This paper aims to survey the onomastics of Babylonian women in the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods (from the end of the 8th century BC to the end of the 4th century BC). After the introduction, we discuss Akkadian personal names on the basis of abundant Neo-Babylonian socio-economic texts. Our database shows that there were several popular categories of names for newborn girls. While most names could be given to women belonging to different social groups, we also observe the social homogeneity of those bearing certain names or categories of names. In the third section, we will discuss the recurrence of some particular theophoric elements, which allows us to assess the roles and statues of several goddesses, such as Ba’u, Mullissu, Ištar and Nanaya. Finally, the fourth section deals with non-Babylonian names: on the one hand, a sample of names that occur in the Āl- Yāḫūdu archives and showing cases of assimilation of Judean community to the Babylonian people, and on the other hand other foreign names, like Iranian names, borne by Babylonian individuals in the first millennium BC.
The status of women in Neo-Assyrian palaces is well documented, and has been for a long time, through texts and archaeological finds. It reveals that what we could term the Queen’s Household as an institution was a powerful element of the Neo-Assyrian palatial system. Women who operate in the Queen’s Household possess an economic power that can be considerable. Every place where the Queen is present, and even every place where she owns large domains, generates a Queen’s Household with female staff used for service, production, and administration. On the royal administration’s model, these Queens’ Households are placed under the authority of an administrator-in-chief, the šakintu. This person manages and controls the finances of the House placed under her authority, as the Queen would herself do it, as in fact the lady of the house would in general. These šakintus rely both on the power that their function affords them, and on belonging to family or ethnic networks that are a useful complement to their economic role. This economic role is indeed not ordered along a male/female distinction only. The marriage of Ṣubētu, the daughter of the šakintu Amat-Astarti is a good example of the status and economic power of such a woman.
This paper will examine three professions (šu-i2, tug2-du8, and i3-du8) in the Presargonic E2-MI2 Corpus that included both male and female members, with the aim of assessing their socio-economic status and roughly delineating their internal organization. A pattern seems to be discernible, namely that each group was comprised of men who held subsistence land and thus were listed in Type I ration lists, and men and women who held no land but received barley rations every month, and thus were listed in Type II or IV lists. Assuming that the ration lists and land allotment texts reflect the socio-economic status of a receiver, these documents should in turn reflect the workforce hierarchy.
One of the goals of the REFEMA research program was to try to delineate professions and professional skills according to the gender of their holders, as this distribution is not always as simple as it sounds. For the Neo-Sumerian period (XXIst Century BC), through examples from the Codex Ur-Namma and the general administrative records, this short paper tries to delineate male and female occupations. Dedicated to some new evidence regarding women at work, this paper also deals with professions for which gender is not immediately apparent and that are automatically considered to be exercised by men, while they could actually have been performed by women. Finally, it is observed that, during the Ur III period, women were able to perform occupations that one would not have a priori expected, as they were in most cases held by men.
Nuzi palace tablets, especially the lists of personnel and of barley rations, provide information about the workforce managed by this institution, and by other palaces of the kingdom of Arraphe. These people are refered to either as nīš bīti, “household staff,” or as slaves. It is possible to estimate their number, which amounts to several hundreds or people, and to examine the composition of the workforce, since the tablets sometimes give details about gender and age of the workers, their professional specializations, and their family relationships.
The Old Assyrian tablets, dated mainly to the nineteenth century BC and excavated at Kültepe, ancient Kaneš, document the activities of women living in Aššur and Kaneš as housewives and businesswomen. Women alone in Aššur were in charge both of the managing of the household and the maintenance of the building housing the family. Their letters sent to Kaneš show that they could own the house in which they were living. Purchase contracts involve Kaneš women buying houses, and in their testaments, the Assyrian merchants could decide to donate their houses to their wives, daughters or sisters.
This article surveys the economic activities of the nadītum-women cloistered in Sippar, as reflected in the Old Babylonian field lease contracts published by L. Dekiere in MHET II/1–6. The survey addresses the size of the leased fields, the subsistence level of a farmer in that period, rental rates, the timing of concluding a field leasing contract, locations of fields, and the amount of the land held by some of the prominent nadītum-women. Some nadītum-women accumulated as much as 44 iku (about 15.8 hectatres) or even 70 iku (25.2 hectares) of land to lease during their residency in the cloister and can be characterized as women entrepreneurs.
It is known that Emar had customary law, as is shown by the use of the phrase kīma āli, “according to (the custom of) the city,” in eleven texts. Besides these, RE 61, a marriage contract of the Syrian type, is noteworthy for two unique expressions concerning women. The first is kīma mārāt Emarki, “according to (the custom for) the daughters of Emar” (l. 11), which shows that there was customary law for female citizens in Emar and that it regulated their marriages. The second is kīmamārat(uru.ki)Emarki šīt, “because she is a daughter of Emar” (ll. 17f., 21f.). An analysis of the text reveals that this clause is parallel to the almattu- azibtu formula attested in the texts of the Syro-Hittite type. The intent of both is to protect the legal status of free women who are in a socio-economically inferior position.
The article aims at a systematization of the evidence relating to Esarhaddon’s royal legitimacy in the various sources available, which include royal writings, letters, and chronicles. The discussion encompasses several facets of legitimacy discernible in the texts: characteristics of legitimate power, the role of administrative apparatus as an addressee of royal legitimizing rhetoric, and legitimization of power as an instrument of rule in contrast to physical and nonphysical coercion. The exceptional variety of legitimizing elements in the sources under consideration is understood as a response to Esarhaddon’s legitimacy crisis following his defeat in Egypt, which was compounded by constant opposition due to his irregular succession.
The Hittite texts titled išḫiul- are translated into English as either the king’s “instructions” for his of cials or “treaties” with foreign rulers. The verb išḫai-/išḫiya-, from which išḫiul- is derived, indicates that this noun represents a vertical relationship between the parties involved. In spite of that connotation, the Hittite king concluded some treaties with the Great Kings, his equals in rank. The purpose of this paper is to present the Hittite king’s employment of this term in imperial administration and diplomacy A philological analysis of the usages of išḫiul- reveals that it has three meanings: “the law of the gods,” “instruction of the king” and “treaty.” Its original meaning might be “the law of the gods.” The Hittites thought that the gods determined how they should be worshipped. Based on the responses of oracles, the king established concrete procedures of rituals and festivals for the gods on their behalf. He exercised this right even in state administration by dictating what he wanted of his subjects. Therefore, išḫiul- can be described as “the instruction of the king.” When the noun išḫiul- is used for diplomatic purposes, it is translated as a “treaty.” In the so-called “subordination treaties,” the Hittite king issued the išḫiul-treaties, stipulating what he demanded of subjugated kings, just as he had concerning his subjects. However, when a Hittite king concluded a “parity treaty,” he had to moderate the connotation that accompanied the noun išḫiul-. The Hittite king explained that he and his partner had mutually imposed the išḫiul-treaty, or that the god had imposed it upon both parties. If the Hittite king wanted to express friendly and neutral relationships with a foreign ruler without connoting the hierarchical order, he might have used the alternative diplomatic term takšul-.