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Marriage Patterns

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Chapter Summary

Of 190 families discussed in this chapter, 157 are clearly monogamous: 45 slave families; 13 pledged families; 23 attested in sales of "Land and People"; ten in royal grants; 42 listed in the Harran Census, 22 enumerated in lists of deportees and displaced persons, and two in the lists of ration recipients. Only three families are definitely polygamous: two slave families and one attested in a sale of "Land and People". Polygamy in the groups of slaves and "Land and People" exists in about 4% of the families. This conclusion fully accords with other sources, principally the Neo-Assyrian marriage agreements which indicate the monogamous nature of the marriage in this period: the male is usually forbidden to marry a second woman unless his first wife is childless; if the husband annuls this stipulation, the wife may cancel the marriage.

Keywords: Harran census; neo-Assyrian marriage agreements; pledged families; royal grants; slave families



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