The conference presentation that prompted the writing of this short communication formed a part of a new project entitled “A Study of the Foreign Relations of Ur III Mesopotamia,” which will study a wide range of textual data from the late third millennium BC to investigate the nature of Ur III foreign policy. After a general introduction to the project, the article offers a preliminary survey of Ur III year formulae as an accurate and reliable source of information on Ur III military and geopolitical state policy, demonstrating a distinct military emphasis on the eastern and northeastern regions of the state.
This essay scrutinizes the relationship between the procedure of extispicy and the concept of decision-making in ancient Mesopotamian assemblies. The term ‘procedure of extispicy’ refers to consulting the gods for decisions and questions, observing organs of a sacrificial animal, recognizing and decoding omen features on the organs, and rendering a final answer. Given the explicitness of Mesopotamian texts, according to which extispicy is the outcome of the counsels of the gods in the divine assembly on a specific question, it follows that the features appearing on the sacrificial animal reflect the views of the gods. This corresponds to the characteristics of decision-making by assemblies and councils, which has been common at both the divine and human levels in Mesopotamia. This argument is reinforced by the fact that the final answer of extispicy, unlike some divinatory methods, which are based on numbers and mathematics, is determined by the largest possible percentage of binary decision-making processes (yes/no) reflecting the procedure of achieving a consensus decision through unanimity or super-majority. However, super-majority in extispicy could be affected by a veto sign, proving another parallel with the procedure of consensus decision-making.
Dozens of temple records from Ur III Umma attest to the Sumerian expression dumu kar-ra. Previous literature interprets it as referring to children born out of wedlock, based on its connection to the term géme kar-kid/kìd (“prostitutes”). An examination of the records shows that dumu kar-ra never appears in the same context as prostitutes. Instead, it appeared among the votive gifts donated to gods by married women and professional men. The gender, age, or name of a dumu kar-ra is never specified in any case. The clues lead to the possibility that the dumu kar-ra could have been young foundlings that people picked up in the quay area and later brought to the temple for long-term care. The temple raised the foundlings with the sponsorship of the Umma government.
This essay aims to verify that the “Eternal Treaty” was enforced after its conclusion by the Hittite King Hattusili III and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. Through the classification, interpretation, and analysis of their letters, combined with historical facts, we can verify whether the treaty accomplished its purpose. The “Eternal Treaty” provided a diplomatic framework for Hatti and Egypt, and as a result, this article demonstrates that almost all of the diplomatic affairs between these two states were based on its clauses.
This paper focuses on three texts from Ur dated to the 15th year of Ibbi-Suen’s reign. It investigates the production of a bronze weapon associated with the king (urudagag-si-sa2 zabar), enhancing our understanding of the metallurgical technology of the Ur III period. The study discusses the raw materials, the forging process, and the process of recycling the metals used in the weapon. The texts suggest a possible standardization of the production of bronze weapons by the Sumerians, while the recycling of bronze fragments reflects the specialization of the craftsmanship during the Ur III period.
This short communication investigates the concept of intertextuality in Sumerian literary texts, by studying the use of quotations in cult lyric and so-called City Laments. These text genres exhibit a series of intertextual borrowings, and the aim of this study is to discuss some examples of the use of quotations in these texts, as one of the most basic and important features of intertextuality in Sumerian literature.