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Legal And Economic Aspects

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Chapter Summary

For convenience in the examination of the legal purpose and economic significance of the siege documents, this chapter enumerates the characteristics of the hardship formulae in two groups of documents of Babylonia and Emar. Oppenheim described the Babylonian siege documents in detail; consequently, the discussion is limited to matters not discussed in his research, or about which we disagree with his analysis. The study of the Emar documents is still in its infancy, so the content of documents pertinent to the topic is elaborated briefly. The ubiquity of hardship documents, their presence in Emar and in various Babylonian cities, and the fact that these were written by numerous scribes, indicates that documents of this type were widespread. Although there is no specific reference to situations of siege in the ancient Near Eastern law codices, the ubiquity of such documents makes it plausible that the hardship formula had a specific function.

Keywords: ancient Near Eastern law codices; Babylonian siege documents; Emar documents; hardship formulae

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