Introduction

The texts edited in this volume have been divided into three major groups: royal grants of land or tax exemption to individuals or temples; royal edicts or decrees, some specifying regular offerings or expenditures to or from specific temples and some having to do with the administration of the empire; and gifts of land or people to temples, or in one case a personal gift from Sennacherib to Esarhaddon. The term "royal" was not included in the title because the last group includes both royal and private votive gifts.[[1]] These divisions, based on typology and terminology,[[2]] are in many cases not clearcut as a number of texts in the first group record grants of land to individuals for the specific purpose of providing regular offerings to temples while some texts in the second group record gifts of people to temples which could just as well be considered ex-voto donations. Moreover the terminology tends to overlap from one group to another. It would have been possible to combine the first two groups by considering the land grants a specialized type of edict. The use of the title uklu, "overseer," in both groups, discussed below, shows the relationship clearly, and indeed, the temple land grants in many ways have more in common with the decrees for temple maintenance than with the private land grants. In any case, the first two groups are distinct from the third in that in the former the king is acting as head of the state while in the latter he acts as a private individual just like, but on a larger scale than, the other individuals who give votive gifts.

Virtually all of the texts in this volume have been edited previously, most of them more than once. Almost all of the texts in the first two groups were edited in J. N. Postgate, Neo-Assyrian Royal Grants and Decrees (NARGD, 1969; addenda and corrigenda in Or 42 [1973] 441-44), and most of the rest were discussed to a greater or lesser degree there. Many of the passages were discussed further by Postgate in his Taxation and Conscription in the Assyrian Empire (TCAE, 1974). We have departed from Postgate's arrangement of the texts in that we have rigorously separated texts dealing with land from those dealing with other temple endowments even though this has meant separating some texts that are clearly related. Further, we have opted for a chronological presentation within each group, ignoring typological distinctions. The so-called "schedules" to the land grants (a term utilized by Johns when he discussed the grants in detail in Vol. LV of his Assyrian Deeds and Documents [ADD IV, written about 190 I. published posthumously in 1923]) were not included by Postgate in NARGD, but were edited by F. M. Fales in Censimenti e catasti di epoca neo-assira (Fales Censimenti, 1973) with some additional pieces presented in ZA 73 (1983) 236-38. The temple decrees and votive dedications have mostly been edited, although usually without translation, by B. Menzel, Assyrische Tempel I-II (Menzel Tempel, 1981), a thorough and detailed analysis of cult personnel and temple administration. A number of these had previously been edited by E. Ebeling in Stiftungen und Vorschriften für assyrische Tempel (SVAT, 1954). The texts in the final group form only a subset of votive gifts, being restricted to those recording donations of land or people. For specific details of texts included and excluded, see the section On the Present Edition below.

Although forming a distinct genre, the texts presented here are in many ways intermediate between other genres of texts, often sharing their terminology and other structural elements, frequently making the assignment of pieces, especially fragmentary ones, to one category or another conjectural. Even as the division of the texts into groups within the volume is not always clear-cut, so in many instances it has been difficult to decide whether the nature of a text warranted its inclusion in the volume or not. It is therefore inevitable that this volume may contain texts that are not grants, decrees or gifts while others that some would consider to belong to these categories have been excluded.

First, there is the problem of royal inscriptions in general. Since almost all of the texts presented in Chapters 1-6 were written in the name of a king of Assyria, many would qualify in the broadest sense and some even in the narrowest sense as royal inscriptions, and it is only their purpose that allows them to be included here. Indeed, many of the features that characterize other types of royal inscriptions are to be found among these texts. Second, there is the legal nature of these texts, by which a number of them share either their terminology or physical features with sale documents and contracts. Third, there are administrative texts that contain information similar to (or perhaps even duplicating) that found in land grants and schedules, a feature that may also be true of the legal texts. Fourth, there are texts dealing with rituals and temple administration that use some of the same terminology found in the decrees, and, finally, treaties and loyalty oaths may have both physical and stylistic features in common with some of these texts. A brief summary of the points where these text genres overlap or shade into the present corpus follows.



1 Also included in this section is a memorandum concerning a gift to a deity that may not have been royal. Furthermore. there are two schedules of offerings (nos. 80-81) in Section 4 whose royal authorship is not explicit.

2 The terminology of land grants uses the D stem of the verb zakû "to clear. to exempt'': uzakkima ana PN/DN a/iddin. "I/he cleared (them/it) and gave (them/it) to PN/DN." This phrase, with various embellishments, occurs in land grants from the time of Adad-nerari III through Aššur-etel-ilani and is used for both temple and private grants. The use of zakû. however, is not restricted to land grants but also occurs in private votive donations (nos. 95 and 97); as the verb means both "to clear (of claims: i.e., to establish clear title)'' and "to exempt (from taxes or duties)," it can be applied to persons as well as land and other types of goods or property both by thee king and by private persons.

Royal decrees of offerings most often use the verb rakāsu, "to bind," frequently with a cognate complement riksu (cf. Borger Esarh., p. 93 ad § 64:19 and NARGD, p. 61). but other words for offering can also occur as the object (e.g., Rin11 in no. 68 r. 22).

The terminology of the votive donations is more varied. but makes use of one (or more) of the verbs meaning "to present, to donate" such as qiāšu, šarāku, or šēlû (Š stem of ēlû). The votive gift is normally the object of the verb, but the expression usually has a cognate complement in the form of a prepositional phrase.

Laura Kataja & Robert Whiting

Laura Kataja & Robert Whiting, 'Introduction', Grants, Decres and Gifts of the Neo-Assyrian Period, SAA 12. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1995; online contents: SAAo/SAA12 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/introduction/]

 
Back to top ^^
 
SAAo/SAA12, 2014-. Since 2015, SAAo is based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Historisches Seminar (LMU Munich, History Department) - Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East. Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/] license, 2007-20.
Oracc uses cookies only to collect Google Analytics data. Read more here [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/about/cookies/index.html]; see the stats here [http://www.seethestats.com/site/oracc.museum.upenn.edu]; opt out here.
http://oracc.org/introduction/