taken to be related to the case of lines 21–46, is indicated in the first place by the style of these lines. We have here three groups of formulations, terms and expressions: these relating to entering slavery (47–50), expressions of defined or undefined future (51–54), and formulation of non-claiming clause (55). These formulations are comparable to such clauses as e.g., Tablet 3, col. iii, 1–4, 5–8, 9–20, 21–27, etc.

12 J. Lewy, Old Assyrian Documents from Asia Minor, AHDO 1, 1937, (91–108) 106ff. For the interpretation of this document see A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents from Nippur, Iraq 17, 1955, (69–89) 72f., and R. Yaron, Redemption of Persons in the Ancient Near East, RIDA (3e srie) 6, 1959, (155–176) 160f.

13 The lack of any mentioned of payment, a most essential element in sale transactions, seems to be the reason behind the need to include a reference to the fact that the transaction was made under distressed condition; cf. A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents (see previous note), 72. This seems also to be the reason behind the statement that Walkuwa kept them alive. The transfer of ownership became, thus, a recompense for this benefaction.

14 H.A. Hoffner, The Laws of the Hittites: A Critical Edition, Leiden-New York-Köln 1997, 137f. Cf. J. Friedrich, Die hethitischen Gesetze, 2nd edition, Leiden 1971, 76.

15 Hoffner has noted that this wording (“his substitute”) would lead us to conclude that at an earlier stage of Hittite law the free man himself, who owed his life to his sustainer, became his lifelong slave. At this late date it was allowed that the free man give another, most likely a slave, to serve his benefactor: H.A. Hoffner, The Laws of the Hittites, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University (Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms No. 64-3072) 1963, 318. See further R. Yaron, On Section II 57 (=172) of the Hittite Laws, RIDA (3e série) 10, 1963, 137–146.

16 G.R. Driver and J.C. Miles, The Assyrian Laws, Oxford 1935, 406f., 478 (philological notes), and 279–284 for legal commentary.

17 Cf. A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents (see note 12 above), p. 75, note 20 (bal-[lu]-ṭa-at); CAD B, 57, balāṭu meaning 3c. But see for different rendering – bal[lu]ṭat – CAD M/II, 157, mublliṭanu, and cf. G. Cardascia, Le Lois Assyriennes, Paris 1969, 200.

18 Following A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents (see note 12 above), 75.

19 For transliteration and translation, see M. David and E. Ebeling, VIII. Assyrische Rechtsurkunden, ZVRW 44, 1929, (305–381) 311f., and see the translations and comments of A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents (see note 12 above), 73, with note 17 for full translation, and R. Yaron, Redemption (see note 12 above), 167f. Oppenheim's translation is followed here.

20 For liqi “adoption” see now CAD L, p. 208, s.v. So already Oppenheim; but see R. Yaron, Redemption (see above note 12), 167f. with note 20 (“acquired?”).

21 I have followed here Y. Muffs, Studies in The Aramaic Legal Papyri From Elephantine, Leiden 1969, 123ff. Oppenheim: “He is satisfied and free (of any further claims).” Yaron: “He is satisfied and ‚clean’ (of claim).”

22 See e.g., ND 5463 (Neo-Assyrian) = B. Parker, The Nimrud Tablets, 1956 – Economic and Legal Texts from the Nabu Temple at Nimrud, Iraq 19, 1957, (125–138) 133; BM 74652 (Neo-Babylonian) = E.F. Weidner, Keilschrifttexte nach Kopien von T.G.Pinches: 1. Babylonische Privaturkunden aus dem 7. Jahrhundert v.Chr., AfO XVI, 1952, (35–46) 37; 2NT 293 and 297 (Neo-Baby Ionian) = A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents (see note 12 above), 87f.; YOS VI, 154 (Neo-Babylonian) = R.P. Dougherty, The Shirktu of Babylonian Deities, YOR V/II, New Haven 1923, 33, and cf. A.L. Oppenheim, Siege-Documents, 72.

23 For references see M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru, New Haven 1955, 32–50.

24 W.G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, Oxford 1960, 259 (sub Sm 61: 16–17).

25 M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru (see note 23 above), 23–32.

26 JEN V, 452, 453, 456, 458, 459, 463; Nu. 1023 (M. Greenberg, The Hap/iru, 23–27; for the rendering of ramaššuma “himself” see ibid 23, sub No. 33.

27 JEN V, 447, 448, 454, 455, 461, 462, 464 (M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru, 23–25, 31).

28 JEN V, 446; VI, 613 (M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru, 30f.).

29 For this designation, see M. Greenberg, TheḪab/piru, 23–32, 85–91, and more recently with full bibliography of previous literature – O. Loretz,Ḫabiru – Hebräer, Beiheft zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, No. 160, Berlin – New York 1984.

30 Food and clothing are explicitly stipulated in JEN VI, 613 (M. Greenberg, The Hab/piru, 30f.).

31 JEN V, 457; VI, 610 (Greenberg, 31f.).

32 R.H. Pfeiffer and E.A. Speiser, One Hundred Selected Nuzi Documents, AASOR 16, 1935–36, No. 29. It may be noted that such declarations exist also in some other documents from Nuzi involving servitude, documents of, or related to, the tidennūtu contracts, such as HSS V, 40; HSS IX, 13, 15; JEN III, 312, and many others. For this kind of document see B.L. Eichler, Identure at Nuzi: The Personal Tidennütu Contract and its Mesopotamian Analogues, New Haven 1973, and its Appendix 1 for the documents. For discussion of the so-called lišānu documents, formulated in the form of personal, oral declarations before witnesses, see P. Koschaker, Neue Keilschriftliche Rechtsurkunden aus der El-Amarna-Zeit, ASAW 39, 5, Leipzig 1928, 21–23.

33 H. Petschow, Die neubabylonische Zwiegesprächsurkunde und Genesis 23, JCS 19, 1965, 103–120.

34 H. Petschow, Mittelbabylonische Rechts- und Wirtschaftsurkunden, ASGW, 64, 4, Berlin 1974, 36–39.

35 H. Petschow, Zwiegesprächsurkunde (see note 33 above), 115–116.

36 The last two points mentioned are typical of the subgroup of documents designated by Petschow as “C”: H. Petschow, Zwiegesprächsurkunde (see note 33 above), 111f.

37 H. Petschow, Zwiegesprächsurkunde (see note 33 above), 107. For a discussion of this expression, see more recently Y. Muffs, Studies (see note 21 above), 128ff.

38 H. Petschow, Zwiegesprächsurkunde (see note 33 above), 115–117.

39 ibid., pp. 111, 116.

40 S. Greengus, Old Babylonian Tablets from Ishchali and Vicinity, Istanbul/Leiden 1979, 74–77, No. 326.

41 pillatum. The translation offered by Greengus is essentially contextual. For another possibility see S. Greengus, Old Babylonian Tablets (see previous note), 77, comment ad line 13.

42 Although his status might have been investigated. This may be inferred from lines 34–36, according to which if the person in question is a slave of a free man he is not granted a free leave but has to be delivered apparently to his lord or to the legal heir of his former lord.

43 Transliteration and the numeration of lines are according the recent edition of the text by M. Dietrich and O. Loretz, Der Vertrag von Ir-Addu und Niqmepa, in Gordon D. Young, Mark W. Chavalas and Richard E. Averbeck (eds.), Crossing Boundaries and Linking Horizons. Studies in Honor of Michael C. Astour on his 80th Birthday, Bethesda, Maryland 1997, 211–242.

44 So G. Giacumakis, The Akkadian of Alalah, The Hague and Paris 1970, 92, sub. paḫāru (pace the reading of D.J. Wiseman, The Alalakh Tablets, London 1953, 27; ta-ba-aḫ-ḫar-šu-nu), and so, obviously also E. Reiner, Akkadian Treaties from Syria and Assyria, in ANET3 (531–541), 532a, who translated here “you must gather them”. M. Dietrich and O. Loretz, Der Vertrag von Ir-Addu (see previous note), 220 preferred the reading ta-ba-aḫ-ḫar-šu-nu and translated “wirst du sie überprüfen” but see their remarks to this reading on p. 237 (ad 57).

45 For butalluṭu see CAD B, p. 62b (mng. 11: “to be provided with food”); AHw, p. 99b sub balāṭu(m) II Dt. (“Unterhalt, Versorgung empfangen”).

46 I take šumma la as a strong asseveration.

47 The name of the Hittite signatory of this treaty, which for a long time was an issue of uncertainty due to the fact that the opening lines of the treaty were damaged, has recently been established to be Tudhaliya on the base of a new collation of the text. See G. Wilhelm, Zur ersten Zeile des Sunassura-Vertrages, in E. Neu & Ch. Rster (eds.), Documentan Asiae Minoris Antiquae – Festschrift … Heinrich Otten, Wiesbaden 1988, 359–370. Yet, the precise identification of this Tudhaliya, either with Tudhaliya I/II or with Tudhaliya III, remained a matter of debate. For the former, see R.H. Beai, The History of Kizzuwatna and the Date of the Sunassura Treaty, Orintalia 55, 1986 (424–445), 433–445; G. Wilhelm, Zur ersten Zeile, 365–370; idem, The Hurrians, Warminster 1989, 30. For the latter, see more recently Philo H.J. Houwink Ten Cate, An alternative Date for the Sunassuras Treaty (KBo 1.5), Altorientalische Forschungen 25, 1998, 34–53.

48 The translation follows A. Goetze, Kizzuwatna and the Problem of Hittite Geography (YOS, Res. 22), New Haven 1940, 36–39, with minor changes. In mine opinion, lines 38–39 belong to the prologue, while the stipulatory section begins with line 40.

49 H. Klengel, Išuwa, RLA 5, 1976–1980 (214–216), 214.

50 For the reading cf. CAD M/2, p. 205.

51 This might have been correct if we could be sure that both models were indeed adduced by the Hurrian king and not only the model of refugees. This, however, is not the case here. The polemic with the Hurrians by no means was brought here in order to answer Hurrian accusations. The Hurrian king was not a party to this treaty and had no access to this document, and in such a case, the Hittite drafters had a free hand to assert whatever they deemed necessary to serve their legal needs. As I understand it, the model of the “stray oxen” rather served here the case of the Hittite king. For further discussion of the role of the polemic against the Hurrians in this prologue, see A. Altman, On the Legal Meaning of Some of the Assertions in the Historical Prologue of the Kizzuwatna Treaty (KBo I, 5), in J. Klein and A. Skaist (eds.), Bar-Ilan Studies in Assyriology, Ramat-Gan 1990, 177–206. A detailed discussion of the prologue will be given in my forthcoming study: The Historical Prologue of the Hittite Vassal Treaty, Bar-Ilan University Press, Ramat-Gan, Chapter 13.

52 With regard to the Sunassura treaty, note that neither the Hittites nor the Hurrians are mentioned here as demanding the return of their “refugees” – Kizzuwatna and Išuwa respectively. The only demand mentioned to extradition is the one that the Hittite king had extended with regard to his “slaves” that ran away, that is, the people of Išuwa after they had lost their status of “refugees”. Yet, this silence regarding both Hittite and Hurrian demands may be due rather to the Hittite interests in this specific case of Kizzuwatna, and it may be an error to try to infer from this prologue a wide acknowledgement in this right of sojourn.

53 Edition: G.R. Mayer, Zwei neue Kizzuwatna-Verträge, MIO 1, 1953 (108–123), 112–119. Recent English translation: G. Beckman, Hittite Diplomatic Texts (edited by H.A. Hoffner, Jr.), Writings from the Ancient World series, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia 1996, 12–13. Beckman's translation was adopted here.

54 In the treaty concluded between Telipinu and Isputahsu of Kizzuwatna (KUB XXXI 82: 7‚-8’), and in the treaty concluded between the Hittite king Tahurwaili and Eheya of Kizzuwatna (170/u+: 5‚-7’); see for both, Giuseppe F. del Monte, Note sui trattati fra Hattuša e Kizzuwatna, OrAnt 20, 1981 (203–221), 211. The pertained clause of both treaties has survived in very fragmentary condition.

55 For a most recent edition of both versions see E. Edel, Der Vertrag zwischen Ramses II. von Ägypten undḪattušili III. vonḪatti, Berlin 1997, and there 42–49 (§§ 11and 13) for the relevant clauses. For more recent English translation of the Egyptian version see K.A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions – Translated and Annotated: Translations, Vol. II: Ramesses II, Royal Inscriptions, Oxford 1996, 79–85, and for the Akkadian version, G. Beckman, Hittite Diplomatic Texts (see note 53 above), 90–95.

56 The positive attitude – at least of the Hittites – toward new immigrants is best reflected in many Hittite vassal-treaties which contain a stipulation to the effect that in case a community sets out and enters the land of the subordinate king, he must turn them over to the king ofḪatti: CTH 49.I: F 1‚-3’; 49.II: iv 1‚-5’ (Aziru); CTH 53: A iii 41–52 (Tette); CTH 62.II: A iii 12–22 (Duppi-Teššub); CTH 66: 61–69 (Niqmepa). The Hittite positive attitude toward deported population is best reflected in the “Instruction to the BĒL MADGALTI”: (A) KUB 13.2: iii 36–41; (B) KUB 31.84: iii 60–71 = E. von Schuler, Dienstanweisungen für höhere Hof- und Staatsbeamte, AfO Beiheft 10, Graz 1957, 48–50. This governor (of the frontier district?) was instructed to take care of the deportees, to settle them down, and to provide them with fields, seeds, cattle, sheep, etc.

57 As far as it concerned Hittite policy, it may be seen in the provisions made in many Hittite vassal-treaties stipulating that any fugitive coming fromḪatti – be it either a Hittite citizen or a deportee who was brought toḪatti but managed to run away – who entered the subordinate country, should be extradited to the Hittite king. In some cases, the Hittites had granted the other party with the same right (Šunaššura – CTH 41.I: A ii, 11‚-iii, 13), or at least promised him to return needed craftsmen who would run away from him (Targašnalli – CTH 67: obv. 35’-40‚, rev. 50–54; Alakšandu – CTH 76: A iii, 61–72). In the case of Ugarit, it was granted that the Hittites would return Ugaritic fugitives (RS 17.234 = PRU IV, 107f.), or that Niqmaddu would be entitled to keep any fugitive who would come to him from the neighboring countries (RS 17.369A = PRU IV, 52). In other cases, the Hittites stressed their rule that it is not permitted for the king ofḪatti to return a fugitive who came to him: CTH 49.II: iii, 17’-28‚, iv, 6’-11‚, 12″-14” (Aziru); CTH 51.I: A rev. 9–13 (Šattiwaza); CTH 53: A iii, 19–28 (Tette); CTH 62.II: A iii, 30–31 (Duppi-Teššub); CTH 66: 45–50, 70–78 (Niqmepa); CTH 68: E iv, 34’-45′ (Kupanta-Kurunta). It may be noted, however, that the stated Hittite rule, that no foreign fugitive who fled toḪatti is to be returned, not necessarily and not in every case was derived from, and was a symptom to, a shortage of manpower. In many cases, it might have derived from political considerations.

58 S. Greengus, Old Babylonian Tablets (see note 40), 77.

59 E. Edel, Der Vertrag (see note 55 above), 42–49. Numeration of lines and clauses followed this edition.


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