The Correspondents

This volume contains a total 36 individuals[[5]] identifiable by name or status and 15 groups of people[[6]] as correspondents. As regards the 100 royal letters, the most common recipients are the local governors of established Babylonian cities and the citizens of a particular city, town, area or country.[[7]] Since they constitute 53% of the recipients of the royal letters, the king clearly considered it particularly important to communicate with the local assemblies and the population at large when the revolt shook the foundation of the empire. Such civic institutions probably functioned as administrative bodies in nonhomogeneous and unstable states like Babylonia and Elam. Unfortunately, about 25% of the recipients are lost due to tablet damage. Among the extant corpus, the correspondents who received more than two royal letters are as follows:

Babylonians12
Nabû-ušabši, governor of Uruk10[[8]]
Bel-ibni, general of the Sealand5
Nippurians4[[9]]
Sîn-tabni-uṣur, governor of Ur3
Tammaritu II, king of Elam3
Gambulians3
Kudurru, governor of Uruk, and Urukians3
Rašians3[[10]]
Elders of Elam2
Illil-bani, governor of Nippur2
Sealanders2[[11]]

As for the 51 letters to the king, half of the senders' names is lost. The correspondents who sent more than two letters are as follows.

Šamaš-šumu-ukin3
Tammaritu II, king of Elam3
Illil-bani, governor of Nippur2[[12]]
Gambulians2[[13]]
Elders of Elam2

Šamaš-šumu-ukin wrote to Assurbanipal before he started the revolt. There are some noteworthy people though they do not frequently appear as senders. La[kû], meaning "baby," addresses his letter no. 101 to Assurbanipal and calls himself "your brother." As Livingstone and Novotny suggested, his name is possibly a hypocoristic and he was a younger brother of Assurbanipal though his birth name is unknown.[[14]] The author of no. 109 is Nabû-bel-šumati, the governor of the Sealand. He wrote it before he became the ally of Šamaš-šumu-ukin in the revolt. Foreign kings also appear as senders: Tammaritu II, Ummanaldasu (Huban-haltaš) III, king of Elam (no. 122), and Sarduri III, king of Urarṭu (no. 124).



5 Assurbanipal, king of Assyria; Šamaš-šumu-ukin, king of Babylon; La[kû], a brother of Assurbanipal; Illil-bani, governor of Nippur; Nabû-ušabši and Kudurru, governors of Uruk; Sîn-tabni-uṣur, governor of Ur; Nabû-bel-šumati, leader of the Sealand; Bel-ibni, general of the Sealand; Bel-iqbi, a Babylonian; Bel-iqiša, leader of Gambulu; Tammaritu I, Tammaritu II, Indabibi and Ummanaldasu III, kings of Elam; Menanu, elder of Elam; Ummanšibar, a prominent Elamite; Ambappi of Raši; Šad(d)ûnu of Borsippa; Zakir and Kabtiya, Babylonians (from Cutha?); Nabû-šar-ahhešu; Hundaru, king of Dilmun; Sarduri, king of Urarṭu; Bel-eṭir, leader of Bit-Ibâ; Abi-ilu, lbbutu, Iddin-ahhe, lnda[bia] and Uraš[...], La-ba[ši...], Na'id-Aššur, Nergal-eṭir, individuals from Babylonia (or Elam); Ea-zera-qiša, leader of Bit-Amukani, and his mother Humbuštu; a palace overseer.

6 Babylonians, Bit-Dakkurians; Kar-Nergalians; Nippurians, Urukians, Urians, Gambulians; Kissikians; Sealanders; elders of Elam; Rašians; city lords of Bašimu; the inhabitants of an unknown place; the magnates of Assurbanipal; elders of unknown place.

7 Since the term "citizen" originated in ancient Greek city states, the term and the concept of the "citizen" in Mesopotamia have long been discussed in the field of Assyriology, see Momrak 2013, Parpola 2004b, Barjamovic 2004, Larsen 2000a, Larsen 2000b, Larsen 1976, Jacobsen 1943. In the letters of this volume, the citizenries are often described with the phrases, "small and great" and "old and young", which are idiomatic expressions denoting "everybody," "all," and "entire assembly." See CAD S 184a-b; AHw 937b and 1089b.

8 Nos. 22-25 are duplicated each other. No. 29 is addressed both to Nabû-ušabši and Urukians.

9 No. 18 is addressed both to Illil-bani, the governor of Nippur, and Nippurians.

10 No. 55 is addressed both to Ambappi and Rašians.

11 No. 49 is addressed to c. 8 individuals with their fathers' name and Sealanders.

12 But no. 107 (NB letter) is a duplicate of no. 106 (NB letter but in NA script).

13 No. 110 was written by the co-author, Bel-iqbi and Gambulians.

14 Novotny and Singletary 2009, 173-174; Livingstone 2007, 105-106. Parpola also listed 19 children of Esarhaddon, see Parpola 1983b, 117-119. The child called Lakû (or another unnamed "baby") is also mentioned in SAA 10 298 r. 4, SAA 10 319:9, and SAA 10 320:13.

Sanae Ito

Sanae Ito, 'The Correspondents', The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part I: Letters from Assyria, Babylonia, and Vassal States, SAA 21. Original publication:Winona Laka, IN, Eisenbrauns, 2018; online contents: SAAo/SAA21 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/thecorrespondents/]

 
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