Online ISSN : 1884-1392
Print ISSN : 0473-3851
ISSN-L : 0473-3851
The Broken Staffs
Disinheritance in Emar in the Light of the Laws of Ḫammurabi § 169 and the Nuzi Texts
Masamichi YAMADA
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2014 Volume 49 Pages 171-185


In the Emar texts, there are found two references to gišḫaṭṭa šebēru, “to break a staff,” a symbolic act denoting disinheritance of a son. Here, the staff seems to represent the status of son who supports his parent(s). Among them Emar VI 256 is particularly noteworthy, since it suggests that a certain Addu broke two staffs in total to disinherit his son Ḫulaʾu. This reminds us of the Laws of Ḫammurabi § 169, which prescribes that father may disinherit his son only if he commits a grave offense a second time. The present writer posits that this pardon once of son’s grave offense before disinheriting him was a desirable practice, though not an institution, in Emar as it was in Nuzi. The above equation between gišḫaṭṭu and the status of son in general has hitherto been attested only in Emar, not in OB Sippar as well.

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