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Administration of the Judicial System in the Late Babylonian Period

Pages 47 - 66


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1 This article is related to a forthcoming volume (F. R. Magdalene, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, with contributions by E. Frahm, G. Frame, K. Kleber and C. Waerzeggers, Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law in Late Babylonian Legal Texts, AOAT, Münster). I thank my co-authors for their many contributions to our understanding of the ḫīṭu-clause (see further below) and for encouraging me to publish separately my insights in regard several of the texts that involve the administration of the court system in the Late Babylonian period. I am, as always, deeply indebted to Cornelia Wunsch for her fine Assyriological skills, which are apparent throughout this article. Bruce Wells read additionally a draft of this article, and to him I offer my gratitude. I, of course, am responsible for any remaining errors. Sincere thanks are also due to a number of colleagues who alerted us to several unpublished texts and fragments and kindly agreed to provide text editions within the volume or ceded their prior rights to publish editions, including: Eckart Frahm, Grant Frame, Michael Jursa, Karlheinz Kessler, Kristin Kleber, John MacGinnis, Elizabeth Payne, Asher Ragen, Małgorzata Sandowicz, and Caroline Waerzeggers. Thanks are owed additionally to the U. S. National Endowment for the Humanities for its award of a Collaborative Research Grant to Bruce Wells and me for the project, Neo-Babylonian Trial Procedure. Research for the volume and this article was funded in large measure by this organization. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these publications are those of the author/s alone and do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The 2010–2011 Bridwell Library Scholars Fellowship of the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, provided me additional support for the writing of this article. Finally, persons who are unfamiliar with abbreviations for Assyriological texts may find a list of those used herein at the end of this article.

2 For a profitable summary of Neo-Babylonian substantive law, see J. Oelsner, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Neo-Babylonian Period, in: R. Westbrook (ed.), A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law, 2 vols., HdO 72, Leiden 2003, 2: 911–974.

3 CT 22 231 records, for instance, a letter from a royal official to the temple administrator of Sippar, informing him that the king has instituted a new rule of legal procedure. Unfortunately, the rule itself is in the break. For further on legal procedure in the Neo-Babylonian period, see F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales of Righteousness: Neo-Babylonian Trial Law and the Book of Job, BJS 348, Providence 2007, 55–94; cf. S.E. Holtz, Neo-Babylonian Court Procedure, CM 38, Leiden 2009.

4 This subject is too large to address here in full. See further F.R. Magdalene, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law (see n. 1).

5 As noted by R.C. Bonges: “The power invoked by the court…to punish for contempt…is inherent in the courts because it is necessary to the execution of the court's powers” (Criminal Law: Reiterated Contempt of Court, Michigan Law Review 62, 1964, [1061–1065] 1062). Concerning the modern concept of contempt of court, see further Notes, Civil and Criminal Contempt of Court, Yale Law Journal 46, 1936, 326–330; D.G.T. Williams, Contempt of Court, Cambridge Law Journal 27, 1969, 9–12; J. Young, The Contempt of Court Act 1981, British Journal of Law and Society 8, 1981, 243–255; and H.C. Black, et al. Black's Law Dictionary, 6th edn., St. Paul 1990, 319.

6 These texts are twenty-four in number and include: AnOr 8 45 and 46; BIN 2 114; BM 58584, 64070, 65784, 85223, 74006, and 114471; JCS 28 48 no. 43; NCBT 525; PTS 2279, 2840, and 3224; R 5428; TCL 13 142; YNER 1 7; YOS 6 108, 147, and 213; and YOS 7 25, 137, 177, and 178. Unpublished texts will be published in F.R. Magdalene, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law (see n. 1). Three of the texts, BM 85223 and 65784; and PTS 2279, will not be discussed herein because of certain complexities in the texts, which go beyond the scope of this article. They will be treated in ibid. Of the twenty-one to be addressed herein three are from the Ebabbar temple archive from Sippar (BM 58584, 64070, and 74006); one (R 5428) is of unknown provenance; and the remaining texts are from the Eanna temple archive from Uruk. For a summary of each text's archive, date, primary issue, assignee, assignor, and overlord, see the chart in section IX of this article.

7 Within our collection of Neo-Babylonian documents that contain the ḫīṭu-clause, there are several texts that reveal so little of their original situation that it is difficult to establish with certainty the context in which they arose–administrative or judicial. We have included here those texts that we believe may well have arisen in judicial contexts due to the presence of the factors listed above. We have ten such texts: in eight, an obligation to the court is assumed in the form of a guarantee (BM 74006 and 114471; PTS 3224; R 5428; YOS 6 147 and 213; and YOS 7 177 and 178). The remaining two texts entail obligations in the nature of a guarantee but do not contain formal guarantee language (NCBT 525 and YOS 7 25).

8 See n. 6 above.

9 The texts are all written in the Neo-Babylonian dialect of Akkadian. Linguists often classify the language from the period after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian empire as Late Babylonian. The vast majority of texts that fall into this category, however, come from a more confined chronological span, namely, the late seventh through the early fifth centuries BCE. This means that the bulk of Neo-Babylonian documents date to the time of the Neo-Babylonian empire and the early Persian rulers into the reign of Xerxes when a major break in the archives occurs. The dates for these empires are conventionally set at 612–539 BCE for the Neo-Babylonian empire and 539–332 BCE for the Persian empire. Regarding the break in the archives, see C. Waerzeggers, The Babylonian Revolts against Xerxes and the “End of Archives”, AfO 50, 2003/2004, 150–173. The term “Late Babylonian” will be used to refer to the time period of the texts under study.

10 We believe that other such texts are extant, but this is our current sample of known texts: AnOr 8 45, 46, 61 and 67; AOAT 398 O.78; BIN 1 169; BIN 2 114; 116; BM 31696, 31801, 33121, 54069, 58584, 59588, 63199, 64070, 64245(+74544), 65784, 67116, 67199, 74006, 74463, 85223, 103557, 103762, 113407, 113434, 114470, 114471, 114557, and 114597; GCCI 1 307; GCCI 2 101, 103, and 120; Iraq 59 155 no. 9, and 60 209 no. 3; JCS 28 48 no. 43; BaAr 6 4 and 83; NBC 4778; NCBT 525, 642, 648, and 989; OECT 10 241; PSBA 38 27; PTS 2084, 2279, 2291, 2840, and 3224; RA 102 101; R 5428; TCL 12 80; TCL 13 135, 137, 142, 150, 152, 162, 163, and 168; VAS 20 87; YBC 7414; YNER 1 1, 2, and 7; YOS 6 108, 147, 151, and 213; YOS 7 25, 50, 56, 69, 85, 90, 92, 94, 116, 123, 127, 129, 137, 160, 168, 172, 177, 178, 187, and 192; and YOS 19 18 and 110.

11 Standard translations for ḫīṭu are “fault, damage, sin, offense, crime, punishment”; see CAD Ḫ 210 (s.v. ḫīṭu A).

12 AnOr 8 61 and 67; BIN 2 116; BM 31696, 31801, 33121, 59588, 64070, 65784, 67116, 74006, 74463, 85223, 103557, and 114597; GCCI 2 101; BaAr 6 4 and 83; NBC 4778; NCBT 642 and 989; OECT 10 241; PSBA 38 27; PTS 2084, 2279, and 2291; R 5428; TCL 13 135 and 162; YBC 7414; YNER 1 2 and 7; YOS 6 108, 151, and 213; YOS 7 50, 85, 123, 129, 137, 187, and 192; and YOS 19 18 and 110.

13 AnOr 8 45 and 46;e BM 113434; BIN 1 169; BIN 2 114; BM 113407, 114470, and 114557; GCCI 2 103 and 120; Iraq 60 209 no. 3; JCS 28 48 no. 43; NCBT 525 and 648; TCL 13 142, 150, 152, and 168; and YOS 7 56, 92, 127, 160, 168, 172, 177, and 178.

14 PTS 2840 and 3224;e RA 102 101; TCL 13 137; VAS 20 87; and YOS 7 69 and 90.

15 Iraq 59 155 no. 9; TCL 12 80; TCL 13 163; YNER 1 1; and YOS 6 147.

16 BM 114471 and YOS 7 25.

17 BM 54069 and BM 64245(+74544).

18 YOS 7 116.

19 BM 103762.

20 GCCI 1 307.

21 BM 63199.

22 BM 58584.

23 AOAT 398 O.78; BM 67199; and YOS 7 94.

24 BM 59588, 67199, and 114557; GCCI 2 101; BaAr 6 83; NBC 4778; OECT 10 241; YBC 7414; YOS 6 108; and YOS 7 116 and 192. On four of the tablets, the verb is not preserved (BM 63199; Iraq 60 209 no. 3; and PTS 2084 and 2291).

25 For some time now, the precise meaning of the ḫīṭu-clauses in these documents has remained an enigma. M.G. Kozuh described the situation in 2006: due to the documents' “limited contexts, it is difficult to discern anything about this phrase apart from a word-for-word translation, which is itself debatable. There has been surprisingly little speculation on the applicability of this often-quoted phrase to the situation in which it occurs” (The Sacrificial Economy: On the Management of Sacrificial Sheep and Goats at the Neo-Babylonian/Achaemenid Eanna Temple of Uruk [c. 625–520 BC], Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2006, 102). It is not only the limited textual context but also the variety of different social-political contexts that hampered its understanding. Still, various opinions have been offered. Most commonly, scholars assert that this phrase is a general penalty clause, referring to a punishment of some sort (see, e.g., H. Petschow, Neubabylonisches Pfandrecht, ASAW, Philologisch-Historische Klasse 48/1, Berlin 1956, 29–30). The exact nature of the punishment, they say, will be assessed at a later time by the individual named in the phrase––such as the king––or by his appointed agent. Other interpretations have been suggested, but all views to date have been based on a limited sample of texts and a limited analysis of the clause. See further P.-A. Beaulieu, New Light on Secret Knowledge in Late Babylonian Culture, ZA 82, 1992, (98–111) 105, 109; M.A. Dandamaev, Slavery in Babylonia: From Nabopolassar to Alexander the Great (626–331 BC), trans. V. Powell, ed. M.A. Powell and D.B. Weisberg, Dekalb, Ill., 1984, 493, 513, 520, 523; B. Janković, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: An Aspect of the Manpower Problem in the Agricultural Sector of Eanna, in: H.D. Baker and M. Jursa (eds.), Approaching the Babylonian Economy: Proceedings of the START Project Symposium Held in Vienna, 1–3 July 2004, AOAT 330, Münster 2005, (167–181) 176–177; F. Joannès, La pratique du serment à l'époque néo-babylonienne, in: S. Démare-Lafont (ed.), Jurer et maudire: Pratiques politiques et usages juridiques du serment dans le Proche-Orient ancien, Paris 1997, (163–174) 169; idem, Les textes judiciaire néo-babylonien, in: F. Joannès (ed.), Rendre la justice en Mésopotamie: Archives judiciaires du Proche-Orient ancien (IIIe–Ier millénaires avant J.-C.), Saint-Denis 2000, (201–239) 202–203, 205, 208–209; M. Jursa, Neu- und spätbabylonische Texte aus den Sammlungen der Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Iraq 59, 1997 (97–174) 105; K. Kleber, Zum Meineid und zu seiner Bestrafung in Babylonien, ZABR 13, 2007, (23–38) 34 nn. 41–42; eadem, Tempel und Palast: Die Beziehungen zwischen dem König und dem Eanna-Tempel im spätbabylonischen Uruk, AOAT 358, Münster 2008, 68–71; M.G. Kozuh, Sacrificial Economy (see this n. above), 101–105, 123, 264, cf. 266; T.G. Pinches, Two Late Tablets of Historical Interest, Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 38, 1916, (27–34) 28; J. Renger, Notes on the Goldsmiths, Jewelers and Carpenters of Neobabylonian Eanna, Journal of the American Oriental Society 91, 1971, (494–503), 497 nn. 8, 17, 23; G. Ries, Zur Strafbarkeit des Meineids im Recht des Alten Orients, in: V. Beuthien et al. (eds.), Festschrift für Dieter Medicus zum 70. Geburtstag, Cologne 1999, (457–468) 461–463, 465; H.W.F. Saggs, Two Administrative Officials at Erech in the 6th Century B.C., Sumer 15, 1959, (29–38) 35; M. San Nicolò, Review of A. Tremayne, Records from Erech. Time of Cyrus and Cambyses, and H.F. Lutz, Neo-Babylonian Administrative Documents from Erech, OLZ 32, 1929, (23–26) 25; idem, Parerga Babylonica VII: Der § 8 des Gesetzbuches Ḫammurapis in den Neubabylonischen Urkunden, ArOr 4, 1932, (327–348) 336 n. 1; M. Sandowicz, Oaths and Curses: A Study in Neo- and Late Babylonian Legal Formulary, AOAT 398, Münster 2012, 222, 237, passim; A. Tremayne, Records from Erech: Time of Cyrus and Cambyses (538–521 B.C.), YOS 7, New Haven 1925, 13, 19, 23; and R.P. Dougherty, The Shirkûtu of Babylonian Deities, YOSR 5/2, New Haven 1923, 52, 54, 60, 66, 70, 94; idem, The Babylonian Principle of Suretyship as Administered by Temple Law, AJSL 46, 1930, (73–103) 80, 91, 95; and idem, Archives from Erech: Neo-Babylonian and Persian Periods, GCCI 2, New Haven 1933, 29. More recently, M.W. Stolper has offered the translation “he (who fails to meet the obligation) bears the guilt of an offense against…”, thereby identifying the act of transgression and its resulting guilt, rather than the penalty aspect, as the main concern of the document. We would agree with Stolper, although his very brief analysis did not go into a detailed discussion of the clause (“No-One Has Exact Information Except for You”: Communication between Babylon and Uruk in the First Achaemenid Reigns, in: W.F.M. Henkelman and A. Kuhrt [eds.], A Persian Perspective: Essays in Memory of Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, Achaemenid History 13, Leiden 2003, [265–287] 266; cf. CAD Š/1 26 [s.v. šadādu 2h]).

26 On conditional findings and verdicts in the Neo-Babylonian period, generally, and their dependency on rational, rather than supra-rational, evidence, see B. Wells, The Law of Testimony in the Pentateuchal Codes, BZABR 4, Wiesbaden 2004, 108–126.

27 The law of agency, whether exercised between individuals or institutional agents, in the ancient Near East has not, to our knowledge, been studied systematically. A few of the small studies regarding the Neo-Babylonian period include: G. Ries, Die neubabylonischen Bodenpachtformulare, AZRG 16, Berlin 1976; H.D. Baker, Degrees of Freedom: Slavery in Mid-First Millennium BC Babylonia, World Archaeology 33/1, 2001, 18–26; J. Oelsner, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Neo-Babylonian Period (n. 2), 931; M. Weszeli, Zur Buchführung in Babylonien oder erneut zu ušazzaz(ma)…inamdin, WZKM 95 2005, 347–385; and R. Head, The Business Activities of Neo-Babylonian Private “Slaves” and the Problem of Peculium, Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 2010. Outside of the Neo-Babylonian period, see K. Radner, Die neuassyrischen Privatrechtsurkunden als Quelle für Mensch und Umwelt, SAAS 6, Helsinki 1997; and R. Westbrook, Introduction: The Character of Ancient Near Eastern Law, in: R. Westbrook (ed.), A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law, 2 vols., HdO 72, Leiden 2093 (1.1–90) 1.42. We take up the subject of agency in the Neo-Babylonian period more fully in F.R. Magdalene, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law (see n. 1).

28 This is not to say that we accept the kind of distinction between civil and criminal law that often applies in modern legal systems. On this point, see J. Renger, Wrongdoing and Its Sanctions: On “Criminal” and “Civil” Law in the Old Babylonian Period, in: J.M. Sasson (ed.), The Treatment of Criminals in the Ancient Near East, JESHO 20, Leiden 1977, (65–77) 71–72. By “civil” we are referring to acts that were considered as relatively minor economic and personal wrongs against an individual, such as not repaying a loan. By “criminal”, we mean more serious wrongs that included acts such as adultery, homicide, and theft. For a thorough and nuanced discussion of the various levels of wrongs within ancient Near Eastern legal systems, see R. Westbrook, Introduction (see n. 27), 75–82.

29 See R.P. Dougherty, Shirkûtu (see n. 25), 59–60; idem, Babylonian Principle of Suretyship (see n. 25), 101; M. San Nicolò, Eine kleine Gefängnismeuterei in Eanna zur Zeit des Kambyses, in: U. Wilcken, M. San Nicolò, and A. Steinwenter (eds.), Festschrift für Leopold Wenger: Zu seinem 70. Geburtstag dargebracht von Freunden, Fachgenossen und Schülern, 2 vols., MBPR 34–35, München 1944–1945, (2.1–17) 2.4–7; M.A. Dandamaev, Slavery in Babylonia (see n. 25), 492–493, cf. 174–175; and F. Joannès, Les textes judiciaire néo-babylonien (see n. 25), 202–205.

30 These are the temple administrator (šatammu) and the royal commissioner (ša rēš šarri bēl piqitti), respectively.

31 The text uses the language identical to YOS 7 187, another ḫīṭu text: ki-i man-ma ina lìb-bi-šú-nu a-na a-šar šá-nam-ma it-tal-ku (“if any of them has gone to another place”); cf. ki-i a-na a-šar šá-nam-ma it-tal-ku (“if he has gone to another place”) in YOS 7 177 and YOS 7 178, both of which are discussed herein.

32 See, e.g., AfO 17 2; F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales (see n. 3), 104–105.

33 On trial and pre-trial investigations in the Neo-Babylonian period and who might perform such an investigation, see F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales (see n. 3), 75–77.

34 Cf. CAD R 125 (s.v. ramanu f3′).

35 Such confessions are quite common in theft and other high culpability offenses. See, e.g., RA 12 6–7 and YOS 7 7; cf. Iraq 13 96–97.

36 See, e.g., AnOr 8 27; Durand Textes Babyloniens 6; TCL 12 117; YOS 6 137; and YOS 7 19, 88, 97, and 102. AnOr 8 27 involves a stolen temple spade that, after a confession by one of the perpetrators, “was placed in the Eanna” (i-na é iš-ku-nu). Durand Textes Babyloniens 6 refers simply to the “evidence of the stolen goods” (line 3: [ŠUII?] ṣi-bit-tú ša ta-bal; see CAD T 29 [s.v. tablu]) that temple officials in the city of Dilbat “sealed in the treasury of the god Uraš” (i-na É NÍG.GA duraš ú-kan-nuku-m[a]). TCL 12 117, YOS 7 19, YOS 7 88, and YOS 7 97 all speak of items that are tied up (rakāsu) and sealed (kanāku). YOS 6 137 says that a hide (šiḫṭu) – of a stolen and slain temple sheep – and a bronze cooking pot (mu-šaḫ-ḫi-nu UD.KA.BAR) were placed (šakānu) in the Eanna's storehouse (É.GUR7 = bīt karě). The text of YOS 7 102 combines all three actions covered by the previous texts: binding (rakāsu), sealing (kanāku), and placing in a temple (ina Eanna šakānu).

37 In some cases, the document reports that, in case of failure, the guarantor will pay a flat fee or some amount equal to what the defendant would have been charged had he been convicted. One might argue, then, that the ḫīṭu-clause is running in parallel to such provisions and is, therefore, a penalty. We believe, however, that the court had the option to determine whether it would issue a conditional verdict on the administrative offense with a pre-determined penalty in the case of breach. The court would set a pre-determined penalty only in those cases where it could easily determine the damages for the breach of administrative duty at the time the court assigned a guarantor for the defendant.

38 The witness who appears as Kīnaya/Zēria in AnOr 8 45 is the same as Ištar-mukīn-apli/Zēria in AnOr 8 46. See further M.A. Dandama(y)ev and C. Wunsch, YOS 6 225: A Dispute about a Sesame Delivery, in: L. Vacín (ed.), U4 DU11-GA-NI SÁ MU-NI-IB-DU11: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Memory of Blahoslav Hruška, Dresden 2011, (61–72) 68.

39 On this point, see S.E. Holtz, Neo-Babylonian Court Procedure (see n. 3), 180 n. 21.

40 M. San Nicolò, Parerga Babylonica VII (see n. 25), 338–339; F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales (see n. 3), 91–92; and M. Sandowicz, Neo-Babylonian Appeal Summonses, in: C. Wunsch (ed.), Late Babylonian Workshop in Honour of Muhammad A. Dandamaev: 53rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Babel und Bibel 4C, Winona Lake, Ind., forthcoming. Similar appeal summonses appear in AnOr 8 50 and TCL 13 222.

41 That the royal courts heard appeals from the temple court, see F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales (see n. 3), 64–65.

42 We suggest that the summoned individuals in these two cases will actually travel “with” (itti) the temple officials' entourage for protection. In YOS 7 31, on the other hand, the term itti conveys a different connotation. There, the summoned individual is to go to Babylon in order to “argue” (dabābu) the case “against” (itti) the temple officials (while he may or may not travel with the temple entourage). This is another difference between the texts. On the connotation of itti “against” in the context of legal procedure, see F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales (see n. 3), 91 n. 187; and S.E. Holtz, The Case for Adversarial yaḥad, VT 59, 2009 (211–221) 219–221.

43 See generally S.E. Holtz, Neo-Babylonian Court Procedure (see n. 3), 177–195.

44 On joint and severable liability, see H.C. Black, et al. Black's Law Dictionary (see n. 5), 837.

45 See G. Ries, Strafbarkeit des Meineids (see n. 25), 461–62.

46 K. Kleber, Eight Neo-Babylonian Texts with the ḫīṭu-Clause from the Eanna Archive (nos. 5–12), in: F.R. Magdalene, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law (see n. 1).

47 YOS 6 193 and YOS 6 234 also record the function of guarantor being assumed by the father of an individual. In the first, a man is suspected of having been involved in the theft of temple goods. His father guarantees that he will reappear before the temple officials presiding over the case should they summon him. No penalty is listed for the father if he fails in his duty. The context of YOS 6 234 is not at all clear. The text states that two men are guarantors for a woman. One of the men is the woman's father. They must present her to temple officials when so ordered. Penalty for their failure is a payment of two minas of silver. There is no clear pattern with respect to the role of the father as guarantor, the context in which he fills this role, and the penalties attached to his failure to perform the duties of guarantor.

48 See generally S.E. Holtz, Neo-Babylonian Court Procedure (see n. 3), 143–151.

49 For discussions of the document, see R.P. Dougherty, Shirkûtu (see n. 25), 60–61; and F. Joannès, Les textes judiciaire néo-babylonien (see n. 25), 209. Cf. M. San Nicolò, Parerga Babylonica VII (see n. 25), 336; and M.A. Dandamaev, Slavery in Babylonia (see n. 25), 540–541.

50 TCL 12 117.

51 As accomplices, they could be tried separately. On the other hand, they may have granted Ibni-Ištar entrance to the house innocently, believing that he was there on legitimate business, only to discover that he was not.

52 This is contrary to the view of Joannès, who states that bearing a “sin of the king” in this text refers to punishment for false testimony (Les textes judiciaire néo-babylonien [see n. 25], 208–209). Joannès is, however, assuming that the judges have already heard Baniya's testimony and that Baniya now bears an obligation to produce a corroborating witness. If he should fail, according to Joannès, the court will deem his testimony false. Even if Joannès should be right that Baniya gave testimony before YOS 6 108 was drawn up, there are no other occurrences of the ḫīṭu-clause that support this conclusion. Furthermore, persons appear to have been found guilty of false testimony in the Neo-Babylonian period only when they are guilty of wrongful prosecution and their accusation has been clearly refuted (see B. Wells, Law of Testimony (see n. 26), 149–55); and R. Westbrook, Introduction (see n. 27), 81.

53 BaAr 4 54 offers the background of several of the individuals named in this text. One discovers, in that text, that Šamaš-nāṣir was under the supervision of Arad-Annunītu and that Arad-Annunītu and his men had gone to Elam in the third year of Darius (the month is broken). BM 64070 was drawn up on 4.3.5 Darius and identifies one of the deserters (who “fled from Elam”; lines 12–13) as also “of” or “belonging to” (ša) Arad-Annunītu.

54 Courts were typically comprised of panels, but we see a few instances when a judge might act alone (J. Oelsner, B. Wells, and C. Wunsch, Neo-Babylonian Period [see n. 2], 919; and F.R. Magdalene, On the Scales [see n. 3] 56–57). It may have been possible for a single judge associated with the overlord to assess the penalty on an administrative violation.

55 A šangû is also a temple administrator similar to the šatammu, but there seems to have been some difference that justified a variance in title, at least beginning with the reign of Nabopolassar (A.C.V.M. Bongenaar, The Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar Temple at Sippar: Its Administration and Its Prosopography, PIHANS 80, Leiden 1997, 6–7, 11–12). The šangû was likely based in towns of somewhat lesser importance, in our case the Ebabbar. One possibility is that there was a connection between the presence of a governor (i.e., šākin ṭēmi) within a city and the type of administrator installed at that city's main temple. Cities with a šākin ṭēmi appear to have had a šatammu at their temples, while a šangû was stationed at the main temple in those that did not. In the absence of a šākin ṭēmi, the šangû took on a portion of the legal functions of the governor, at least at the local level. Perhaps the best evidence for this comes from records that show the šangû of the Ebabbar temple at Sippar involved in the adjudication of a number of cases (ibid., 22–24). The governor of Babylon, under whose aegis Sippar had been placed, would be brought in for especially important matters, but the šangû had evidently been vested with the authority necessary to rule on others.

56 Letters also reflect this administrative need. See, e.g., YOS 3 47.


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