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Emar and the Elephantine Papyri

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some of the connections between the Elephantine papyri and the cuneiform legal materials from the ancient city of Emar, focusing especially on orientation and perspective. The satisfaction clause is actually an outlier within the broader Aramaic legal tradition, as it is unknown in other Aramaic legal corpora outside the Elephantine papyri. The chapter focuses on two parallels in particular: the ex latere venditoris orientation and the use of direct speech. Many distinctive features of Aramaic contracts, as represented in the Elephantine papyri and in later corpora, have their origins in Late Bronze Age antecedents. Just as the satisfaction clause can be traced from the Elephantine papyri back through the peripheral traditions of Syria and northern Mesopotamia, so too can the use of the seller oriented perspective and the incorporation of direct speech in the recording of contracts.

Keywords:ex latere venditoris; Aramaic legal corpora; direct speech; Elephantine papyri; Emar; Late Bronze Age; Mesopotamia



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