Royal Decrees (50-51)

These prescriptive documents address both the personnel of the Temple of Aššur and of the Ešarra as well as every other person related to the activities performed in sacred buildings, describing their responsibilities and duties. Their importance lies in the fact that they provide us with a list of all those who were involved in the daily progress of a typical Neo-Assyrian temple, thus offering us a view of acts performed not only on the occasion of festive, big events but also in the everyday life.

The documents address very practical issues such as the opening and closing of the doors, the care of the various divine paraphernalia, the cleanliness of the spaces, and the presentation of offerings to the various altars. A social hierarchy among the individuals working inside the temples is clearly detectable from these documents. For example, in text no. 50 after the declaration of the responsibility of the chief baker and the chief brewer for the correct provision of bread and beer "to the House of Aššur and all the temples" (ll. r. 2'-8'), it is stated that the scribe of the House of Aššur is responsible for the inspection of the work of the two aforementioned professionals. Finally, all of the personnel as a group are listed at the end of the tablet under the collective name of "guardians of the House of Aššur" (EN-ma-ṣar-ra-a-te šá É–AN.ŠÁR, 50 r. 14').

Text no. 51, a royal decree by Shalmaneser, is very similar to the previous one and seeks to establish the role of each individual working inside the temple and indicate his (or her, see ll. r. 7'-12') reward accordingly.

Stefania Ermidoro

Stefania Ermidoro, 'Royal Decrees (50-51)', Assyrian Royal Rituals and Cultic Texts, SAA 20. Original publication: Winona Laka, IN, Eisenbrauns, 2017; online contents: SAAo/SAA20 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/natureandcontent/nos5051/]

 
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