Babylonian and Assyrian Laws Contracts and Letters by C. H. T. JOHNS


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In many instances we actually possess duplicates,. sometimes three copies of the same deed. These documents are exceedingly varied in contents. The most common are deeds relating to the sale or lease of houses, fields, buildings, gardens, and the like; the sale or hire of slaves and laborers; loans of money, corn, dates, SCOPE OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS 13 wool, and the like; partnerships formed or dissolved; adoption, marriage, inheritance, or divorce. But almost any alienation, exchange, or deposit of property was made the subject of a deed.

If a man has accused another of laying a kiJpu (spell) upon ~ him, but has not proved it, the accused shall go to the sacred river, he shall plunge into the sacred river, and if the sacred river shall conquer him, he that accused him shall take possession of his house. Z. ':If the sacred river shall show his innocence and he is saved, his accuser shall be put to death. He that plunged into the sacred river shall appropriate the house of him that accused him. False wit§ 3. lished the statement that he has made, if that case be a capital trial, that man shall be put to death.

IV. 1. 22, gives the seven following laws: I. If a son has said to his father, "You are not my father," he may brand him, lay fetters upon him, and sell him. Repudiatlon of father by BOU It may be doubted whether this applies to any but adopted sons. "You shall not be my father" is a possible rendering. But the phrase may only refer to rebellious conduct. " The-cutting short of the hair was a mark of degradation. The Semitic Babylonians wore their hair long, while slaves,and perhaps also Sumerians as a race, are represented as hairless.

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