State University of New York at Stony Brook of the Old Babylonian naditu institution To date, our understanding in the has been based almost on the information contained entirely texts. Rich it is in data on the and activities of the Sippar though rights of the naditus, the Sippar corpus is meager indeed in its documentation rights and activities that suggests selective of the male segment of its population. the preponderance of naditu texts is more than a true reflection of Old The evidence the result economic of

sampling Babylonian An at examination of contracts from Sippar shows the activity Sippar. in some of the transactions, in that although men are participants nearly 70% of the texts one or both participants as naditus. Furthermore, in cases described record exists of a transaction that between have a man been and the naditu is such she would are women, of the cases in most where a

a naditu, the role of the one to keep the text;

of property, i.e. the recipient lessor of property, ctc, I). This evidence that the majority of the tablets must have been found in the suggests houses of the naditus. Since the Sippar naditus are known to have been cloistered 2), it seems safe to assume that only the cloister suffered the

51 apa full proached understanding is quite different. Of the approximately At Nippur, the situation contracts that are available for study 3), only about i o% five hundred at Nippur concern of excavations has been naditus, and the pattern with such that these contracts cannot have been derived from a single area 4). it is possible to study the naditus within the broader Thus, at Nippur context of the society as a whole. Not only can we compare the strucof the naditu institution, tural-functional attributes but it becomes attentions of tablet hunters. The then, Sippar sample, of its limitations. must be

was the ofl-ice where Nippur's occupation. was the naditu instituties were important.52 to assess the role played by the naditus in the social dynamics possible of Old Babylonian Nippur. in the middle from other of the Isin-Larsa Mesopotamian to year 30 of Samsuiluna 5). was based which tion ties. The earliest contracts from Nippur date from the reign of Bur-Sin. continued. a century however. and are as early as any contracts cities. impact Nippur's population abandonment of the southern cities. time span for the Nippur contracts The end of our contract record appears to coincide with an abandonment of of several centuries' This abandonment followed Nippur duration 6). The latest text dates to the second can be identified from separate but related social institutions the textual record. upon institutional we are primarily concerned both kinship The group. in a an economic crisis that had had year eleven of Samsuiluna profound on and had resulted in the structure. and although they were not entirely overlapping contemporaneous. and the one with in this paper. equivalent of about two centuries. The lineages. third in which and institutional . giving a total year of Iluma-ilu. where membership patrilineal and the social group best evidenced at the end of most innovative. like Sippar 7). These institutions different strucshow markedly tures. Three for over Babylonian occupation at the northern cities. temple membership group. longer Old period. The most traditional and the earliest social groups were the was based on kinship ties.

greatly kinship from modern observapermitting extrapolation Middle is an endoEastern segmentary lineage within a larger tribal matrix which acts as a group and judiciary the intrusion activities. Ideally. but injudicial and defense functions had been imposed. contained in the contracts. not only had the By the time of the earliest contracts been taken over by the state. in a transdividual property ownership resulting formation These contracts are primarily concerned lineages. sold and inherited. records suggests that the their common city may outweigh described below apply only to of other cities unique aspects of each Old Babylonian features 8). that small only describe percentage were recorded models in contracts. of this individually with the transfer owned field. all of which could be bought. of the . Thus the social institutions the property-owners of Nippur. gamous corporate reality. it has been possible Based on information to trace genealogies four to six generations and deep whose structural functional manifestations thus the closely parallel those of modern Middle Eastern lineages. In into a more detailed of the more salient models be emphasized that of the population aspects of other Old of these examination Babylonian of the contractual addition. tions 9). house and temple office property. In of state power in subsistence. although to the be social structure may applicable be assumed. group military both in the present and in antiquity. this cannot Indeed.53 Before features these whose some entering of these activities description it must three social institutions. an cities. modifies these activities. from Nippur.

Lineage owned members generally of land and similar contiguous plots temple offices. Unlike of offices land. Although offices were apparently not alienable until around 1800 B. chosen was Although leadership little evidenced. office group. . temple ownership function were divided of the temples. but to deduce some possible three social institutions. on the other hand. not The temple group whose to act as witnesses to such contracts. that it is involved. especially members 1°).C. be freely bought 12).54 was apparently property to lineage restricted temple offices 11). Although offices holders were expected to pertemple functions in the state judiciary form. The majority of the witnesses to court cases were temple office holders. 13). they we do were heritable from the time of our earliest contracts. for to their presence at these proceedings. the picture presented is one of several self-contained economic units. It is through an examination of the movements of property and of the people both as principals and as witnesses. property exchange took within the while outsiders were mostly rarely place lineage. More important attesting know what its members. aspects of the lineages. which were a form of property less traditional could and sold. into shares. it is clear that they were involved system. in some cases it may be that control of certain temple offices had conferred a leadership role. and indeed of all Alienation of house and field certain each identifiable exhibits features. was a single open-ended temple only tie was temple offices ownership. In general. Although lineage unique a basic pattern is shared by all. was the redistributary however.

lineages. and of the naditu institution at Sippar. Temple cases as fractions office held. that of the naditus. free alienability offices holders of their property which drew temple but by i73o B. to of a share provided temple revenue. in the short-term variations water and that local. and to that city. hand. manifestations that There Nippur virgins institution exist 15) who of the Nippur naditu institution. with several hundred in the Nippur members identifiable sample.C. and was based on kinship. The functions vested in Property. ownership rights apparently of a right to eat part of the sacrifice 14). The group was large. the temple office owners of Nippur formed together. The third Nippur social institution. especially temple freely exchanged. that were traditionally a single economic unit. . transactions were drawn from within the group. resemblances many superficial of Sippar. however. was and witnesses to these officers. must be These similarities ties rather related to the integrative and to institutional needs of the Nippur social system parallels with Sippar on the other. by fertility supply taking afflict southern temple offices attributes to guarantee their security. between the naditus on the one The actual to of on institutional than the lineages were now taken over by the group as a whole. It is not clear whether it was this bond Mesopotamian their provided Like the traditional agriculture.55 in the number of days in the year for which the office was expressed in or some of the total offices. Since the temfrom scattered fields. owners with the necessary risk-sharing of common the form or the activity. combines elements of both the lineages and the temple office group from Nippur. and since they included ples drew their revenues were less affected they likely to be seriously large storage capacities. At both were able to engage cities are unique the were naditus unmarried like and those in economic activities men.

Nippur Sippar a specific area of the city was set aside for the naditus. Instead of using social the area is simply described at Nippur (ga-gi4-a). men are not of house plots in this area at Nippur unheard of as owners (see word for "cloister" table i) 16). it appears Sippar owned the mechanisms and exchanged by which they . In addition.56 Were it not for this economic At both role we would and have little information position. At Sippar we know that this took the form of a cloister. as the "place of the nad7tus" (ki-lukur-ra). an area from which men were excluded. At the Sumerian Nippur the cloistered aspect is less clear. Table i Sale of House Plots in the "Place of the Nadttus" at Nippur on their Although property naditus of all kinds at both Nippur and that 1').

are representative The was some inof texts 22) may provide be sure that the activities however. those at from their father but were apparently Nippur received gifts of property excluded Although from the inheritance information on one process 21). The most substantial plot was an 18 that was given to her by her father's sister. a list of the household Following goods. god and provided that to the fact different These differences may be related gods were the naditus from Sippar were usually dedicated involved. a list of the property that earliest given to Beltani during lifetime. at Sippar received their property through inheritance either from their fathers or from another naditu. recorded in these texts We cannot. Whereas to dedicated to the the god Samas 18). those from Nippur The establishment of a naditu at Sippar which a change In addition. grain. the establishment group of a Nippur naditu is virtually nonexistent. iku field . and a slave with which she the text continues with a list of the was girl provided. but begins with her father's they are at least suggestive. sight into this problem. This the naditus were dedicated apparently is not evidenced to Ninurta 19).57 were with this property differed. herself a naditu. ARN as a whole. a ritual in involved at Nippur 20). real property that she received. of the city text. while of name occurred.

The text suggests that the investiture of a naditu involved transactions. brothers This was reduced. in ARN 29 long after her was made high level of support for some thirty years was apparently unusual. was a sworn. like those household entitled to receive they were absent 26). most of the real estate was provided by a paternal aunt. a 3 iku plot that was provided In the final section of the text by her father and her a monthly ration of was established which was three grain and oil and an annual ration of wool to be given to her for the rest of her life by her brothers. document. was apparently effects that she would normally have received on marriage as her dowry. The third part of the transaction free from want during her lifetime. recorded later.58 To this was added eldest brother. Her father merely gave her a field plot sons. The second part of the transaction that only those naditu institution. however. common (see fig. types of property quite have been associated with this event. of the text is at the beginning The list of households goods provided in both and ancient modern mirrored Arab 23) Mesopotamian 24) the naditu with provided real property. to ensure that the state was needed the power of legal system gesting agreement compliance. 1) 25). It is possible similar to those he was later to give to his younger dowries. In this instance. in some families girls with naditu but this cannot naditus were relatives could themselves enter the that It is clear. a new had received their inheritance. while in others ensured The that very the naditu would be apart from any rites which may In the first place the naditu. any other girl. . the level of support whereby witnessed unlike ARN document. be proven. sug29. herself a naditu.

C2 = Dusuptum. Bi = 9alurtum. i : The Imgua Genealogy. C7 = Sin-nasi.C8 = Arad-Iminbi. C9 = Beltani. Ci 3 = Idiatum. This text. then we must assume that a naditu's land holdings held. Ei = Lipit-Istar. . E2 = Sin-eribam. C5 = Masqum. B6 = Ibni-Enlil. . Bz = Awiatum. C6 = Ur-dukuga. C i o = Issu-saran. B4 = Lugatum. D2 = Inbi-ilisu. B5 = Kunutum. C4 = Lugal-azida. Ci = Narubtum. for an understanding of the propsignificance from selling the is that the heirs were of naditus. includes to shed on the between a naditu and which may help light relationship forfeit their inheritance were Not only would the brothers her brothers.59 a rather clause mysterious 8/2 text 116. but the text states that any heir who they to withdraw death would lose all rights to sells his (or her?) field before Beltani's This last that the brother's their father's phrase suggests property. were holdings maintenance. D = Damiq-ilisu. Cm = Ninurta-abi. Ci2 = Ninurtagamil. Beltani's field somehow plausable interpretation. B3 = Ziatum. to ensure pretation Fig. perhaps An alternate and more as collateral. C3 = Taribum. D3 = Imgur-Ninurta. Ai = Imgua. If this latter Beltani's field property during and one of considerable is accepted. prohibited erty rights interher lifetime 2'). PBS their support.

her . in spite of the tablet's brothers other the meaning is not clear. the text is badly damaged. the naditu her with Lamasum. it appears property Although that Naramtum's brother suit against her because she had brought sold a field that he had given her and that had once been part of their father's assess. undamaged few lines suggest that in this instance the financial dealings of brother and sister were hopelessly intertwined. Nonetheless.60 were hers. but it seems court also The to exact support of a naditu and her brothers cases. 101 contains ARN little ambiguity. this sum. In PBS 8/1 text 82 a brother goes to court to protect his sister's interests. apparently for maintaining unrelated. even if they were legally not unrelated. As is often the case with court cases. ARN 120 supports the suggestion that a brother had some control over his naditu sister's may have transactions. for five months. activities Two that inheritance. 101 and PBS 8/1 text 8229) suggest as protectors of the rights of their naditu sisters. served ARN of significance the supposition were this that text the is hard economic to That a close still largely controlled by her brothers. brother took him to court to force compliance. a naditu and her brothers existed between relationship is made clear by three court cases. In this case a third. party was responsible he had failed to provide When. Where PBS 8/ text 8 z is unclear. the last condition.

that if a distinction was made between property by his naditu sister. we find no examples Since we do have two instances of a naditu exnaditu and a sibling. instance. If naditus they Tables other naditu been naditu 2 and naditus observed had maintained brothers. who is recorded but it is his naditu sister. Betatum. an equally close relationship with other naditus. The other parties in these adoptions .61 these court cases are rare. as the seller. In with 3 we see that naditus frequently exchanged property and that they often witnessed each other's texts. the text describes a house plot as belonging to Enlil-nisu. this distinction did not preclude the alienation of the property In this by a sibling. as has the three close social and economic ties with their and that owned institution Naditus for the lineages and for the temple also occur in adoption documents. however. that occur in the Nippur are all so badly adoptions corpus that we cannot tell the were the adopters even whether naditus damaged were men in or the adoptees 31). may changing distinctions between a nad7tu's that property and that of her brothers was unclear sufficiently 6/2 text 6 suggests owned by a brother text was necessary. the of an exchange of property between a naditus. Unfortunately. The thus exhibits the same pattern of solidarity office group. with a first cousin it be that the ownership property 3°). they nevertheless underscore Although that existed between a naditu and her brothers. no exchange BE Indeed. close relationship of the we examine the actual property transactions When.

Slaves occur but rarely in the Nippur in two instances of the four manumission texts preserved 32). Nippur hand they maintained both economic ties and they were incorporated naditus close operated ties with spheres. The naditus' corpus. as at Sippar. a between relationship would have forced her to in two their On which while and on made rely on others In summary. dependancy into the naditu institution . If it was indeed would naditu aid us in our and her brothers. goods of a slave In addition. then naditus as to go should from more resulting ritual status. and secluded before marriage. the cloistered case. the case that naditus of state the of aspect than from their were special this secluded. A possible interpretation cases. they them 34). siblings relationships. to perform public the then. understanding Her secluded actions. unmarried status. Unforadopted of the texts need for us to be sure. the list of a naditu includes gift slaves concerned that is possible that if they lacked needed perhaps slaves we with girl. 33) the slave owner of household the was a naditu. and a wife (widow?) of this material is that at Nippur. yet dealings with slaves. is well enough preserved is also reflected in their of support and protection none tunately. naditus occasionally others to ensure their future support and protection. unmarried women.62 two in the other. in ARN29 for the establishment provided (see above). women were generally the services abroad their for understand of other members If this of their were the family. the ' one involved the other. Since most of the other texts dealing it the activities of other isolated.

In the following Table 2 Nippur Nadatu Transactions focussing pages it of their Table 3 Nippur Nadïtu Texts . ties. completed. With the descriptive account of three of the major institutions 35) that characterized the Old Babylonian social organization of Nippur many social now it is appropriate to examine their interaction. with that other members of institution.63 economic and in all probability their transactions. on the role especially played by the naditus.

Although early part to all subsequent events. into the urban and may thus period. in the of Old Babythe naditus social into the role played by dynamics we will examine our data within a diachronic framework. ownership imposition individual was struck a mortal blow took that apparently the remain obscure. for surviving the vicissitudes of Mesopotamian agriculture attained. of considerable amounts ownership upon the communal and presumably office property. of individual land by the imposition place at this time. lonian Nippur. in Ideally. field. urban state governments of individual imposition existance social found With system. action but based on principles of communal see a social organization faced with the realities of individual ownership. the imposition of individual we however. ownership the tribal centers for elements no legal contracts have been preserved dating from the it is to this period that we must of the Isin-Larsa period. orchard temple though. by the have fallen of the society unrest political under the the more reason 36). The reasons for this city governors of taxation may have imposed or conscription or. such an have led to the with the a segmentary system lineage in the Near East. . property ownership. This power.64 is our based an understanding to attempt purpose of both the kin-based nad7tus with members of the integration of the lineages and the occupation- Since our aim is to achieve some insight temple office group. property relationships bolster type commonly the social order. been forced have may that characterized firm control behind this of the reasons alternatively. Whatever property system of a land-holding would ownership which was incompatible of the it. Only under property of communal land ownership with lineage control of circumstances attributes so necessary resource were the risk-sharing redistribution. Early Isin-Larsa social seek the background of lineages whose power was based must have consisted organization of house.

in this climate that the naditus began to play a significant was perhaps economic role in the community. social distinctions within Information available. even when the political climate within Under such circumstances the the lineage went against them 3'). It the lineages were undoubtedly reinforced. while the economic would free her from want and allow her to establish an an institution. arrangements household. as now. The god would supplement would have provided the protective role already played by her brothers. It is not surprising independant included whose membership the sisters and more influencial men of the city. would began to be based in the community. Entrance a viable alternative. constrained and rank. of many of the daughters role come to play a significant on the land holdings of the that such of the time. As lineage power .65 the lineages became economically vulnerable. the property ownership stripped lineages was ownership property the lineages. private ownership while at the same time these new realities forced a substantial alteration With in their internal power then the power followed. and could be mustered for community action. of individual of the imposition of the power relationships within would have received more land at the time of land registraleaderships tion than the weaker branches. of the lineages If traditional have would patterns been based were upon as a the by corporate lineage group. the daughters of tribal leaders. the amount of land controlled by the number The imposition The effect of men who of individual relationships. The lineage of this basis for their a freezing political power. them to maintain econothus allowing mic control of their lineage. often had diffiby endogamy into the naditu institution culty finding a suitable spouse 38). and spiritual on needs the but it must of the naditu institution is not early history to the social have been developed as a response Perhaps then.

B. new strategies in the hands of that leadership of property in which In the written record we find some instances than came into being. is when they used their from property In addition brothers. inheriting to consolidate to these strategies property designed in the the lineage leaderships were actively engaged purchase holdings. certain kinds of property. and were passed on intact to the eldest son. the leaderships of their own lineages. came into its own.66 rather lineage leadership. Such transactions minor branches internal and thus needed polarization the very fabric of wealth which threatened of the social whereby property exchange if the lineage of disparate lineage leaderships It was in this context that the naditu institution In the early members days of Rim-Sin. aimed at the concentration of the group as a whole. at inheritance. more naditus than were one the social 1800 with of their natal lineages. thus individuals. of moveable that these some Our sons appear evidence to have been although suggests. suggests that were incompatible with the egalitarian aspects of lineage in order to prevent excessive fragmentation tion.. holdings property records the form achieving however. strategies members could take place between system were to survive. exist.C. sons received their during their father's of these wealth only record accumulated principles organizaof land from no excluded disinherited Our their specific in patrimony lifetime. inheritance. Unfortunately. on due to the alienation restrictions of new property. at remained undivided such as temple o?ces. from the more in an resulted real property could only purchase land. This evidence inheritance a strengthening of the principles of primogeniture. to purchase commodities early independance. Since the the wealthier echelons only institution. they were members The records while on the other they belonged to the naditu institution. transactions reflect this dual role. In addition. as they exchanged of their economic On the one hand with both their kinsmen property naditus appear to have been largely and drawn with from other naditus. of society who around had ties solidarity lineage were New system 39). .

At property ownership and another the temple. . while was strictly ownership in the lineages. and prestige. redistributive institution permitting as had the traditional that served some of the same functions lineages. and individual was based In addition. the time of the height of the power of the naditu institution. textual fall Fig. was apparently based Membership largely on wealth personal other hand.C. it is dangerous to argue from negative one may evidence. I believe that this spate of naditu activity came about in which the lineages found to the difficulties as a response primarily themselves. Although inheritance that temple offices were suggest until late in the Isin-Larsa period. in practice. When temple strengthens from their freedom traditional property. but it failed was not only limited in scope and unwieldy to provide the risk-sharing attributes that had been robbed of the lineages Nippur. Membership on kinship. the nadatu institution useful to the lineages for proved Although to those a time. the principles upon which it was based were antithetical in the institution of the lineages. common. society as a whole. provided had been imposed.. while property in nature. 2 shows that the majority of naditu transactions of Larsa. the transactions with members of other lineages. channeling through naditu sisters and cousins. tion the restrictions case that affected house of temple offlces became exchangable not The considered fact that alienable the traditional property aliena- offices and field property were absent in this suggestion.67 they were ideally suited to act as liaisons between lineage It seems likely that men could and did exchange property leaderships. entered the private sector institution. of the some the contracts from concern earliest Although Nippur of temple ofhces. and indeed that at during the years of the reign of Rim-Sin their numbers far outweigh to the relative this time their activities record. the lineages with a new vehicle for property while exchange when individual ideally property naditu institution them to join a large. no record exists of their sale until around 1800 B. on the was owned in the a although provided could be exchanged it mechanism between whereby property lineages. risk-sharing. Such activity is reflected in the their of society.

members of lineage the economic increased leaderships. the very existence alienable temple presence Fig. .68 of direct ecothe establishment possible nomic ties between male members of different These direct lineages. Other types of texts were not used since they did not usually concern naditus. these new between furthering of the lineages. the number of naditus recorded for each half century was multiplied by five in order to provide a comparable graph. the economic and threatening system of freely of the lineage. Note: This graph is based on all dated texts which concern the permanent exchange of real estate and the loan of commodities. At the same time. ties were apparently to the indirect ties by the preferable provided of Nippur in naditu institution. The the leadership the alienation within and the more minor branches of the latter. 2)..C. Since there were approximately five times the number of men who were involved in these transactions than women. disparity 1763 B. The graph is based on the tabulation of transactions for each half century covered by our texts. By the time of Hammurabi's conquest alienation restrictions made in a decline had resulted in the possibilities of the naditus (see fig. the strengthimportance most of whom were of the ties between ening temple office owners. 2 : Occurrences of Nadïtus and Men in Exchange and Loan Documents.

a by large. property with time the and institution political radically was climate. the economic In conclusion. the leaders perhaps originally came to control large amounts of large of real them to act as redistributive centers for estate. based on the evidence from Sippar and Nippur. the Only at Nippur. which drove members and last of society. loosely integrated kinship ties. social. rise seen it seems tribal that a few individuals.69 alienation office property began to erode the traditional land. perhaps even including alienation restrictions came to an end. families that were dominated by naditus. apparently for perhaps segments. altered transformed The the by the changing individual economic of imposition socio-economic full economic potential. The must be the city's private group of temple office holders. center of Mesopotamia. we are able to approach an understanding of the role played by the naditu It seems likely that the institution institution. for whom was of less significance in economic matters than institutional of the and the eclipse of the naditus temple office group as a purely local phenomenon. For the some restrictions on out the poorer naditus. tablets.C. could and did temple offices attain religious such significance. At some cities. much of the real property in the hands of a of Sippar was apparently few families. With the economic crisis in 1 7 3 9B. of naditu power. However. as did the pre-land-reform khans of Iran 40). such as Larsa. of the Sippar No matter how one evaluates the ownership . Kutalla and Dilbat. enough their followers. of the evidence that the minor suggests importance offices in that city allowed the naditu institution to attain its temple findspots naditus remains original of the Sippar importance The process of naditu control of private unquestioned. At Sippar. until by the end of the Old Babylonian period. lineage unity and with them waned the years of Nippur's was dominated economy vestiges last twenty Old Babylonian occupation. real estate continued. by fulfilling began and social needs quite separate from its later economic funcspiritual tions.

the disintegration had perhaps slowly lifted. Existing the changing social landscape or they will become and it is obsolete.70 and landscape. to play adapt to . a more active with it the economic potential of the naditus. With that were resulted while of the lineages. the original social constraints in the establishment of the naditu institution at the same time naditus encouraged institutions must were part in the economy. thus that we should understand the various roles of the naditus in the different cities in which they are evidenced.

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