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Marriage and Ritual Performance among the Servants of the Babylonian Gods
April 18, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Talk by Bastian Still, Leiden University
With more than 50,000 legal-administrative cuneiform tablets, the so-called Neo-
Babylonian Period (c. 625-484 BCE) is one of the best-documented periods in the
history of Mesopotamia, the region between Tigris and Euphrates. Unfortunately,
this invaluable and very rich material rarely finds use in wider social-historical
discourses, as cuneiform specialists still engage predominantly in conventional
investigations of philological, juridical and economic nature. Attempts to further the
field of Assyriology by providing much needed social perspectives are still strikingly
missing with the result that the complex fabric of this ancient society as a whole
remains a poorly understood subject of research – this is particularly obvious in the
study of Babylonian marriage.
This talk presents a novel approach to marriage in Babylonian society of the
mid-first millennium BCE, based on a combination of social network analysis,
sociological theory and anthropological studies. Focusing on priests in the city of Borsippa,
the talk reveals how marriage practices helped shape not only the social order of the community but also the daily cult activities of the temple of Borsippa.