Inheritance Feuds in the Ur-Pabilsaĝa Archive from Old Babylonian Nippur

  • Susandra Jacoba van Wyk North-West University
Keywords: Old Babylonia, Nippur, Ur-Pabilsag Archive, Old Babylonian legal recordings or texts or cuneiform records, Old Babylonian division of inheritance, Old Babylonian family


The study of an inheritance division is usually limited by its isolated recording, which leads to an incomplete interpretation of the division’s influence on the status and/or financial position of the family members involved. Inheritance divisions found in the so-called Ur-PabilsaÄa Archive from Old Babylonian Nippur not only enable inclusive interpretations of the divisions’ influence on the status and/or financial position of the family members involved but also reveal their social and financial networking with two other families. The influence of Nippur’s interrelated social institutions restricted the family members in securing beneficial allocations of their inheritances due to conflicting needs and the consequences of economic disparity. Consequently, family feuds developed. The circumstances and events described in the recordings undermined the advantages that could have been gained from the social and financial networking between the interconnected families.

Author Biography

Susandra Jacoba van Wyk, North-West University

Post-doctoral fellow

Faculty of Humanities, School of Basic Sciences