By Archibald Henry Sayce
This Elibron Classics booklet is a facsimile reprint of a 1900 variation via Charles Scribner's Sons, manhattan.
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Additional resources for Babylonians and Assyrians: Life and Customs
Here a knowledge of writing was far more widely spread, and one of the results was that varieties of handwriting became as numerous as they are in the modern world. The absence of a professional class of scribes prevented any one official hand from becoming universal. We find even the son of an “irrigator,” one of the poorest and lowest members of the community, copying a portion of the “Epic of the Creation,” and depositing it in the library of Borsippa for the good of his soul. Indeed, the contract tablets show that the slaves themselves could often read and write.
One of the effects of the system of adoption was to give the privileges of Babylonian citizenship to a good many foreigners. The foreign origin of Barachiel, as evidenced by his name, was no obstacle to his claim to be a citizen, and the numerous contracts in which it is certified of a foreign slave that he has never been adopted prove the fact conclusively. A commercial community cannot afford to be exclusive on the ground of race and nationality. Such, then, was the family system in the Babylonia of the historical period.
Thus in the sixth year of Cyrus one slave apprenticed himself of his own accord to another in order to learn a trade. In this case also the penalty for not being taught the trade was half a “measure” of wheat each day, which is again stated to be the wage of the slave. The wage, however, it would seem, had to be paid to the master, at all events in some cases; this is clear from a document which relates to the conclusion of the apprenticeship in which Nubtâ took part. The slave she had apprenticed had learnt his trade, and his master accordingly received from the teacher 5 shekels, which it was calculated were the equivalent of the services the apprentice had rendered.
Babylonians and Assyrians: Life and Customs by Archibald Henry Sayce