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Work, Flight, Origins, And Status

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins to place the laborers in a broader context within their political and socio-economic world. It deals with what little is known about the organization of the laboring pool, the tasks and occupations of the workers, their administration and supervision, the problem of flight and diminution of the work force, and the origins and civil status of the workers. The chapter discusses the phenomenon of flight, which is the only readily identifiable aspect of the servile population's resistance to their situation and probably their only effective means for avoiding it. It also discusses the administrative attempts to counter the flow of escapees, either by prior physical restraint or by recapturing fugitives and returning them to the work force. Public servile laborers were allowed to have families and even participate in at least some Babylonian marriage institutions; patronyms could be used for identification purposes.

Keywords: Babylonian marriage institutions; public servile laborers; servile population; work force

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