ziqiqum
ziqiqum:

I don’t post much about my personal life here, but the fact of the matter is that I’m getting married in October. I furnish that information not as a ploy to solicit felicitations, but as context for the main thrust of this post, namely that I’ve set out to draft an marriage contract in the Old Babylonian style.
While the operative terms and conditions of these contracts vary, there are a number of legal forms that regularly recur throughout the genre. Technical clauses I would like to use include the introductory [husband name] [wife name] ana mutūtim u aššūtim īḫuz1, along with a statement of our satisfaction with the agreement2, and the idiom that sets out remedies in the event of a default of either party3.
On the other hand, I’m probably going to avoid a number of traditional expressions, primarily because they’re inapplicable to a modern setting. These include any reference to a dowry or a bride-price, or the husband taking ownership of the wife’s property.
I have, however, always liked the flavor of the list of property found in PBS 8/2, no. 252 (shown above), even if it is otherwise unusual. Translating this tablet for the first time brought me to the realization that Old Babylonian “marriage contracts” are more analogous to modern prenuptial agreements — with their statement of property and suggestions in the event of default — than any kind of legal solemnization of the marriage.
In any case, at this point I’ve entered the research phase, reviewing VAS VIII, 4 and 5, CT VI, 37, and PBS 8/2, no. 252 among others.
Once I’ve set down the phrasings I want, the next issue I’m going to run into is one of names. Transliterating our modern names into cuneiform doesn’t exactly feel authentic to me, but nor does coming up with Akkadian-named proxy identities.
— —
“[husband] took [wife] as husband and wife.”↩
Something along the lines of libbašunu țābū, “their hearts are satisfied.”↩
Often beginning, [husband name] ana [wife name] ašštīšu ul aššatī atti iqabbī-ma…, “Should [husband] say to [wife] his wife, “You are not my wife…” and followed by some kind of remedy, anything from the payment of a fine or return of the dowry/bride-price to the offending spouse being “thrown from a tower.”↩


Great idea. Congratulations.

ziqiqum:

I don’t post much about my personal life here, but the fact of the matter is that I’m getting married in October. I furnish that information not as a ploy to solicit felicitations, but as context for the main thrust of this post, namely that I’ve set out to draft an marriage contract in the Old Babylonian style.

While the operative terms and conditions of these contracts vary, there are a number of legal forms that regularly recur throughout the genre. Technical clauses I would like to use include the introductory [husband name] [wife name] ana mutūtim u aššūtim īḫuz1, along with a statement of our satisfaction with the agreement2, and the idiom that sets out remedies in the event of a default of either party3.

On the other hand, I’m probably going to avoid a number of traditional expressions, primarily because they’re inapplicable to a modern setting. These include any reference to a dowry or a bride-price, or the husband taking ownership of the wife’s property.

I have, however, always liked the flavor of the list of property found in PBS 8/2, no. 252 (shown above), even if it is otherwise unusual. Translating this tablet for the first time brought me to the realization that Old Babylonian “marriage contracts” are more analogous to modern prenuptial agreements — with their statement of property and suggestions in the event of default — than any kind of legal solemnization of the marriage.

In any case, at this point I’ve entered the research phase, reviewing VAS VIII, 4 and 5, CT VI, 37, and PBS 8/2, no. 252 among others.

Once I’ve set down the phrasings I want, the next issue I’m going to run into is one of names. Transliterating our modern names into cuneiform doesn’t exactly feel authentic to me, but nor does coming up with Akkadian-named proxy identities.

— —

  1. [husband] took [wife] as husband and wife.”
  2. Something along the lines of libbašunu țābū, “their hearts are satisfied.”
  3. Often beginning, [husband name] ana [wife name] ašštīšu ul aššatī atti iqabbī-ma…, “Should [husband] say to [wife] his wife, “You are not my wife…” and followed by some kind of remedy, anything from the payment of a fine or return of the dowry/bride-price to the offending spouse being “thrown from a tower.”

Great idea. Congratulations.