7 Some Observations about “Foreigners” in Babylonia
during the VI Century BCE

Kabalan Moukarzel

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Moukarzel, Kabalan (2014). Some Observations about “Foreigners” in Babylonia during the VI Century BCE. In: Melammu: The Ancient World in an Age of Globalization. Berlin: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften.

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, evidenced by documented sources to a greater or lesser degree for almost all political periods of Ancient Mesopotamia.1

The first millennium BCE introduces a brand new element into the developing Globalization processes, clearly evident in the social policy of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. This is the integration of large groups of “foreigners” within the framework of Mesopotamian economy and society. This integration was heavily influenced both by the conducted mass deportation policy of the empires, and by different economic factors such as urbanization.

The Neo-Babylonian period, between 626–539 BCE, is rich in sources concerning the social integration of various groups of “foreigners” within the framework of Babylonian society. Regardless of the different cultural and political factors for the development of the Globalization, it can be assumed that its economic parameters, and among them the factor of the social integration, play an important role in the implementation of the Globalization process itself. We will concentrate on several observations concerning the “foreigners” in Babylonia during the indicated period, in the context of their social integration and the ways of organization of their communities.2

7.1 Sources and Some General Problems

Without doubt, every study of the “foreigners” in Babylonia meets some major problems. The first is the dispersion of the various pieces of information in the different groups of cuneiform source, most often of casual character. For example texts with administrative, legal and business character. Every mentioned type of cuneiform sources gives us information about a different aspect of the social realization of particular “foreigners.”

The second problem stems from the fact that the source data do not uniformly represent the whole territory of Babylonia. At the moment the most information about the “foreigners” are available for the regions of Nippur, Uruk, Babylon and Sippar. The available data from the regions Ur, Der, and Borsipa is considerably limited.

The third main problem demonstrates the diachronicity of the source groups in relation to their data about “foreigners.” This problem is related to the accepted chronological borders in the Assyriology of the different periods in the history of ancient Mesopotamia. As a whole, the main criteria for chronological definition of some historical period were influenced by the analysis of the political process,3 or by the philological analysis of dialectic development of the Akkadian language.4

Source data about “foreigners,” however, are attested mainly in texts of economic and administrative character, that is, in texts related to the social and economic life in Mesopotamia. On the other hand, the events from the two mentioned realms have a chronological span and logic different than those defined by pure political or linguistic tenet. Thus, for example, the fall of Babylon under Persian rule in 539 BCE does not lead to significant changes in the economic and social system of Babylonia. In many cases, the chronological boundaries of the periods related to the development of the socioeconomic processes in Mesopotamia do not coincide with the development periods of the political or linguistic processes. Namely, in similar situations the problem with the diachronicity of sources arises, because some social or economic process known from earlier periods are better attested in sources from a later period.5

We should note also the existence of a fourth, mostly theoretical problem, and that is who was considered as “foreigner” in Babylonia during the sixth century BCE? The cuneiform sources do not give a definitive answer, with exception of those cases in which the “foreigners” are directly stated by their third names, predominantly. Thus, for instance, in the country during that time, there were different groups of Arab tribes whose members, even though settled in or around the cities, were still addressed to with an ethnic term in the same way that an ethnic term was used for the Egyptians, that is, for people who were not connected with closer regions to the Babylonian cities but rather with different country.

This situation attests to a clear distinction in the mentality of the Babylonians between themselves as natives and the “foreigners” as people belonging to or connected with another culture or land, and also about the distinction between Babylonians and “foreigners” belonging to the different tribal communities inhabiting the country during the Neo-Babylonian period. Without doubt, such a mental picture for the distinction between themselves and “foreigners” resulted from a perception formed in the framework of a traditionally urban culture such as that in Mesopotamia.6 It must be noted that such a perception had its own social dimension which is connected with the city elite dominated by prominent families whose members held almost all key positions within the “Great Institutions,” the Palace and the Temple, within the city’s popular assemblies, and even within the businesses.7

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 about the world around them. In a familiar world, the “foreigner” is someone different, not necessary someone hostile. Possibly that was the world of the Babylonians when they created their first and last empire in their history, an empire which spanned the lands from the Persian gulf to the Mediterranean coast and the city of Madina.

From known sources about the period between 626–539 BCE most informative texts concerning the “foreigners” belong to the follow three groups:

1Legal documents

2Administrative documents

3Business texts.8

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” can be divided in three groups not only according their purpose of writing and their outline, but also according to their origin namely:

1Texts belonging to the temple archives

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 Eanna and Ebabbar in Uruk and Sippar.12 The importance of the texts belonging to the temple archives is defined by the degree of the importance of the temple itself as key social and economic institution within the Babylonian society, an institution through which large groups of people of the land, belonging to different social strata, were connected in many ways. Without doubt, the type of cuneiform source, defined on the basis of its character and formulation, and also its origin, are elements that have significance in texts giving information about the social integration of “foreigners.”

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” together with his name.13 Other groups of texts mention only the name of the “foreigner” without giving any specific data about the person. Usually, these are texts which mention the “foreigners” only as witnesses to the text’s composition.14

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” in the Neo-Babylonian society.15

Groups of cuneiform sources mentioned thus far were part of the functioning of more diverse processes within the Mesopotamian society and its economic system. Within Assyriology, discussion about the main tenets of how the economic life within the ancient civilization was organized are still in progress.16 The economic system of Mesopotamia in some instances was very different from today. The system was realized within a society in which multiple social strata and multiple types of interrelations among them are attested by sources. For instance, there are several types of social and economic dependence of some persons known in respect to institutions like the temple and the palace, or in respect to private persons. Moreover the state of dependence had different economic, legal, and maybe political parameters depending on different groups of persons.

In addition, the institutions as the Temple and the Palace exercised an important role in the economic life of Mesopotamia, a role characterized by strongly developed and very complex redistributive systems.17 These details are necessary because the present article uses the expression “social integration,” which must be not understood exactly in its contemporary meaning. The expression “social integration” should be interpreted as the possibility for persons with “foreign” origin to be able to find social realization within different occupations, according to the complex “vertical” and “horizontal” social structures of the Neo-Babylonian society.

7.2 The “Foreigners”

In the texts coming from the period reviewed, “foreigners” appear in two main types. The first type states the first (proper) name of some “foreigner” and more rarely his second (father’s) and finally, a third name.18 In these cases, the origin of a “foreigner” can be defined on the base of onomastics.19 The second type describes mainly the “foreigner’s” third name as “foreign” more frequently determined by the name of some foreign country or some tribe.20 The first two names of some person, which are predominantly Babylonian, are more frequently stated, in this type. It can be assumed that persons with a first Babylonian name had come to Babylonia soon before the composing of texts in which they are mentioned. The persons with first and second Babylonian names more probably were second or third generation migrants to the country. However, this is not certain.21 The main reason why Babylonians gave their first names to some “foreigners” for most of the cases remains unclear as well as why they preserved the proper first names of other “foreigners” in the texts.

Based on the specific information from the sources, we can distinguish several groups of “foreigners” from Neo-Babylonian period.

The first group consists of people who had most often Babylonian given names and ethnic, geographical or tribal terms stated as third (family) names. They were thoroughly integrated into Babylonian society during sixth century BCE and appear to have been members of families who settled in the country since the time of the Assyrian domination during eighth–seventh centuries BCE. The ancestors of the people who belonged to this group originated in Egypt, Asia Minor, Syro-Palestinian region or from other regions near Mesopotamia. Certainly, many people belonging to this group of “foreigners” came to Babylonia as a result of the policy of mass deportations conducted by the Assyrian Empire, as for example the Egyptians.22 Unfortunately, the Assyrian royal inscriptions do not give more detailed information about the process of the dispersion of Egyptians relocated by them in the lands outside of proper Assyria.23 It is known that with resources acquired during the campaigns in Egypt, Babylonian temples were rebuilt.24 The latter supposes that prisoners of war or deported people were used for the building works. During the eighth–seventh century BCE. Assyria already had a well-developed administrative and social system related to the integration of deported groups of people. The system was even proclaimed as propaganda by Assyrians with political purposes.25 In the Neo-Babylonian period, the people from this group had a different social status.

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 kings.26 For instance, Jews were deported in the period of the wars of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur between 597/6 and 587/6.27 The deported inhabitants of Ḫumȇ after Nabû-na’id’s campaign around 556–555 BCE.28 We could add some Egyptians to this group, who came to the country as prisoners of war because of the major combat between Babylonia and Saite Egypt during the years 605, 601, 588/7 BCE.29

Part of that group of “foreigners” were also the people deported by Babylonians in different regions of the empire, out of Babylonia herself. Example of such situation are the relocated people from “the land of Ḫatti” and “the land of Akkad” in North-Western Arabia during the Nabû-na’id’s stay there, around 551/0–540/39 BCE.30

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 kings did not have the dimensions of the ones during the Neo-Assyrian period. Besides, the information about such kind of relocations, during the Neo-Babylonian period, is sparse.

In this group of “foreigners” who belonged to the conquered by the Neo-Babylonian kingdom peoples can be included those whose labor was used by the Babylonian administration in connection with different building works, more probably for a definite period of time. It is possible that the “foreigners” under question could have been called up by the system for corvee duties–dullu ša šarri.32 As the Biblical data states, the Neo-Babylonian kingdom exercised mass deportations selectively. From the dependent territories, besides political opponents, representatives of local elite and soldiers, Babylonians preferred to relocate also skilled workers–different types of craftsmen.33

Old Testament data describing the deported Judeans, testifies that the Neo-Babylonian kingdom used the method of deportations politically, socially and economically selectively, not en masse.

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 and its military, economic and administrative structures.

The third group consisted of members of various tribes on the territory of Babylonia as the Arameans, the Chaldeans, and Arabs which settled the country during the end of the second and the first half of the first millennium BCE.34 The tribal communities of the mentioned three groups enjoyed political autonomy, and until the forties of the seventh century BCE, the largest of them, namely of Arameans and Chaldeans, played an important political role in the country.35 Their relations with Babylonian cities in political and economic aspect were multifarious, but members of the mentioned three tribal communities gradually became part of the existing social system in Babylonia. They settled in the cities or in villages controlled by the central power and its administration; they changed their way of life and gradually integrated themselves within the society.36 Their integration during the Neo-Babylonian period possibly resulted mainly from the urbanization process which developed.37 To this could be added a small group traders or residents of different regions of Iran and Anatolia, who settled in the country because of economic reasons. The persons belonging to this group also had a different social status.38

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 texts from the Neo-Babylonian period point to the existence of different social and ethnic origins of people who we would call today “foreigners” because of a part of their names attested in the sources.

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.”40 The sources, however, occasionally also use the term ḫadru or ḫaṭru. According to CAD, the term means ‘a collegium or association of feudal tenants,’ and is also used for communities of “foreigners.”41 In his research, Eph’al notes the important meaning of the ḫadru communities as an administrative and social element within the lives and activity of the “foreign” communities in Babylonia.42

According to their structure, the ḫadru communities were headed by a šaknu, who was sometimes chosen among the residents by a council of elders–šībūtē.43 As is recognized, the council consisted mainly of residents of a specific community. Such a structure offered a de facto limited administrative self-rule of the communities regarding their internal affairs, for instance, some legal proceedings, and together with that provided the necessary administrative and social ties of these communities with the central power and numerous branches of the Babylonian economy.

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 called ālu ša Miṣirāya settled along the cities of Babylon, Nippur, Uruk, Sippar and Borsipa.44 Texts from various Babylonian cities present evidence of many other ḫadru communities consisting of Sidonians, Tyrians, Arabs, Philistines and others. At the moment we have the most researched information from the region of Nippur.45 Probably during the sixth century BCE, the Babylonian economy had a well developed system of social integration of the “foreigners” here under discussion in different regions of the country.

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, preserved its privileged social status in the Jewish communities in Babylonia.46 The information from the cuneiform sources points out that the communities were comprised by both rich and poor people who belonged to the temple and state administration, to different economic branches of, trade, agriculture, farming, commerce and so forth. However, not all sources mentioning “foreigners” refer to the ḫadru communities as their residence, and consequently during the Neo-Babylonian period different groups of “foreigners” were already residents of the large cities in the country.

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 Babylonian Captivity” that started after 597 BCE was not only a period in the development of the political history of the Judeans, but also an important stage in the rationalization and realization of the Judean culture. As the Old Testament data states the deported Judeans had a possibility to preserve their self-consciousness and to support their religious and cultural institutions in the lands of Babylonia.47 The activities of the prophet Ezekiel are not the only evidence. Three more examples can be stated about the activities of the Judean scribes.48

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 Chronicles.”51

The third example about the activities of the Judean scribes during the Captivity, which testifies of the combination of Babylonian influence with the inner dynamics of Judean literary traditions, is the Book of Daniel, probably composed during the sixth or the fifth century BCE.52 Some parts of the book according to their contents testify for similarities with familiar genres of Akkadian literature, for instance the Akkadian Prophecies.53 Other parts of the book, mainly in Dan. 1–6, contain important historical data about the Captivity, also influenced by some Babylonian traditions like, for instance, the tradition of dream interpretation, something attested in some of the royal inscriptions of Nabû-na’id.54 The Book of Daniel has the important statement that Judean youths from influential families were trained in Babylonian schools, something which helped with their acquaintance with the Babylonian culture and the rationalization of its achievements within the boundaries of the Judean literary traditions.55

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 texts so far known do not confirm the existence of such important institutions as schools within the ḫadru communities. The concrete parameters of the Babylonian cultural influence remain unclear. So does the cultural autonomy within the communities of other deported “foreigners” like Phoenicians, Philistines, or inhabitants from Anatolian regions. The dynamics in the process of cultural assimilation of “foreigners” in relation to the ḫadru communities remains unclear as well.

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,” regardless of the specific reasons of their presence in the country.

7.4 The Scope of Social Integration

The cuneiform sources give numerous examples of the integration of “foreigners” in different areas of the Babylonian society. We will dwell on some example related to the issue.

The famous “Court list” (or Court Calendar) composed as part of a royal inscription during the reign of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, around the nineties or seventies of the sixth century BCE, mentions many high-ranking officials of the court.57 Among the mentioned is the chief royal sailor‚ rāb tamkār ša šarri Ḫanunu.58 The name is of West-Semitic origin, probably Phoenician, and it should be connected to the important role trade played by the Phoenician cities during that time.59 Regardless of the circumstances around the ‘presence’ of Ḫanunu in the royal administration, it is important that a “foreigner” serves a high government position directly related to the economic system of Babylonia.

Information from the “ration-lists” dated from 592 BCE mentions the existence of a military squad of 713 Elamites under the command of a Babylonian officer.60 It is known that during the Neo-Babylonian period there was a military formation which consisted of people recruited from the Babylonian dependent territories or of mercenaries, that is, consisting of “foreigners.”61 Consequently, the “foreigners” were able to find professional realization in this important institution.62 There is one more example related to Elamites. This is the archive of Elamite settlers, found in Niniveh in the archaeological levels dated after 612 BCE most of whom were specialized in the area of agriculture.63 It is known also from different texts that there existed an Elamite ḫadru community around Babylon called ālu ša Šušan, and information from various Babylonian cities demonstrate that Elamites with different social status participated in the economic life of the country.64

We will dwell more specifically over the data related to two other groups of “foreigners.” The first group consists of Egyptians, that is, of “foreigners” whose origin was connected culturally and geographically with a different civilization. The second group consists of the Arabs in Babylonia, that is, of “foreigners” connected with the tribal communities that existed within the cultural and geographical borders of Mesopotamia. The information about the Arabs is much larger because the Arab population of Babylonia was relatively large compared to the Egyptians. Most of the texts mention the “foreigners” by indicating their third name. Many legal, administrative and business documents mention persons of Egyptian origin. One text belonging to the group of “ration-lists” dated from the 13th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, mentions eight Egyptians.65 The Egyptians are mentioned only by their first names and most probably they were prisoners of war in charge of the supervision of a boat house (bīt sāpīnāti) and qēpu’s office. Generally, 46 captured Egyptian shipbuilders are mentioned in the “ration-lists” and all of them are mentioned only by their first names–that is, evidence that they had come to Babylonia not long before the composition of the texts.

During the period, Saite Egypt had a strong navy and was an important naval force in the Eastern Mediterranean sea.66 Moreover, in Egypt as well as in Mesopotamia, river navigation was well developed because the big rivers–Nile, Euphrates and Tigris, which together with their systems of canals were used as the main line of communication. Therefore, the skills of the Egyptian boatmen were evaluated in Babylonia as important and necessary.

Text GCCI I; 260, composed in Uruk from the 31st year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur is a record of bailment and belongs to the temple archive of Eanna. It mentions Šamaš-aḫ-iddin apil-šu ša Mār-Esagila-nibbi apil Miṣirāya (written (m.d)mi-ṣir-a-a), as a guarant of a person who owed the temple administration payments of dates, and who was imprisoned.67 Even though the text does not clearly mention the social status of the “Egyptian,” it becomes clear from the contents that he acted the way every free Babylonian citizen acts. It is possible that the “foreigner” mentioned could have been second or third generation settler in the land.

Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 328, composed in the 37th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, with unknown localization of composition, mentions two “Egyptians” as witnesses.68 The text is a receipt, and the “Egyptians” mentioned are Bēl-uballiṭ apil-šu Šulâ apil Miṣirāya (written mi-ṣir-a-a) and Bēl-uballṭ apil-šu ša Bēl-šum-iškun apil Miṣirāya (written mi-ṣir-a-a). The document testifies that the persons mentioned had first and second Babylonian names and therefore it can be inferred that they were second or third generation settlers in Babylonia. Unfortunately, such kinds of mentioning are not informative enough.69

Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 359, from the 40th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, composed in Hurasgkalamma, mentions the “Egyptian” scribe Šamaš-nāṣir apil-šu ša Bēl-ušallim apil Miṣirāya (written (m.d)mi-ṣir-a-a).70 The text is administrative and the mentioned “Egyptian” therein held this authoritative profession. He was probably second or third generation settler in Babylonia.

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” slave—Nabû-ina-kāri-lūmur—(lú)qallu ša Miṣirāya (written (lú)mi-ṣir-a-a) is mentioned in it, and is stated not only as a witness, but also as a participant in the agreement.71 The “Egyptian” mentioned was a private person’s slave.

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 slave—(lú)širku ša (d)Nergal, the “EgyptianNergal-nūri’ ālu Miṣirāya (written (lú.uru)mi-ṣir-a-a).72 The decision affirms the accusations and finds the slave guilty of illegal fishing and illegal cutting in the temple’s real estate. The person was convicted to compensate the damages thirtyfold. The penalty imposed coincides with the recommended one in Paragraph 8 from the Law Code of Hammurabi.

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 (written lú.umbisag): Nabû-apla-iddin apil-šu ša Nammuru apil Miṣirāya and Nabû-eššiš apil-šu ša Nammuru apil Miṣirāya.73 Most probably, both mentioned scribes were brothers, which is evidenced by their coinciding second and third names. The scribe mentioned in Nbn. 679 is attested also in other documents from Babylon, again as a scribe.74 Here, the possibility that two persons from the same family were scribes is a compelling example of social realization.

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.75 In this case, the scribe mentioned was a part of the administrative personnel of the temple Ebabbar in the city.

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 that was interest free and used primarily by farmers. The text does not directly mention the profession of the person, but it becomes clear from the contents that he was a farmer.

Text Peek No. 17, composed in the 6th year of Cambyses (525 BCE) in Babylon mentions “Egyptians” too. The text is a business contract for sale of slaves.76 In this case, a Babylonian sells his slaves—(qallassu), some Nanâ-ittīja—“Egyptian” (written (kur) mi-ṣir-i-tu), and her three-month-old child for the price of two minas of silver. It is stated that both were the booty of his bow—ḫubūt qaštī-šu. Probably the person mentioned in the text participated in the campaign of Cambyses against Saite Egypt in 525 BCE that ended with subjugation of the country to the Persians. The text testifies that naming with Babylonian names was realized soon after the capture of some “foreigner.” The Egyptians in Babylonia were occupied in different occupations and were part of various social strata, as is demonstrated by the examples. They were also physicians, diviners, dream interpreters, singers, craftsmen, peasants, slaves and temple slaves.77 In almost all cases they carry their Babylonian given first names, and for us it remains unclear what part of the mentioned Egyptians moved to Babylonia before, and what part after the beginning of the Neo-Babylonian period around 627/6 BCE.

Unlike Egyptians, another group of “foreigners,” namely Arabs, did not settle around of the Babylonian cities mainly as a result of mass deportations, but as a result of the ongoing process of urbanization in Babylonia and sedentarization of the tribal communities.78 Here are some examples of their social integration.

Text GCCI, I, 184, composed in the 22nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur in Uruk is a receipt for payment belonging to the temple archive of Eanna.79 The text  mentions, together with other persons, Nanâ-aḫ-iddin apil-šu ša Arrab (written ár-rab), who was in charge of the delivery of rēḫātu in the Palace, and who was paid for the accomplished work. It is known that rēḫātu—leftovers, were delivered regularly to the Palace during the period, and were used as “ritual food” by the kings.80 The “Arab” mentioned is known also from another document.

Text GCCI, I, 238 is a receipt, composed in the 26th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur again in Uruk (Dougherty 1923, plates XXXI–XXXII, No. 238: 10). It mentions Nanâ-aḫ-iddin apil-šu ša Arrab (written ár-rab), but this time he was in charge of the delivery of foods and other provisions for the Palace. The delivery was sent by the temple to the Palace. It remains unclear if the person mentioned was part of the temple personnel, or if he was a Palace official. The former is more probable.81 With certainty, the person who carried out the duties played some role in connection with the relations between both institutions and the “Arab” belonged to the social strata connected with their administrations.

Text GCCI, I, 80, composed in the 30th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, in Uruk and belonging to the temple archive is a list of workmen (written (lú)ummā- nu). In it, among the mentioned people there is also some Arrab apil-šu ša Bēl-upaḫḫir (written (m.d)ár-rab), (Dougherty 1923, plate XII, No. 80: 6). In this case, it is interesting that the the ethnonym is mentioned as a first name of some person. It is possible, though there is no mentioning of his third name, that he was with an “Arab” origin. In this case the person is acknowledged just as a worker.

Text Strassmaier, Nbk. 287 dated in the 35th year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur, with no preserved locality is a receipt according to which a quantity of sesame sold to Arbâ (written (lú)ar-ba-a) was paid for with the sum of 1 mina of silver. The Arab mentioned in the text was probably a merchant.82

Text GCCI, II, 211 was composed in the 42nd year of Nabû-kudurrī-uṣur in Uruk. The text is a receipt concerning silver dispensed for various purposes and belongs to the Eanna’s archive. In there, together with other people, Arrabi (written (m.d) ár-ra-bi) (lú)rāb karāni is mentioned.83 In this case, the person is mentioned only by his first name, but there is a statement about the functions performed by him—namely wine master. It remains unclear if the mentioned functions are connected to the administration of the temple’s wine-cellar, or they were connected to the trade with wine.84 It is evident that this “foreigner” participated in the activities of the temple institution too, although not as part of the temple’s lower personnel.

Text YOS XIX, 111 was found in the temple archive of Eanna in Uruk, and was composed in the 1st year of Nabû-na’id. The text is a list of workers, different people hired to carry dates. Among the mentioned are also three Arabs (written (m.d) ár-rab), who are stated as a soldier (lú)ṣābu, a craftsman (lú)ummānu and a sack-maker (lú)šaqqāyu.85 The text does not mention the names of the three persons, but their realization in the fields of the mentioned professions is indicative of the level of their social integration. It remains unclear if the two mentioned craftsmen were part of the temple’s personnel or they were just hired for the case.

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” —(lú) ár-rab mentioned, without explicit statement of their names, who are stated as farmers—(lú)ikkaru.86 The text is a part of the temple archive and the mentioned farmers therein, probably belonged to the social group of the temple’s dependent population. The temple’s ikkaru could be leased, together with the lands cultivated by them.87 This social group was neither a part of the free citizen’s group of Babylonia, nor a part of the slaves’ group.88

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 was a resident of the city and not of the respective ḫadru community, which is a good example for sedentarization and social integration.

Text YOS XIX, 173 was composed in the 4th year of Nabû-na’id in Uruk. The text belongs to the temple archive and by its form is a receipt for a quantity of beer received. The receiver in it is an “Arab” carpenter—(m.d) ár-rab (lú)nagāru.90 Because the person under question is mentioned only by his first name and profession, most probably he was part of the temple’s craftsmen and consequently, he was known to the temple’s scribes.

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 from the famous “house” of Nūr-Sȋn.91 Although the mentioned “Arab” was a slave, and the loan’s conditions were quite unfavorable, such loan would not have been made if the recipient did not have any kind of property in the form of peculium—the text makes no mention about it directly. Such types of loan, in which the master gives some sum of money to his slave were made only if the slave had a peculium.92

Text Strassmaier, Nbn. 372, was composed in Babylon in the 9th year of Nabû-na’id. The text is a receipt, mentioning among its witnesses Ša-pȋ-kalbi apil-šu ša Arrabi apil ša Šangû-Nanâ-Bābili.93 There is no other information about the person in the text. Two things in his name draw attention. His first name was frequently given to foster children, and his second name is an ethnonym.94 His third name is connected with influential Babylonian family which probably adopted the person in his childhood years.

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 archive. There, together with other persons, Ilu-dannu-aḫḫē-šu-ibni apil-šu ša Arrabi (written (m.d) ár-rab-bi) (lú)išparu—a weaver—is mentioned.95 Because such a watch was performed by people belonging to the temple’s personnel, in this case too, probably the mentioned “Arab” was a temple’s craftsman.96 There are no other data about the person and his social position. It remains unclear if he were a part of the temple’s dependent personnel, or he was a part of the group of temple slaves.

As can be seen from the examples during the Neo-Babylonian period the Arabs are widely acknowledged in the sources, in the context of data belonging to various areas of the economic activity.97 Like the Egyptians, the Arabs found work in different spheres: they were acknowledged as merchants, soldiers, middle class administrators and royal servants, farmers, scribes, slaves and temple slaves.

The information regarding other “foreigners” in Mesopotamia from the same period is similar in its character.98

7.5 Conclusions

During the Neo-Babylonian period, the economic system was flexible enough to provide the realization of different by their social and ethnic origin “foreigners.” The stated examples are evidence of the variety of the professional realization of the “foreigners” in the spheres of production such as agriculture and handicraft, and also in the non-production spheres such as the administration. Each of the stated examples exposes a specific social situation, a part of the life of Babylonian society, with all the variety of activities and types of relations.

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 had access. The fact that in the sources the “foreigners” were only recognized by a part of their name, or more concrete, often by their third name, is evidence not only of their strictly professional rights but also of the lack of discrimination which would put them on an unequal footing. The probable existence of a “foreigner” in the higher royal administration is one more proof in this case.

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” and their heirs belonged to the familiar strata of slaves, dependent people and the free citizens. Besides, the cuneiform sources mentioning “foreigners” describe them as participants in diverse social situations within the boundaries of each strata. The variety of the reflected situations is in itself an important informative element of the social conditions of the “foreigners” and their interrelations with Babylonian people and institutions.

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” were integrated into the economic system of the country and together with that the possibilities of restricted self-rule and of preserving their national identity was given to them, in parallel to the process of their cultural assimilation reflected in their Babylonian given names. The latter is evidence of an ongoing process of cultural assimilation, whose wide parameters remain unclear.

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” captured after some conflict was murdered, and the other prisoners of war were enslaved. Two monuments from the same city but from different periods reflect this. The first is the “Stela of Vultures,” from Tello, dated from the Third Early Dynastic Period. In one of the stela’s fragments there is a display of god Ningirsu killing caged prisoners of war. The second monument is from the Akkadian period, the “Stela of Rimush,” dated in the twenty-third century BCE. In the preserved part of the monument there is a clear depiction of soldiers killing unarmed prisoners, probably “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 reflect an interesting cultural phenomenon. Families in which both parents bear Babylonian names give their children Iranian and Egyptian names, whereas families in which both parents bear Iranian names give their children Babylonian names.99 This situation is indicative not only of the level of social and cultural integration of the “foreigners,” but also of the change in the attitudes towards them within the Mesopotamian civilization, which is evident in the sources from the Neo-Babylonian period. The level of social integration of “foreigners” in Babylonia from this period can be accepted as further evidence for the existence of effective globalization in Mesopotamia during the first millennium BCE. We can add to this conclusion that there is no more visible and clear sign of globalization than the level of the social integration of “foreigners.”


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.

For more about the settlement of the Arameans and Chaldaens in Babylonia and about their tribal organizations see (Brinkman 1984, 11–15). About the Arab tribes which start to settle Mesopotamia around eighth century BCE see in (Eph ' al 1974, 108–110) and (Zadok 1981, 57–63, 66–68).

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 groups in question here are traders or seasonal hired workers from Iran and Elam, who for various reasons worked in Babylonia. See the examples of such cases concerning “foreigners” of both mentioned countries in (Zadok 1978a, 61–67), and (Dandamayev 1983, 137).

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.

See (Eph ' al 1978, 78–80, 82–83). See also the notes about the ḫadru communities in (Wiseman 1985, 76–77).

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 the translation of the source in (Oppenheim 1969, 3007–308).

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.

See (Beaulieu 1989, 188–193), the information concerns the reign of Nabonidus.

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 data in the study of (Zadok 1978a, 61–67).

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.

See (Dougherty 1920, plate L, No. 148: 2–3). Translation and analysis of the text can be found in (Dandamayev 1974, 314).

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.

See the text in (Strassmaier 1889b, 170; Nbk. 287: 15) and (Eph ' al 1982, 188), where can be found other examples for Arab traders in cuneiform sources.

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