BM 023145: letter from king Hammurabi of Babylon to Sin-iddinam

BM 023145: letter from king Hammurabi of Babylon to Sin-iddinam (Old Babylonian period, c.1760 BC). Photograph by Karen Radner; reproduced with permission of the British Museum. View large image.

This is a letter from the administrative correspondence of king Hammurabi PGP  of Babylon PGP , who regularly sent written instructions to the officials serving him in different parts of the kingdom. This missive was addressed to his governor in the Larsa PGP  region in southern Babylonia, Sin-iddinam, and orders him to arrange for a cargo boat to ship a certain grain consignment upstream to Babylon.

Like letters from other regions and periods (such as BM 115132), this inner tablet of the letter would originally have been enclosed in an envelope. This was a thin layer of clay bearing the impression of Hammurabi's seal, his name and that of the recipient Sin-iddinam, who would have broken the envelope in order to read his king's orders. The tablet is of the oblong shape typical for Mesopotamian official letters, with the writing parallel to the short side. It is of a standard size and was not created in order to fit the requirements of this specific message. Note how there are only a few lines inscribed on the reverse of the tablet, with the rest simply left blank. The tablet has the line rulings typical for Old Babylonian and also Old Assyrian writing, with the signs "hanging" like laundry on a washing line.

View the record for this tablet on the British Museum's research database [].

A transliteration and German translation of the text can be found in Frankena, AbB 2 (1966), no. 37.

Content last modified on 10 Jan 2017.

Karen Radner

Karen Radner, 'BM 023145: letter from king Hammurabi of Babylon to Sin-iddinam', Knowledge and Power, Higher Education Academy, 2017 []

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