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The private and the institutional blends, again, imperceptibly. The importance of the institutions cannot be underrated. The degree to which a local economy is institutionalised will have to be discussed separately. But there is an important countervailing power which is inbuilt in the Mesopotamian environment. The broad outlines are too familiar to require more than a sketch. Dry-farming in the North and East, irrigation in the alluvium and a wide expanse of not nearly so degraded land as now with diminishing rainfall towards the South, eminently suitable for a way of life based on pastoralism, where desired with an admixture of arable agriculture.

This pastoral world is not institutionalised, but is situated geographically in between the two types of agriculture. We are dealing with three elements which the native Mesopotamians never managed to unite in a stable manner on their own. Only in the Persian period, with, perhaps, a prelude under the Chaldeans, can we perceive clear signs of institutional participation in the herding of sheep, the prime method of exploiting the steppe. In this world the step to purely arable based subsistence is easily made by the pastoralist, especially under the pressure of adverse circumstances.

Equally important is that intruders arrive not so much as individuals as as tribal groupings under their own leaders. These groupings are integrated in the regional social fabric by assigning them subsistence fields and by incorporating them in military structures.

At the end of the Ur period these structures became too strong for the political system of the day and they took over the institution-based economy of Mesopotamia, in the process fragmenting, and in the end almost destroying it. The survival of the system is, however, more or less guaranteed by the fact that a nucleus of those interested withdraws to safe places, maintaining a tradition which can be used to pressurise the monarch of the moment to restore what has been lost.

The Sippar tablet King, BBSt 36 is, pia fraus or not, the best information available and with Charpin's migration to the North of the Ur and Uruk "clergy", but not only them, the best authentic illustration of the tenacity of those deriving their income from an institution. The urge to restore in the Chaldean period is well documented, piety is usually given as the reason, but repairing the institutional system helps to stabilise the overall economy and it is a prerequisite for future expansion.

We look at the big local religious institutions which have been integrated into regional economic management systems. But there is something else, though traces are 10 I prefer to reserve the term "prebendary office" for those functions to which rights to income are attached which cover both a "remuneration" and that what is required to fulfil obligations related to the cult of the gods.

Sustenance fields assigned to persons of all ranks and functions I would not call prebends. In the Neo-Babylonian period families in the capital try to retain links with the local cult owned by the family even though the income derived from this source is not really important. The street corner chapels in Old Babylonian Ur, not in the area where Charpin's clerge' lived, can, perhaps, be seen as religion in private hands.

In state religion the temple relates to the king as the corner sanctuary relates to its owner in localised religion. There is a kind of "third structure" parallel to palace and temple. It is connected with the palace, and the palace is inclined to avail itself of under-used temple property for this structure.

It is the system whereby the government assigns land against military or other obligations. It is best known from the MuraSQarchive, but it is much older, in fact wellknown since Thureau-Dangin's short and to the point introduction to the SamaS-bazir letters. It has a clear ethnic aspect and is not restricted to the South. It is the bridge between tribalism and institutional structures.

It can be used to formalise the results of a Landnahme or to mitigate the all too incisive consequences of that process. That is the interpretation which can be provided for the policies of early NB kings like Eriba-Marduk and Marduk-apaliddina in the neighbourhoods of the old towns. The Nippur texts recently published by Cole15 illustrate the chaotic situation in Southern Mesopotamia in this period, and the assumption that there was sufficient land for the execution of a policy based on distribution of land is unproblematic.

The breakdown of order had made much land available. The question is whether such a policy was feasible during the Ur III period or in Hammurabi's time, when in the South the agricultural cycle had reached a high point preceding collapse. The question is that of the size of institutions compared to "economic space and opportunity in general". The degree of institutionalisation It is, on reflection, hard to imagine that the complete economic and social structure of the South was institutionalised, even in the late Third Millennium when the ideology that made a whole province the legitimate domain of its main god was officially accepted.

VS 5 , 6 89 and Charpin, Le clerge' d'Ur au sibcle d' ammurabi, Genbve-Paris , 27ff. It is "corner shop religion" for which I assume a local, voluntary, following, which has economically spoken, some value. VAN DRIEL the towns and in settled society as a whole contacts between the institutions and anyone of some means will have been inevitable. With the palace because it represents political power and taxation, with the temple because it represents religion and tithe. But especially because both institutions offer opportunities. They produce or receive goods in such quantity from producers lower down in the institutional structure that there is little room for marketing small scale surplus production, but at particular moments of the agricultural cycle they need so much labour that a possibility arises to supplement meagre subsistence income.

The institutional economy requires a certain labour reserve. No landowner can do without surplus labour at the moment he needs it, but he will preferably not sustain such a population for the whole year. The size of the urban institutions needs to be addressed. All talk of these phenomena has little sense if the means to tackle the problem are not present. The degree of institutionalisation will have varied from period to period and the documentation is woefully inadequate, but not entirely hopeless.

Though in themselves insufficient, the archaeological map, the BALA map and evidence like the collection of temple hymns can be fleshed out by using the within limits quantifiable institutional archives from Umma and Girsu, though the evidence is not very detailed for the North of the alluvium. It would be too subtle to attempt an adaptation of the Mari and Ebla material to include the central palace structures in a truly overall picture. The palace archive from Ebla deals almost exclusively with the "tributes and presents" department, the agricultural side of the Mari palace needs a comprehensive study.

But the situation around BC offers at least some possibilities for an answer regarding the size of institutions - and thereby indicates the scope for the non-institutional. The second possibility is offered by the Neo-Babylonian period, but we will have to strain the evidence even more.

The archaeological map, the restoration policies of the Chaldean kings and the Hof- und Staatskalender in its fragmentary state do not together cany the same weight as the earlier BALA map. The main difference between the situation around the middle of the First Millennium and that years earlier is not so much the documentation as the fact that the long term agricultural cycle is in a completely different stage.

In the other case a fresh period of increasing growth started slowly towards the end of Assyrian domination. At that point institutional Southern Mesopotamia again became a tool of the royal economic expansion policy in a world which had been tribalised for over years. The differences in the cycle are rather crucial when the situation of the institutions is considered, but their function in a centrally administered political system stands out all the clearer: they combine local interests with central requirements. The promotion of local interest is hardly visible in the earlier period, but that does not turn its reality into a mirage.

The suggestion that the Southern Mesopotamian economy and urban way of life goes through a number of cycles, which are more or less recognisable since the Uruk period, cannot be elucidated here. The idea is utterly dependent on the archaeological surveys, that is Adams, with occasional, but vital, bolstering up by textual material, notably that of the Ur I11 and Neo-Babylonian periods. During the meeting W. Jongman qualified the fact that the Mesopotamian agrarian economy is not a stable uniform phenomenon as an element of the longue durte, I yet regard these unstable, geographically shifting developments as a subject worthy of attention.

The basics are the same. The institution is a big landowner, with more land than it can cope with. For the production of the basic staple product, barley, it uses teams of men and oxen. Basically an ox team has four oxen, or, in the earlier period, "donkeys", and in the seeding period requires four men, of whom one, probably, can be a boy. In the later period the size of the team is standardised. In the earlier period it is a fairly informal, possibly local, family based structure, an aspect that has not disappeared in the later period, when the size of the institutional team has become an accounting unit with a fixed complement.

The team has more or less standard sized fields at its disposal on which fixed amounts of seed are used. The relations between the size of the field and the amount of seed are determined by the system of volume measurements obtaining in the respective periods. Though the size of the yield in both periods expressed as a seed to yield relation, to a certain neglect of other costs , is a matter of heated debate, it is "considerable", but, it is my impression, "more considerable" in the earlier than in the later period.

In the documented cases a direct seed to yield relation of one to ten is presumably a more or less guaranteed minimum in the earlier period, but not nearly so generally attained in the second. In the later period the production of dates probably compensates for this negative difference. Barley and dates are by then often used in equal proportions, which is clearly not the case in the earlier period. This probably means that a higher overall productivity per head could be attained.

The institution produces a surplus with relatively restricted means, and authorities are keen to expand the production, in both periods. Especially in the earlier period the local, provincial institutional economy, seems ideologically identical with the local divine estate, if we may interpret Ur-Nammu's assignation of provinces to their divine overlords. In this way there is a direct link between the monarch and the backbone of the local economy. In the second period the situation in both Sippar and Uruk remains unclear. There are indications of the existence of "secular", administrative institutions in both towns, but it is difficult to assess their importance.

The surplus produced by the institutions does not only sustain the cult, that is the local interests, but is also partially transferred for central purposes. The institutional structure and the surplus make the institution an attractive partner for the central authorities. The structure can be used as a source of organised manpower, while the importance of access to the surplus needs no explanation. The Chaldean restoration politics had more to them than nostalgia for former religious practise.

The earlierperiod "Ur to Samsu-iluna " : the size of the system This attempt rests on two assumptions. The first is that the Ur archives of Umma and Girsu are representative of the two complete provinces, that the ENSI'S administered the entire institutional sector, and that there is, for instance, not a particularly important additional section of the economy directly administered by the local royal palace.

The second is that we must be willing to transform the local evidence from the period into one institutional map covering the whole country. VAN DRIEL The first assumption is based on the idea that the Ur I11 kings confirmed the local heads of the pantheon as formal "owners" of their province,l7 which meant in practise that the management of the total institutional section was transferred, or rather assigned to the local governor.

Developments may occur which lead to the emergence of a royal section of the economy, but there are no clear signs that this section was sizeable in the provinces from which we have information. The second is not without risks but it is the only way to use the available evidence for our purpose.

The institutions of Southern Mesopotamia are best known from the Tello and Djocha archives. Their strength is the cereal surplus produced on ample land with limited manpower and investment. As in the first millennium, the institutions were restricted in their possibilities to expand the land under direct exploitation, probably due to the limitations imposed by manpower, which would presuppose a reluctance to enter the unfree status which work in the institution implies.

The role of indebtedness in maintaining the institutional labour force remains to be investigated, from at least Umma there is a notable number of texts which should be explored. The production of the surplus depends on the use of the seeder plough and its team. The amount of land which can be tilled with this plough can be put at between six and seven BUR, depending on the amount of additional land granted as maintenance land and which was tilled in the well-known extensive manner by the team. Seven BUR is a reasonable practical limit, i.

The number of plough teams is known with some certainty for Umma and for LagaS. In Umma there are institutional teams and in LagaS ,lg these numbers may be increased by some 10 to 20 in each case but that is of marginal importance. In LagaS, numbers of and teams found in certain texts are administrative speculation. In LagaS teams need per annum, or inclusive of fallow. Umma has only one real urban centre and in ApiSal a more rural district. The geographical position of Guabba is not known with sufficient certainty, which makes, together with the general uncertainties about the eastern borders, an estimate concerning the total surface area of LagaS a somewhat risky affair.

The situation concerning Umma is somewhat better, though it is complicated by the presence of Jidr WS 4 and the uncertainties about ApiSal. A minimum estimate of Of these the Umma institutions require, as, stated, ha. Even if the Umma reed fields cover half the area, a considerable amount of land remains. LagaS is probably much bigger than Umma, but relatively spoken its districts have even fewer institutional teams and therefore even more room for non-institutional agriculture, at subsistence level or otherwise.

There is in both provinces all the space needed for military or other groups systematically provided with maintenance land and also for the estates of high ranking persons partially visible in DuSabara or, in the Akkad period, in the Mesag archive. Kraus, ZA 51 , 45f, cf. An attempt at the reconstruction of the economic size of institutional Umma is in press with AfO. Its workings are incompletely known and with present knowledge even in the alluvium important political and economic centres are excluded: Ur, Uruk and Nippur. It can hardly be imagined that, for instance, Ur did not contribute to the state cult in the town.

Uruk and Ur are, like LagaS and to a somewhat lesser extent also Umma, big provinces. A crude calculation supposes that plus plough teams produce enough surplus, in the field of arable agriculture, for a four month period. Thus plough teams have to provide the surplus, excluding other requirements, needed for one month of the BALA. One team tills 7 BUR 45 ha , and needs another 45 ha for fallow, which for teams gives ha, an area with a radius of little more than 6. Discounting for the moment the LagaS towns, Umma and the privileged cities, 15 localities in the alluvium were involved in the B A L A.

If we attribute to these 15 towns on average half the potential we calculated as required for an Umma-Girsu-type month we arrive at a relative strength of 74 teams each, with, inclusive of fallow Whatever the many flaws of this reasoning, it supports the proposition that the land requirements for arable agriculture of the institutions which formed the economic core of the Ur political system were by no means excessive: An area of 50x50 km, plus, let us say, a quarter of that area for the potential of the privileged cities.

The combined institutions use only a small part of the land available.

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The rural economy is not synonymous with the institutional economy. Not in the North, but also not in the South of the alluvium. Nor can we propose with as much certainty that local institution s are equivalent to the local civil administration. The archives available deal with the daily administrative routine of the temples as a whole, not with economic aspects alone. In the list, the high-ranking officials of the central 22 It would be interesting to know how the rebuilding of the Sara temple in Umma was financed. This was obviously a royal project in view of the fact that the occurrence is commemorated in a year name.

Neighbours Ur and Umk may have contributed. Unger, Babylon, die heilige Stadt, Berlin , text no. VAN DRIEL administration are followed by eleven high-ranking persons with an in the main tribal background, but among them is the BAR Sangii of Der, who seems to act as a regional grandee, on a par with the tribal leaders. Among the places mentioned is Larsa, a town about which the few known facts suggests that it was not exceptionally successful and required support from other institutions, notably Uruk. The final passage in the "Staatskalender" originally listed 9 be1 piqitti's and qgpu's, of whom at any rate the last will have been royal representatives at "institutions".

We arrive at a total of 32 "authorities", of whom the ten most important are tribal leaders. We will have to conclude that the Southern "institutions" will have been of local importance only, with the possible exception of Larsa, not thriving, Ur and Uruk, all targets for the royal restoration policy.

Where names are preserved it is difficult to locate them, both on the map and in the written sources. Moving to the North we find on the archaeological map first Marad and Nippur, KiS or rather Uursagkalamma , the triad Dilbat, Borsippa, Babylon with Kutfi and finally Sippar, also to all probability a restoration. The simple list is sufficient to exclude the possibility that so few centres could manage a dominant institutional economy.

The size of the personnel of the Sippar temple, the best known in the North, has been cautiously estimated recently by H. Bongenaar: "several times the number of people concerned with the temple worked for it outside". In town we find some as a kind of maximum, that would be any number between and for those outside. But Sippar, with its iangii in stead of a iatammu, was not, to all probability, a big institution. What is also evident is that central authorities were desperately interested in increasing institutional performance. The institutions had, as earlier, far more land than they could cope with.

But this has been discussed too often. Where they can, central authorities use the institutions, as they did earlier, to obtain a share in the regional production, but they needed outsiders to increase the total volume and thereby the share. The status of the village We have reduced the role of the institutions, but not robbed it of its contents, far from it. The institution is a tool of governance par excellence, producing a sizeable surplus. But whether temple or palace, the institution has its limits, probably due to the degree of integration of the different levels of the organisation possible with the means of the time.

What is the alternative to the institution in an agrarian society? The strength of the institution is its surplus. It is produced by its plough teams, which constitute the core of the almost invisible institutional village. Are there other villages than those that belong to 25 This would seem somewhat optimistic in view of Jursa's conclusion that Ebabbar could field no more than some plough teams, though with a considerable date plantation complement.

Herding may have been relatively important. Long after the meeting H. Bongenaar told me that he is convinced that to persons seriously overrates the personnel of the temple in the countryside, notably because I include the prebendaries in the town in the personnel of which there are several times as many outside, which he does not.

His figure is This does not affect my way of reasoning, actually supports it. In an agrarian society most people will live close to their land and settlements that are exclusively agrarian can be regarded as villages, though it is difficult to draw a line between what is a town and what is a village. The arbitrary distinction that a settlement of more than 10 ha26 can be called a town is no more than that and it does not imply that most inhabitants did not live off the land which is within immediate reach.

In view of the fact that most people live in villages the minimal nature of the available evidence is striking. Yet the village is of considerable importance for the inhabitants. The status of the village determines how the villager has access to the land from which he or she lives. A village of which the inhabitants live from subsistence agriculture will not easily appear in the Ancient Mesopotamian documentation.

In the third millennium institutional archives the village is not very visible. It is hidden behind the. DUB or KI. RA, silo and threshing floor, which are for the bureaucrats of LagaS and Umma the more visible structures in the countryside on which, with the fields, the administration is based. RA consists of a number of plough teams of unequal size and structure which each represent a number of families, who more often than not will also be related to one another. Institutional agricultural production is family based, even though that is not explicitly indicated by the texts.

The Ur III plough team is not the neat four men construct of the NB period, it is rather what the family can provide in male persons capable of doing work. The unequal strength of Akkad period teams indicates differences in work load, whether this is also the fact for the Ur teams needs investigation. That the nominal workloads differ is certain, but the net effect is not so clear.

In the "round tablets"27 too much land, that is much more than the seven BZTR mentioned, means that it cannot be worked and has no yield. The plough team and the village fulfil the important role of coping with the consequences of the fact that every family passes through a natural cycle which affects the relation between the number of workers and non-workers.

This is an important fact to which any agricultural society will have to find an answer. The Northern village will not be considered here, it has to wait until spring when the third MOS symposium will deal with Northern agriculture.

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But in the North the village is much more recognisable than in the South where threshing floors, silo's, plough teams and date plantations hide it. For the question of the institutional versus the noninstitutional agriculture the owner of the individual village is of crucial importance. Though the information is of limited scope, it is evident that not all villages where institutionally owned. Adams, Heartland of Cities, Chicago , Maekawa, ASJ 4 , text Individual villages A. Sagub: the Mesag estate28 Steinkeller-Postgate 35 locates at least one of the holdings of the Mesag estate in Sagub, which belongs to the LagaS area.

The text deals with seed and fodder provided to six persons who can be identified as the heads of plough teams and who return, at least some of them, in BIN 8 , where seed, fodder and rations of six teams are listed in a sadly damaged text. BIN 8 , and have been studied by Foster apud Weiss, Of these texts only BIN 8 preserves the complete passage concerned. In BIN 8 we have In all three cases we can, perhaps, expect that some of the women and all the older girls of the plough team families worked in other estate departments.

This suggests that the actual workload for a plough team is about 7 BUR, which equals the practical obligations of an Ur ID team. However, BIN 8 is sufficiently well preserved to notice that an ordinary team consists of four men or three men and a boy plus one woman, but the fourth and fifth teams consist of more people: respectively 5 men, 2 boys and 3 women and 8 men, 1 boy and 2 women.

Team 4 is one of the big teams, if we assume that teams 4 and 5 each get 14 kor and the others 7 each, we arrive at the total of 56 kor given. This type of reasoning finds support in Steinkeller-Postgate 35 where out of the six teams numbers one and three receive about double the amount the others get. As they use seven kor in seed and fodder combined 28 B. Bridges, The Mesag archive, diss. Yale ; B. Foster in H. Steinkeller and J. Older girls are not listed. In BIN 8 the passage on the personnel is incomplete, but we have 46 men, 19 women, 7 elder boys and an unknown number of smaller children.

Not unexpectedly there are more persons than those immediately needed for the teams. The low number of women, unless it indicates high female mortality, suggests employment for another account. Foster, BiOr 40 , This is the amount mentioned in BIN 8 We must revise our opinion that an Akkad period team tills 7 BUR, based on Steinkeller-Postgate 35, as two of the six teams have double capacity.

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The estate directly employs about 32 men and boys and 8 women in the village plough teams. This suggests that there is at any rate a considerable additional female labour force in the village. If that had to be tilled in the same year it would require 40 teams. If this constituted Mesag's private assets he would be a considerable landholder. But there are many difficulties. Foster has analysed BIN 8 , and apud Weiss. A in BIN 8 and cannot be brought into a meaningful relation. Anyhow Mesag's holdings in Sagub makes this village one of the best documented, even though the juridical status of the relationship between Mesag and the village remains unclear.

His is not a fixed income but a share which finally depends on the results. DuZabara: "private" estates and sustenancefields The activities of Ur-Meme in DuSabara have been considered several times and they can hardly be regarded as strictly private. In BIN 8 we would have 46 men in 6. This type of estate had ample manpower. Foster apud Weiss, quoting an unpublished text. There is something artificial to some of the texts, which puts them in the sphere of "planning". Yale , NBC For the various fields BIN 8 , , , , , , , , , , etc.

NATN contains a frequently occurring Urnma field name. Though obviously located in the Girsu ambience, many texts are dated to months belonging to the "Reichskalender", but the texts are published in a context which makes Nippur almost certainly the place of origin. The attribution of certain of the texts to the Drehem and LagaS collections in Istanbul is unproblematic in view of the "rationalistic" procedures applied and perhaps other problems in the Istanbul collection. Perhaps we can regard Ur-Meme as an administrator who is put in charge of agricultural estates which suddenly become available and the status of which needed to be sorted out.

The importance of the DuSabaraLJr-Memegroup is that it shows that this type of appanage-like private estates is run along the same lines observed in the institutional estates under the responsibility of the ENSI'S of Umma and Lagag, while also indicating the manner in which private and official affairs are inextricably intertwined. Ur-Meme rents land and provides credit.

The contracts concerning the renting of land have been studied by F. Kraus and H. These persons transfer their fields to Ur-Meme, who is in the position to provide credit,40 and by inference, has at his command the means to exploit the fields even though they are far from his presumed home-base in Nippur. If these scribes really have an agrarian background it is remarkable that even they prefer to lease their land to someone else. As Kraus has pointed out UrMeme here operates in a military context. NA, probably the person who is in charge of the plough team which is responsible for the cultivation of the SUKU fields, is a frequent witness in the Ur-Meme contracts.

This gives those capable of providing credit their edge. This is probably a recurrent theme. The availability of credit, however onerous, but therefore with an ever increasing grip, probably also ties the institutional personnel to the institution. The Larsa "Balmunamhe"villages T. Breckwoldt has recently discussed a group of texts which deal with barley produced in a group of villages in the neighbourhood of Larsa in the years RS 4 to Breckwoldt is not very forthcoming on the status of this group of texts.

The question of the status of the texts has been touched upon by Van de Mieroop43 in his article on the Balmunambe archive, where YOS 8 42 IX RS 23, later than the administrative texts is taken as confirming the rights of the Balmunambe family to the dimtu named after him.

The text is incomplete, but we must probably accept that Balmun-e is a big landowner. The total number of plough teams is not excessive, and perhaps the most important aspect is not the status of the villages concerned, but the manner in which Larsa plough teams are treated. This is considerable. This land owner employed 15 teams. The Larsa plough teams seem to have been treated differently from what is the reconstructed institutional Ur III practise in LagaS and Umma where yields are lower.

YOS 5 21 V WS 12 is even more exacting: 10 BUR and kor: 48 kor per BUR plus delivery in By Ur I11 standards these targets are considerable, but they give the plough team a certain interest in maximising the yield since a high, but fixed, amount has to be delivered. But we do not 42 T. Breckwoldt, AfO , AfO 34 , Charpin, BiOr 36 , "Archives W". YOS 14 mentions payment to the palace. Presumably at the outset of the new agricultural year, rather than just before the harvest. This would probably reduce the yield per furrow somewhat, but it would increase the labour input and probably the overall yield, though the ratio between seed and yield deteriorates.

YOS 5 and allow per team 45 kor in seed and fodder. In Ur I11 seed and fodder are directly related, here we must conclude that the Larsa oxen are much better fed and probably much more capable of work, all the more so because each team receives 3 kor in tablittu. VAN D R E L 21 know the amount of land really under the plough in the Balmunaae villages, nor the real strength in animals of the teams.

Halballa has recently been the subject of an extensive study by St The texts derive from private archives "excavated" in Sippar and deal with land and houses which are sold, given as shares or inherited or involved in litigation. Of special interest is the A. Stol, Fs Romer, points out that there are indications for activities by the Ur I11 kings, notably Sulgi in this strategically important area, in dike building and accompanying that, the digging of irrigation canals. If we combine the available evidence Halballa could be regarded as a settlement which has changed from a primarily military colony, with soldiers tilling uniform parcels according to their rank, into one which contains a group of well-to-do citizens who have acquired sufficient status to send their daughters to the Sippar gagam, which in itself, presumably, helps to consolidate family possessions.

There are clear indications of a military presence. CT 6 20a Si 29 mentions A. SA AGA. MES, "fields of the gendarmes" and fields of each time 3 IKu. A "house of the AGA. US'S"also 0ccurs. USnasifzum are mentioned, who could possibly protest against a decision of the court of burgomaster and elders of ualballa. He is, as St01 stresses, also "the man of Halhalla" and he can be the NU. This means, for me, that we are in the borderland of the tribal, the military and the ordinary, incorporated, settled way of life, exemplified by the naditu-daughters.

The AGA. US'Sstill desert. In this village the non-institutional, originally non-sedentary world still impinges on the sedentary "military parallel structure". This still is Rowton's dimorphic society in the heartland of the Babylon kingdom. Both fulfilment of the duties and the performance of the agricultural work attached to the holding are subject of litigation, conducted before the superiors of the unit concerned.

The holder of the sustenance field on which the obligation rests is, like many of his colleagues and especially superiors, about whom we are less well informed, a small scale agricultural entrepreneur and provider of credit. The Nippur area in the Kassite period Fig. The little that is published from the Kassite period Nippur agricultural archive dealing with a number of villages at not too great a distance of the town suggests an agricultural estate that is managed through the hazannu's from the villages.

The coincidence of civil administration and estate management is what would be of interest from the general point of view. The village hazannu seems to play a crucial role in the system. That the Uruk Eanna estate consists of a tight web of villages has been demonstrated in an effective manner by Ms C0cquerillat. For Sippar cf. Jursa's valuable collection of material.

The only real village archive we possess is that from Satir, published by Joannbs. On top of that they are involved in the local temple of Be1 of Satir, to which prebendary rights pertain, which can 52 48 49 M. All such names refer to a share out of land of some form. US is the ancestor of the best documented Hallplla family is registered without further comment. Stol, Fs Romer, Sollberger, JCS 5 , 77ff; E. Szlechter, JCS 7 , 81ff and B. The NeoBabylonian gugallu has a supervisory role regarding institutional villages.

Joannss, TBBR, In three texts we find three types of property belonging to members of the military parallel structure who are involved in the local cult. Conclusion ' 1 L We are reasonably well informed on the institutional way of land holding in Southern Mesopotamia and on the manner in which that provides opportunities for the entrepreneur. We know much less about the "military parallel structure" by which the palace incorporates alien ethnic elements into society and remunerates groups of personnel collectively.

The constant presence of aliens is the logical result of Mesopotamia's geographical situation at the hinge of rain-fed and irrigation agriculture where non-sedentary pastoralism has its proper place, and provides a natural counter weight against an institutionalised way of life which produces the surplus on which Mesopotamia's urban society rests.

We cannot escape from the reality that much land in Mesopotamia was held against special obligations. The parallel structure has its own entrepreneurs. The Old Babylonian military who enter into agricultural partnership contracts also belong to this parallel structure. The access to labour is the all-important ingredient. Ethnic aspects may play a role, but the ability to provide credit is at least as important.

This requires more study. In the Third Millennium not all documented rural settlements are institution dominated, though in cases like that of Sagub and DuSabara a similarity in structure between the institutional plough team organisation and the organisation of large estates kept by the aristocracy and perhaps returning at a certain interval to the centrally administered royal domain can be surmised, at least. The scattered domains of the aristocracy are locally managed. Mesag possibly owns land but he definitely participates in the exploitation of other men's fields.

Ur-Meme is a typical example of a manager of other man's land, as are in their way, in the Achaemenid period the MuraSO's. But UrNuska is more institutional than the MuraSO's, he is a manager who extends his business by leasing land. The MuraSO's operate in a world where the aristocratic estates of members of the dynasty are not the only element determining land use. They operate in a world where ethnic or vocational groups hold land that is assigned to the group by the crown against a combination of services and payments.

The MuraSO type entrepreneur takes over the obligations and gets the land free from further burdens. The most notable fact about the manner in which they manage their affairs is that they shift from two-oxen teams to the more institutional four-oxen teams. The type of payment by assignation of land is, of course, of all periods, it is used to maintain an army, and an army has to procreate in order to continue its existence.

In assigning land the problem of infiltrating new ethnic groups can be solved by incorporating them in the army. But a system based on the assignation of land invariably changes, loosing its importance, especially if the military situation which created it changes. Non-institutional and non-land-division villages will occur in documents if their owners, or owners having a share in them, feel the need to document their property rights.

Such villages may occur in tax or tithe documents, but these are extremely scarce. Other villages may remain totally undocumented, especially in completely tribal areas. The surplus on which Southern Mesopotamian urbanised society rests is produced by plough team based estates which own and operate the teams against little more than "seed and fodder". The role of the agricultural entrepreneur is to expand the plough team system at the margins, thus increasing the surplus.

But this production "against seed and fodder" in the institutions and against a share in the yield outside them is not identical with the whole Southern agricultural economy. In the military parallel structure the entrepreneur also finds his opportunity in the reducing of the operation costs for the landholders by taking over at cost price the unoccupied land for which service is due.

That there is not at the bottom, if not at the base of this all, a simple, but undocumented, subsistence sector is, for me, unthinkable. Le corpus choisi comme champ d'Ctude de ces relations s'est appuyC sur deux types d'archives Cmanant de lieux differents: celles de 1'Eanna d'Uruk, qui fournissent une documentation homogbne B partir du rbgne de Nabuchodonosor 11, et celles de la rCgion de Borsippa et de Dilbat, qui permettent une approche des entreprises familiales.

Du point de vue chronologique, le champ de cette Ctude concerne la pCriode nCo-babylonienne au sens large, des 72meet 62me sibcles av. Une analyse rapide de la documentation nCo-babylonienne montre clairement que s'il existe deux grands types d'archives de la pratique, celles des grands organismes, essentiellement les sanctuaires pour cette Cpoque, et celles d'individus ou de farnilles que l'on qualifie d'archives privCes, la frontikre n'est pas Ctanche entre les deux.

Plusieurs archives privCes tCmoignent ainsi de fortes connexions entre les activitCs de certains individus et celles des temples2. Il para? On prksentera donc dans ce qui suit, ce que l'on peut constater des transferts de biens des temples vers les particuliers, puis en sens inverse de ces derniers vers les sanctuaires, pour Ctudier en dernier lieu le degre d'homogCnCitC du groupe socio-Cconomique que constituent les notables urbains qui apparaissent comme 1'ClCment le mieux represent6 de cette sphbre priv6e. Les transferts du temple vers les particuliers On peut distinguer rapidement trois modes de transfert de biens ou de propriCtCs du temple vers des particuliers: le systkme des prebendes, la constitution lCgale de biens Le terme d'entrepreneur a CtC compris ici dans le sens large que h i a donnC M.

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Stolper dans son Ctude sur les archives de la farnille MuraSQ, celui de criateur et d'animateur d'entreprises Cconomiques, commerciales et financibres, qui a tendance B remplacer l'expression "hommes d'affaires" utilisCe prCcCdemment. Au dCbut du Ier millhaire, il semble que ce soient surtout les fonctions sacerdotales qui aient valu B leurs detenteurs une part significative des revenus du temple, d'aprbs les ClCments que fournissent plusieurs textes de donations royales en particulier la Sun-tablet de Sippar et d'autres kudurru.

Elle est dans de nombreux cas partie integrante de la fourniture par le TrCsor du temple des produits alimentaires nCcessaires B l'accomplissement du service lid B la prCbende maiiartu : orge et dattes le plus souvent. Sur cette quantitk initiale une partie sert B la rCmunCration du travail accompli par le prebendier. Ce type de fonction religieuse associe donc deux sortes de revenus: l'un li6 directement au type de travail accompli, l'autre au statut plus gCnCral de membre du personnel du sanctuaire. Le premier parait se situer en amont du processus de preparation des offrandes alimentaires servies aux statues des divinitks; l'autre se situe en aval, et concerne un ensemble plus vaste qui est tout le personnel B fonction religieuse du sanctuaire: il entre dans le vaste systbme de redistribution des offrandes aprbs leur consommation, lors des offrandesjournalibres et des cCrCmonies particulibres.

Deux questions peuvent se poser 21 ce propos: un tel revenu represente-t-il autre chose qu'un versement symbolique qui ferait de la prCbende essentiellement un ClCment de prestige, mais dont le bCnCfice rCel serait peu important? Quel est, d'autre part, le degrC d'accomplissement effectif par les prebendiers titulaires, des tgches matkrielles liCes B la prCbende?

Pour rCpondre B la premibre question, il faut tenir compte 2 la fois de l'importance de la tranche de service que possbde le prCbendier, mais aussi d'une hiCrarchie interne entre les diverses prebendes, dont on pourrait avoir une idCe plus claire si l'on disposait d'un tableau exhaustif des prix des diverses prCbendes au fil des dCcennies des pCriodes nCo-babylonienne, achCmCnide et sCleucide.

Le prix assez ClevC des prkbendes les plus honorables semble indiquer que ce revenu n'est pas negligeable. La rCponse B la question d'un accomplissement effectif fait entrer en jeu deux phhombnes: le premier est le morcellement des tranches de service, qui est bien connu B 1'Cpoque nCo-babylonienne, et dont les effets sont particulibrement visibles plus tard, B I'Cpoque sCleucide, lorsque certains prdbendiers se retrouvent propriktaires de tranches de 3 La masse de la documentation disponible, la complexit6 de l'organisation des prkbendes, et l'existence de plusieurs Ctudes dCtaillCes qui leur ont Ctt consacrkes font que I'exposC n'en trace ici que les grandes lignes.

I1 est sfir que leur definition n'entraine pas, pour des raisons de cohCrence, la participation effective B la rCalisation des offrandes. On peut trouver alors comme possesseurs de prCbendes des femmes, qui n'appartiennent pas normalement B la catCgorie presque cxclusivement masculine des pribendiers. Dbs la pCriode nCobabylonienne on voit se mettre en place des systbmes de representation avec des contrats de travail, dans lesquels une partie du revenu total de la pribende est attribuC B celui qui en effectue la tiiche matCrielle, tandis que le propriktaire garde le reste des benefices que procure la prCbende.

Kessler insiste cependant 2 juste titre sur le fait qu'8 Uruk, par exemple, la possession des prCbendes est l'affaire d'un cercle relativement Ctroit de notables, et que cela assure, avec la surveillance que continue B exercer l'adrninistration du temple, la rkalisation effective des tiiches cultuelles. C'est en particulier le cas des prCbendes de jardinier rub b8ni du jardin Hallat6. Jursa, qui a pu reconstituer ainsi sur plusieurs generations la localisation et la rkpartition de lopins de terre lies B la possession d'une prkbende de rub b8ni.

Le statut qu'acquibrent ce genre de biens est d'autant plus intkressant B Ctudier qu'on les trouve parfois entre les mains de femmes. Comme il n'existe pas dans la plupart des sanctuaires de clergC mixte, mais des fonctions rCservCes soit B des hommes, soit B des femmes, on doit admettre qu'un glissement s'opbre qui fait passer au premier rang le statut de bien patrimonial, et relbgue au second plan celui de bien du temple, qui devient une sorte de droit de propriCt6 Cminent.

Mais c o m e l'argent qui sert 2 la transaction provient de la dot de Cf. Kessler, AUWE 8, "Der ProzeB der Loslosung des Pfriindenbesitzes vom Pfrundendienst und seine Aufsplitterung in Einzeltage und Tagesanteile, der uns fur die spatbabylonische Zeit so charakteristisch scheint und oft unter dem Gesichtspunkt der Perversion der Kultgedankens gesehen wurde, scheint aber nicht in dem AusmaBe erfolgt zu sein, dalj der kultische Betrieb ernsthaft gestort worden wae.

VS 6 En l'an 36 cependant, le contrat d'exploitation reconduit pour 5 ans avec les m6mes tenanciers l'est par NabQ- ah -ittannu, 1'Cpoux d7Andi-Babu VS 5 On constate donc que des terres du temple parrni les plus productives et les mieux situCes entrent d'une certaine manibre dans le patrimoine des particuliers. Leur exploitation en mode indirect fait que l'identitk du detenteur du bien n'est prise en compte que lorsqu'il y a transfert.

Comme les prkbendes, le bien foncier peut 6tre vendu, mais il ne peut pas Ctre dCmembrC. On remarque que dans le dossier de Dilbat la prCbende B laquelle est d'habitude rattachCe la jouissance d'une parcelle du jardin gallat n'est pas citCe, m6me dans le contrat d'achat de la terre par Andi-Babu et NabQ- ah -ittannu. Soit elle en a CtC dissociCe, et l'on a affaire alors B des terres de statut quasi privC, soit elle est, c o m e la parcelle, exploitke par un tiers, qui en redonne une partie des bCnCfices au titulaire.

Dans la pratique cependant, on aboutit be1 et bien B un transfert du domaine du temple B des patrimoines privCs. On pourrait citer Cgalement dans ce contexte le cas des bit Sutummu, pibces servant de magasin, inclus dans les dkpendances des sanctuaires, mais attribuCs B des individus qui en ont la jouissance de la mCme manibre que s'ils en Ctaient rkellement propriCtaires. On constate d'ailleurs que les bit Sutummu peuvent Ctre CchangCs ou m6me vendus. Dbs la premibre anne de rbgne de Nabopolassar, un bit Sutummu de prbs de m2 B l'interieur de 1'Eanna est ainsi vendu pour 55 sicles d'argentg; de mCme, en l'an 5 de Darius Ier, deux particuliers Cchangent des bit Sutummu B I'intCrieur de 1'Ezida de Borsippa; l'utilisation des bit Sutummu par des artisans ou des membres de l'administration du Les textes d'imittu montrent qu'apparemment aucun changement de type de culture n'intervient sur ces terres.

Le contrat de mise en culture VS 5 semble par contre indiquer que la partie dkvolue 2 des ckrkales ou assimilkes 1.

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La plus simple, mais qui ne nous intkresse pas directement ici car elle n'illustre que peu le rapport entre fortunes privCes et fortunes du temple est celle du vol. Les archives judiciaires de 1'Eanna d'Uruk sont assez abondantes h ce sujet, surtout pour la pdriode des rkgnes de Cyrus et de Cambyse. Elles permettent de voir que cette pratique n'est pas rCservCe B une catkgorie sociale mais se rencontre aussi chez les notables urbains: si l'on peut Cvoquer la cClbbre affaire de vol d'or servant B la rkalisation des bijoux pour les dCesses, qui met en cause plusieurs orfevres de 1'Eanna sous le rbgne de Nabonide, telle qu'elle a CtC reconstituke par J.

Rengerg, un autre exemple appara'it aussi emblkmatique, celui du texte YOS 7 10 oh le fils du chef des prkbendiers boulangers, l'un des membres les plus prestigieux du personnel du temple, est accusC de vol. Religion Compass 2 : The administrative archives of those temples — consisting of tens of thousands of cuneiform texts — allow us to understand parts of the temple economy in great detail, while at the same time this abun- dance of material frustrates traditional approaches to Babylonian religion.

This essay aims in general to emphasize that Babylonian temples were large-scale, multifaceted religious institutions. Capitalizing on recent advancements in our technical understanding of the temple economy, it integrates these advancements into issues of broader religious, historical, intellectual, and economic significance.

In the end, I argue that all of these are in fact manifestations of Babylonian religion in themselves. Introduction The source material for the study of religion and economy in first mil- lennium Babylonia, although abundant, only allows for the investigation of certain fundamental issues, while leaving others opaque. The archives of two major temples — the Ebabbar temple of Sippar and the Eanna temple of Uruk — provide material for lines of inquiry that penetrate deep into the Babylonian temple economy; yet determining how that economy affected the religion of Mesopotamia remains daunting.

In effect, with some exceptions, we know much about the day-to-day operations of the temple economy, but little about the aggregate effect of those operations on Babylonian religion. With this in mind, the following essay is geared toward the strengths of the textual record.

Although forgoing a traditional approach to religion, it serves to stress the fact that, like arcane ritual, epic poetry, astrology, or monumental building, the centralization of large-scale wealth and man- power in the temples was in itself an integral expression of Babylonian religion. Issues of storage and expenditure broach questions of organization, which I use to discuss the permanence of Babylonian temples Section V. The next section gives an overview of temple manpower Section VI , which ties into issues of the centrali- zation of production.

Overviews of Mesopotamian temples are numerous, although most tend to focus on the second millennium bc and earlier. Yet, the first millennium bc saw fundamental political changes in the Near East with the arrival of multinational empires, and what remains perhaps the most interesting — and, in many ways, least explored — aspects of Babylonian history is the integration of these temples into the new political realities. These texts include memoranda, ledgers, accounts, receipts, promissory notes, leases, and letters, among many other types.

Second are cuneiform texts that stem from the religious, cultural, and scientific life of the temple. Among other things, these texts record the myths, legends, prayers, rituals, prog- nostications, astronomical observations, and mathematical activities of temple scholars. Third are brief observations of various ancient outsiders — from exiled Jews to Greek and Roman historians — on Babylonian temple life. This essay focuses primarily on the legal and administrative texts. In general, texts are assigned to an archive based on their contents.

Loss of archaeological provenience also precludes knowing the exact number of texts in each archive. Estimates of the size of each archive range from about or texts for the Eanna, and over 20, texts for the Ebabbar for the Eanna archive, see Jursa , p. These texts, revealing the day-to-day economic operations of the temples, give direct insight into the complex intersection of religion and economy; yet getting at this complexity requires much scholarly time and effort.

After the Gulf War, which effectively cut Iraq off from new archae- ological excavations, scholars began to turn their attention to long neglected collections of cuneiform texts, most of which sat unstudied in various museum and university collections. Paramount among these were the legal and administrative texts from temple archives of the first millen- nium bc. Michael Jursa of the University of Vienna has led this resurgence in interest in Neo-Babylonian temples.

His indefatigable scholarship has burst open the study of the first millennium temple economy see, in particular, Jursa , , , , , Paul-Alain Beaulieu, A. Moreover, much of this new work is accessible to non-specialists, which will hopefully further open up the study of the Neo-Babylonian temple and help to integrate it into humanistic studies at large. In my opinion, we are only now in the formative years of the in-depth study of the Neo-Babylonian temple economy.

City, State, and Temple Given the patchy coverage of the sources — proper explication of which would require expertise in widely disparate subfields of history — the relationship between temple and city in first millennium Babylonia has yet to be broached with any precision see the remarks in Oppenheim , p. Indeed, it has always been difficult to study Babylonian temples from outside; reports about the inner workings of Babylonian temples have given rise to rumors and fanciful stories of all sorts since antiquity see, for example, Herodotus, , and the apocryphal Book of Daniel story Bel and the Dragon.

Early Assyriological literature plays up a dichotomy between city-based temple and state power in early Mesopotamian history. This view has been rightly criticized of late see, for example, Robertson , p. Even as small parts of multinational empires, they still held considerable power, if only for their ability to command resources and personnel in the breadbasket of those empires. Like any other large-scale agrarian operation involving multiple specialized personnel, such as quartering an army, Babylonian temples needed a sec- ondary staff to maintain and support their sacred personnel.

This secondary staff was an assortment of individuals. It ranged from literate scribes and skilled metal workers to lowly ditch diggers and flour millers, between whom worked bakers, brewers, butchers, craftsmen, farmers, reed workers, and shepherds among many others.

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Within each of these groups reigned its own hierarchy of management; middle-managers might hold sway over a few related groups at a time, and then overlaying the whole system was a group of temple managers, elite citizens, and royal representatives. At the core of all this was a highly complex economy, with divisions of labor, diverse payment relationships, craft specializations, hierarchical relationships, and income inequalities in addition to social services, such as a prison and a social welfare system for the prison, see Bongenaar , p.

Babylonian temples came by their personnel in a variety of ways. Kings donated prisoners of war to temples; locals also surrendered their children to Babylonian temples in times of hardship or gave slaves to the temple to repay debts see, for example, the list in Ragen , ff. Not everyone connected to the temple lived a full-time existence there. This, coupled with the ability to integrate new people into this network in large numbers, allowed temples to compensate for some of the fundamental economic problems that plagued household-based organ- izations in agrarian societies — these range from the dying out of familial lines and the intergenerational division of land through inheritance, to the difficulty of recruiting for large-scale labor projects and the inability to centralize resources beyond the level of the extended family.

Temples were certainly conceptualized as households, but embedded in these households was a bureaucratic, rather than familial, management and exploitation structure, allowing these temples to develop into large-scale, long-lived, self-perpetuating institutions see also the discussion in Section V. Yet the records of that economy allow us both to expand the scope of that definition and to understand that expanded scope at a detailed level.

Scholars have recently begun to turn their attention to temple manufacture and consumption. In other words, scholars are now asking how temples, having taken in vast amounts of raw and processed materials of all kinds, used them in order to fulfill their divine and secular missions. I will divide this part of the essay up into these two parts — income and expenditure.

We must keep in mind that as large-scale agrarian estates situated in various parts of Babylonia, temples were apt to take advantage of local conditions. For example, of the Ebabbar and the Eanna, it appears that the Ebabbar devoted a much higher percentage of its land to date production than did the Eanna, and the Eanna temple seems to have depended more on outsiders for raising its livestock than the Ebabbar for date production, see Jursa , p.

In other words, these categories are meant to be as inclusive as possible, but one must bear in mind that local conditions will produce variation within the economy. Most temple land was given over to barley production, although the strip of land closest to the canal or other water source would have been used for date palms on the basic size and utiliza- tion of Babylonian fields, see Postgate , ff. Underneath the date palms grew gardens of various sorts of fruits, vegetables, and pulses.

The land also produced non-edible products such as flax and reeds, used for temple garments and construction respec- tively. Temples also collected wood for construction and crafting objects. Secondly, temples took in both edible and non-edible animal products from sheep, goats, cattle, birds, and fish for temple sheep and goats, see Kozuh , passim, Da Riva , ff.

Texts rarely mention the edible products meat, eggs, and milk , but it can be readily assumed that these products constituted a major part of temple income. Non-edible animal products such as wool, goat hair, and hides occur frequently in texts, with wool being a major source of income and a cash crop for the temple. Far more difficult to trace is temple intake in various non- native substances, such as various metals, precious stones, and imported woods. One assumes that these were all purchased, which points to active temple engagement in long-distance trade.

Estimates for the total amount of grain land that each temple controlled are difficult to come by — they are based on field sizes mentioned in leases and estimates of yields from fields — but Jursa following Cocquerillat estimates that the Eanna controlled 12, kor of land, which is about 16, hectares, or about 64 square miles square kilometers , or 40, acres. On the other hand, he estimates that the total amount of grain land for the Ebabbar was around kor — roughly hectares, 4. The temples settled many dependents on land as farmers and gardeners, and attached others to temple land through various arrangements.

Each palm plantation was organized into familial groups, and they were responsible for delivering the harvest to the temple, less various payments and transport costs. In addition to using their own dependents, the temples also contracted with outsiders to work their land. The lowest level contractors were called erreshus, who worked temple land on a share-cropping basis. Temples also leased out the management of huge tracts of land, along with its personnel, to temple outsiders. These outsiders were called the sha muhhi sutis, and they seemed to have leased temple land against a set payment.

This system of large-scale leases has been the subject of much research the two main works are Jursa , 85ff. All of this points to a dynamic system of agricultural management; temples used a variety of strategies to work the land, each of which carried a unique set of circumstances and trade-offs. The Eanna and Ebabbar temples managed their animals in a more straightforward manner. Milk and dairy products simply do not appear in the texts, but we can be certain that they were readily consumed by temple dependents.

The temple farmers, gardeners, and members of the internal livestock management were temple shirku — which is commonly translated temple slave or oblate. Storage and Expenditure Issues of storage and expenditure allow us to connect in the most general of ways two different and distinct bodies of textual evidence about Baby- lonian temples. The first body of evidence is the texts we have discussed thus far — those created by the temple economy; the second is the religious, cultural, and scientific texts that temple scholars produced.

The connection between these two, although underplayed in studies that concentrate on one or the other, is of paramount importance for understanding the nexus of economy and religion in ancient Babylonia. To wit, the ability of Babylonian temples to centralize a great deal of wealth and control its distribution allowed them to become centers for learned contemplation and speculation. The evidence is unambiguous that the temples created, kept, and prom- ulgated Babylonian learned culture.

They do overlap in a few specific instances see Beaulieu, a, 20ff. As long as a variety of local temples retained considerable economic power, the promotion of Mesopotamian learned culture was diffuse, par- ticularistic, and intimately associated with religion. The Greek geographer Strabo, for example, understood through Hellenistic eyes the particularistic nature of Babylonian scientific thinking: In Babylon a settlement is set apart for the local philosophers, the Chaldaeans, as they are called, who are concerned mostly with astronomy; but some of these, who are not approved of by the others, profess to be genethlialogists [i.

There is also a tribe of the Chaldaeans, and a territory inhabited by them, in the neighborhood of the Arabs and of the Persian Gulf, as it is called. There are also several tribes of the Chaldaean astronomers. For example, some are called Orcheni [i.

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And the mathematicians make mention of some of these men; as, for example, Cidenas, Naburianus and Sudines. Strabo, Geography The Permanence of Babylonian Temples Indeed, the permanence of Babylonian temples allowed accumulated intel- lectual traditions to carry on for centuries. Yet, it needs to be stressed that temples dotted the line in the continuum of Babylonian learned culture. The Eanna of Uruk, for example, remained an institution for thousands of years, preserving and at times expanding its core culture while outliving a variety of ruling dynasties and empires in southern Mesopotamia.

Although the millennia-long economic and administrative trends of Mesopotamian temples cannot be broached here it is indeed a challenging topic in general, see van Driel , pp. In the first millennium, governments were usually more powerful in southern Mesopotamia than any Babylonian temple, but the nature of imperial rule was such that, although nominally centralized under the crown, manpower and land among other resources were divided up among the king, his sons, courtiers, queens, nobles, administrative offices, and governors. All of this divided land and manpower were subject to the vicissitudes of imperial politics.

For example, politically ambitious people used these resources to secure an economic base. An open throne, or political challenges of other sorts, brought about a sharp demarcation of resources among throne competitors and their dependents; as people fell out of favor their land was confiscated and redistributed, bringing about disruptions in local resource utilization. Even in situations where imperial competition preserved local administrative structures, such structures would then be redirected toward new ends.

In contrast, control over temple resources might have elicited competition among temple personnel, but none of it, to the extent I can tell, would have been for ultimate control of the temple or any of its offices. Therefore, being less tied into indi- viduals or dynasties, temples remained as management and personnel turned over. Indeed, the amalgamated ruling structure of the temples spread out power and resources, ultimately providing them with institutional perma- nence.

Elite families certainly integrated themselves into upper level temple offices — often for generations see Bongenaar , 78ff. Moreover, temple land was not explicitly doled out as a gift for intratemple political support, nor, for that matter, do we find land given to the family or associates of the temple or political elite. Larger temples had thousands of people attached to them who did a variety of jobs — from literate scribes and skilled singers to ditch diggers and flour millers — and people stood in various administrative relationships with the temple. Detailed research on first millennium temple personnel has only just begun, so I offer here a very general overview of the organization of temple manpower.

The basic workforce division of any major Babylonian temple follows that diagrammed by Bongenaar for the Ebabbar see Bongenaar , ff. At the uppermost level stood the management and managerial support staff, who were usually a mixture of temple and royal personnel. At present, even in the well-documented Ebabbar and Eanna archives, it is not yet possible to differentiate between their spheres of duty, responsibility, or jurisdiction with any precision.

Indeed, we do not even know how a temple compensated the uppermost members of its administration. Perhaps a more apt description of these people would be those who spent their time in the temple precinct — included in this group are those with access to the most restricted parts of the temple as well as those with general access.