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RHEINISCHE BONN CENTER FOR

FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS- DEPENDENCY AND


UNIVERSITÄT BONN SLAVERY STUDIES
BONN

Adenauerallee 18-22
D-53113 Bonn

Tel.: +49 228/73-62442


Mail: dependency@uni-
bonn.de
Web: www.dependency.uni-
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ependencyBonn
Twitter: @DependencyBonn

Violence, Punishment and Labour


in Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East

Egyptian Museum of the University of Bonn, Regina-Pacis-Weg 7


15 January 2019

Throughout history, various forms of punishment have played multiple functions


in connection to diverse labour relations. For example, punitive practices have
contributed to modify the composition of the workforce, both through forced re-
cruitment and by the expulsion of undesired labourers. At the same time, punish-
ment has been intrumental in the control of labour within specific worksites and
in disciplining the workforce at large through symbolic violence. As multiple
legal regimes usually co-existed within one context (i.e. legal pluralism), punish-
ments meted out under different legal regimes simultaneously acted upon labour,
and expressed concurrent or complementary visions of justice and authority.
Moreover, the entanglements between punishment and labour have additionally
resulted in the production of durable personal, social and spatial dependencies.

Within this conceptual frame, the workshop intends to explore the connections
between violence, punishment and labour in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The presentations will address the following aspects: www.200jahre.uni-bonn.de


 Violence/punishment against the internal population and „foreigners“;
 Violence/punishment as a system of labour control, in relation to different
types of workers (slaves, servants, prisoners of war, etc);
 Punishment and legal pluralism;
 Real and depicted violence/punishment, including the symbolic and discipli-
nary roles of punishment;
 Pre-emptive violence/punishment;
 Violence/punishment as everyday experience (e.g. domestic violence).
RHEINISCHE BONN CENTER FOR
FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS- DEPENDENCY AND
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The participants are also asked to engage with two broader analytical issues,
namely:
 Is the analytical distinction between violence and punishment useful in the
historical context considered? As part of this conversation, the differentiation
between structural and non-structural violence (i.e. embedded in cus-
toms/norms or connected to individual manifestations of power and abuses)
will also be addressed, as well as the plurality of the forms of violence and
punishment.
 How and under which circumstances did the interaction between vio-
lence/punishment and labour result in durable personal, social and spatial de-
pendencies?

The workshop is sponsored by the Bonn Centre for Dependency and Slavery
Studies and the SFB Project „Macht und Herrschaft – Vormoderne Konfigura-
tionen in transkultureller Perpektive“.
Attendance is open to all members of the Egyptology Section of the Department
of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology and of the Bonn Centre for Depend-
ency and Slavery Studies (University of Bonn).

For contacts and information: cdevito@uni-bonn.de


RHEINISCHE BONN CENTER FOR
FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS- DEPENDENCY AND
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Programme

11:00-12:30 a.m.
Stefan Bojowald, Amr El Hawary, Ludwig Morenz (University of Bonn)
Presentation and discussion of the project „Lexikographische und
begriffsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zu ‚Arbeit‘ im pharaonischen Ägypten“

13:30 p.m.
Christian G. De Vito (University of Bonn)
Introduction of the workshop and presentation of the Research Group „Punish-
ment, Labour, Dependency“ of the Bonn Centre for Dependency and Slavery
Studies (BCDSS).

14:00-16:00 p.m.
Session 1.
Alex Loktionov (University of Cambridge)
Formal, informal, and divine: Compulsion mechanisms, punishment and la-
bour through a prism of legal pluralism in Ancient Egypt, 2700-1100 BCE
Adam Fagbore (University of Bonn)
Institutional punishment as normative modes of dependency and labour in
Pharaonic Egypt

Discussant – Chris Eyre (University of Liverpool)

16:30-18:30 p.m.
Session 2.

Uroš Matić (University of Münster; ÖAW, Vienna)


To kill like a god and to kill like a man: Ontological turn and violent treat-
ments of enemies and prisoners of war in New Kingdom Egypt
Julia Giessler (University of Leiden)
Mark them or put them in fetters! On punitive functions of body marks in first
millennium Babylonia

Discussant – Ludwig Morenz (University of Bonn)

18:30 p.m.
Conclusive remarks: Ludwig Morenz (University of Bonn)

19:30 p.m.
Social dinner
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Abstracts

Alex Loktionov
Formal, informal, and divine: Compulsion mechanisms, punishment and la-
bour through a prism of legal pluralism in Ancient Egypt, 2700-1100BCE
This paper looks at the principles of compulsion and punishment in Ancient
Egyptian thought and enforcement practice from the perspective of legal plural-
ism, drawing attention to the differences between more and less formal aspects
of the justice system as well as the perceived notion of punishment by the divine.
It will discuss state-run institutions with penal responsibilities, such as the Old
Kingdom Hw.t-wr.t and the Middle Kingdom Xnr.t, as well as less firmly regu-
lated, community-based compulsion mechanisms which can be traced from his-
torical archives such as those from El-Lahun or Deir el-Medina. Furthermore, it
will emphasise that punishment may not have needed to be handed down physi-
cally in order to be effective, as the threat of divine sanction may on occasion
have been severe enough to compel individuals to act in the desired fashion. This
last dimension, which will be addressed primarily through a consideration of
New Kingdom mutilation oaths, also raises considerations highly pertinent to
broader debates on violence and punishment: in Ancient Egypt, it would appear
that punishment did not necessarily have to be violent to be effective.
In addition to this, the nature of the relationship between the aforementioned as-
pects of punishment and compulsory labour will be discussed. Compulsory la-
bour, often associated with deportation to mining regions and regularly accom-
panied by severe facial mutilation, was probably a very significant dimension of
the Egyptian punishment experience. Institutions like the Xnr.t and possibly the
Hw.t-wr.t too are again of relevance here, and appear to have played a noteworthy
role in this aspect of compulsion. This in turn raises further interesting questions
about the nature of legal pluralism, as compulsory labour was likely linked to the
formal sphere of justice but less so to the informal and the divine. It is therefore
important to locate it within a broader context of all the different forms of justice
available in Egyptian society.
Overall, the paper will aim to demonstrate that legal pluralism was fundamental
to Ancient Egyptian social regulation, with both the state and private actors play-
ing a wide range of roles to guarantee maximal social compliance to assigned
roles. These roles could range from that of an individual under a divine curse, to
one compelled to engage in forced labour under the auspices of a non-divine au-
thority. From a theoretical perspective, the paper will also argue that a new and
more holistic approach is required in Egyptological studies of social compulsion,
emphasising dimensions of punishment beyond the purely physical and mecha-
nisms for delivering it beyond the realm of state administration.
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Adam Fagbore
Institutional punishment as normative modes of dependency and labour in
Pharaonic Egypt
In archaeology and state theory, pre-modern societies such as pharaonic Egypt
had no exclusive claim by the central regime towards the different uses of organ-
ised violence and coercion and for how and by whom violence can be used. Bruce
Routledge defined power as a quality of networks linking human and non-human
actors as mediators or intermediators in a chain of interactions. Therefore, it is
necessary to define, analyse, and evaluate what physical means pharaonic rulers
and their subordinates utilised to maintain social order since it is unlikely that the
threat and enforcement of coercive punishment by the ‘state’ was greater than the
value of coordination and reward to the individual and local kinship groups. My
presentation will analyse the balance between the role of violence as a mode of
social organisation, in which state hierarchy in one context, is to be examined in
relation to the degree of penetration of state power into hierarchical forms of be-
haviour at the local level, and then how this overlaps with the role of patron;
client obligation, of service and handing over of production in return for physical,
social, and economic protection. My presentation will focus on the extent to
which the central regime could enforce institutional forms of corporal punish-
ment (i.e. flogging, etc) as constant modes of dependency and labour in low level
contexts.

Uroš Matić
To kill like a god and to kill like a man: Ontological turn and violent treat-
ments of enemies and prisoners of war in New Kingdom Egypt
Violent treatments of enemies and prisoners of war during the New Kingdom are
well attested in 60 textual and iconographic contexts. They can be classified into
torture, mutilation, and execution. Torture included sun exposure, caging, beating
and harassment. Mutilation included branding and marking, removal of eyes and
ears, cutting off hands and phalli, hanging upside-down. Execution included de-
capitation, impaling and burning. The acts of violence against the enemies and
prisoners of war committed by the king (or attributed to the king) and the acts of
violence committed by the soldiers will be compared with the punishments of
criminals and the treatments of the damned dead by demons and deities. Particu-
lar emphasis will be put on the actors, namely the king and the army, and the
differences in the acts of violence they commit. This paper will explore the pres-
ence and absence of the religious background of these violent acts. It will be
argued that the acts committed by the soldiers do not have religious background
whereas those committed by the king himself or in the name of the king do. This
difference will be further explored in relation to proximity and distance of the
audience of these acts. The paper will discuss if the difference in presence and
absence of the religious background of violence against enemies can be explained
as being ontological, ideological or both. It is argued that ontological difference
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in violent acts committed by the king and the soldiers can be put in the service of
ideology. Furthermore, the taking of prisoners of war (men, women, and chil-
dren) during the New Kingdom will be discussed in relation to the king’s obliga-
tion to his father Amun after a successful military campaign. This is obligation is
accomplished by giving these people as gifts to temple workshops and estates.

Julia Giessler
Mark them or put them in fetters! On punitive functions of body marks in
first millennium Babylonia
The praxis of ownership marking affected Babylonia’s (semi-)dependent work-
forces on several levels. As the application of personal names and divine symbols
on the hands of chattel slaves and temple servants was non-mandatory, it ex-
ceeded its primary function as a legally valid proof for private and institutional
ownership claims respectively. The marked ones were not only tagged as prop-
erty of a specific owner, but visibly distinguished from unmarked fellows and
freemen alike. While a juridical distinction between divergent social groups is
traditionally entrenched in Mesopotamian society, and underlined in all periods
of cuneiform transmission by the use of differentiated designations, the impact
of human marked-ness is neither defined in law codes, nor clearly tangible in
archival documents. Only a few texts shed light on individual meanings of own-
ership marks by contextualizing their application with flight attempts of workers
on the one and punishments of disobedient free children on the other hand. This
paper aims at clarifying these apparently different uses of ownership marking by
approaching the underlying structural dependencies on the basis of the household
model that correlates domestic with institutional power relations. Punitive func-
tions of Babylonian ownership marks will be furthermore discussed in the light
of their historical development.