Letters from Assyria (Addenda to SAA I)

In this volume are published 24 fragmentary letters (nos. 277-300), which on epigraphical and other grounds belong to the correspondence edited in Volume I of this series. They deal mainly with building activities and related problems (nos. 281, 282, 291-296, 300, with river transport of timber (nos. 254-255) and bull colossi (nos. 290, 297-299). Very interesting is no. 282, dealing with palace reliefs of(?) the Old Palace depicting a Mannean campaign. This text may be added to the small roster of (roughly) datable letters, as the last campaign to Mannea was the one conducted in 714 (Sargon's Eighth). Interestingly, the text mentions that captions giving the names of Assyrian governors were to be fixed in the reliefs a detail not paralleled by other textual evidence nor evident from the extant reliefs themselves.

No. 293 mentions the finishing of the winged 'claw' or 'hoof,' probably the leg of a piece of furniture, whose making is described in SAA I 51. Interestingly again, this same letter, in its fragmentary reverse side, seems to contain a slighting remark on the competence of the Babylonians engaged in the work: "Had it been at the disposal of the Assyrians, we would have retrieved it from them and quick[ly fin]ished it!" Such a remark, if correctly understood here, would strikingly illustrate the mental climate that fostered the war soon to break out between the two sister nations.

Giovanni B. Lanfranchi

Giovanni B. Lanfranchi, 'Letters from Assyria (Addenda to SAA I)', The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part II: Letters from the Northern and Northeastern Provinces, SAA 5. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1990; online contents: SAAo/SAA05 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/addendatosaa1/]

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