A Previously Unpublished Lawsuit from Ur III Adab: Notes


1. For the collection of Ur III texts kept in the California Museum of Ancient Art, see R. K. Englund, “The Ur III Collection of the CMAA,” CDLJ 2002:1.


2. Hence the impact of its calendar in the north of Babylonia (M. Cohen, Calendars, p. 203).


3. See W. Sallaberger and A. Westenholz, Mesopotamien. Akkade-Zeit und Ur III-Zeit (=OBO 160/3; Freiburg, Switzerland, 1999) 208 with further references (add MVN 3, nos. 174, 212, and 369 to Yang Zhi’s list in Adab, 24-35). In addition to these texts, it seems likely that NATN 116 also comes from Adab, and there are at least three further texts from the city published in MVN 13 (see T. Gomi’s review in JAOS 107, 146-151). M. Sigrist, Neo-Sumerian Archival Texts in the Nies Babylonian Collection (=CBCY 3; Bethesda 2001) lists 15 (add NBC 6672?) additional Adab texts kept in Yale. The Istanbul Archaeological Museum is said to have 11 Ur III texts from the site (Adab, p. 3, note 2). D. I. Owen (personal communication) reports that several Adab tablets from ancient Garshana are in the New York Rosen collection. Finally, N. Vanderroost will publish in the near future a further text from Adab now in a private collection in Europe. Apart from the tablets in Istanbul and this private European text, the Ur III texts from Adab seem to be found mainly in various American collections; the first extensive excavation of Adab began about a century ago under the direction of Edgar Banks and was sponsored by the Oriental Exploration Fund of the University of Chicago (see Yang Zhi, “The Excavation of Adab.” JAC 3 [1988] 1-21). Banks later sold a number of smaller groups of tablets to private collectors, colleges, museums, etc. in the United States (T. M. Sharlach, Bala: Economic Exchange Between Center and Provinces in the Ur III State [Harvard University Dissertation, Ann Arbor 1999] 7).


4. It should, however, be noted that although the present document in many respects resembles these texts, it does not represent a similar sale contract of the servant Ana-ḫili.


5. For new and important information concerning the familial relations of the Adab governors Lu-Ašgi and Ḫabalukke, see N. Vanderroost (forthcoming).


6. Note that this theophoric element can be found in a number of cities/archives in the central or northern parts of Babylonia, including the SI.A-a and Turam-ili archives, Tell al-Wilayah and Išan Mizyad. In the SI.A-a archive, the name is written in the same form in Adab, while it always is written d3-gi5 in the Turam-ili archive and in Tell al-Wilayah. In Išan Mizyad we find the writing d7-gi4 as well as the “compromise” d3-gi4 (see S. J. Garfinkle, Private Enterprise in Babylonia at the End of the Third Millennium BC [Columbia University Dissertation, Ann Arbor 2000] 123-124, with references;  A. Cavigneaux, “Une nouvelle graphie du dieu Aški,” NABU 1992/113).


7. The latest decisive evidence of Ur-Ašgi actually being the governor of Adab stems, as far as I know, from Shulgi 29 (UET 3, 19/SDU 67). As already suggested by D. I. Owen (MVN 3, 32, note 32), the well-known scribe ur-dpa4-mu-ra continued to use his seal, dedicated to Ur-Ašgi, for several years after Ḫabalukke’s succession to the office. As a matter of fact, Ur-Pamura even continued to use this “outdated” seal after he had acquired a new, correct one dedicated to Ḫabalukke (hence MVN 3, 188 [Shulgi 41] with old seal impression and NBC 6726 [Shulgi 40] with new impression). Another possibility would, of course, be that the text NBC 6726 simply was backdated one year.


8. The considerable length of the reign of Ḫabalukke should be considered in view of the fact that very few officials in the Ur III period occupied their posts for more than 20 years and the average was much lower than that. Hence P. Michalowski has stated about the Ur III governors: "Most of them had reigns which covered approximately ten years of so. The longest tenure on record is that of Ur-Lisi of Umma who governed that city for at least twenty-three years" (P. Michalowski, “Third Millennium Contacts: Observations on the Relationship Between Mari and Ebla,” JAOS 105, 296).


9. For minor local variations of year formulae related to the local pronunciation of place names that were by no means restricted to Shulgi’s reign, see S. J. Garfinkle, Private Enterprise in Babylonia at the End of the Third Millennium BC, p. 298.


10. UET 3, 15/SDU 69 is dated to Shulgi 47 with the formula: mu us2-sa Ki-maški ba-hul “The year after (the year): “Kimaš was destroyed”,” thus suggesting that the formula for Shulgi 46 was the regular formulae commemorating the destruction of Kimaš.


Version: 27 September 2002