Contractual Formalism and Zukunftsbewältigung in Middle Assyrian Agricultural Accounting

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My goal in this paper is to clarify the precise bureaucratic and legal position of the pišerti karūʾe texts within the Middle Assyrian administrative system. The pišerti karūʾe texts, literally, “dissolution of the granary,” particularly as represented by the Dūr-katlimmu materials recently published by Röllig, attempt to track both grain production for particular agricultural units in a given year as well as the portion of the yield that will be needed to produce the following year’s crop. Any “excess” yield was then remanded to central stores to be used for other purposes within the state administration. And while Postgate has repeatedly emphasized the bilateral, legalistic and “commercial” ethos of Middle Assyrian administration, particularly in its use of contractual language for intermediaries conveying materials or obligations from a “creditor” to a “debtor,” the pišerti karūʾe texts seem to stand in stark contrast to Postgate’s generalization.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTime and History in the Ancient Near East
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 56th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale at Barcelona 26-30 July 2010
EditorsL. Feliu, J. Llop, A. Millet Albà, J. Sanmartín
Publication statusPublished - 2013