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Wszystko jest folklorystyką, Helena Kapełuś
Wszystko jest folklorystyką, Helena Kapełuś

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The Rental of Houses in the Neo-Babylonian Period (VI-V centuries BC), Stefan Zawadzki

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Houses in ancient Mesopotamia were, as in our times, the subject of various transactions as evidenced by a large number of documents applying to the sale and purchase of houses, antichretic contracts, rental of houses, and receipts confirming payment of rent for the house and novation. Without doubt, just as today, one of the important sources of income was widespread rental of houses in the large cities, which, except in periods of crisis, gave a fairly stable income. (Renting of houses in the countryside was in Mesopotamia rare, because clay – main building material – was commonly available and building a small house was cheap and easy). This observation is supported by the fact that in the extant documents no known example refers to a legal dispute about unpaid rent, although cases of novation are known. Despite the importance of the rental of private houses the question has never been the subject of a comprehensive study. Only occasionally has it been discussed by editors of documents, in a synthesis, or in a chapter (or part of it) on family archives.





  1. Introduction

2. Rental of private houses

2.1.Contracts and receipts

2.1.1 Praenumerando and postnumerando rent payment

2.2 Contracts

2.2.1 The object of the contract

2.2.2 Location of the houses

2.2.3 The owner and tenant Families of owners of rented houses in Babylon Families of tenants of houses in Babylon Families of owners of rented houses in Borsippa The families of tenants of houses in Borsippa The family of tenants of houses in Sippar

2.2.4 The period rental and rental fee

2.2.5 The deadline for rent payment and means of payment

2.2.6 Praenumerando payment of house rent in the contracts

2.2.7 Day of writing the contract and day when the tenant moved into the house

2.2.8 Means of payment and frequency of payment

2.2.9 Monthly or daily payment and personal situation of the house owner

2.2.10 Impact of political (economic) crisis on means of payment and frequency of payment of house rent

2.3 Obligations of the house tenant

2.3.1 batqa ša asurrî ṣabātu

2.3.2 ūra šanû and ṭīda šakānu

2.3.3 gušūrē ina libbi ṣabātu

2.3.4 sīra nasqa šakānu

2.3.5 The payment of nūptu/šugarrû

2.3.6 Payment of penalty by contravener (nabalkattānu)

2.3.7 The day, when the tenant will move into a house

  1. Rental of temple houses

3.1 Typology of texts

3.2 The lease of the temple houses to private persons

3.3 The house rent of the temple servants

3.4 The frequency of rent payment

3.5 Delays in payment of rent

3.6 The house rent collectors Uššāya Šamaš-iqīša


3.6.2 Nabû-šum-iddin/Šamaš-aplu-uṣur//Ile’i-Marduk

3.6.3 Nādin

3.6.4 Bēl-ušallim/Šamaš-ibni

3.6.5 Šamaš-mudammiq/Šūzubu//Šangû-Sippar

3.6.6 Ina-ṣilli-Nergal

3.6.7 Iqīša-Marduk/Etel-pī-Šamaš//Šangû-Sippar

3.6.8 Lūṣi-ana-nūri

  1. The temple houses, their location and quality

4.1 Location of the Sun god houses

4.2 Condition of houses

4.3 The tenants of the houses of the Sun god

4.4 Living conditions of the temple tenants

4.5 The question of sublease

4.6 Economic importance of house rental for the Ebabbar temple

4.7 Way of use silver obtained from rental of houses

  1. Summary
  2. Text editions

6.1 Contracts between individual persons and the Ebabbar temple

6.2 The contract between the temple authority and Lūṣi-ana-nūri  appointing him ša muhhi bītāti

6.3 Settlement of account of made by the rent collector

6.4 The House Rent Payment Lists

6.5 Redistribution of silver from the rental of houses

6.6 Texts not edited

6.7 Contracts between private people

  1. Indexes

7.1 Index of Personal Names

7.2 FamilyNames

7.3 Geographical Names

7.4 Index of Titles, Professions and Social Groups

7.5 Selected Akkadian Words

7.6 Index of Texts


Warsaw, Agade Publishing House, 2018, 343 p., ISBN 978-83-87111-75-5, cloth

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