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A Demotic Parallel to the Aramaic hnṣl of Elephantine

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This article examines the appearance of the Aramaic hnṣl clause in the Elephantine legal corpus in order to establish the specific legal function of the clause and explore its origins in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian legal material. In the end, a Demotic equivalent to hnṣl reveals a strong parallel in legal function, which is to protect property from being reclaimed by former owners or those who may have a claim to ownership, especially between those of unequal status in society. It is concluded that the equivalent terms, the Aramaic hnṣl and the Demotic ṯꜣy, demonstrate the local development of a technical legal term at Elephantine, illustrating how locally prevailing law was able to thrive in Persian Egypt.

Abstract

This article examines the appearance of the Aramaic hnṣl clause in the Elephantine legal corpus in order to establish the specific legal function of the clause and explore its origins in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian legal material. In the end, a Demotic equivalent to hnṣl reveals a strong parallel in legal function, which is to protect property from being reclaimed by former owners or those who may have a claim to ownership, especially between those of unequal status in society. It is concluded that the equivalent terms, the Aramaic hnṣl and the Demotic ṯꜣy, demonstrate the local development of a technical legal term at Elephantine, illustrating how locally prevailing law was able to thrive in Persian Egypt.

1. Introduction

A number of similarities between legal expressions in the Aramaic and Demotic texts from Persian Egypt have led scholars to investigate links between the greater Aramaic and Egyptian legal traditions.1 In multicultural centres such as Elephantine, an island on the first cataract of the Nile River near modern-day Aswan, the two traditions functioned in tandem during the Persian period, with scribes fluent in each language serving the needs of their diverse, multilingual community. It is no surprise that scribes writing in the two languages borrowed legal concepts and terms from one another throughout their tenure on the island.

Using P. Rylands 1 and a number of diverse documents, B. Porten identified 35 Aramaic-Demotic parallel terms at a 1990 Demotic Studies conference.2 These equivalent terms indicated identical legal functions in the documents of both languages, suggesting one of four explanations: ‘(1) the Aramaic borrowed from the Demotic; (2) the Demotic borrowed from the Aramaic; (3) both borrowed from a third source; (4) both evolved independently if coincidentally’.3 Since the publication of this list of terms, additional parallel expressions have been identified, increasing the total number to 40 Aramaic-Demotic equivalents.4 R. Ritner affirmed many of Porten’s equivalents, illustrating instances where Aramaic-Demotic equivalents find origins in earlier Egyptian texts.5 Recently, A. Botta has traced the legal function and origin of the of Aramaic terms šlyṭ and rḥq and their equivalent Demotic terms sḫm and wy, respectively, to the Egyptian legal tradition.6

The primary purpose of this article is to identify another Aramaic-Demotic equivalent, one present in the clause containing the term hnṣl, ‘to reclaim, take back’, in the Aramaic legal documents and the clause containing the term ṯꜣy, ‘to reclaim, take away’, in the Demotic legal documents. To establish hnṣl and ṯꜣy as equivalent terms, this paper examines the appearance of the hnṣl clause in the Egyptian Aramaic legal corpus, identifying the specific legal function of the clause based on the technical meaning of hnṣl that emerges from the Elephantine legal material. This analysis begins with the Egyptian Aramaic documents and proceeds by examining the Demotic parallel to the Aramaic hnṣl, effectively demonstrating that hnṣl and ṯꜣy developed a technical meaning, as the terms were universally used in the Elephantine contracts to prohibit reclamation of property given to people who may have otherwise had difficulty proving ownership.

2. hnṣl in the Aramaic Texts from Egypt

The purpose of the hnṣl clause in the Aramaic legal documents from Elephantine is to primarily assure the right of ownership of property given either as a gift or as an otherwise revocable testamentary bequest,7 or to assure rights to property between parties of unequal status in society.8 A form of hnṣl appears in ten contracts and three fragmentary court cases in the Aramaic texts from Egypt. The three court cases include a variant of hnṣl in a narrative.9 All ten contracts include a hnṣl clause.10 Of the ten contracts, four are documents of wifehood (one of which is a dowry addendum), five are documents of conveyance, and one is a document of obligation. Nine of the contracts from Elephantine range in date from 460 BCE–402 BCE.

Variations of the hnṣl clause, as Porten observes, are as numerous as the times the clause occurs.11 Reclaiming is either prohibited outright (i.e., PN shall not reclaim) or prohibited in a brief narrative situation (i.e., PN shall not say ‘I shall reclaim’). The four marriage documents, similar as they may seem, portray the relationships between parties of different social standing. The primary beneficiaries of the hnṣl clauses are mostly women, but there is one man.12 Morphologically, the variations of hnṣl are also numerous. Within these thirteen appearances, there are nine different verbal forms.13

2.1. Documents of Wifehood

The first example of a hnṣl clause in a document of wifehood, TAD B3.3 (Kraeling 2) of Elephantine, protects the rights of the newlywed couple from the bride’s former owner. In this document dated to 449 BCE,14 Tamet, a servant of Meshullam, weds Ananiah and includes a son, Pilti, amongst a short list of possessions brought with her into the marriage. The hnṣl clause reads:

wʾnh mšlm mḥr ʾw ywm ʾḥrn lʾ ʾkl ʾnṣl lplṭy mn tḥt lbbk br mn zy ʾnt ttrk lʾmh tmt whn hnṣlth mnk ʾntn lʿnny ksp krš 5

TADB3.3:13–14

And I, Meshullam, tomorrow or the next day shall not be able to reclaim Pilti from under your heart unless you evict his mother Tamet. And if I reclaim him from you, I shall give Anani 5 karsh silver.

The legal function of the hapʾel imperfect in this clause is to protect the rights of Egyptian wife and mother Tamet.15 Tamet brings a child, Pilti, into the marriage from her former life as a servant to Meshullam. Tamet’s former owner appears to retain some rights to Tamet’s son Pilti, and in order to protect Tamet from Meshullam’s exercising these rights, the hnṣl clause clarifies the penalties associated with his reclaiming Pilti. It is important to note here that the hnṣl clause is operating outside the biological family.

The most complete document of wifehood from Elephantine, TAD B3.8 (Kraeling 7, 15, and a variety of fragments) dating to 420 BCE,16 stands in stark contrast to TAD B3.3 in many ways, but especially concerning the economic status of the two women: Jehoishma’s dowry is extensive, whereas Tamet brings few possessions into her marriage. Regardless of their status at the time of marriage, however, both women are protected by the hnṣl clause. In Jehoishma’s document of wifehood, the hnṣl clause reads:

ʾp lʾ ykhl zkwr yʾmr lʾḥ[t]h nks[y]ʾ ʾlh brḥmn yhbt lyhwyšmʿ kʿn ṣbyt ʾhnṣl hmw hn yʾmr kwt lʾ yštmʿ lh ḥyb hw ktb mʿwzyh br ntn sprʾ

TADB3.8:40–42

Moreover, Zaccur shall not be able to say to his sister: “I gave these goods to Jehoishma in affection. Now I desire; I shall take them back”. If he says thus, he shall not be heard: he is obligated.

Jehoishma’s immense dowry, valued at 78.125 shekels,17 is protected by the hapʾel imperfect hnṣl from any claims from her brother, who had right to the items in her dowry prior to her marriage, and likely retained some of that right when Jehoishma married. Any former right to the property Zaccur had, and any sort of future hereditary right to the property he may still have, is nullified in this contract.

Another hnṣl clause related to a document of wifehood is found in a dowry addendum, TAD B3.11 (Kraeling 10), to Jehoishma’s document of wifehood from Elephantine. This dowry addendum is dated to 402 BCE. The addendum to the dowry is the bequest of a house from the father Anani to his daughter Jehoishma. The hnṣl clause reads:

ʾnh ʿnny br ʿzryh lḥnʾ lʾ ʾkhl ʾmr yhbt lk brḥmn psšrt ʿl spr ʾntwtky ʿd ʾḥrn hn ʾmr ʾhnṣl mnk ʾhwb wʾntn lyhwyšmʿ ʾbygrn ksp kršn 30 ksp ṣrp bʾbny mlkʾ wʾnty ʾm šlyṭh bbytʾ znh zy tḥwmwhy ktbn mnʿl bḥyy wtmwty

TADB3.11:9–11

I, Anani son of Azariah the servitor, shall not be able to say, “I gave it to you in affection as an after-gift to your document of wifehood”. If I say, “I shall take it back from you”, I will be liable and I will give Jehoishma a penalty of silver, 30 karsh by the stoneweight of the king. And you nevertheless have legal right to this house and its boundaries written above, in my life and at my death.

The dynamics of family structure are at work in this relationship, as Anani may retain legitimate claim to a gift given in affection. B. Porten and H.Z. Szubin suggest that the inclusion of this clause is indicative of testamentary succession, and this is precisely the case in TAD B3.11.18 Following the hnṣl clause, Anani explicitly indicates that the gift of his house is in anticipation of his death, assuring Jehoishma’s claim to the property after his death. Where Anani once had full rights to this house, the hnṣl clause serves to surrender his right to reclaim this property upon adding the house to Jehoishma’s dowry.

While TAD B6.4 (Cowley 18; Sachau Plate 33) is a fragmentary portion of a document of wifehood between Hoshaiah and Salluah from Elephantine,19 the hnṣl clause is generally well preserved. This document is dated to the last 3rd of the 5th century BCE,20 and the hnṣl clause resembles the hnṣl clauses in other documents of wifehood. It reads:

wt[ry]n šn[ʾh ]h[y ] tʿbd lh dyn šnʾh wlʾ t[k]hl yhwḥn brt [ ]n t[ʾmr lh] wlslwʾ brth kzy nksyʾ wkspʾ zy ktybn bsprʾ brḥmn yhbt lkm kʿn ṣbyt ʾhnṣl hm hn tʾmr kwt ḥybh hy lʾ yštmʿ lh ktb mʿwzyh br ntn br ʿnnyh

TADB6.4:4–6

And Jehohen daughter of [PN] shall not be able to say to him and to Salluah her daughter that: ‘These goods and the silver that are written in this document I gave you in affection. Now I desired them. I shall reclaim them’. If she says thus, she is obligated—she will not be heard.

In this case, the mother Jehohen is giving her daughter Salluah a dowry containing various goods and a quantity of silver. According to Porten and Szubin, bequests inter familium would require an additional clause for Salluah to prove clear title.21 Without evidence of clear title, Salluah would be in danger of having her dowry reclaimed by her mother, who was once a legitimate owner of the possessions. Adding a hnṣl clause to the contract offers her this necessary evidence and protection from an interfamilial reclamation, especially from those who otherwise had a hereditary claim to the property.22

2.2. Conveyances

The first conveyance document, TAD B2.3 (Cowley 8) dated to 460/459 BCE from Elephantine,23 with a hnṣl clause is a contract featuring a bequest of house to a daughter. In this contract, the property-holder Mahseiah grants a house and land to his daughter Mibtahiah for her use. The hnṣl clause reads:

wʾp ʾnh mḥsyh mḥr ʾw ywm ʾḥrn lʾ ʾhnṣl mnky lmntn ʾrqʾ zk zylyky bny whby lmn zy rḥmty hn mḥr ʾw ywm ʾḥrn ʾršnky dyn wdbb wʾmr lʾ yhbt lky ʾnh ʾntn lky ksp krš 10 bʾbny mlkʾ ksp r2 lʿšrtʾ wlʾ dyn wlʾ dbb wbytʾ bytky ʾpm wʾhk bdyn wlʾ ʾṣdq wsprʾ znh bydky

TADB2.3:18–22

And I, Mahseiah, tomorrow or the next day, shall not take it from you to give to others. That land is yours. Build or give it to whomever you love. If tomorrow I bring suit or process against you and say: ‘I did not give (it) to you,’ I shall give you silver, 10 karsh by the stones of the king, silver 2 quarters to the ten without suit and without process, and the house moreover is your house. And should I go to law (= take legal action),24 I shall not prevail while this document is in your hand.

The penalty for attempting to reclaim the house and land for himself is severe, perhaps serving to discourage claims, and the process of reclamation futile. Not all hnṣl clauses contain penalties, however.

The second conveyance document, TAD B2.4 (Cowley 9), is a contract from Elephantine granting usufruct of a house and land, contemporaneous to the previous TAD B2.3 (460/459 BCE).25 The object of discussion in TAD B2.4 is the same house that appears in TAD B2.3, but in this case the contract is written from Mahseiah to his son-in-law, Jezaniah son of Uriah. Mahseiah once again suspends what is typically expected of interfamilial transactions, which is the ability to reclaim rightfully-owned property that was transferred without compensation. Here, Mahseiah prevents his daughter Mibtahiah from reclaiming the entire property from her husband Jezaniah, allowing him the right to half of the property, which transfers to his children born of Mibtahiah after him. The hnṣl clause reads:

hn thnṣl mnk plg bytʾ [y]h[w]h lh lmlqḥ wplgʾ ʾhrnʾ ʾnt šlyṭ bh ḥlp bnwyʾ zy ʾnt bnyt bbytʾ zk wtwb plgʾ hw bnyk mn mbṭḥyh hmw šlyṭn bh ʾḥryk

TADB2.4:10–13

If she (= Mibtahiah) shall reclaim from you, half the house shall be hers to take, but you have right to the other half in exchange for the building improvements that you have built into that house. And furthermore your children by Mibtahiah have right to that half after you.

While TAD B2.4 functions to protect the property from being reclaimed by an otherwise legitimate owner, an important contrast emerges between two words: hnṣl and lqḥ. Forms of the verb lqḥ have three functions in the Aramaic legal contracts from Persian Egypt: rightfully taking as part of a contract,26 taking a wife,27 and taking out a lawsuit.28 These sanctioned acts of taking stand in contrast to hnṣl, which is universally used to prohibit the reclamation of property in contracts. In TAD B2.4 above, Mibtahiah is allowed to take (lmlqḥ) half the house, but is prohibited from reclaiming (hnṣl) the entire house.

In the Elephantine bequest contract TAD B3.5 (Kraeling 4), which dates to 434 BCE,29 Ananiah gives a large apartment in his house to his wife Tamet. What is particularly striking about this document is that the hnṣl clause protects his wife from claims of reclamation from within or outside of his family. The hnṣl clause follows a list of people who shall not have right to the entire house, and reads:

gbr ʾḥrn ʾmy wʾby ʾḥ wʾḥh wʾyš ʾḥrn lʾ yšlṭ bbyth klh lhn bny zy yldty ly wgbrʾ zy yhnṣl byty ʾḥry mwty mn plṭy wyhwyšmʿ yntn lhm ksp kršn 10 bʾbny mlkʾ ksp r 2 lkrš 1 wbyty zylhm ʾpm wlʾ dyn

TADB3.5:19–22

Another person—my mother or my father, brother or sister, or another man—shall not have a right to the whole house, but (only) my children whom you bore me. And the person who shall reclaim my house after my death from Pilti and Jehoishma shall give them silver, 10 karsh by the stoneweights of the king, silver, 2 quarters to 1 karsh, and my house is theirs, without suit.

This clause protects Tamet and Ananiah’s children from lawsuits made by those both inside and outside the family who may have once had a legitimate claim to the property. The clause is especially clear about prohibiting inter familial claims, hereditary or otherwise.

An Elephantine contract detailing a life estate of usufruct, TAD B3.7 (Kraeling 6), dates to 420 BCE.30 Ananiah writes directly to his daughter Jehoishma 14 years after TAD B3.5 in order to clarify her right to the property that he gave her. The rights to the house are given to Jehoishma, and a courtyard is partially shared with her brother Pelatiah. The hnṣl clause reads:

lʾ ʾkhl ʾnh ʿnny ʾhnṣl mnky wlʾ ʾkhl ʾmr npšy ṣbyt ʾhnṣl mnky zy yqwm ʿlyky ltrktky mn btyʾ zy ktbt wyh[bt lky yntn lyhwyšmʿ brty ʾbygrn ksp kršn 10 [bʾbny mlkʾ ksp r 2 lʿšrtʾ wlʾ dyn]

B3.7:14–17

I, Anani, shall not be able to take them from you. And I shall not be able to say, ‘My soul desired them, and I shall reclaim them from you’. Whoever shall stand up against you to evict you from the houses which I wrote and ga[ve you shall give to Jehoishma] my daughter a penalty of silver, 10 karsh [by the stoneweight of the king, silver 2 quarters to the ten, without suit].

We find a fragmentary penalty here for anyone who may file suit against Jehoishma’s right to the property, but one that closely follows the penalties in previous contracts. The penalty applies not only to Anani if he chooses to reclaim it, but also to anyone else who might reclaim the property.

The hnṣl clause has been almost entirely reconstructed in TAD B5.4 (Cowley 47; Sachau Plate 35) from Elephantine, a fragmentary portion of a gift of house contract dated to the mid-5th century BCE.31 While A. Cowley suspects the absent clause was related to reclamation,32 B. Porten papyrologically reconstructs the clause based on the documents similarity to TAD B2.3 (using ʾhnṣl mnky lʾḥrnn from l. 18–19).33 The reconstructed document only contains a waiver of complaint, waiver of reclamation, investiture, and penalty. The hnṣl clause reads:

ʾp lʾ ʾkl ʾmr ʾnh [ʾhnṣl mnk lʾḥrnn]

TADB5.4:3

Moreover, I shall not be able to say I [shall reclaim it from you to give to others.]

While only a portion of the reclamation clause appears in this fragmentary contract, the clause functions in a similar capacity to the other conveyance contracts.

2.3. Document of Obligation

A single document of obligation details the business relationship between a landlord and a tenant. Also known as the Bauer-Meissner Papyrus (Pap. aram. mon. 1),34 TAD B1.1 is a land lease from the town of Korobis that predates the Elephantine legal material by 20 years.35 In this contract, Padi son of Daganmelech grants Aḥa son of Ḥapio access to his royal land allotment so that he can use it to grow crops.

wlʾ ʾ[kl] ʾṣl ḥqly mnk wʾyt lk pmṭn wḥwb ʿl[y]

TADB1.1:14–15

And I shall not be able to reclaim my field from you as long as you have (a claim) on me (for) pmṭn and obligation.

Apart from the use of the apʾel imperfect, this clause differs from the others in a few key regards: first, the beneficiary, Aḥa, is a male with no familial relationship to the other parties in the contract, and second, there appears to be a monetary payment given to Padi to assure Aḥa’s ability to use the field. For the land to be reclaimed, Aḥa would have to be negligent on two accounts: first, on his pmṭn (bond) and, second, his ḥwb (obligation).36

Additional evidence of clear title appears to be necessary. Where it might have been difficult for the women in the other documents to provide such evidence before those who may have had hereditary claim to the property in question, it might be difficult for Aḥa to provide the same kind of evidence. Aḥa is the son of Ḥapio, both of which are Egyptian names,37 whereas Padi is the son of Daganmelech, both of which are Semitic names.38 The parties in this contract are coming from different cultural backgrounds; Padi is likely the wealthy immigrant and Aḥa the local, but both share the same geographical reality. One party has sufficient social standing to receive a land grant from the Pharaoh, whereas the other must lease it from the landowner. With insufficient evidence of clear title in this case, the reclamation clause provides Aḥa with the necessary protections so that the field will not be reclaimed outside the realm of legally permitted reclamation.

2.4. Court Cases

There are three fragmentary court cases from Saqqarah that contain the term hnṣl, but these examples are not indicative of hnṣl functioning in a legal clause. The first, TAD B8.2 (Segal 10, and 44),39 is a fragmentary court record relating to slaves dating to 440 BCE, and line 15 reads: bytʾ hnṣlwny ‘the house they reclaimed from me’.40 The second court record, TAD B8.4 (Segal 28, 30, and 61) dating to 431 BCE,41 contains various fragmentary accounts, one of which is a complaint filed by Shamou, Berichel, and their father Snbnt, Arameans of the detachment of Nabushezib, which begins: kn ʾmrw hnṣl … ʾb 1 smšs, ‘said thus, “… reclaimed PN, 1; Smšs” ’.42 The final court record, TAD B8.6 (Segal 9),43 contains a complaint from a servant speaking against another servant. The document is fragmentary, though it is clear that the complaint is related to a reclamation of goods. The relevant line containing hnṣl reads: kn ʾmr hnṣlny ksp kršn 20 […]n zy nḥš 5 ksn 10 mʾnn 5, ‘He said thus, “He reclaimed from me silver, 20 karsh; […] 5 bronze; 10 cups; 5 vessels”. […] colleagues’.44 In the court cases from Saqqarah, the Aramaic hnṣl is a legal term indicating process of reclaiming goods, and in two of the three instances the term is used in complaints against others for reclaiming property.

3. The Legal Function and Technical Meaning of hnṣl

In the contracts, the objects protected from reclamation have one thing in common: they are property either given as a gift or included as part of a lease. For the most part, the items are given without any kind of explicitly mentioned payment. To explain the lack of payment, Porten and Szubin suggest that the inclusion of this clause is indicative of testamentary succession,45 as the property is almost always transferred within the family.46 Porten and Szubin understand the practice of testamentary succession at Elephantine as occurring prior to the death of the original property owner, so that there is no possibility for dispute over who should inherit the property.47 They emphasize the fact that a majority of the texts in which a hnṣl clause appears documents inter-familial transactions, as they note that the rules governing interactions within the family were more relaxed.48 The hnṣl clause protects against reclamation, the authors assert, because, unlike bona fide gifts, ‘bequests inter familium and wills and gifts in contemplation of death … are revocable’.49

Testamentary succession does not, however, explain every appearance of the hnṣl clause in the Egyptian Aramaic legal corpus. In one case (TAD B1.1), the two parties in the clause are not members of the same family, and are only related by a business transaction. Also central to Szubin and Porten’s theory of testamentary succession is the element of an impending death, and that these gifts were not ‘necessarily given gratis but may be in return for some consideration such as old-age support’.50 This is not always the case, however, as both the age and the familial role of the bequeather in each document varies.

Whereas bequests inter familium with a hnṣl clause primarily prevented the bequeather from reclaiming rights to the property, we find the hnṣl clause extending that protection to claims originating in the extended family and even outside the family. Several contracts extended that protection outside the family, especially TAD B3.5, which protected the new owners from claims made by the extended family. The relationships between the parties in these contracts illustrate an unbalanced power dynamic: those transferring the property are the elders with greater socio-economic status in society, and those receiving the property are not necessarily the first in line to inherit the property, nor are they of a higher socio-economic class.

The dynamics of family and class are essential aspects of the documents with a hnṣl clause. TAD B3.3 protects the interests of a former slave from her former owner. Likewise, TAD B3.5 protects the interests of the former slave and her children after her husband grants her property. TAD B3.11, TAD B2.3, and TAD B3.7 protect the interests of a daughter from a father. Even though TAD B3.8 is a document of wifehood, it protects the Jehoishma’s property from claims made by her brother Zaccur, who is likely the hereditary heir to the family estate, functioning as the patriarch in this document in the absence of Jehoishma’s father. In every case, the beneficiaries of the hnṣl clause are those who need additional evidence of clear title in cases where the extended family could level claims of ownership toward the property in question. For this reason, a hnṣl clause is absolutely necessary in these cases. Other people, though extended family in particular, might attempt to reclaim the property based on a hereditary right, and that is what the hnṣl clause prevents.

The precise legal function of the hnṣl clause is dependent upon the context of the document in which it appears. In some documents, this legal function could be related to testamentary succession. In others, it tends to focus on the interests of the person receiving a gift.51 In all of the documents, this clause protects the interests of the receiver when sufficient evidence of clear title is not available, especially in cases where there is a difference in social standing between the two parties. Women were the beneficiaries of most of the contracts containing a hnṣl clause, with one notable exception of a Egyptian man of lower socio-economic class as a beneficiary.

But the clause is much more versatile than scholars have alluded to in the past. The legal function of the hnṣl clause can be loosely defined based on its appearance in the ten contracts, but it should not be limited to a single all-encompassing definition. It is directly related to the individuals that it protects in each document, those who lack the evidence of clear title necessary in order to retain rights to their property in cases where that property was given as a gift or in situations where there was a dynamic relationship between the two parties.

4. Possible Origins

Outside of the Egyptian Aramaic corpus, hnṣl is used in the Trilingual inscription from Xanthus, an edict from the Persian satrap Pixodaro composed in 358 BCE.52 This edict, written in Aramaic, Greek, and Lycian, affirms Persian imperial support for the creation of a new cult of two Carian gods, and best illustrates the relationship between the Achaemenid empire and those living in the satrapy. Notably, lines 19–27 contain hnṣl:

ʾp hn ʾyš mtwmy hnṣl mn kndwṣ ʾlhʾ ʾw mn kmrʾ nhwyʾ mn kndṣ ʾlh ʾwrn wth mhnṣl wmn ʾlhʾ lʾtw ʾrtmwš ḥštrpty wʾḥwrn ʾlhyʾ ybʿwn mnh

And if someone takes away from the Lord God (of Canus) or from the priest what has been solemnly promised (to them), he will take it away from the Lord God of Xanthus and from the gods Leto, Artemis, Hšatrapati, and the other (gods) he will take (it) away; therefore, these gods will seek him out.53

The appearance of hnṣl in this edict from Xanthus lacks the technical meaning of hnṣl found in the Elephantine papyri. Apart from this instance of hnṣl, remaining usage of the term in biblical Aramaic is not found in a legal context.

The cuneiform legal tradition does not yield insight into the origin of the hnṣl clause.54 Similar Akkadian terms include eṭērum and naṣālum, of which eṭērum can be translated as ‘to take something away’ and ‘to be saved’.55 The verb eṭērum is frequently used in places where property and attributes are taken away, especially in a letter where a complaint is lodged against a man for taking a field away. It appears as: A.SÀ e-ṭe-ru-um-ma i-ti-ir-ma i-ku-ul, ‘he has taken away my field and consumed its produce’.56 While eṭērum is used in places condemning the act of ‘taking away’, it does not have the same technical function as the Egyptian Aramaic hnṣl. Likewise, naṣālum, related to the semitic nṣlherausreißen’,57 does not share the technical function as hnṣl, although there is limited extant evidence of this Akkadian term.58

As the ancient Near Eastern legal traditions above have not yielded insight into the origins of the Aramaic hnṣl clause, the bilingual Elephantine community and parallel Egyptian legal tradition is the best place to turn. The Jewish community at Elephantine during the Persian period lived alongside Demotic speaking neighbours. Although the lingua franca of the Persian empire was the dialect known today as Official Aramaic, local scribes continued producing legislation in the local language. As D. Redford argues, any kind of imposed or imperially codified law would have been largely ignored in favour of traditional, Egyptian law, which had been developed over millennia.59 While there is no evidence that links the Aramean scribes of Elephantine to the Persian administration, we know from their roles as functionaries that their duties would have overlapped with the bureaucratic roles of the local Egyptian scribes. In addition, Botta reminds the reader of Elephantine legal material that

in Elephantine-Syene we are not dealing with the original legal and formulary tradition of each of the ethnic groups which are represented in the documents, but with the resultant legal and formulary status quo achieved through decades of adaptation and assimilation to the new context.60

As the communities would interact with one another, their legal texts would reflect this shared reality.

5. The Demotic ṯꜣy in Context

The relevant Demotic term is ṯꜣy, ‘to reclaim, take back’, though outside of its use in the Elephantine contracts ṯꜣy had little to do with the reclamation of property.61 Contemporaneous, non-legal use of ṯꜣy reflects a conventional understanding of ‘to take away’ or, at times, ‘to steal’.62 Based on the context of two Demotic legal papyri from Elephantine, P Wien D 10150 and P Wien D 10151, however, ṯꜣy is best translated ‘reclaim’ as it functions in this legal clause.

5.1. P Wien D 10150

The first Demotic contract from Elephantine, P Wien D 10150 dated to 510 BCE, documents a transaction between a father, Espemet, and his daughter, Tshenyah. In this document, Espemet is a ship’s scribe and intends to give one third of the share of his office to his daughter Tshenyah. This bequest of shares contract can be outlined as follows (Table 1).

The clause containing ṯꜣy reads:

(4) pꜣ nty ỉw⸗f r ỉy r.ḥr⸗t r.dbꜣ pꜣy 1/3 n tꜣ ỉꜣw.t sẖ ḏy [sẖ tš] nty mtw m-dr pꜣy⸗y ỉt r ṯꜣy.t⸗f mtw⸗t ḏd bn ỉw mtw s ỉn n ṯꜣy n ỉt mw.t (5) sn sn.t šr šr.t ḥry ḥry.t rmt nb n pꜣ tꜣ ỉnk ḥꜤ my.t.t ỉw⸗f dy-t [n⸗t ḥd] ḳd 5 pr-ḥd n Ptḥ n wtḥ ỉwt ḏd ḳnb n[b] pꜣ tꜣ ỉrm⸗t m sẖ63

Those who will come to you because of this one third of the office of ship’s scribe (and) [district scribe], that is from my father, to reclaim it from you, saying: ‘it does not (belong to you)’, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, supervisor, manager, or any other people in the world, I myself likewise, he should pay five silver kite of the treasury of Ptah, fully poured out. He will enter no process with you.

Table 1

P Wien D 10150: Bequest of shares 510 BCE

Table 1

In the same way that the hnṣl clause provides evidence of clear title for the receiver, the clause containing ṯꜣy in the Egyptian legal text also protects the receiver from claims from both the family and outsiders. The most important part of this clause is the type of protection granted to Espemet’s daughter Tshenyah: no one will come against her in order to take her share away, especially those within the family. If they do so, five silver kite must be given to her from the treasury of Ptah. Similar to some instances of the hnṣl clause (particularly TAD B2.3, TAD B2.4, TAD B3.3, TAD B3.5, TAD B3.7, and TAD B3.11), this is a steep penalty that would probably deter those who might have attempted to reclaim the shares.

Tshenyah is the primary beneficiary of the clause in this contract. Even if somebody attempts to reclaim this one-third share from Tshenyah, she would be protected by the presence of this clause. The legal function of the hnṣl clause is evident in the function of ṯꜣy, which demonstrates a strong parallel reading to the hnṣl clause of Elephantine. The use of the ṯꜣy clause in this case is similar to testamentary succession: Espemet is ensuring that his daughter will benefit from the shares in the immediate future and in the eventuality of his death. The legal function of the ṯꜣy clause in P Wien D 10150 is therefore primarily concerned with protecting the receiver, who would require evidence of clear title if she were confronted by previous owners of the shares or anyone, especially family members, who could provide an otherwise legitimate claim to the shares.

5.2. P Wien D 10151

The second Demotic contract from Elephantine, P Wien D 10151, dating to 460 BCE, is an exchange of shares contract between Espemet and Horoudja, two Egyptian scribes. Another Espemet from a new generation of the same family in P Wien D 10150 is trading the same shares of the office of ship’s scribe with another priest, Horoudja. Here, Espemet is trading his shares as ship’s scribe for time in the temple of Khnum. This rather complicated contract can be outlined as follows in Table 2.

The clause containing ṯꜣy reads:

pꜣ nty ỉw⸗f r ỉy [r-r⸗k r-dbꜣ nꜣ dny.w] nty ḥry ṯꜣy.t⸗w mtw⸗k64 [nḥḥ ḥnꜤ] nꜣy⸗w Ꜥḳ.w(?) [ḥnꜤ nꜣy⸗w] sm ỉrp ḥnꜤ nꜣy⸗w šty.w ḥnꜤ nty nb nty pr n.ỉm⸗w [ḥnꜤ nꜣ] nty ỉw⸗w r wꜣḥ r.r⸗w ỉw⸗y r dy.t wy⸗f r.r⸗k65

The one who will come up [against you about the shares] that are above, to reclaim them [from you] with their bread, oils, herbs, wine, income, and all that comes from them and would be added to them, I will cause him to be far from you.

In this complex contract, there are many people who once had claim over the shares that are being traded: Espemet must guarantee that no one will come up against Horoudja in order to take the shares, because several individuals once claimed legitimate ownership of these shares.66 The names of the former owners are not listed in the ṯꜣy clause, but there is a list of four individuals, the sons of Espemet, that are listed in section X (Table 2). The following section (XI on Table 2) contains a pledge confirming neither they nor their children will bring suit against the new owner of the shares.

Table 2

P Wien D 10151: Exchange of shares, 460 BCE

Table 2

The legal function of the ṯꜣy clause in P Wien D 10151 is not related to testamentary succession. Instead, it protects Horoudja from any attempts to take what was traded with him, especially by the former owners of the shares. Included in these shares are the portions once given to Tshenyah in P Wien D 10150, and mention is made of the current Espemet’s purchase of those shares. This demonstrates that the clause containing ṯꜣy found in P Wien D 10150 was closely followed and that Tshenyah sold her shares to the younger Espemet.

Even though he is not a member of the same family, Horoudja is offered the same kind of protection that Tshenyah was given in the last contract, as the ṯꜣy clause present in this contract details the items that must not be reclaimed. We know little about Horoudja or his socio-economic situation, but we do know that there were many people that once held a legitimate claim to the shares. As a result of the many possible claim holders, both interfamilial and hereditary, the ṯꜣy clause prohibits attempts to reclaim the shares.

6. An Aramaic-Demotic Equivalent

The greatest similarities emerge between the hnṣl and ṯꜣy clauses in P Wien D 10150 and TAD B3.5 (434 BCE), both of which are related to property handed down from a father to his child. Listed side-by-side, the two parallel clauses reveal the Aramaic-Demotic equivalent terms (Table 3).

The Demotic phrase pꜣ nty ỉw⸗f r ỉy r.ḥr⸗t r.dbꜣ pꜣy 1/3 n tꜣ ỉꜣw.t sẖ ḏy [sẖ tš] nty mtw m-dr pꜣy⸗y ỉt r ṯꜣy.t⸗f mtw⸗t, ‘Those who will come to you because of this one third of the office of ship’s scribe (and) [district scribe], that is from my father, to reclaim it from you’ parallels the function of Aramaic phrase wgbrʾ zy yhnṣl byty ʾḥry mwty mn plṭy wyhwyšmʿ, ‘And the person who shall reclaim my house after my death from Pilti and Jehoishma’. This is followed by the Demotic phrase ỉw⸗f dy-t [n⸗t ḥd] ḳd 5 pr-ḥd n Ptḥ n wtḥ, ‘he should pay five silver kite of the treasury of Ptah, fully poured out’, which parallels the function of the Aramaic phrase yntn lhm ksp kršn 10 bʾbny mlkʾ ksp r 2 lkrš 1, ‘[he] shall give them silver, 10 karsh by the stoneweights of the king, silver, 2 quarters to 1 karsh’. Both Demotic and Aramaic clauses end with a prohibition against filing a lawsuit. Additionally, the list of family members and outsiders that appears in the ṯꜣy clause in P Wien D 10150 closely parallels the list immediately preceding the hnṣl clause in TAD B3.5.

Structurally, many of the clauses containing hnṣl differ from the parallel constructions in TAD B3.5 and P Wien D 10150, but the function remains the same: the specific legal function of these parallel Aramaic and Demotic clauses is to protect the property from being reclaimed by former owners or those who may have a claim to ownership, especially between those of unequal status in society. Likewise, the ṯꜣy clause in P Wien D 10151 shares a similar function to the ṯꜣy clause in P Wien D 10150 and the hnṣl clause in TAD B3.5, though the parties involved are slightly different. While this parallel is sufficient to establish the hnṣl clause and the ṯꜣy clause as an Aramaic-Demotic equivalent, there is still the issue of origin.

Table 3

P Wien D 10150, lines 4–5, and TAD B3.5, lines 19–22

Table 3

As P Wien D 10150 dates to 510 BCE, 50 years earlier than the earliest Elephantine contract containing hnṣl (TAD B2.3 and TAD B2.4 are dated to 460 BCE), the ṯꜣy clause antedates the parallel hnṣl clauses. The strongest parallel exists between P Wien D 10150 and TAD B3.5 (dated to 434 BCE), documents that are 76 years apart in age. That 76 years separates two clauses with such a strong parallel illustrates the decades of adaptation and assimilation experienced by both Egyptian and Aramaic legal communities at Elephantine.

One contract, TAD B1.1 from Korobis, is roughly dated to 515 BCE, though the clause shares little in common with the hnṣl clauses from Elephantine. This illustrates that if the ṯꜣy clause was not necessarily an antecedent of the hnṣl clause, and it was at least developed alongside the hnṣl clause at Elephantine. It can be asserted that, over the course of the century, the community at Elephantine further developed the legal concept behind the ṯꜣy clause, and this development is especially manifest in the variations found in the hnṣl clause over the years.

7. Conclusion

The Aramaic term hnṣl and the Demotic term ṯꜣy form another set of Aramaic-Demotic equivalent terms. The legal functions of the Aramaic-Demotic equivalent expressions are identical: they protect the property from being reclaimed by a former owner or a person who may have otherwise had a legitimate claim to ownership through interfamilial or hereditary claims, especially in situations involving a power dynamic between the two parties in the contract. Confronting Porten’s four possible explanations in an attempt to answer the question ‘who is the borrower and who is the lender?’, which include ‘(1) the Aramaic borrowed from the Demotic; (2) the Demotic borrowed from the Aramaic; (3) both borrowed from a third source; (4) both evolved independently if coincidentally’,67 it is likely that the Aramaic is borrowing from the Demotic in this very specific situation. It must be acknowledged that in the closest parallel expressions, found in P Wien D 10150 and TAD B3.5, the Demotic antedates the Aramaic by 76 years. However, in light of the formulary status quo maintained by the diverse populations at Elephantine during the fifth century BCE, and the peculiarity of the legal function of the hnṣl and ṯꜣy clauses to the Elephantine legal material, it should be concluded that the clauses in their extant forms developed at Elephantine for the needs of the community. Ultimately, this Aramaic-Demotic equivalent illustrates how locally prevailing law was able to thrive in Persian Egypt.

*

An earlier version of this article was presented in the Aramaic Studies section at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Chicago, Illinois. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to Bezalel Porten (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) for his insightful comments and our consultations in Jerusalem and abroad. Thanks also to Annalisa Azzoni (Vanderbilt University) and Alejandro Botta (Boston University) for their comments and encouragement that greatly contributed to the content of this article.

1

Conveyance and loan contracts are especially similar. See: B. Porten, Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968) pp. 334–343.

2

Porten found 10 equivalent terms in P. Rylands 1, 6 equivalents from four loan contracts, and another 19 equivalents from various documents. B. Porten, ‘Aramaic-Demotic Equivalents: Who is the Borrower and Who is the Lender?’, in J.H. Johnson (ed.), Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond (Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1992) pp. 259–264 [259–260].

3

Porten, ‘Aramaic-Demotic Equivalents’, pp. 259–264.

4

B. Simonson and A. Botta, ‘Law in the Persian Period’, in P. Barmash (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

5

R. Ritner, ‘Third Intermediate Period Antecedents of Demotic Legal Terminology’, in K. Ryholt (ed.), Acts of the Seventh International Conference of Demotic Studies (CNI Publications, 27, Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute, 2002) pp. 343–359.

6

Traditional links to the cuneiform texts were tenuous at best, and Botta’s argument also illustrates how Aramaic functioned as a catalyst for the presence of Egyptian laws in Mesopotamia. A. Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine: An Egyptological Approach (LSTS, 64, New York: T&T Clark, 2009).

7

H.Z. Szubin and B. Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, BASOR 252 (1983), pp. 35–46.

8

Most of the beneficiaries of the hnṣl clause are women, of those most are the daughters of the bequeather in the contract. See section 3 below.

9

The three court documents that include the term hnṣl are TAD B8.2, TAD B8.4, and TAD B8.6.

10

The ten contracts that include hnṣl clauses are TAD B1.1 (a land lease), TAD B2.3 (a bequest of a house), TAD B2.4 (a grant of usufruct), TAD B3.3 (a document of wifehood), TAD B3.5 (a bequest of an apartment), TAD B3.7 (an estate usufruct), TAD B3.8 (a document of wifehood), TAD B3.11 (a dowry addendum), TAD B5.4 (a bequest of house), and TAD B6.4 (a document of wifehood).

11

H.Z. Szubin and B. Porten, ‘A Life Estate of Usufruct: A New Interpretation of Kraeling 6’, BASOR 269 (1988), pp. 29–34 (36).

12

TAD B1.1, and secondarily in TAD B2.4 where Jezaniah, the son-in-law, benefits in part.

13

T. Muraoka and B. Porten provide insight concerning which is perhaps the more formulaic verbal form, as the imperfect often occurs in Aramaic legalese, which indicates ‘a stipulation or agreement which is deemed binding and remaining in force in accordance with the terms of the agreement’. T. Muraoka and B. Porten, A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic (HdO, 32, Leiden: Brill, 2003) pp. 196–197.

14

B. Porten and A. Yardeni (eds.), Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt. II. Contracts (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1989) p. 60.

15

Tamet is an Egyptian name: W. Kornfeld, Onomastica Aramaica aus Ägypten (Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Sitzungberichte, Band 333, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1978) p. 96.

16

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 78.

17

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 80; compared to Tamet’s dowry valued at 7.19 shekels! Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 62.

18

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

19

Cowley suggests this is the same Jehohen as in TAD B3.1. A. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923) p. 54.

20

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 139; the date is suggested based on the relationship between these parties and those in Jehohen’s document of wifehood (TAD B3.1, which is dated 456 BCE). Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 54.

21

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

22

TAD B2.9, lines 5–8 contains a key example of hereditary claim to property at Elephantine. Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 40–43.

23

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 22.

24

That ‘go to law’ should be read ‘take legal action’ is Porten’s interpretation. Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 25.

25

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 26.

26

There are five instances of a form of lqḥ related to rightfully taking as part of a deal: one from Korobis (found at el-Hibah), TAD B1.1:9; and four from Elephantine, including TAD B2.4:11, TAD B2.9:6, TAD B3.1:9–17, and TAD B3.13:10.

27

Three instances of a form of lqḥ indicate taking a wife in a contract, both of which are from Elephantine: TAD B2.5:2, TAD B3.8:36, and TAD B6.4:1.

28

TAD B2.3:17 describes ‘taking out a lawsuit’ (= filing suit).

29

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 68–71.

30

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 74–77.

31

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 124–125; to date the text, Porten also notes similarities in scribal tendencies to Nathan b. Anani, the mid-century scribe of several other Elephantine documents. B. Porten, ‘Fragmentary Aramaic Deeds of Obligation and Conveyance: New Collations and Restorations’, JNES 48.3 (1989), pp. 161–183 (173).

32

Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, p. 153.

33

Additionally, the location of the hnṣl clause in both is followed by an investiture clause. Porten, ‘Fragmentary Deeds’, pp. 172–174.

34

Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 12.

35

The text was acquired in el-Hibah, but the location within the contract is Korobis. H.Z. Szubin and B. Porten, ‘An Aramaic Joint Venture Agreement: A New Interpretation of the Bauer-Meissner Papyrus’, BASOR 288 (Nov. 1992), pp. 67–84 [67].

36

Obligation (ḥwb) is quite familiar to the hnṣl clause, and it is usually required of the person issuing the contract. Defining pmṭn, on the other hand, is difficult, as it is a relatively unknown word. Porten and Szubin translate this word as ‘bond’, implying a monetary sum. Szubin and Porten, ‘An Aramaic Joint Venture Agreement’, p. 79.

37

Szubin and Porten argue that Aḥa and Ḥapio are both Egyptian names, but Kornfeld lists Aḥa as a Semitic name. Szubin and Porten, ‘An Aramaic Joint Venture Agreement’, p. 72; Kornfeld, Onomastica Aramaica aus Ägypten, pp. 40, 81. Regardless of the etymology of his name, Aḥa is the son of an Egyptian man Ḥapio and, according to this document, needs to lease the land of another person in order to farm.

38

Porten and Szubin suggest Padi son of Daganmelech could have been a Philistine (Szubin and Porten, ‘An Aramaic Joint Venture’, p. 72); Kornfeld, Onomastica Aramaica aus Ägypten, pp. 68, 58.

39

J.B. Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983) pp. 27–29, 62–64.

40

From the reconstructed text of Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 152–154.

41

Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah, pp. 45–47, 49–51, 83–84.

42

From the reconstructed text of Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 156–158; See also: B. Porten, ‘Egyptian Names in Aramaic Texts’, in K. Ryholt (ed.), Acts of the Seventh International Conference of Demotic Studies (CNI Publications, 27, Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute, 2002) pp. 283–328 [299].

43

Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah, pp. 25–26.

44

From the reconstructed text of Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 162–163.

45

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

46

Testamentary succession is the process whereby an elderly person transfers his or her property into the hands of his or her descendants, usually in return for end-of-life support. Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, pp. 35–36.

47

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

48

Porten emphasizes this point many times throughout his work, but especially in: Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

49

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

50

Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

51

Muffs establishes a connection between rḥmt/rḥmh and the Akkadian rēmūtu, ‘a free-will gift’. He writes, ‘A rḥmh/rēmūtu is a gift given brḥmn/ina narʾamāti i.e., in affection, willingly’. Y. Muffs, Studies in the Aramaic Legal Papyri from Elephantine (HdO, 66, Leiden: Brill, 2003) p. 43. The correct translation of the term yhbt lk brḥmn, Muffs notes, was accurately identified ‘as early as 1906 by Sayce-Cowley’, (Muffs, Studies in the Aramaic Legal Papyri from Elephantine, p. 40) but they were not found in the next edition produced by Cowley in 1923.

52

A. Dupont-Sommer, ‘L’ inscription araméenne’, in H. Metzger (ed.), Fouilles de Xanthos Institut français d’ archéologie. VI. La stèle trilingue du Létôon (Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1958) pp. 129–178 [136–137].

53

This interpretation of Dupont-Sommer’s text and translation by: J. Teixidor, ‘The Aramaic Text in the Trilingual Stele from Xanthus’, JNES 37.2 (1978), pp. 181–185 (184).

54

Muffs describes the cuneiform influence of Aramaic formulary legal code, as he writes: ‘the Aramaic formulary is the recipient of over two millennia of cuneiform legal experience; it is the culmination of many developments and inner-Assyriological trends, an amalgamation of various cuneiform traditions.’ Muffs, Studies in the Aramaic Legal Papyri from Elephantine, p. 14.

55

The reference to eṭērum can be found in the entry “nṣl,” in A. Botta’s forthcoming Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Legal Terms and Formulae, received by e-mail communication December 2010; M.T. Roth (ed.), The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. IV. E (Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1958) p. 401.

56

T. Fish, Letters of the First Babylonian Dynasty in the John Rylands Library (Manchester: The Manchester University Press, 1936) p. 9.

57

W. von Soden, Akkadisches Handwörterbuch (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1985) p. 755.

58

A. Falkenstein, ‘Inschriftenfunde Uruk-Warka 1960–1961’, Baghdader Mitteilungen 2 (1963), pp. 1–82 [69].

59

D. Redford, ‘The So-Called “Codification” of Egyptian Law under Darius I’, in J.W. Watts (ed.), Persia and Torah: The Theory of Imperial Authorization of the Pentateuch (SBLSymS, 17, Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001) pp. 135–159 [153].

60

Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine, p. 44.

61

The word ṯꜣy has a range of meaning that includes ‘nehmen’ and ‘wegnehmen, fortnehmen’, and ‘prendre, saisir, emporter’ and as ṯꜣy m ‘prendre à (quelqu’ un)’. R. Hannig, Ägyptisches Wörterbuch II: Mittleres Reich und Zweite Zwischenzeit, II (Hannig Lexica, 5, Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2006) p. 2716; D. Meeks, Année Lexicographique Egypte Ancienne, II (Paris: Cybele, 1978) p. 418.

62

An Elephantine oracle question, the Ptolemaic P Berlin 13584, uses ṯꜣy, ‘to take away’, where ḏwy, ‘to steal’, would be expected. B. Porten (ed.), Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (Leiden: Brill, 2nd ed., 2011) p. 338 n. 1. Also, for more on theft and robbery in Egypt, specifically related to P. Chicago 19422 but including a look at ṯꜣy as it relates to theft, see A. Botta, ‘Die Terminologie von Diebstahl und Raub in dem demotischen Brief an Thot (P. Chicago 19422) und ihre aramäischen Kognaten’, in S.L. Lippert and M.A. Stadler (eds.), Gehilfe des Thot. Festschrift für Karl-Theo Zauzich zu seinem 75. Geburtstag (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2014) pp. 7–11.

63

W. Erichsen, Eine demotische Schenkungsurkunde aus der Zeit der Darius (Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Abhandlungen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse, Mainz: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1962) p. 346.

64

Lüddeckens first identifies an error here: ‘Man erwartet hinter ntj ḥrj die genauere Angabe des Zweckes der Intervention eines Dritten (pꜣ ntjj r.r⸗k), nämlich r ṯꜣ.t⸗w mtw⸗k. Danach möchte man [Demotic ṯꜣy] lieber ṯꜣ-ṯ⸗w statt nḥḥ lesen.’ E. Lüddeckens, P. Wien D 10151, eine neue Urkunde zum ägyptischen Pfründenhandel in der Perserzeit (Philologisch-Historische Klasse, 5, Göttingen: Nachrichten von der Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1965) p. 108 n. 43. Cary Martin also suggests a correction: ‘I believe that the hnʿ “together with”, after nty ḥry is a scribal error. The following signs must be read ṯꜣy-ṯ⸗w, “to take them away”, and mtw⸗k, “from you”, should be restored in the lacuna.’ Porten, Elephantine Papyri in English, p. 352 n. 17.

65

Lüddeckens, P. Wien D 10151, pp. 108–109.

66

Porten, Elephantine Papyri in English, p. 351.

67

Porten, ‘Aramaic-Demotic Equivalents’, p. 264.

  • 3

    Porten, ‘Aramaic-Demotic Equivalents’, pp. 259–264.

  • 15

    Tamet is an Egyptian name: W. Kornfeld, Onomastica Aramaica aus Ägypten (Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Sitzungberichte, Band 333, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1978) p. 96.

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  • 16

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 78.

  • 17

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 80; compared to Tamet’s dowry valued at 7.19 shekels! Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 62.

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  • 18

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 20

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 139; the date is suggested based on the relationship between these parties and those in Jehohen’s document of wifehood (TADB3.1, which is dated 456 BCE). Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 54.

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  • 21

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 23

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 22.

  • 25

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 26.

  • 29

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 68–71.

  • 30

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 74–77.

  • 31

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, pp. 124–125; to date the text, Porten also notes similarities in scribal tendencies to Nathan b. Anani, the mid-century scribe of several other Elephantine documents. B. Porten, ‘Fragmentary Aramaic Deeds of Obligation and Conveyance: New Collations and Restorations’, JNES 48.3 (1989), pp. 161–183 (173).

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  • 32

    Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, p. 153.

  • 34

    Porten and Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic Documents, p. 12.

  • 39

    J.B. Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983) pp. 27–29, 62–64.

  • 41

    Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah, pp. 45–47, 49–51, 83–84.

  • 43

    Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqarah, pp. 25–26.

  • 45

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 47

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 49

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 50

    Szubin and Porten, ‘Testamentary Succession at Elephantine’, p. 36.

  • 56

    T. Fish, Letters of the First Babylonian Dynasty in the John Rylands Library (Manchester: The Manchester University Press, 1936) p. 9.

  • 57

    W. von Soden, Akkadisches Handwörterbuch (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1985) p. 755.

  • 58

    A. Falkenstein, ‘Inschriftenfunde Uruk-Warka 1960–1961’, Baghdader Mitteilungen 2 (1963), pp. 1–82 [69].

  • 60

    Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine, p. 44.

  • 63

    W. Erichsen, Eine demotische Schenkungsurkunde aus der Zeit der Darius (Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Abhandlungen der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse, Mainz: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1962) p. 346.

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  • 66

    Porten, Elephantine Papyri in English, p. 351.

  • 67

    Porten, ‘Aramaic-Demotic Equivalents’, p. 264.

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