The Sacrificial Economy
Assessors, Contractors, and Thieves in the Management of Sacrificial Sheep at the Eanna Temple of Uruk (ca. 625520 B.C.)
By (author) Michael Kozuh
Publication date:21 October 2014
Length of book:336 pages
In the mid-first millennium B.C., the Eanna temple at Uruk sacrificed a minimum of nine lambs every day in its basic routine of offerings to its gods; in addition to these, special occasions and festivals demanded the sacrifice of as many as 90 lambs in a single day. All told, the Eanna sacrificed about 4,300 lambs per year. There were more than 120 herdsmen connected to the Eanna at any given time, and the temple expected there to be tens of thousands of sheep and goats under their responsibility. These herdsmen delivered male lambs to the Eanna for sacrifice, and the temple had an internal infrastructure for the care, maintenance, and ritual expenditure of these lambs; they also delivered wool, which the Eanna sold mostly in bulk quantities. This book aims to analyze the economic organization of this entire system of sheep and goat maintenance and utilization, to explore the economic and social relationships between the Eanna and its herdsmen, and to integrate the study of the Eanna’s animal economy into the developing picture of the Neo-Babylonian temple economy as a whole. Kozuh’s careful examination of the bookkeeping records, the management records, and legal documents connected with this substantial enterprise sheds new light on an arcane area of first-millennium Mesopotamian life that will be sure to enlighten our understanding of the daily life, economy, and social structure of this region.
—Martina Schmidl, Journal of the American Oriental Society