Slavery in Babylonia
From Nabopolassar to Alexander the Great (626–331 BC)
Muhammad A. Dandamaev
Translated by Victoria A. Powell
Edited by Marvin A. Powell and David B. Weisberg
When Rabstvo v vavilonii was first published in the Soviet Union in 1974, it was immediately acclaimed as the definitive scholarly treatment of slavery in the Ancient Orient. Remarkable in its depth and breadth, this book, based directly on the originial cuneiform sources, provided not only an authoritative analysis of the economics of slavery but also a unique picture of Neo-Babylonian society as a whole. An original work of scholarship and synthesis, the book was recognized as an invaluable contribution to the social and economic history of Mesopotamia in the first millennium B.C.
The monumental nature of Dandamaev's work is evident from the fact that he utilized approximately 10,000 documents. Furthermore, Dandamaev's analysis was considered to be pioneering in its assessment of the economic and social conditions relating to slavery in the ancient world. Reviewers of the Russian edition regarded it as constituting a fundamental breakthrough in the understanding of society during this vital era of human history.
The translation of this important volume began in 1975, with Muhammad Dandamaev working in cooperation with the translator and the editors to produce an accurate and current English edition. The author sifted through thousands of additional documents published since the appearance of the Russian edition and incorporated new information into the text. Many small changes were made to bring the study up to date, including the addition of about 4,000 new citations in the invaluable bibliography of documents.
Broadly based on modern and ancient literature, Slavery in Babylonia is a major contribution to the economic and social history of the ancient world. It will also serve as a sourcebook for scholars in various disciplines, in part because it includes translations of almost 200 cuneiform documents relating to the problem of slavery. The era it deals with was one of exceptional creative activity: the time of the collapse of the Assyrian Empire and the expansion of the vast Persian Empire, of which Babylonia was a central province, from the Aegean Sea to the Indus Valley, from Aswan in Africa to Soviet Turkestan.
(2009) 862 pp.
Table of Contents
A Brief Survey of the Sources
The Most Important Contributions to the Problem
A Sketch of the Political and Socio-Economic History of Babylonia in the Seventh to the Fourth Century B C
I. Slavery in Private Households
II. Temple Slavery
III. Royal Slaves
IV. Dependent Social Groups
Appendix: Selected Texts in Transcription
Bibliography of Works Cited
Index of Documents Translated
Index of Ancient Sources Cited
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