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Document Details :
Title: Eighth Century Nippur
Author(s): VAN DRIEL, G.
Journal: Bibliotheca Orientalis
Volume: 55 Issue: 3-4 Date: mei - augustus 1998
These two widely contrasting books by a single author deal with related subjects. One is a slim, extremely readable and suggestive study about a town with a special status and a special task in the last phase of the Assyrian empire, the other is an almost over-lavish edition of a curious collection of texts, used as packing for a grave, but happening to date to an otherwise badly documented episode of Mesopotamian history. The texts concerned, as read and interpreted by Cole open a new chapter in Assyriology though their idiosyncratic nature ensures that the last word has not been said. This as yet isolated group of texts is not easily given a proper place among the surviving archival material from Mesopotamia. The fact that some of the letters mention the title of the, in this period, more or less autonomous governor of Nippur, the sandabakku, and, in one case, strongly suggest the identity of one of the principal actors, together with the fact that Assyria is mentioned only in connection with trade relations, implies a date around the middle of the eighth century. But whether these texts, and especially the letters, really are “the Governor's Archive from Nippur”, or at least the remnants of it, remains to be seen. We must look at persons and contents.