Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An Interesting Old Babylonian Marriage Contract

There is one marriage contract that is a bit unusual in that the groom apparently marries two women simultaneously. One of the women is the “junior” wife as can be seen from the translation:

“Warad-Shamash takes Taram-Sagil and Iltani, daughter of Sin-Abishu as wife and husband. If Taram-Sagil and Iltani say to Warad-Shamash ‘You are not my husband’, they shall be thrown down[1] from a tower; and if Warad-Shamash says to Tamam-Sagil and Iltani, his wives, ‘You are not my wife’, he shall forfeit the house.

Iltani shall wash the feet of Taram-Sagil. She shall carry her chair to the temple of her god. Iltani will hate whoever hates Taram-Sagil…..”

(Translated by myself from a transcription in: Huehnergard, John. "A Grammar of Akkadian", Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2000; pp. 216 - 217).

[1] The word is “innaddunishshinati” which is the “D” stem of nadum (“to throw down”) combined with the third person plural accusative pronoun “shinati”)

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