The Nature of the Nineveh Legal Archive

The legal texts from Nineveh belong as a major subgroup to a larger whole, the corpus of Neo-Assyrian legal documents, which, in addition to the Ninevite texts, consists of hundreds of similar documents retrieved from other Assyrian sites.[[7]] Formally there is no distinction between the texts from the other sites and the Nineveh texts, many of which were in fact drawn up outside Nineveh. An excellent introduction to the Neo-Assyrian legal corpus as a whole has been recently provided by J. N. Postgate in his Fifty Neo-Assyrian Legal Documents (FNALD), 1976), pp. I-72,[[8]] and there is no need to repeat this information here.

By contrast, there has been no adequate discussion of the Nineveh legal corpus as a whole, even though certain aspects of the corpus have been treated by various scholars.[[9]] This introduction accordingly seems the perfect place for a brief description and discussion of the most important features and characteristics of the corpus. For the sake of clarity, discussion will be limited to the barest essentials.

7 For a bibliography of NA legal texts see K. Deller, Or. 34 (1965) 278f listing documents from Assur, Calah, Carchemish, Dur-Šarruken, Gezer, Guzana, Huzirina, Imgur-Illil, Kannu╩ż, Nineveh, Sibaniba and Tarsus. Further documents have since become available from Ma╩żallanat (see Garelli, CRRAI) 30 [1986], 241ff, Nabula/Nabur (see Donbaz, SAAB 2 [1988], 3ff), Tell Rimah (Postgate, Iraq 32 [1970], 31ff), a site in Syria (Aynard and Nougayrol, RA) 65 [1971] 85ff) and Sippar, as well as various sites already represented in Deller's list.

8 See also Postgate, "Middle Assyrian tablets: the instruments of bureaucracy," AoF) 13 (1986), 10ff.

9 See above all Kwasman, "Neo-Assyrian legal archives in the Kouyunjik Collection," CRRAI 30 (1986), p. 237ff and NALK) p. xviii ff.

Simo Parpola

Simo Parpola, 'The Nature of the Nineveh Legal Archive', Legal Transactions of the Royal Court of Nineveh, Part I: Tiglath-Pileser III through Esarhaddon, SAA 6. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1991; online contents: SAAo/SAA06 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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