Text Types and Archival Practices in the Kingdom of Larsa

Part of the Why the Sciences of the Ancient World Matter book series (WSAWM, volume 4)


This project is in essence a study of numbers found in economic texts from Larsa, so it is important to examine the texts themselves and the mechanisms that define them. This chapter describes the texts, making an initial distinction between tabular and prosaic documents. Further distinction occurs between single transactions, lists and balanced accounts, as well as archival differences between personal archives, bureau archives and merchant archives. These texts are each parts of record-keeping apparatuses, so that single transactions would have been compiled into lists which would in turn be compiled into balanced accounts. Also, an individual may have acted in multiple capacities: one record might reflect practices employed to manage his own estate, another might conform to record-keeping practices within a bureau, while a further text would conform to practices common among merchants who procured silver on behalf of a palace or a temple authority. This chapter is supplemented by Appendix 1 where the economic texts themselves are presented.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berlin Center for the History of KnowledgeMax Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

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