Some Observations about “Foreigners” in Babylonia
during the VI Century BCE
Since the beginning of its history, the Mesopotamian world was closely connected with the surrounding lands and cultures, part of the Ancient Near East. A multitude of economic, cultural, ethnic and political factors helped this interconnectedness and constituted an ongoing process of Globalization
The first millennium BCE introduces a brand new element into the developing Globalization
7.1 Sources and Some General Problems
Without doubt, every study of the “foreigners
The second problem stems from the fact that the source data do not uniformly represent the whole territory of Babylonia
The third main problem demonstrates the diachronicity of the source groups in relation to their data about “foreigners
Source data about “foreigners,”
We should note also the existence of a fourth, mostly theoretical problem, and that is who was considered as “foreigner” in Babylonia
This situation attests to a clear distinction in the mentality of the Babylonians
It is interesting to note that the word nakru in the meaning of “foreigner” or “enemy” is almost unused in the sources of legal, administrative or business character during the Neo-Babylonian period. It is possible that the reason for this situation is not just the forms of the mentioned types of documents, which demanded maximum specificity in the mentioning of the names of different persons, but also the expansion of the geographical knowledge of the Babylonians
From known sources about the period between 626–539 BCE most informative texts concerning the “foreigners
Each of the mentioned groups of sources has different forms which depend on the purpose for composing the text.9 The first group consists of different texts related to the activities of the judicial system, like marriage agreements, legal decisions of various types, and so forth.10 The second group is the largest and consists of texts as promissory notes, deposit records, administrative letters, different transactions, lists of workmen, receipts, etc. The third group of sources, that of business texts, consists of numerous service contracts, documents for lease and sales, apprenticeship contracts, and so forth.
The texts that containing information about “foreigners
1Texts belonging to the temple
2Texts belonging to the private archives, and
3Texts belonging to the royal (or court) archives.
It is important to note that the texts belonging to the third group are rather few.11 Probably most variable by their character are the texts belonging to the temple archives, specifically these from the temples
The main characteristic of all mentioned groups of texts is their specificity: all of them were composed on the basis of a concrete occasion and with clearly defined aim. Thus, the data about the “foreigners” in the sources refer to exact persons, and very rarely to groups of “foreigners.” This situation is the reason that “foreigners” are mentioned with different degrees of detail. For example, some texts are more informative, because some “foreigner” is mentioned therein as one of the principal parties related to the purpose of composing the text. Some other documents describe the occupation of a “foreigner
In spite of the differences in their degree of detail, the sources’ data allow us to summarize some observations concerning the social integration of the “foreigners
Groups of cuneiform
In addition, the institutions as the Temple
7.2 The “Foreigners”
In the texts coming from the period reviewed, “foreigners
Based on the specific information from the sources, we can distinguish several groups of “foreigners
The first group consists of people who had most often Babylonian
The second group consisted of people deported to Babylonia after 626 BCE–(lú)galītu or (lú)ulteglû, as a result of the conquest policy of the Neo-Babylonian
Part of that group of “foreigners
Information from different sources, as late as Early Islamic period, about the existing Jewish communities in the oases conquered by Nabû-na’id–the biggest one among them being Taima–testify of the accomplished deportations.31 Deportations, whose character was related to the processes of relocation as well as the processes of urbanization. It must be noted that similar actions undertaken by the Neo-Babylonian
In this group of “foreigners
Old Testament data describing the deported Judeans, testifies that the Neo-Babylonian
The persons from this second group had also various social status, but most of them probably belonged to the dependent groups of the population connected mainly with the institution of the Palace
The third group consisted of members of various tribes on the territory of Babylonia
Of course such categorization could be prone to weakness and it must be interpreted critically.39 For us, it is important to note that different types of cuneiform
7.3 The Ḫadru Communities
The persons belonging to the three groups of “foreigners” just outlined, are often mentioned as residents of settlements or neighborhoods around the large cities, written as ālu ša + ethnonym/toponym—gentilic adjective referring to tribe or country, for example as ālu ša Miṣirāya—“the city of Egyptians
According to their structure, the ḫadru communities were headed by a šaknu
Apart from the fact that the communities were formed according to an “ethnic” attribute, they were distributed in the suburbs of many cities. Thus, for example, ḫadru communities of Egyptians
We note that we still know very little of the functioning and the internal affairs of the ḫadru communities in terms of the governor (šaknu), and the council of elders, because of the casual character of the sources. We still lack the information how exactly these two institutions defended the economic and other interests of residents of a given community within the Babylonian economy. An interesting fact is that the ḫadru communities of deported people had an identical structure to the ḫadru communities resulting from the urbanization processes.
In a social plan, the residents of these communities belonged to various social strata. Thus, for illustration, it is known that part of the Jewish elite, deported by Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
The limited self-government of the ḫadru communities played an important cultural role for the “foreigners” which resided within their boundaries. From one side, it helped the adoption of the achievements of the Babylonian culture by the inhabitants of the communities, and from other side, it allows the inhabitants to preserve their cultural and ethnic self-awareness. Probably the best example for the realization of these two processes is demonstrated by the data about the deported Judeans during the rule of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
The first one is related to the calendar used by Judeans, in which during the Captivity, names of the months were influenced by those known from the Babylonian Calendar.49
The second example concerns the writing of some historical books of the Old Testament during the sixth century BCE–the Chronicles I and II, and Kings I and II.50 Without doubt, the composing of these books was part of the internal dynamics in the development of the Judean literature, and after that the result of the direct contact with the historical tradition of Mesopotamian civilization as, for example, the series “Babylonian
The third example about the activities of the Judean scribes
These examples suggest that the Judeans had the possibility to preserve their religious and cultural traditions during the time of the Captivity. Of course, it must be kept in mind that Mesopotamian cultural influence on the Judeans preceded the epoch of Captivity. Moreover the literary richness of both cultures demonstrates that probably as far back as ninth–eighth century BCE, they had many similar elements, reflected in their literary traditions.56
It is also worth noting that the specific structures of the realization of the cultural role present in the ḫadru institutions remains unclear. For example, cuneiform
We will not dwell more on the important cultural role concerning the preservation of the national identity that these ḫadru communities had. It is sufficient for us to note that through and with their various structures, Babylonian economy and society found an effective model through which it integrated the “foreigners
7.4 The Scope of Social Integration
The famous “Court list” (or Court Calendar) composed as part of a royal inscription during the reign of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Information from the “ration-lists” dated from 592 BCE mentions the existence of a military squad of 713 Elamites
We will dwell more specifically over the data related to two other groups of “foreigners
During the period, Saite Egypt
Text GCCI I; 260, composed in Uruk from the 31st year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 328, composed in the 37th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 359, from the 40th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text YOS VI, 2 was composed in šattu rēš šarrūti of Nabû-na’id in Uruk. The text is a judicial document related to the adoption of a slave’s child. An “Egyptian
Text YOS VI, 148, was composed in the 8th year of Nabû-na’id in Uruk. The text is a court decision given by the administration of Eanna. It mentions the temple
Two other texts present an interesting problem. Texts Strassmaier, Nbn. 679 and Strassmaier, Nbn. 634, were composed in the 12th year of Nabû-na’id, in Babylon. The texts are a business document and a receipt. Both mention the scribes
In a text from Larsa—YOS XIX, 70, dated in the 17th year of Nabû-na’id, written with the purpose of a land contract, some Nabû-mukīn-apli apil-šu ša Pir’u apil ša Miṣirāya (written mi-ṣir-a-a) is both witness and the scribe
In a text from Borsipa, YOS XIX, 47, dated in the 17th year of Nabû-na’id, representing a receipt and belonging to the archive of an influential family Ea-ilūta-bani, some Nabû-aḫḫe-bulliṭ apil-šu ša Nabû-aḫḫe-iddin apil ša Miṣirāya is mentioned as the person who paid back an owed quantity of dates (Beaulieu 2000, plate XXV, No. 47: 2,7). Probably this is regarding one kind of commodity credit extended in Babylonia
Text Peek No. 17, composed in the 6th year of Cambyses
Unlike Egyptians, another group of “foreigners
Text GCCI, I, 184, composed in the 22nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text GCCI, I, 238 is a receipt, composed in the 26th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text GCCI, I, 80, composed in the 30th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 287 dated in the 35th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur
Text GCCI, II, 211 was composed in the 42nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur in Uruk. The text is a receipt concerning silver
Text YOS XIX, 111 was found in the temple
Text YOS XIX, 75, was composed in the 1st year of Nabû-na’id in Uruk. The document is a list of estimated yields of barley fields. There are two “Arabs”
Text YOS VI; 59 is dated from the 4th year of Nabû-na’id, from Uruk. The text is a business contract. It points that Innin-šum-uṣṣur apil-šu ša Šamaš-nāṣir apil Arbâ (written ar-ba-a-a) sells a house, owned by him, in that city.89 The text evidences that in this case the mentioned Arab
Text YOS XIX, 173 was composed in the 4th year of Nabû-na’id in Uruk. The text belongs to the temple
Text Moldenke, No. 17, was composed in the 8th year of Nabû-na’id in Babylon. The text is a contract for loaned money. The person in it who receives the loan is some (m.d)A-ra-bi (lú)qallu—a slave of the person who gave the loan—Iddin-Marduk
Text Strassmaier, Nbn. 372, was composed in Babylon
Text YOS XIX, 115, was composed in Uruk under the reign of Nabû-na’id, but its exact date is not preserved. The text is a list of workmen assigned to the watch of Eanna, and belongs to the temple’s
As can be seen from the examples during the Neo-Babylonian
The information regarding other “foreigners
During the Neo-Babylonian
In economic and social spheres however there is clear evidence of wide integration both horizontally, and vertically within the structure of Babylonian society. The “foreigners” in Babylonia could work professionally in almost all areas to which “regular” Babylonians
Of course, such social integration was aligned with the characteristics of Neo-Babylonian society, and more clearly, to the characteristics of its complex social structure. The examples here confirm this observation. The “foreigners
With this background, the social and cultural role of the ḫadru communities deserves special attention, in spite of the problems related to their study. Namely, by means of these structures, part of the “foreigners
In the dawn of the Mesopotamian civilization during the third millenium BCE, there was a tradition according to which the biggest part of the “foreigners
In contrast with these images, the sources from the first millennium BCE give examples of a very different and very altered attitude towards the “foreigners.” During the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, different texts from Babylonia
I would like to express my thanks to professors, M. Geller, S. Ignatov, S.Parpola, B. Levine and to Tzvi Abusch for his critical remarks.
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In the present paper the term “Globalization” is used as terminus technicus. Akkadian lacks a word with similar meaning. The term is modern and because of its contemporary meaning, the term’s application with the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia is debatable. In the present article the term is used with the mentioned limitation. I am indebted to Prof. St. Zawadzki, who drew my attention to this important issue.
A selected bibliography about the problems related to “foreigners” in Mesopotamia until 1979 can be found in (Zadok 1979, 174–181).
Although the concrete chronological framework of each of the periods in the political history of Mesopotamia is disputable, the fundamental elements that justify them are concrete political events, as for example the rule of the First Babylonian Dynasty around 1894–1595 BCE.
The main element in the periodization by linguistic principle is the development of the Akkadian language and its dialects, e.g. Middle Babylonian, attested in the cuneiform sources from the period around fifteenth–sixteenth c. BCE. It must be noted that also in this type of chronological ordering there are disputable boundaries between the separate periods.
Thus, for example, the term ḫadru used for designation of “community of foreigners” is known mainly from the Achaemenid period, despite the fact that such communities existed in the Neo-Babylonian period. See (Beaulieu 1988).
About the mentioned perceptions of the differences, see (Brinkman 1984, 12), where the author points out that the dichotomy between diverse populations in Babylonia was not based on place or type of residence, urban vs. rural, sedentary vs. non-sedentary, but on social or socio-political organization, tribal vs. non-tribal. Another view is explained in the research of Pongratz-Leisten, where the major elements in the Mesopotamian concepts of diversity are described as 1. city versus countryside, 2. sedentarism versus nomadism, 3. homeland versus enemy, see (Pongratz-Leisten 2001, 195). In fact, the positions of both authors about the concept of the Babylonian urban population supplement each other. Defining each of the mentioned author’s position depends on the types of cuneiform sources used by both authors in their research. The “foreigner” is mentioned in a certain way and for a particular purpose in the royal inscriptions and chronicles, and in another way and with another purpose in the administrative and economic texts.
About the social realizations of the free citizens and the urban elites within the main institutions see (Dandamayev 1988, 65–69), and (Zawadzki 1990). An example for social realization of prominent citizens in the sphere of the business is the famous family Egibi, whose trade house played an important role in the economic life of Babylon during the Neo-Babylonian period. See (Martirosian 1989, 10–27).
The present article will not consider the data from the literary sources from the period, because they do not contain important information concerning social state of the “foreigners.” An exception will be made for some references in the royal inscriptions of Nabû-na’id that differ by their content and historical information from the inscriptions of the other Neo-Babylonian kings. For more about the style and contents of the Neo-Babylonian inscriptions, see (Grayson 1980, 160–171), and for the main characteristics of Nabonidus inscriptions, see (Schaudig 2001, 28–80).
The main characteristics of the forms of the stated source groups and their typology for the Neo-Babylonian period are well summarized in (Jursa 2005, 9–49).
The present article will not delve in detail over the texts giving data about “foreigners” coming from the group of legal documents, because the legal status of “foreigners” in these documents is depicted in (Cardascia 1958).
See (Jursa 2005, 60–61), where there is data about the texts coming from the royal archive, part of which are the important ration-lists.
General data about the texts from the two mentioned archives are available in (Jursa 2005, 138–139, 116–118).
Usually, the texts belonging to the groups of legal and business documents give information about “foreigners” as a party in a legal case or business transaction. An example about such information is found in GCCI, I, 260 where one of the two principal parties in the transaction is a person of Egyptian origin. A discussion over this text will be provided later. An example of a text mentioning the name of the “foreigner” and his profession is given by (Strassmaier 1889a, Nbn. 67), composed in the 2nd year of Nabû-na’id, in Uruk, where the Egyptian Marduk-erība apil-šu ša Rimut apil Miṣirāya, a scribe, is mentioned.
Examples of “foreigners” mentioned only as witnesses in some documents are these in (Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 135: 38), dated from the 22nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, composed in Babylon, in which Nabû-da apil-šu ša Nādin apil Miṣirāya, an “Egyptian,” is mentioned as witness, and text (Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 314), composed in Babylon, in the 37th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, in which an Arab, Nabû-apla-iddin apil-šu ša Arrabi (written (lú)ar-ra-bi), is mentioned among the witnesses. See (Strassmaier 1889b, 85–87, 185; Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 135: 38; Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 314: 12).
It is worth pointing out the diversity and the multitude of texts belonging to the three mentioned groups. The sources’ diversity is not only one of the biggest riches of Mesopotamian civilization, but also of the whole ancient world, which is, as Van De Mieroop marks, “virtually unparalleled” (Mieroop 2004, 54).
This article will not dwell in detail over the main controversial questions and the hypotheses related to them. A summary of the major positions in the different hypotheses can be found in (Snell 1997, 145–158). A critical view of some specific questions and the attitudes towards them expressed in the three main theories, these of the Marxists, the Primitivists and the Modernists, can be found in (Mieroop 2004, 55–62), and also (Renger 1994, 163–168).
More about the redistributive systems as an element in the Mesopotamian economy is found in (Renger 1994, 176–180).
An example about such type of mentioning can be found in a text from the 42nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, composed in Hursagkalamma (Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 408), where Ba-ri-ki-ili is mentioned. See the text in (Strassmaier 1889b, 242–243, Nbk. 408: 7). The name Bariki-ili is Judean and was used predominantly by people belonging to this ethnical group. For this and other Judean names see (Clay 1904 (2010), xiii–xiv, 19–21).
An example of onomastic study dedicated to the Arabian names can be found in Zadok (Zadok 1981, 44–57).
An example about this type can be found in text dated from the 33rd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, composed in Babylon (Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk. 261), where the scribe Marduk-šākin-šumi apil-šu ša Bēl-šunu apil Miṣirāya, of Egyptian origin, is mentioned. The text can be found in (Strassmaier 1889b, 156–157, Nbk. 261: 18–19).
According to Dandamayev, “foreigners” who were enslaved received Babylonian names (Dandamayev 1974, 70). If the data from the Book of Daniel–Dan. 1; 6–7 is considered, then it can be concluded that the deported people received Babylonian names too. It is certain, however, that such observations can be applied only to a part of the “foreigners” stated in the texts.
The main Assyrian campaigns against Egypt that were conducted by Aššur-aḫ-iddina, and after him Aššur-bān-apli in 671, 667 BCE, finished with mass deportations of Egyptians to the lands of Assyria and her dependent territories (Wiseman 1966, 154).
An example about data in the Assyrian royal inscriptions about relocated persons from Egypt, which state that the relocated people were brought to Assyria, but not mentioning other regions, can be found in the inscription of Aššur-bān-apli, the so-called Rassam Cylinder, Col. II in (Oppenheim 1969, 295). See also the data about Aššur-aḫ-iddina’s policy in Egypt in tablet belonging to the series of “Babylonian Chronicles” Col. IV, the data about the 10th year of the king in (Oppenheim 1969, 302–303).
See more details in (Diakonoff 1952, 93). Similar deportations took place also in conjunction with population groups, relocated from the regions of Elam, Anatolia, Syria and Northern Arabia, in which military campaigns conducted by Assyrian army took place. An example can be found in the data about the campaigns of Aššur-bān-apli against Arab tribes after the quell of the revolt of Šamaš-šum-ukīn. In cylinder inscription of Aššur-bān-apli the campaign of the king against the tribes of Qidari and Nabayatu was conducted around 645 or 641–639 BCE The campaign ended with the deportation of a part of the population of both mentioned tribes. See the text Cylinder C, Col. IX, in (Oppenheim 1969, 299). Concerning the problems around the dating of the campaign and its political background see (Eph ' al 1982, 155–170), and (Brinkman 1984, 103–104).
We must note that because of temple administrative or business character of our Neo-Babylonian texts, terms as galītu or ulteglû are not frequently mentioned. More probably the both terms were mentioned in texts belonging to the groups of the royal (state) archives.
Our main sources about the conducted deportations are Biblical. They are summarized in Jer. 52: 28–30. It must be noted that mass deportations of Judeans took place after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE Sources about late deportation which cover the lands of Judah in addition to the lands of the neighboring Ammon, Moab and Edom, during the Babylonian campaign in 582/1 BCE, are given in Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Iudaicae, X 9, 7 and Jer. 52: 30.
Main sources about the campaign is the statement in the “Babylonian Stelae” of Nabû-na’id, that he devoted to the temples of Marduk, Nabû and Nergal, 2800 prisoners of war from Ḫumȇ, to be used in building works–ana zabālu tupšikku. See (Langdon 1912, 284, Nabonid Nr. 8, Col. IX: 31–41).
Eight Egyptian prisoners of war who are mentioned with their first name only in ration-lists, are known from two texts from Sippar composed during the reign of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur around 602 BCE–BM 57337 and BM 49785, see (Wiseman 1966, 156–157, plate XLIV). Our main sources about the wars between Babylonia and Egypt are the tablets belonging to the series of “Neo-Babylonian Chronicles.” In BM 21901, obv. 10 the first data about battle with Egyptians in the region of the Middle Euphrates in 616 BCE are given. In BM 21946, obv. 1–8, the data about the battles in Carhemish and Hamat in 605 BCE are given. In BM 21946, rev. 5–7 the data about the war in Sinai in 601–600 BCE are given. The stated sources can be seen in (Wiseman 1956, 54–55, 66–69, 70–71). The fragmentary text (Strassmaier 1889b, Nbk.329) must be added to the above-mentioned texts. It is dated around the sixties of the sixth century BCE. See the translation of this text in (Oppenheim 1969, 308). Analysis of the Egypto-Babylonian relations during the period can be found in (Spalinger 1977). None of the mentioned source data contains a direct reference to Egyptians taken as prisoners of war.
Major sources about the conquest of the lands in North-Western Arabia, and about the deportations of people from “the land of Ḫatti” and “the land of Akkad” conducted there, is Nabonidus’ Stela from Harran. See text H 2 A, B, Col. I: 22–27, Col. II: 6–10 in (Gadd 1958, 58–61). More details about the oases conquered by the ruler, and the problems related to their identification see (Gadd 1958, 79–89). Because in that part of Arabia there are no systematic archaeological excavations performed, there are many obscurities in relation to the Babylonian presence.
An interesting late source about the participation of Judeans in the deportations conducted by Nabû-na’id in Arabia, is the fragment called “Nabonidus’ Prayer,” found in Qumran, and composed around the first half of the first century BCE. The text mentions that the ruler took treatment in Taima (BTYMN) by a Judean soothsayer. Transcription and translation of the text can be found in (Amusin 1958, 104–106). Analysis of the sources’ data and the main problems connected with them can be found in (Amusin 1958, 106–117).
Two specific statements in the Neo-Babylonian royal inscriptions are the main reason for the assumption that the “foreigners” in question were called up in connection with a specific purpose, for example the reconstruction of some temple, something presuming a limited period for their stay in Babylonia. The first statement is found in inscription of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, see (Langdon 1912, 146–147, Nebukadnezar Nr. 17, Col. II: 1–37), where it is stated that for the reconstruction of the ziggurat E-temenanki and some other temples, the king called up many people “from the Upper sea to the Lower sea” together with the people from the “country of Akkad”–mātu Akkadȋ(ki). The second statement can be seen in the Harran Stela of Nabû-na’id, H 2 A, B, Col. III: 18–22, where it is stated that the king called up people from “the Upper sea to the Lower sea” and from “the land of Ḫatti to the border with Egypt,” together with the people of “the country Akkad” for the reconstruction of Sin’s temple in Harran–Eḫulḫul, see (Gadd 1958, 64–65).
According to the Old Testament data in II Kings 25: 12–16, after the first siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE, Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur deported to Babylonia woodworkers, smiths, builders and artisans, in addition to the deported members of the royal family, the members of the Judean elite and the deported soldiers. The source give two totals–7 000 and 10 000. The Old Testament data about the number of the deported Judeans are unclear. According to Jer. 52: 28–30, during the two sieges of Jerusalem, in 597 and 587/6 BCE. Babylonians deported 3023 and 832 people. During the campaign of Nabuzardan in 582/1 BCE other 745 people were deported, as the source states that the total number of deported Judeans was 4600, possibly with the exception of children and women. The reasons for the discrepancy in the numbers given in the II Kings and Jeremiah remain unclear.
Some of the Aramean and more specifically Chaldean tribal communities were among the strongest opponents of Assyrian influence over Babylonia, which is evidenced by the data concerning the numerous campaigns of the Assyrian kings against both tribal communities. See for instance the information about the policy of Šarru-kēn II (722–705 BCE) in (Brinkman 1984, 45–54).
The process of gradual sedentarization, which took place among Aramean, Chaldean and Arab tribes in the period before 627/6 BCE, probably realized more successfully the model studied by Rowton in Mari during the second millennium BCE. The main social characteristics of the whole sedentarization process are summarized in (Rowton 1973, 253–258).
It is important to note that probably because of the Assyrian policy in the second half of the seventh century BCE, the political role of the Aramean and Chaldean tribal communities during the Neo-Babylonian period was weakened. The issue is illustrated in (Brinkman 1984, 106–111). Moreover, during the Neo-Babylonian period there is no information concerning political conflicts between the tribal communities and the central (royal) power. It remains unclear which was the reason for this situation: some kind of political compromise between the tribal communities and the king, or the weaker political position of the tribal communities as part of the process of their sedentarization. Perhaps, the developing process of urbanization during the Neo-Babylonian period played an important role, when the settled area of the cities grew as result of the enormous building activities of the Babylonian kings, for example, these conducted by Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur in and around Babylon. Unfortunately, presently there is no research conducted which summarizes the archaeological data about Babylonian cities from the Neo-Babylonian period.
The group categorization proposed here is open for discussion. Dandamayev proposes in his research a different categorization, which outlines the following social-defined groups of “foreigners”: 1. Privately owned and temple slaves and also various groups of state (palace) workmen; 2. Military colonists of the king; 3. State officials of foreign origin; 4. Persons who arrived in Babylonia and lived there permanently for reasons unknown to us (Dandamayev 1983, 136–137).
Example for mentioning of such community, connected with Arabs can be found in text BE VIII/1. 50: 15 composed in the th year of Nabû-na’id (547/6) in settlement called Bīt sîn ālu ša Arbāya—written as Bīt (d)30 URU ša (lú)Ar-ba-a-a (Eph ' al 1982, 189; Dandamayev 2000, 36, n.14). We note that in the document the term ḫadru is not mentioned.
See CAD, vol. 6: 24.
The meaning of the terms šaknu and šībūtē in connection with different administrative prerogatives is available: for šaknu - CAD, Š part I: 180–190, and for šībūtē–CAD, Š part II: 392–402.
The main source of our information about the region of Nippur comes from the texts written during the Achaemenid rule, and belongs to the Murašu archives. For the disposition of different ḫadru communities around Nippur see (Zadok 1978b, 290, Table No. 1, and 296–298, Table No. 2).
See, for example, the mention of ‘elders of the exiles’ and the elders of Judah and of Israel’ in Babylonia in Jer. 29: 1, Ezek. 8: 1, 14: 1.
The first groups of deported Judeans in 597/6 BCE were settled in the regions of Babylon and Nippur. Probably the ones settled in Babylon were related mainly to the political elite of Judea, since the “ration-lists” found in Babylon state that the deported Judean king–Jehoiachin and persons connected with him, received maintenance from the Palace around 592 BCE. See the texts according Weidner’s publication, B. Babylon 28178 (VAT 16283), Vs. II: 38–40, and C. Babylon 28186 (VAT 16387), Vs. II: 17–21 in (Weidner 1939, 925–926), as also (Mitchell 1991, 418–420). The data about the region of Nippur mentions several places with Judean settlements, but their exact localization is problematic (Ezek. 1: 3, 3: 15; Mitchell 1991, 420–422). The cuneiform texts from the Achaemenid period state that deported Judeans were settled in other regions of Babylonia, including more places around Nippur. These texts, however, are diachronistic compared to the period reviewed.
The activities of the deported Judean scribes were connected with the literary traditions realized by the prophetic schools in Judea herself, before the “Babylonian Captivity.” Deported members of such schools continued their activities during the Captivity (Mitchell 1991, 445–446).
The problem concerning the calendrical systems used in seventh and sixth centuries BCE by Judeans is serious, because of the several calendrical systems simultaneously used in different books of the Old Testament. Observations about such important political events as the first siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE can be found in (Malamat 1968, 137–150). One of the earliest known Judean calendars is the one from Gezer. See (Albright 1969, 320). For the Babylonian influence over the Judean calendar see also Mitchell (Mitchell 1991, 441).
For the dating of the composition of the Old Testament’s historical books, see (Mitchell 1991, 446).
Regardless of the similarities in the objectives of the narrative of the Old Testament’s historical books and for example the series “Neo-Babylonian Chronicles,” there are also serious differences in relation to their structure and contents. The most probable reason for this is the fact that Judean culture interacted with the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures in a way which adopted effectively some foreign cultural influence and which transformed it into a part of the Judean literary tradition. About the similarities and differences between Old Testament’s historical books and “Babylonian Chronicles” see (Mitchell 1991, 442–443), and for the main features of the structure in the books “Chronicles” and “Kings” see (Seters 1980, 167–183).
The dating of the composition of the Book of Daniel is still debatable. According to some authors, the book was composed around the middle of the second century BCE, but according to the opinion of other authors, the book was composed during or soon after the time of the events described in it, around sixth or fifth century BCE. See the main arguments of both groups of authors summarized in (Waltke 1976, 319–325).
The parts in question are Dan. 7–12, where different prophecies are narrated. It must be noted that the Akkadian Prophecies by their meaning are vaticinia ex eventu, something which differentiates them from the Biblical prophecies. See more over this question in (Baldwin 1979, 77–80, 92–99).
More specifically it is about the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar interpreted by Daniel in Dan. 2: 16–45, 4: 6–24. For the data in Dan. 1–6 see (Millard 1977, 68–73; Wiseman 1985, 87–98). Statements about dream interpretation connected with Neo-Babylonian ruler can be found only in some of the royal inscriptions of Nabû-na’id. In the “Babylonian Stela” the king mentions two of his dreams, see (Langdon 1912, 278–279, 284–286, Nabonid Nr. 8, Col. VI: 1–36, Col. X; 1–12), and in the “Royal Chronicle” from Ur, it is stated that the king consulted the dream interpretation series Enūma-Anu-Enlil, see (Lambert 1968, 4, 6, obv. III: 1–5).
See Dan. 1: 3–7, 17, 20. The education of youths from prominent families was used as a method with political objectives by all empires in the Antiquity. Possibly, this method played an important cultural role for the adaptation of Babylonian cultural influence in Judean literary traditions.
Such similar elements can be observed in texts belonging to the group of wisdom literature. Thus, the literary motive connecting the building of some edifices with the possession of wisdom expressed in skills and knowledge is reflected as element in royal inscriptions from Mesopotamia and in different Biblical texts (Leuwen 2007). Similar elements can be found in the Old Testament’s accounts of the Creation and the Deluge and in numerous Mesopotamian myths. It is appropriate to add that in their meaning the Biblical and Mesopotamian accounts had also serious differences (Heidel 1963, 82–140), where different problems connected with the Old Testament parallels of different Mesopotamian myths are reviewed.
The dating of the source’s composition is disputable. It is known that the text is a part of a royal inscription composed in connection with the opening of the palace built by the Babylonian ruler, an event to which many high-ranking officials and dependent kings were invited. For the discussions about the composition of the text, around 590 or 570 BCE, see (Beaulieu 2002, 99–101).
See (Oppenheim 1967, 252–253). Probably the important merchant role played by Tyre was the reason, after long siege, for the city not to be destroyed by Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur. Tyre did not share the fate of Jerusalem, because Tyre was an important redistributive center for trade with some metals and many other commodities from the Western and the Eastern Mediterranean. Important information about the trade partners and the exchange of merchandise of Tyre during the sixth century BCE can be found in Ezek. 27: 2–36.
See the mention in (Weidner 1939, 929, text B. Babylon 28178 (VAT 16283), Rs. I: 5, Rs. II: 13–14). The presence of the Elamites in the mentioned lists is related to the problem of the suzerainty over Elam during the Neo-Babylonian period. There are two main hypotheses of this problem. According to the first one, supported by Zadok and Diakonoff, Elam or her western half, Susiana, was a part of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom at least through 585/4 or through 539 BCE. For a more detailed position of both authors see (Zadok 1978a, 61–62) and (Diakonoff 1985, 23–24). The hypothesis is criticized by Wiseman, see (Wiseman 1956, 36; 1985, 34, 78, 81). According to the second hypothesis supported by Zawadzki, Elam had been a dependent state of Media ever since the end of the seventh century BCE. More details are available in (Zawadzki 1988, 133–143). The political context of the mentioned information about the Elamites in the lists remains unclear, and the data could not be used as an argument in support of the hypothesis of the Babylonian suzerainty over Elam.
Possibly the social system related to the army during the Neo-Babylonian period was similar to the one of Assyria and Urartu, but there is no general research of the problem to the present time. See Diakonoff (Diakonoff 1952, 93–99) about major characteristics of social organization of deported military staff in the lands of Assyria and Urartu. Information that the Babylonians systematically deported military staff from the dependent territories is contained in II Kings 24: 14, 16, whereas the information is related to 597–596 BCE.
See the source in Weidner 1939, 930, text C. Babylon 28186 (VAT 16378) Vs. I: 18–19). See also (Wiseman 1966, 155–156).
According to Herodotus, the Egyptian fleet was strong enough to perticipate during the reign of Apries (or Uah-ib-Re) in the war against the fleet of Tyre, see Herodotus, Historiae, II, 161. Similar information is presented also by Diodorus, which mentions that the pharaoh fought with the Phoenician fleets from Sidon and Cyprus, see Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, I, 68.1. Analysis of these information can be found in Spalinger (1977, 234–236).
Another example about an “Egyptian” mentioned as a witness can be found in (Moldenke 1893, 41–44, text No. 26: 19), where some Balāṣu apil-šu ša Miṣirāya is mentioned. The text, a receipt for loaned money guaranteed with a mortgaged house, was composed in Babylon in the 13th year of Nabû-na’id.
The text in transliteration, translation and cuneiform copy can be found in (Pinches 1888, 73–77, No. 17: 2–4).
See the detailed study of the Arab presence in Babylonian lands during the Neo-Babylonian period in (Zadok 1981, 66–84).
About the term rēḫatu see CAD, R: 340. The term is used in different texts from the archive of Eanna, in relation to the “ritual food” supplied in Taima for the king Nabû-na’id during his stay in Arabia (Beaulieu 1989, 157–159).
The reason for this assumption is the fact that the “Arab” mentioned is known from text GCCI, I, 255, dated in the 19th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur. The text is composed in Uruk and is a receipt for a given quantity of grain, in which is mentioned Nanâ-aḫ-iddin as receiver (Dougherty 1923, plate XXXIV–XXXV, No. 255: 8). It is known that the temple gave to his employees different quantities of grain as maintenance.
About the obscurities in the meaning of the term see CAD, K: 206.
See (Beaulieu 2000, plate LIV, No. 111: 12–13). For the meaning of šaqqāyu as sack maker see CAD, S: 168. It must be noted that the cuneiform copy of the text is not clear enough in the lines quoted. The sign MEŠ after the ethnic name is missing.
An example about a similar situation can be found in text YOS VI, 11 composed in the 1st year of Nabû-na’id in Larsa. The text is a contract for lease of land between temple’s administration and two private persons. In it, line 4 states that together with the land there are also 400 ikkarē leased to the leaseholders. See the text in (Dougherty 1920, plate III–IV, No. 11: 4).
A detailed analysis about the social conditions of the dependent farmers ikkaru, as social group related to the institutions of the Temple and the Palace can be found in (Dandamayev 1974, 341–365).
The text in transliteration, translation and cuneiform copy can be found in (Moldenke 1893, 19–21, Text No. 17: 2, 1–4).
More observations of similar situations related to peculium are available in (Dandamayev 1974, 188–203).
Regarding the usage of the name Ša-pȋ-kalbi primarily with adopted children see (Dandamayev 1974, 67–68).
Text mentioning the watch of Eanna is GCCI, II, 103, composed in Uruk in the year of accession of Cambyses. In the text, however, there are only temple slaves mentioned as watches. See the text in (Dougherty 1933, plate XVIII, No. 103: 1, 5).
See the information about groups of “foreigners” from Phoenicia, Philistine, Asia Minor and Syria in the region of Nippur in (Eph ' al 1978, 80–83; Zadok 1979, 164–169), for Iranians (Zadok 1978a, 64–67; 1979, 169–172), where there is bibliography of the research concerning different groups of “foreigners.”