As already noted by Waetzoldt (1970/71), there are several tablets that, while dated to the reign of Amar-Suen, nevertheless bear seal impressions with a dedication to his successor Šu-Suen. The recent publications of BPOA 6 and 7 (Sigrist and Ozaki 2009) add 10 new such tablets to this group. These include (arranged by date):
BPOA 6, 948 (AS 7)
BPOA 6, 788 (AS 8 xii 12)
BPOA 6, 1461 (AS 8)
BPOA 6, 824 (AS 9 i 2)
BPOA 7, 2818 (AS 9 i 30)
BPOA 6, 786 (AS 9 vii 30)
BPOA 6, 445 (AS 9 x 9)
BPOA 6, 250 (AS 9 xi)
BPOA 7, 1672 (AS 9 xii 16)
BPOA 7, 1725 (AS 9)
Several of these occurrences date to late in Amar-Suen˺s ninth year, after the king˺s death around AS 9 ii 9 (Sallaberger 1999: 167), and may simply be explained as honoring the new king—Šu-Suen—even if, for administrative purposes, the calendar had not yet recognized his ascension to the throne.
Nevertheless, at least five of the texts listed above are dated to before Amar-Suen˺s death. In his discussion of this phenomenon, Waetzoldt (1970/71) posited a co-regency for Amar-Suen and Šu-Suen, but the argument remains unconvincing (Sallaberger 1999: 166). Thus, other possibilities must be explored.
In attempting to answer this question, a comparative approach is useful. In particular, it is noteworthy that there are no attestations of seals dedicated to Amar-Suen before AS 1. Indeed, such seals are not even present during the short time between Šulgi˺s death ca. Š 48 xi 2 (Michalowski 1977b) and AS 1.
The case of Ibbi-Sin, the last king of the dynasty, is somewhat more complicated. Several tablets, e.g. SA 154, NYPL 264, and Nik 2, 190, bear impressions of dedicatory seals to Ibbi-Sin, but are dated to ŠS 9. The former is dated to the 11th month of the year, and thus approximately one month after Šu-Suen˺s death (Sallaberger 1999: 171). It is likely that NYPL 264 and Nik 2, 190, while not dated to the month, were similarly written after Šu-Suen˺s death.
More vexing are texts like SAT 3, 1892, BIN 3, 585, and SET 115. The first is dated to ŠS 9 ix 18, just a few days before our terminus ante quem for Šu-Suen˺s death. The texts BIN 3, 585 and SET 115, however, are unequivocally dated to a time when Šu-Suen was alive; the former to ŠS 9 v and the latter to ŠS 8. If, as in the case of Amar-Suena and Šu-Suen, a co-regency between Šu-Suen and Ibbi-Sin seems unlikely, then some other explanation is necessary. Was the end of Šu-Suen˺s reign plagued by internal strife as has been tentatively posited for the case of Amar-Suen (Michalowski 1977a)? Or can this phenomenon be explained via some mundane administrative practice that has yet to be discerned?
|1977a||“Amar-Su˹ena and the Historical Tradition.” In M. Ellis, ed., Essays on the Ancient Near East in Memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, pp. 155-157.|
|1977b||“The Death of Shulgi.” OrNS 46, 220-225.|
|1999||“Ur III-Zeit.” In P. Attinger and M. Wäfler, eds., Mesopotamien. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 160/3. Freiburg, Switzerland - Göttingen: Academic Press, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 121-390.|
|Sigrist, Marcel, and Ozaki, Tohru|
|2009||Neo-Sumerian Administrative Tablets from the Yale Babylonian Collection, Parts 1 and 2. BPOA 6 and 7. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.|
|1970/71||“Thronfolger auch Mitregent?” Mesopotamia 5/6, 321-323.|