|Size:||43 centimeters long|
5 centimeters wide
|Length:||22 lines of writing|
+ inscription on seal
|Genre:||Manumission & Marriage Contract|
|Approximate Date:||14th cent. BCE?|
|Place of Discovery:||Ugarit acropolis,|
Ras Shamra, Syria
|Date of Discovery:||1936|
|Archaeological Director:||Claude Schaeffer|
|Current Location:||National Museum of Aleppo|
|Excavation number:||RS 8.208|
(adapted from Thureau-Dangin 1937:253-54)
(Adapted from Finkelstein 1969:546)
|iŠ-tu úmi an-ni-i||On this day|
|a-na pa-ni awîle Ši-bu-ti||before witnesses|
|IGil-be-en râbis bît fŠarra-ti||Gilben, supervisor of the queen's palace,|
|amta-Šu i-na fBîtete-a||his slave, from the women of his harem;|
|ù AŠ ta-ba-ak||and by pouring|
|Šamna a-na qaqqadi-Ša||oil on her head|
|ù ú-za-ak-ki-Ša||he has set her free.|
|ki-i-me-e e-li-Ši za-ku-ti||"Just as I am separated from her,|
|ki-i za-ki-at e-li-ia||she is separated from me|
|a-na da-ri-it-ti||in perpetuity."|
|Ša-ni-tam IBu-ri-ai-nuawil na-mu-ú||Furthermore, Burianu, the laborer,|
|i-hu-uz-Ša a-na aŠŠati-Šu||has taken her for his wife.|
|ù it-ta-Ši 20 kaspa||And 20 [pieces of] silver|
|IBu-ri-ia-nuawil mu-ut-Ša||Burianu, her husband,|
|ù it-ta-din-Šu||has placed|
|a-na qàtépl IGil-be-en||into the hands of Gilben.|
|pân IdSin-da-lu||Witness: Sindalu|
|pân ITub-bi-ia-nu||Witness: Tubianu|
|pân IZa-lu-wa-nu||Witness: Zaluwanu|
|pân IŠu-ub-am-mu||Witness: Shubamu|
|abankunuk IGil-be-en||Seal of Gilben|
|ur-ra Še-ra IBu-ri-ia-nu||If tommorrow or the next day Burianu|
|la i-qar-ri-ib a-na fE-li-ia-wa||does not approach Eliawa . . .|
1. Compare and contrast this slave release contract with the Israelite regulations concerning slave release in Exodus 21:1-11, Leviticus 25:39-46, and Deuteronomy 15:12-18. (See Dandamayev
2. Compare and contrast how slavery functioned in ancient Babylon, Israel, Ugarit, Greece, Rome, and the U.S.
3. What would motivate a slave-owner in the ancient world to release a slave? (See Bartchy 1973:88-91)
4. Why were ritual actions and ritual declarations necessary? Why were these carried out before witnesses?
5. What is the difference between dowry, indirect dowry, and bridewealth? What are the functions of bridewealth in traditional societies? (See Hanson 1989:13-15).
6. The document leaves unstated the consequences of Burianu refusing to consummate the marriage to Eliyawa. What would the consequences likely have been?
7. What conclusions might one draw from the fact that Burianu paid Gilben in silver rather than with livestock, pottery, or the like?
Dandamayev, Muhammed A. "Slavery (ANE)." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 6:58-62. New York: Doubleday, 1992.|
Dandamayev, Muhammed A. "Slavery (OT)." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 6:62-65. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Finkelstein, J. J. "Documents from the Practice of Law." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard, 542-47. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969.
Goody, Jack. "Bridewealth and Dowry in Africa and Eurasia." In Bridewealth and Dowry, edited by Jack Goody and S. J. Tambiah. Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
Goody, Jack. The Oriental, the Ancient, and the Primitive: Systems of Marriage and the Family in the Pre-Industrial Societies of Eurasia. Studies in Literacy, Family, Culture, and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Grosz, Katarzyna. "Dowry and Brideprice in Nuzi." In Studies on the Civilization and Culture of Nuzi and the Hurrians, edited by M. A. Morrison and D. I. Owen, 161-82. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1981.
Hanson, K. C. "Slavery (ANE & OT)." In International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 4:539-42. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.
Hanson, K. C. "The Herodians and Mediterranean Kinship. Part III: Economics." Biblical Theology Bulletin 19 (1989) 10-21.
Hanson, K. C. "BTB Reader's Guide: Kinship." Biblical Theology Bulletin 24 (1994) 183-94.
Harrell, Stevan, and Sara A. Dickey. "Dowry Systems in Complex Societies." Ethnology 24 (1985) 105-20.
Schlegel, Alice, and Rohn Eloul. "Marriage Transactions: Labor, Property, Status." American Anthropologist 90 (1988) 291-309.
Thureau-Dangin, F. "Trois Contrats de Ras-Shamra." Syria 18 (1937) 245-55 [esp. 248, 253-55].