BM 092618: contract for dissolving a trading partnership, from Sippar

BM 092618: contract for dissolving a trading partnership, from Sippar, reign of Hammurabi (Old Babylonian period, c.1760 BC). Photograph by Karen Radner; reproduced with permission of the British Museum. View large image.

This is the inner tablet of a contract which records the dissolution of a trading partnership between Erib-Sin and Nur-Šamaš. Originally, it would have been enclosed in a clay envelope repeating the text of the contract and bearing the seal impressions of the parties and selected witnesses, but this is lost today.

Both men would have had a copy of the contract. This tablet is probably Erib-Sin's version, as the British Museum also houses many other tablets from his archive. The contents of Nur-Šamaš's archive presumably still rest in the soil of Sippar PGP . Their partnership was dissolved in the sun-god Šamaš PGP 's temple in Sippar (see also BM 082512 and BM 063926) by splitting all assets and debts, 'from straw to gold', equally between the former business associates. The matter was confirmed and secured by an oath invoking the gods Šamaš, his consort Aya PGP , and Marduk PGP , the head of the Babylonian pantheon, as well as king Hammurabi PGP . Look out for his name, in the spelling 𒄩 𒄠 𒈪 𒊏 𒁉 ha-am-mi-ra-bi, in the first line of the reverse after the initial sign 𒅇 u3.

Note also the indented line on the reverse side of the tablet, which unlike the preceding and subsequent lines does not start with the sign 𒅆 IGI (for 'witness') but with the signs𒌉 𒈨𒌍 DUMU.MEŠ. (Make sure that you have the cunieform font switched to OB.) This line reads 'sons of Milki-itti-iliya' and refers to the previous two witnesses.

To see a scale drawing of the text, 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 Schorr, Urkunden (1913), no. 172 (= CT 2, 28).

Content last modified on 10 Jan 2017.

Karen Radner

Karen Radner, 'BM 092618: contract for dissolving a trading partnership, from Sippar', Knowledge and Power, Higher Education Academy, 2017 []

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