- Museum number
Limestone boundary-stone (kudurru) from the time of Nabu-mukin-apli: consisting of a block of limestone, which has been roughly faced and rubbed down to take inscriptions, or sculptures in low relief, upon all four sides and on the top. The larger part of one side of the stone is carved with symbols, arranged in four registers, and portions of two other sides are devoted to a scene probably representing Nabu-mukin-apli sanctioning the original deed of gift. The symbols represented are as follows: Face C : First register, (1) Solar disc, (2) Eight-pointed star, (3) Crescent, (4) Horned headdress upon a shrine, (5) Horned headdress upon a shrine, (6) Turtle upon a shrine, (7) Twin spiral, upon a shrine ; Second register, (8) Spear-head upon a shrine, beside a horned dragon, (9) Wedge upon a shrine beside a horned dragon; Third register, (10) The goddess Gula seated upon a shrine, with a dog beside her, (11) Lamp, (12) Bird upon a perch, (13) Arrow; Fourth register, (14) Lion-headed mace, (15) Eagle-headed mace, (16) Lightning-fork, (17) Walking bird, (18) Scorpion; and, on the right of the four registers, (19) Serpent. The text contains a title-deed of an estate in the district of the city of Sha-mamitu, which had formerly been the property of Arad-Sibitti and his family, but passed through marriage to the family of Burusha, the jewel-worker. For several years previously there had been friction between the two families, and the deed of gift was afterwards repudiated. The text traces the history of the feud between the families from the beginning, and, after citing the legal evidence for the transfer of the estate to Burusha's family, it enumerates the payments by which Burusha succeeded in freeing the land from rival claims and in securing the confirmation of the original deed of gift.
- Production date
Height: 50 centimetres
Weight: 48.50 kilograms
Width: 20 centimetres
Width: 26 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The text can be split into sections as follows:
I. Introductory section, engraved on the top of the stele, setting out the origin of
the feud between the families of Arad-Sibitti and Burusha. This portion of the text summarizes a deed, dated in the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur recording the compensation obtained at law by Burusha from Arad-Sibitti, the son of Atrattash, for having slain a female slave, the property of Burusha. The king ordered Arad-Sibitti to hand over seven slaves to Burusha in place of the one he had slain, and Burusha succeeded in obtaining the slaves in spite of Arad-Sibitti's unwillingness to compensate him (11. 1-25).2
II. Some twelve years later, in the fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli, a reconciliation
between the families apparently took place. Arad-Sibitti married his daughter to Burusha's son, and gave an estate of three gur of corn-land as part of her dowry. This is the estate to which the kudurru as a whole refers. The text of this section falls into the following sub-divisions :
(i) Recital of a deed, recording the gift of three gur of arable land in the district of the city of Sha-mamitu, on the bank of the Nish-gati-l[u]-d[ari] Canal, by Arad-Sibitti, the son of Atrattash, to his daughter Sag-mudammik-sharbe, the wife of Shamash-nadin-shumi, the son of Burusha, as part of her dowry, in the fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli. Associated with Arad-Sibitti in the deed of gift were Kashshaa, his eldest son, and his six brothers, named Larak-zer-ibni, Kashshu-nadin-akhe, Ninib-aplu-iddina, Ekallaa, Uzibia, and Zer-ibni.
(ii) Confirmation of the original deed of gift by Mar-biti-shum-ibni, the second son of Arad-Sibitti, in the twenty-fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli. Associated with him were Akhe-shullim, the third son of Arad-Sibitti,1 and four other of Arad-Sibitti's sons, Shamardi, Nabuti, Illataa and Ishnuku, none of whom were parties to the original deed. This deed of confirmation was executed by Mar-biti-shum-ibni towards the end of his life, some three years after the paying off of the loan recorded in Col. IVa and b; but it is here tacked on to the original deed of gift, which it confirms.
(iii) Curses on anyone who should throw doubt upon the original deed of gift, or upon its confirmation.
III. Statement of accounts between the families of Burusha and Arad-Sibitti with reference to the estate, setting out the payments by which Burusha extinguished rival claims to the property. The principal claim was put forward by Arad-Sibitti, or his family, who appear to have repudiated the original deed of gift. The accounts relating to this claim cover the whole period from the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur to the twenty-fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli ; and since Mar-biti-shum-ibni's confirmation of the original deed of gift is dated in the latter year, it probably took place immediately after Burusha had finally settled the claim of Bit-Atrattash. The settlement of the additional claim brought by a certain Zer-ukin, in satisfaction of a loan by his father to Arad-Sibitti, was recorded slightly out of chronological order, partly to separate it from the other accounts, and also that the main text should conclude with a legally attested document.
(i) First Account: Record of the receipt by Burusha from Arad-Sibitti of forty-seven 'gur' of corn, valued at ninety-four shekels, apparently representing the yield of the estate, or a proportion of it, from the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur (the year of the slave-compensation suit) to the fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli (the year the estate passed by marriage to Burusha's family). The close of the passage is wanting, but we may assume that Burusha received this payment in return for taking over responsibility for claims on the estate during the period specified ; in other words he agreed that his acquisition of the estate should be regarded as dating from the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur. The missing portion of the text, from l. 39 to about l. 42, no doubt continued and explained this portion of the account. It possibly contained a reference to Arad-Sibitti's sister, and may have recorded further receipt by Burusha; it probably did not record a payment to be reckoned to his credit.
(ii) Second Account: (a) An account concerning twelve asses, apparently supplied by, or in connection with, the estate during the period from the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur until the twenty-fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli. The majority of these asses were handed over to the ri'u sisi, or " Keeper of the Horses," evidently a state official. It will be noted that the number of asses supplied up to the fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli, when the estate actually passed to Burusha's family, is given on Arad-Sibitti's authority. The fact that the last two asses mentioned in the list were requisitioned by the two eldest sons of Arad-Sibitti, suggests that the total value of the asses, put at three hundred and sixty skekels, was reckoned to the credit of Burusha in computing the price he eventually paid for the estate. (b) Record of the payment of one hundred shekels, due to the Keeper of the Horses during the same period, from the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur to the twenty-fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli. This also was evidently reckoned to the credit of Burusha.
(iii) Third Account: Record of a series of payments in kind, by means of which Burusha made up the sum he eventually paid to the family of Arad-Sibitti for the estate; each item in the list is separately valued in shekels of silver.
(iv) Repayment of Loan : (a) Record of an action brought by Zer-ukin, the son of Karziabku, against Mar-biti-shum-ibni, to recover a loan made by his father to Arad-Sibitti. A compromise suggested by Nabu-mukin-apli satisfied Zer-ukin, but Mar-biti-shum-ibni refused to complete his payment of the sum suggested under the compromise, and called upon Burusha to repay the loan. There is no evidence that the loan had been given on the security of the estate, and we may therefore assume that Mar-biti-shum-ibni forced Burusha to repay the loan, and to pay an additional sum to himself and his brothers, by threatening to reclaim the estate. (b) Repayment of the loan by Burusha, by a series of payments in kind, the separate items in the list being valued in shekels of silver, the total coming to two hundred and forty shekels.
(v) Summary of the payments made by Burusha and his son, Shamash-nadin-shumi, to retain possession of the estate. The sum of six hundred and forty-seven shekels of silver, which, in addition to the repayment of the loan, Burusha is recorded to have paid to Arad-Sibitti and his three eldest sons, probably represents the sum arrived at as a result of all the preceding accounts.
(vi) Penalty against anyone denying either Burusha's acquisition of the estate by purchase, or his repayment of the loan.
(vii) List of witnesses and date. It will be noted that the date is in the twenty-second year of Nabu-mukin-apli, and, since the accounts are continued down to his twenty-fifth year, we may probably take the witnesses and date in this section to refer to the repayment of the loan only.
IV. A curse upon anyone who should make away with, destroy, or hide the stone.
Compare with 1882,0522.1798 (BM.90829).
Moulded and cast; cast priced at £ 1 and 4 shillings by D. Brucciani (1910) and catalogued as "boundary-stone dated in the reign of Nabu-Ukin-Apli and Ninib-Kudur-Usur, Kings of Babylon". The cast is listed as available in the British Museum Facsimile Service 'Catalogue of Replicas from British Museum collections' (n.d.), in the series "Boundary Stones and Memorial Tablets".
The whole of the text and symbols were carved at one time, in or after the twenty-fifth year of Nabu-mukin-apli'; the text contains decisions and records referring to earlier years, beginning with the second year of Ninib-kudurri-usur, but these were incorporated (1) to demonstrate the relations between the families who successively owned the estate, (2) to prove the holders' title, or (3) to explain the payments eventually made by them to retain possession.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013 - 2014 22 June - 6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
2013: 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2012: 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number