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Servile Laborers In A Favored Province

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Chapter Summary

In the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C., Nippur with its temple of the god Enlil served as the religious capital of Babylonia. The king made pilgrimages to the site, usually around the time of the New Year. Archaeological provenience would be expected to provide some context for these documents, but the tablets were excavated under less than ideal conditions toward the end of the nineteenth century by archaeologists working for the University of Pennsylvani. The investigation of the servile laboring population at Nippur use traditional philological analysis and the application of quantitative methods, historical demography, and historical-ethnographic comparison. These combined approaches have been insightful for other premodern populations (e.g., Roman Egypt, Medieval Tuscany), and the same should be true for the Mesopotamian laborers under consideration.

Keywords: Babylonia; Nippur; servile laborers

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