Front Page Titles (by Subject) X: COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE - Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters
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X: COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE - Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters 
Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904).
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COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE
Amount of the bride-priceThe suitor came with presents to the parents of the girl. Most writers see in this a survival of the purchase of the bride. The name of this gift, teratu, is undoubtedly connected with the name of the bride, maritu. This present, or bride-price, differed greatly with the circumstances of the parties. Both money and slaves were given, but a simple sum of money was more common. In cases where the bride was rich or highly placed the amount seems less. A very usual amount was ten shekels, but we have examples from one shekel up to three minas.1 The Code assessed it at one mina of silver for a patrician and a third of a mina for a plebeian.2
Its disposalWithout this bride-price the young man could not take a wife. Hence it was expressly secured to him by the Code, if his father died before he was of age to marry, and reserved as a first charge on the father’s estate. There is some evidence that a woman might make this present to her future husband. But that may have been because he was too poor to make it himself and she found him the means. As a rule, the parents gave this money to the bride. But we are not in a position to say whether they did so at once, on the consummation of the marriage, or on the birth of a child. The suggestion that it was her Morgengabe remains without support. Certain it is that it was not returned always. In the contracts it seems to be given to the bridegroom with the bride. On a wife dying without children, the husband was bound to return her marriage-portion to her family. But if the bride-price which he had given for her had not been returned to him, he could deduct its value. On a divorce, he was bound to let his wife have not only her marriage-portion, but the bride-price paid back to him. If there had been none, he must give her a fixed sum instead of it.
Its presentationFrom the phrase-books we may gather that there was a sort of ceremony about presenting the bride-price to the father: it was placed on a salver and brought in before the parents.1 This was probably a part of the ceremony of betrothal.
If the father rejected the suitor, he was bound to return the bride-price offered.2 A curious section of the Code enacts that if the suitor’s comrade intrigued to break off the match, he was excluded from marrying the girl himself.3
Penalty for breach of promiseIf, after he had brought in the bride-price to his prospective father-in-law, the suitor took a fancy to another girl, he might withdraw from the suit. But he then forfeited what he had offered. If this really was the result of having taken a dislike to a plain girl, we may suppose that such a maiden might accumulate several bride-prices and so acquire some wealth. This may explain Herodotus’s idea that the handsome girls made a dowry for the plain ones. But there is not a shred of evidence for their doing so in the way he suggests. A girl was a virgin when she was married.4
Preliminaries of marriageOf interest in the later Babylonian texts is the fact that the preliminaries of the marriage are more fully illustrated. Thus we read of the wedding of the daughter of Neriglissar:5 Nabû-shum-ukîn, the êrib bîti of Nabû, judge of Êzida, spoke to the King Neriglissar, saying thus: “Give to me Gigîtum, your young daughter, to wife.” The tablet has only preserved a few lines, from which we cannot be sure that the marriage took place. The tablet was called a duplicate of Êzida, showing that it was preserved in the Nabû temple at Borsippa.
The following case is one of the clearest:1
Negotiation of a father for his sonNabû-nâdin-ai, son of Bêl-aê-iddin, grandson of Ardi-Nêrgal, spoke thus to Shûm-ukîn, son of Mushallimu, saying: “Give me thy daughter, Ina-Esaggil-banat, the maiden, to wife, for Uballitsu-Gula, my son.” Shûm-ukîn listened to him and gave his maiden daughter, Ina-Esaggil-banat to Uballitsu-Gula, his son. He gave also one mina of silver, three female slaves named, and house furniture, with Ina-Esaggil-banat, his daughter, as a marriage-portion to Nabû-nâdin-ai. Nanâ-kishirat, the maid of Shûm-ukîn in lieu of two-thirds of a mina of silver, her full price, Shûm-ukîn gave to Nabû-nâdin-ai out of the one mina of silver for her marriage-portion. The deficiency, one-third of a mina of silver, Shûm-ukîn will give Nabû-nâdin-ai, and then her marriage-portion is paid. Each took a writing.
Here the father negotiates for his son. There is no evidence of any bride-price being paid. But the examples of this kind of document are too few for us to establish any fixed conclusions. In the following case something very like it appears.2
Negotiation with a mother for her daughterDâgil-ilâni, son of Zambubu, spoke thus to ammâ, daughter of Nêgal-iddin, son of Babûtu, saying: “Give me thy daughter, Latubashinni, she shall be my wife.” ammâ listened to him and gave him her daughter, Latubashinni, to wife; and Dâgil-ilâni, in the joy of his heart, gave to ammâ for Latubashinni, her daughter, Ana-eli-bêli-âmur, a maid, for half a mina of silver and a mina and a half of silver to boot. The day that Dâgil-ilâni shall take a second wife, Dâgil-ilâni shall give Latubashinni a mina of silver and she shall go back where she was before. With the cognisance of Shûmiddin, son of Ina-êšhi-eter, son of Sin-damaku.
Here the man himself negotiates. The mother gives the bride. Whether he really buys her is hard to say. The mother may have adopted the girl to care for her old age, as was often done. The bridegroom may have compensated the mother with means to adopt another daughter. What locus standi Shûm-iddin had is not clear. He may have been the real father of the bride and so had to be satisfied that she was fairly treated by the change in her position. Or his consent to the bridegroom’s alliance may have been needed. The penalty set down for divorce is not high and the bride was probably poor; we see she was portionless. In other cases it was as high as six minas of silver.1 Occasionally the deed of marriage also named a penalty for adultery on the part of the wife.
Rôle of the contracting partiesWomen were given in marriage. The suitor for her hand did not perhaps see her until marriage, but this is not likely, since he is contemplated by the Code as capable of having cast his eyes upon another, and so desiring to retreat from his suit. At any rate, he brought presents to her father, who accepted or rejected him. There is no hint that the woman had any choice. The result of this power over the child’s marriage was that conditions might be imposed on the marriage. The bride might be required to do service to an existing wife, or to the bridegroom’s mother. Further, the disposal of property was not entirely free after marriage. It depended upon what the father had laid down in the marriage-settlement on his daughter. It was strictly limited to the woman’s children, and if there were none it went back to her father’s house.
Giving away the brideIn early times, the father usually gives the bride. But in a great many cases this duty fell on the mother. How this came about we do not usually know. The father being dead, or the girl illegitimate, seem the best explanations, as a rule. In the absence of father and mother, the brother as head of the family assumed the duty. The examples of this are common enough.1
For later times also the examples are numerous of the power of agnates to give in marriage. It may perhaps be deduced that the children, in these cases, were young.2
Widows free to dispose of themselvesWomen once married, were free to marry again of their own choice, whether divorced, separated, or widowed. A betrothed girl, or bride, if her marriage were not yet consummated, being seduced by her father-in-law, in whose house she had gone to live, was also free to marry. But it does not seem that women who were yet virgins could choose their own husbands. Even princesses were given in marriage.
Consent of bridegroom’s father or guardian requisite for a legal marriageThe man was not altogether free to marry. The Code contemplates a boy left by the death of his father too young to marry. The brothers, when they divided the father’s property, were bound to set aside for him, in addition to his share of his father’s property, a sum for a bride-price, and take him a wife. It seems probable that men married while still young and living at home. For the Code contemplates the bride being brought to live in her father-in-law’s house.3
In later Babylonian times, at any rate, the son could not marry without his father’s consent. This we learn from a suit in high life, in the time of Cyrus.4 A high official of the king’s, A, brought a suit against , who was “over the house,” before the nobles and the king’s judges. A accused and C, an official of his house, of having given a tablet of marriage-contract of D, a sister of C’s, to A’s son without A’s consent. Put to the oath, swore that he did not seal the tablet. Then D was questioned. Then C acknowledged that he had drawn up and sealed with B’s seal the marriage-contract of D to A’s son. The judges ordered D to return to her brother’s house. The tablet was to be broken whenever found. If afterward D should be seen with A’s son, she was to bear the sign of a concubine.
The court of registrationFrom other examples the conclusion is inevitable that if a woman desired to be a full and proper wife she had to obtain the consent of her bridegroom’s father. Thus we read:1 “The day that the woman A is seen with he shall bring her to the wedding-house. If she does not say to the master of the wedding-house: Send for C, the father of , then she shall wear the sign of a concubine.” Her mother was present at the sealing of this agreement. From this we may deduce that weddings took place at a definite spot, called the “wedding-house.” The name was literally “house of the males,” or “of the named ones,” and also house of the mâr bânê, or “sons of ancestors.” It is clear that this was a registration court where all who had pretensions to ancestry, or were people of position, were enrolled. One whose name was found there was a man “with a name,” also a “son of an ancestor.” He was probably registered there at birth, marriage, and death. The master of that house was a registrar and evidently could marry people. It was expected in this case that the woman, if she wished to be properly married, would send for the bridegroom’s father, whose consent was necessary. Another name for the house was bît pirṣatum, the meaning of which is obscure. But as Ishtar was bêlit parṣê, the “lady of the parṣê,” we may connect it also with weddings.
The bride’s dowryWe have seen that the teratu, or present made to the parents by the suitor before marriage, was usually handed over to the bride on her going to her husband’s house. There is frequent reference to this essential preliminary. It had to be carefully laid aside for the young man by his mother or brethren, if he had not married in his father’s lifetime, and was secured to him by law, apart from and above what might come to him as a share of his father’s property. Otherwise he would suffer loss in having to find it out of his own pocket, when his married brothers had been provided with the means during their father’s lifetime. Usually it was an amount of silver, one shekel up to three minas. In later Babylonian times there is little evidence of the parents receiving gifts. We now and then find it so. Thus a man gave a slave and a mina and a half of silver for his wife to her mother,1 but it is not clear whether or not this was to buy her.
Her marriage-portionA far more valuable endowment of the bride was her marriage-portion. If her father was not alive to give it to her, the duty fell on his heirs, and she had a right to it over and above her daughter’s share of his property. Thus we find that the brothers, on giving their sister a share, contract to further endow her if she marries.2
Her trousseauWe have one or two lists that show what might be expected as a trousseau by a Babylonian bride. One which illustrates the Code3 extremely well, narrates first what had been given a notary and nu-bar of Marduk by her father on her taking her vow and entering the temple of Anunitum. This was his “grant” to her and was known by the same name as the marriage-portion of a bride. It included half a shekel of gold for a nose-ring (?), two shekels of silver as a finger-ring, another ring of silver of one shekel, one malumsa, three cloaks, three turbans, one small seal worth five minas, two jewels of unknown character, one bed, five chairs, five different sorts of things apparently made of reeds, the concubine Suratum, her step-mother. Unfortunately many of these renderings are still quite conjectural. It is interesting to note that the father left to his daughter his concubine, who was probably a slave, and possibly really the girl’s mother. But now this girl is about to marry and her own mother, Shubultum, at any rate, her father’s full wife, together with her brothers and sisters, give her all this property and cause it to enter her husband’s house. They had a reversionary right to her property, since as a votary she could not alienate it from her family.1 So now they waive their right, as it will after her marriage pass to her children, if she has any.2 So they are said to “give” her what her father had already “granted” her. Further, they return to her husband the teratu, of one-third of a mina of silver, which he had presented to them.3 The marriage-portion could not be reclaimed by the wife’s family at her death if she had children. If she had none, it went back to her family.4
Nature of the marriage-portionAnother long list, also a “grant” to a votary, is found in two documents which contain apparently a complaint of oppression made to the king. Neither is sufficiently complete to be decisive as to the purpose of the letters or reports which are written in the first person. But they are duplicates as far as they preserve the list and in many other long phrases. Here is the list:
Four . . . of gold, two rings . . . each of them one . . . two dishes, carved with karakku birds, one dish carved as a lion, whose head is of ab wood, and its border of ku wood, one chair of ku wood, three chairs (of different makes) of ab wood, one oil-pot, šalla, one oil-pot containing two hundred a of Carchemish work, one mixing-pot of copper, one dupru kanku containing thirty a, two kundulu of copper, one . . . two . . . , one for . . .
Although this list is full of words of which the meaning is obscure as yet, one can see the main drift of it, jewelry, household furniture, pots and pans, and whatever went to the domestic equipment of the house. It is of interest to note that already Carchemish was celebrated for its wares.1
With these lists may be compared the Tell-el-Amarna lists given in transcription, with a few hints at translation, by Dr. Winckler.2 They are lists of presents sent by a king of Egypt to a king of Babylon; by Dushratta, King of Mitanni, to Nimuria, King of Egypt, as the marriage-portion of his daughter, Taduipa, and another list of her dowry. The greater part of the names of these articles defy translation.
Later usageDuring the Fourth Dynasty of Babylon, the celebrated Michaux Stone3 records the gift of lands by a father to his daughter on her marriage. From Kassite times we have a list similar to the above, but not easily translatable. The supposed examples of dowry in Assyrian times are not really such. But in the later Babylonian era the marriage-portion was still given by the father. It bears, however, the name nudunnu, once reserved for the husband’s free gift to his wife. The nudunnu, in one case, is ten minas of silver, four maid-servants, house-furniture, and the like.4 It might include sheep and oxen.5 See also the later Babylonian laws about the marriage-portion.6 A long list might be made out from these sources of the house-furniture,7 but as before we do not know what half of the terms mean.
Payment of the marriage-portionThere are many examples of receipts given for the marriage-portion received in full.8 Sometimes it was merely promised. It was not always paid promptly. Law C made a note of this. The father might have promised a portion, and even given a deed of gift for it to his daughter. But if his means have diminished he cannot be held to a literal fulfilment of the promise. He may do what he can. The law adds significantly that “father-in-law and son-in-law shall not oppress one another.” We find that actions were frequently brought to obtain a marriage-portion. We have an instance where the payment was withheld for nine years.1
Wife’s pinmoneyA husband might make a settlement on his wife. In the time of the Code this was called a nudunnu. It had to be by deed of gift. It might cover income-producing estate as well as personal property. But it was hers only for life. She could leave it as she chose among her children of the marriage, but not to members of her own family.2 We may regard it as pin-money. Her husband’s heirs could not disturb her possession of it as long as she lived. But she forfeited it, if she married again.3
The period of betrothalThe betrothed maiden did not at once leave her father’s house. This we learn from the Code, which enacts a penalty on one who should seduce a betrothed maiden living in her father’s house.4 It seems that on both sides betrothal took place in early life and that the arrangements were in the hands of the parents. A father was expected to take a wife for his son.
The wedding-ceremonyNeither the Code nor any contracts throw light upon the marriage-ceremony, but a tablet published by Dr. Pinches in the Proceedings of the Victoria Institute, 1892-93, reprinted as “Notes on some recent discoveries in the realm of Assyriology,” contains certain suggestions.5 It is very fragmentary and in the form of an interlinear translation from the Sumerian. It is not always clear who are the actors referred to, but we may perhaps take it that the officiating ministers, priests, or elders, first placed their hands and feet against the hands and feet of the bridegroom, then the bride laid her head on his shoulder and he was made to say to her: “I am the son of nobles, silver and gold shall fill your lap, you shall be my wife, I will be your husband. Like the fruit of a garden I will give you offspring.” Then there is a wide gap. But in the next column we seem to have a further part of the wedding-ritual. The officiating ministers ceremoniously bound sandals on the feet of the newly wedded pair, gave them a leather girdle (? or strap) and fastened to it a pouch or purse of silver and gold. The further ceremony included placing them somewhere in the desert. Then turning their faces to the sunset and addressing the man, the minister says: “I swear by the great gods and you may go.” He bids him not to put off the garment of Ea, nor something belonging to Marduk of Eridu. Then comes a wide gap, but the fourth column seems to read “until you have settled in the house, until you have reached the city, eat no food and drink no water, taste not the waters of the sea, sweet waters, bitter waters, the waters of the Tigris, the waters of the Euphrates, waters of the well, nor waters of the river, to fly up to heaven direct not your wings, to burrow in the earth set not your dwelling. As a hero, the son of his god, let him be pure.”
The passage is very difficult and much of the rendering is conjectural, but the point of the address seems to be that the young man was to go straight home, live with his wife, and be good, as a true child of God. The first column seems to be an enumeration of men who are cursed with misfortunes, for example, “one whom his mother brought forth with weeping,” and perhaps forms part of a prayer that the bridegroom may not ever be like such men. We must hope some day to find a fuller text and so to determine the connection of the various columns. But it is difficult to imagine what else the text can be than part of a wedding-ceremony.
The first homeThe young couple did not always set up a house of their own; they often went to live with the bridegroom’s father. This is shown by the penalty fixed by the Code for the seduction of a daughter-in-law by a father-in-law. The daughter-in-law was living in his house.1
Monogamy prevalent in early daysIn the earlier days monogamy prevailed. A man ordinarily had one wife. Polygamy, however, was not unknown. For a variety of reasons men did sometimes have two wives, but these cases were treated as exceptions. A man might also have a concubine or a slave-girl to bear him children. These did not bear legitimate children. He might adopt them, but was not bound to do so. If a man married twice, the children of both marriages shared equally in his possessions; but they did not put their mothers’ marriage-portions into a common fund and divide that equally. The children of the first wife divided among themselves their own mother’s marriage-portion, and the children of the second marriage did likewise.2
Polygamy in later timesIn Assyrian times there is clear evidence that among the slaves and serfs, at least, polygamy was fairly common.3 In the later Babylonian era polygamy also existed. Wives might be sisters.4 We read of a “second wife.”5 But taking a second wife was held to be a slight upon the first, in whose marriage-contract the clause was inserted that in such a case the husband must pay her a mina of silver and allow her to go back to her father’s house. In that case the man was hardly bigamous. It was a case of divorce, and perhaps a legal ceremony before judges was also necessary.
ConcubinageA man might form a connection with a woman other than his wife. A concubine was a free woman, but had not the status of a wife; nevertheless she might bring with her a marriage-portion, over which she had the same rights as a legal wife.1 She was taken into the same house as the wife, but she might not rival her. A man’s excuse for taking a concubine was that his wife was childless. He was not allowed to take a concubine, even if his wife was childless, if she gave him a maid to bear him children. Only when the wife was herself childless and would not allow him a maid, was he allowed to bring a concubine into his house. This second wife was married to him. She often seems to have been bound to serve the first wife and treat her as her mistress. But she had the same rights as a wife. If she were put away, the husband had to return her marriage-portion, if she had any. She had the usufruct of house, field, and goods. She was not deprived of her children, but had the custody and education of them. When they entered into possession of their father’s property, she shared with them, taking the same share as a child. Then she was free to marry again.2 It seems that in any case, the children of a concubine were full children and with the same standing as the children of the first wife. The father might dower his daughter for a concubine; she then had no claim to share with her brothers and sisters at his death.3 But, if her father had given her no marriage-portion, her brothers must give her one at the division of his property.4
The maid as the wife of her masterThe case was different with the maid—a slave who by her mistress’s consent bore children to her master. She was still a slave and if she rivalled her mistress, or was impertinent to her, she could be put back again among the slaves; perhaps even branded. But, if she had borne children, she was not to be sold as a slave. At the death of her master she was free. Her children by him were free in any case. If her master were so minded, he might make them full sons by verbal acknowledgment. It was enough to say, “my sons.” But that he had done so probably had to be proved by a witness. A family unacknowledged by the father would on his death have only a mother. In such a family the mother was the obvious ruler. We must be on our guard against mistaking her position, or that of the concubine above, for examples of matriarchy. If she was pledged for debt, she could not be sold, she must be bought back.
Marriages and inheritance among slavesThat a slave usually was married to a slave-girl with his master’s consent and even by his direction is quite the rule. Masters even went so far as to buy a slave-girl to be wife to a slave. There is no reason to think that the master did not respect the slave’s matrimonial rights. But the slave’s wife was not always owned by the slave’s master. Sometimes she was owned by a different master, or was free. There was no especial disgrace attaching to becoming the wife of a slave. A free woman might not only marry a slave, but bring with her a marriage-portion, as if she had married in her own rank. The man had no ancestral property, he was “a son of no one.” Hence when he died all the property to be divided consisted of what the married couple had acquired together, and the wife’s marriage-portion. To the latter she had full and unquestioned right. The master was his slave’s heir. So the property which the pair had acquired during their married life was divided into two equal portions. The master took one half, the wife the other for herself and her children. The children were all free. When both father and mother were slaves, so were the children. There was no property then for the slave-children to inherit.1
Data from the contractsSome further evidence from the contracts is worth noting here. Documents relating to marriage are not very common and may have owed their presence in the archives to some peculiarity in their form. Some are perhaps rather a memorandum that the proper formalities have been complied with. Thus1 we read that “A has taken to wife , the daughter of C, from C and D his wife, and has paid ten shekels as teratu to C, her father.” The rest is lost. If it only laid down the penalties for infidelity on either side, this was quite normal.
Fatherless girlsWhenever the mother alone appears, as giving her daughter in marriage, we may suspect that the father was dead, or the mother divorced. When the mother is a votary, we know that such a person was not entitled to have a daughter at all, and hence we are not surprised that the teratu offered for the girl is small, five shekels2 or even one shekel.3 So the penalty laid upon the man for divorcing such a wife is only ten shekels.4 On the other hand if she was unfaithful she was to be drowned.5
The marriage of votariesVery singular are the cases in which a votary marries. We know from the Code that this sometimes took place; but the votary seems to have been expected, though married, to keep her vow of virginity. In one case we read that a woman first devotes her daughter, ullilši, then marries her, and declares at the same time that she is vowed, ellit, and that no one has any claim on her.6
Power of agnatesIn some cases a sister had the power to give her sister in marriage, with the declaration that no one has any claim on her.7 We may imagine the sisters orphans, without brothers. The name of their father is, however, given; and his sons and daughters are mentioned. It seems to be closely parallel to the case of the marriage of a king’s daughter8 where a sister also gives a sister in marriage. Here Elmeshu, daughter of the king Ammiditana,Marriage of a king’s daughter is given in marriage by Zirtum, also daughter of king Ammiditana, on the order of her brother, Shumum-libshi. The bridegroom was Ibku-Anunitum, son of Shamash-limir and Taram-shullim, his wife. The parents paid for their son only four shekels as teratu, which Shumum-libshi and Zirtum received. If the bridegroom repudiated his bride, he had to pay half a mina. It is not clear what penalty the bride had to pay if she repudiated her husband. This is dated in the reign of Ammiditana; but in which year of his reign does not appear, as the traces of the year-name do not agree with any in the Chronicle. It must then have fallen somewhere between the seventh and the twenty-second years. Hence the father of the princess was alive at the time. Why had he no hand in the marriage? The history of the reign is not very well known. Perhaps he was away from home. His son and successor, Ammizaduga, whom we may imagine to have been the eldest son, does not appear in the case. Perhaps he also was away. But it is remarkable that the king never does directly take part in any contract. That is probably due to his sacred character. The young princess was not treated with overmuch consideration, judging by the smallness of her dowry.
Marriage of two sisters to one manWe have a very singular case in the marriage of two sisters to one man. This has already been translated and commented upon by Meissner,1 Pinches,2 and Sayce.3 It is, however, too important to omit here. There are two tablets concerned with it.4 The first is the contract between the husband and his wives. We may render it thus:
Ardi-Shamash took to wife Taram-Saggil and Iltâni, daughters of Sin-abushu. If Taram-Saggil and Iltâni say to Ardi-Shamash, their husband, “You are not my husband,” one shall throw them down from the AN-ZAG-GAR-KI; and if Ardi-Shamash shall say to Taram-Saggil and Iltâni his wives, “You are not my wives,” he shall leave house and furniture. Further, Iltâni shall obey the orders of Taram-Saggil, shall carry her chair to the temple of her god. The provisions of Taram-Saggil shall Iltâni prepare, her well-being she shall care for, her seal she shall not appropriate (?).
Then follow ten witnesses, but no date.
The second document seems to be drawn up rather from the point of view of the sisters. We may render it thus:
Iltâni, the sister of Taram-Saggil, Ardi-Shamash, son of Shamash-ennam, took to wife, from Uttatum, their father. Iltâni shall prepare the provisions of her sister, shall care for her well-being, shall carry her chair to the temple of Marduk. The children which she has borne, or shall bear, shall be their children. [If Taram-Saggil] shall say to Iltâni, her sister, “you are not my sister” [the penalty is lost]. [If Iltâni shall say to Taram-Saggil her sister], “You are not my sister,” one shall brand her, and sell her. If Ardi-Shamash shall say to his wife, “You are not my wife,” he shall pay one mina of silver; and if they say to Ardi-Shamash their husband, “You are not our husband,” one shall tie them up and throw them into the river.
Here there are eleven witnesses, but again no date.
Meissner deduces from the mention of children that Taram-Saggil was already married. The exact relation between the sisters is not clear. In one case they seem to be daughters of Uttatum, in the other of Sin-abushu. Or it may be that Iltâni alone was daughter of Sin-abushu. If so, perhaps Uttatum had adopted her. Sayce clearly thinks so. But they might be daughters of the same mother by different fathers, one of whom is mentioned in one case, the other in the other. Or they might really be children of Sin-abushu, if their mother afterwards married Uttatum, who was thus their step-father. It is clear that Iltâni was to wait on her sister, and, if she repudiated her, was to be treated as a slave. This is exactly parallel to the status of the slave-maid, whom a wife or votary in the Code1 provided for her husband. Perhaps Taram-Saggil had become a chronic invalid. A comparison of the two texts is interesting in other respects. The penalties differ curiously. If Ardi-Shamash repudiates his wives, in one case, he loses house and furniture; in the other case, he pays one mina. Was one the penalty for repudiating Taram-Saggil, the other for repudiating Iltâni? But if they repudiate him, the penalties are different in the two documents, unless indeed the AN-ZAG-GAR-KI be an ideogram for the “steep place” from which they were to be thrown into the water.
Marriage with attached conditionsMarriages are not infrequent which impose conditions upon the husband and wife with relation to outside parties. Thus a mother gives her daughter in marriage to a man, on condition that she shall continue to support her mother as long as she lives. In this case, if the husband put away his wife, he was to pay one mina of silver; while, if she hated her husband, she was to be thrown from a pillar, dimtu.1 This pillar may be the real meaning of the AN-ZAG-GAR-KI, which looks very like an attempt to express zigguratu, a tower, in an ideographic way. A very similar case is where a lady takes a girl to be wife to her son but stipulates that the wife shall treat her as mistress. If she shall say to her mother-in-law, “Thou art not my mistress,” she shall be branded and sold. As long as the mother lives, they two together shall support her.2 One may suspect that such maternal power, as is here shown over the children, arises from their having been adopted by their mother in order to provide for her in her old age. This was often done. The children may have been slaves before adoption. In the second case, the mother leaves her son all she has, or may acquire.
[1 ] S. 34.
[2 ] § .
[1 ] V. R., 24, 48.
[2 ] § .
[3 ] § .
[4 ] § .
[5 ] Nergl. 1.
[1 ] Nbn. 243.
[2 ] 101.
[1 ] 183, , iv., p. 7.
[1 ] See pages 162, 163.
[2 ] , iv., pp. 14-22.
[3 ] §§ , .
[4 ] 312.
[1 ] 307.
[1 ] 101.
[2 ] Page 163.
[3 ] § .
[1 ] § .
[2 ] § .
[3 ] 10.
[4 ] §§ , .
[1 ] 19, 163.
[2 ] , v., pp. 390-404.
[3 ] , iv., pp. 78 ff.
[4 ] 193.
[5 ] Nergl. 25.
[6 ] Page 69.
[7 ] , iv., p. 13 f.
[8 ] , 19, 100, 122.
[1 ] 143, 23.
[2 ] § .
[3 ] § .
[4 ] § .
[5 ] Pages 35 ff.
[1 ] § .
[2 ] § .
[3 ] See on these points Assyrian Deeds and Documents, iii., p. 385 f.; Assyrian Doomsday Book, p. 25 f.
[4 ] 193.
[5 ] 101.
[1 ] § .
[2 ] § .
[3 ] § .
[4 ] § .
[1 ] § .
[1 ] M. A. P., 88.
[2 ] 617.
[3 ] M. A. P., 92.
[4 ] M. A. P., 90.
[5 ] M. A. P., 90.
[6 ] 366.
[7 ] 394.
[8 ] 193.
[1 ] A. P., 89.
[2 ] J. R. A. S. 97, pp. 407 ff.
[3 ] , p. 27 f.
[4 ] 21 and 2176 A.
[1 ] § .
[1 ] 407.
[2 ] 707.