CHAPTER SEVEN. Interterritorial Law: The Homicide of a Foreign Citizen

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_

WEHAVE seen that at the same time certain statutes in biblical law were part

of the tradition of cuneiform legal traditions, many other aspects of biblical

law differed radically from cuneiform law. There is little in the way of shared

assumptions between biblical law and cuneiform law. We have determined

that cuneiform law collections share a common tradition and that the legal

records from Mesopotamia diverge and converge with other legal records

and with the law collections. Another way of testing the commonality of the

legal traditions of the ancient Near East is to ask whether there were basic

ground rules about the treatment of homicide beyond a general assumption

that the unlawful killing of a human being is wrong.

One method of answering this question is to analyze the case of a citizen

of one territory slain in another. There are a number of ancient Near Eastern

documents that address this case. This group of texts allows us to examine

the question of whether there was generally accepted international law that

governed such occurrences or whether one country attempted to impose its

law upon another. Serendipitously, these texts all come from about the same

time period, from the mid–fourteenth century b.c.e. to the mid–thirteenth

century b.c.e., granting us the opportunity to observe legal procedures that

might have operated concurrently.1

1There is an earlier text from Mari, ARM II 123, in which the death of caravaneers is reported,

but the remedy is not mentioned.

The texts fall into two sets. The first consists of two letters, an Amarna

letter from the king of Babylonia to the Egyptian king (EA 8) and a letter

from the Hittite emperor to the Babylonian king mentioning the death of

merchants while abroad (CTH 172). EA 8 is a letter in Akkadian from

Burnaburiyash II of Babylonia to Amenophis IV/Akhenaten of Egypt. It

dates from circa 1349–1334 b.c.e. (the overlap between the reigns of the

two kings). CTH 172 is a letter in Akkadian from Hattusili III, the Hittite

emperor, to Kadashman-Enlil II of Babylonia. It dates from approximately

1260 b.c.e. The second set consists of a dozen texts on this topic that have

been excavated at Ugarit, including treaties stipulating the responsibilities

and obligations of the countries in an occurrence in the future in which a

foreign merchant will have been killed (RS 17.146, 17.230, 18.115), and actual

cases in the form of records of settlements (RS 17.234, 17.251, 20.22)

and records of trials (RS 17.299, 17.229, 17.158, 17.42, 17.145, 17.337).

RS 17.369B + RS 17.69 is too fragmentary to classify. The treaties outline

the procedure to be followed in cases of slaying in the future, while the legal

records reflect how homicides that have already occurred were remedied.

In a letter unearthed in the El-Amarna archive (EA 8), Burnaburiyash II,

the king of Babylonia (Karaduniyash), demands action from Naphu’rureya

(Amenophis IV/Akhenaten), the king of Egypt, on behalf of certain Babylonian

merchants who have been slain.

obv.

1 [a]-na na-ap-h

˘

u-’u-ru-ri-[ia . . . ] 2LUGAL kurmi-is.-ri-i ˇSEˇ S-ia

q[i-bi-ma] 3 um-ma bur-ra-bu-ri-ia-aˇs LUGAL kurka-ra-[du-ni-ia-aˇs]

4 SˇESˇ -ka-ma a-na ia-a-sˇi sˇu-ul-mu 5 a-na ka-sˇa KUR-ka E´ -ka

GEME.MESˇ -ka DUMU.MESˇ -ka 6 lu´GAL.MESˇ -ka ANSˇE.KUR.RAka

giˇsMAR.MEˇS-ka 7 da-an-ni-iˇs lu ˇsu-ul-mu

8 a-na-ku u` SˇESˇ -ia it-ti-a-

˘

ha-mi-iˇs 9t.a-bu-ta ni-id-da-bu-ub 10 u`

an-ni-ta ni-iq-ta-bi 11 um-ma-a ki-i ab-bu-ni it-ti a-

˘

ha-mi-iˇs t.aa-

bu2 12 ni-i-nu lu t.

a-ba-nu 13 i-na-an-na DAM.GA` R.MESˇ -u´ -a

14 sˇa it-ti SˇESˇ t.a-a-bu te-bu-u´ 15 i-na kurki-na-a

˘

h-

˘

hi a-na ˇsima-

a-ti it-ta-ak-lu-u´ 16 ul-tu SˇESˇ -t.a-a-bu a-na mu-u

˘

h-

˘

hi ˇSEˇ Sia

i-ti-qu 17 i-na uru

˘

hi-in-na-tu-ni ˇsa kurki-na-a

˘

h-

˘

hi 18 I ˇsu-um-adda

DUMU Iba!-lum-me-e 19 I ˇsu-ta-at-na DUMU I ˇsa-ra-tu-um ˇsa

uruak-ka 20 LU´ .MESˇ -sˇu-nu ki isˇ-pu-ru lu´DAM.GA` R-ia 21 id-duku

u` KUG.BABBAR-sˇu-nu it-tab-lu 22 [Iaz-z]u a-na pa-[ni-k]a kii

[ka-al-li-e]3 23 al-ta-ap-ra-a[k-k]u ˇsi-ta-[al-ˇsu-nu] 24 li-iq-ba-ak-

[ku] 25 [kurki-]na-a

˘

h-

˘

hi KUR-ka u` LUGAL!-[sˇa I`R.MESˇ -ka] 26 i-na

2This word is actually found on the reverse: See Otto Schroeder, “Zur Amarnatafel VAT 1704,”

Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 18 (1915), col. 175.

3This reconstruction follows William L. Moran, The Amarna Letters (Baltimore: The Johns

Hopkins University Press, 1992), 17, n. 5.

KUR-ka

˘

hu-um-mu-s.a-ku su-ni-iq-[ˇsu-ni-ti-ma] 27KUG.BABBAR ˇsa

it-ba-lu ˇsu-ul-l[i-im-ˇsu] 28 ` u L ´ U.MEˇS ˇsa `IR.MEˇ S-ia i-[du-uk-k]u

29 du-uk-ˇsu-nu-ti-ma da!-mi-[ˇsu-n]u te-e-er 30 ` u ˇsum-ma L ´ U.MEˇS annu-

ti ul ta-ad-du-uk 31 i-tu-ur-ru-ma lu-u´ KASKAL at-tu-u´ -a 32 u` lu

l ´ u.meˇsDUMU.MEˇS i-du-ku-u´ -ma 33 i-na bi-ri-ni DUMU si-ip-ri ip-paar-

ra-as 34 ` u ˇsum!-ma i-na-ak-ki-ru-ka 35 1 L´U at-tu-u´ -a Isˇu-um-ad-da

36G`IR.MEˇS-ˇsu ki-i ´ u-na-ak-ki-su 37 i-tu-ˇsu ik-ta-la-ˇsu 38 ` u L´U ˇsa-naa

Isˇu-ta-at-na ak-ka-a-a-u´ 39 i-na re-sˇi ki-i ul-zi-iz-zu 40 a-na pa-ni-

ˇsu is.-s.a-bat L ´ U.MEˇS ˇsa-ˇsu-nu 41 l[i-i]l-[k]u-ni-ik-ku-um-ma a-mu-urma

42 k[i mi-t]u4 ˇsa-al-ma lu ti-i-di 43 [a-na ˇsu-ul-m]a-ni 1 MA.NA

z´aZA.G`IN uˇs-te-bi-la-ak-ku 44[DUMU ˇsi-ip-]ri-ia

˘

ha-mu-ut-ta ku-

[uˇs-ˇsid-ˇs]u 45 [t.e-e]-ma ˇsa ˇSEˇ S-ia lu i-d[i-ma] 46[DUMU] ˇsi-ip-ri-ia

la ta-ka-a[l-la-ˇsu] 47 [

˘

h]a-mu-ut-ta li-it-ta-a[l-ka]

1–7 Say to Naphu’rureya, the king of Egypt, my brother: Thus Burna-

Buriyash, the king of Karaduniyash, your brother. For me all goes

well. For you, your country, your household, your wives, your sons,

your magnates, your horses, your chariots, may all go very well.

8–12My brother and I made a mutual declaration of friendship, and

we said this: “Just as our fathers were friends with one another, so will

we be friends with one another.” 13–21Now, my merchants who were

on their way with Ahu-tabu were detained in Canaan on business

matters. After Ahu-tabu went on to my brother, in Hinnatuna of

Canaan, Shum-adda, son of Balumme, and Shutatna, son of Sharatum

of Akka, having sent their men, killed my merchants and took away

their money. 22–27 I send Azzu to you posthaste. Inquire from him

so that he can inform you. Canaan is your country, and its kings

are your servants. In your country I have been despoiled. Bring them

to account and make compensation for the money they took away.

28–29 Execute the men who put my servants to death, and so return

their blood. 30–33 If you do not execute these men, they are going to kill

again, whether a caravan of mine or your own messengers, and then

messengers between us will be cut off. 34–42 If they try to deny this to

you, Shum-adda, having blocked off passage [lit. cut off the feet] to a

man of mine, retained him in his company, and another man, having

been forced into service by Shutatna of Akka, is still serving him.

These men should be brought to you so you can investigate, inquire

whether they are dead, and become informed. 43–47 As a greeting gift, I

send you 1 mina of lapis lazuli. Send off my messenger immediately so

that I may know my brother’s decision. Do not detain my messenger.

Let him be off to me immediately.

4This reconstruction follows Moran, The Amarna Letters, 17, n. 11.

In the case of citizens sent on royal business, the king intervenes to avenge

their deaths and protect his interests. Since the homicides took place outside

the realm of Babylonia, the king, not the victims’ families, must take the

active role in avenging the homicide. The king of Babylonia contacts his

counterpart, the king of Egypt. Although the killing occurred in Canaan,

the duly authorized authority is the king of Egypt since the kings of Canaan

are his vassals and he is their overlord. Therefore, Burnaburiyash holds the

king of Egypt responsible. At the level of international diplomacy, the parties

involved must be of the equivalent political status.5 A king cannot hold

negotiations with a vassal/dependent of another territory’s dominant ruler

without speaking to the overlord himself. In other words, contact can only

take place between two overlords or lesser rulers, but not between an overlord

and a lesser ruler not under his aegis. Therefore, the king must assume

the initiative because he is the only one possessing the status high enough to

contact the appropriate person in the foreign territory. As we will see, this

contrasts with the Ugaritic documents, from a territory under Hittite overlordship,

where responsibility is assumed by the citizens of each country or

locality as a collective body. In a sense, the locations under Hittite hegemony

share a concept of corporate responsibility not recognized between the land

of Babylonia and the land of Egypt. In contrast, the case in EA 8 is between

two realms, two sovereign states.

Indeed, the claim made by Burnaburiyash II in EA 8 is predicated upon

the alliance already established between the kings personally. Each dominant

regional power exercises jurisdiction over its territory. If a wrong occurs to its

citizens in a foreign territory, a regional power can only contact the dominant

power in its region and ask for satisfaction, based on alliance, not on a

general sense of what is just. Burnaburiyash II must cajole Naphu’rureya into

acting by recounting the positive relations between them. Beyond that, he

appeals to Naphu’rureya’s own interests by emphasizing the consequences to

Naphu’rereya’s own men.6 Burnaburiyash II warns that if the killers are not

killed, they will strike again and are as equally likely to kill Naphu’rureya’s

own men as his own. Burnaburiyash also sends a gift, one mina of lapis

lazuli, to reinforce friendly relations.

Burnaburiyash II demands two actions from Naphu’rureya, compensation

for the money stolen and the execution of the men responsible. Compensation

for the missing money is reasonable, but why does the Babylonian

king demand that the killers be executed? Would he not benefit more from

compensation? When Burnaburiyash II demands the execution of the killers,

he provides two reasons: first, that the blood of the victims be returned, and

second, that if the killers are not executed, they will surely strike again.

5Mario Liverani, Prestige and Interest: International Relations in the Near East ca. 16001100

B.C. (History of the Ancient Near East/Studies I; Padua: Sargon, 1990), 97.

6Liverani, Prestige and Interest, 98.

The second reason originates in practical concerns: Burnaburiyash II must

protect his merchants if he wants to preserve his country’s international

trade.7 Moreover, political considerations underlie this second reason – the

king of Egypt may be more likely to act if his own interests are at stake.

The first reason is elusive and difficult to understand. It may be akin to an

Israelite concept, which holds that the blood of the victim is lost and needs

to be returned: This concept is reflected in the usage of the word te-er (line

29).8 Whatever the conceptual underpinning, Burnaburiyash’s first demand

implies that death is the only appropriate penalty, but the personal stake

Naphu’rureya has in protecting his own men is the most effective motive

Burnaburiyash can provide to Naphu’rureya for the execution of those who

killed his men.

CTH 172 is instructive in regard to the appropriate punishment for homicide.

In this letter, Hattusili III, the Hittite emperor, tells Kadashman-Enlil

II, the king of Babylonia, that there is a distinction between the penalty for

homicide in his land and in the neighboring land of the Assyrians (called

here Subareans).9 No capital punishment, not even for l`ese-majest´e, is ever

used in the Hittite realm:

rev.

15 [ . . . ] a-ka-an-na ta-asˇ-pu-ra um-ma-a lu´DAM.GA` R.MESˇ -ia i-na

kura-mur-ri kuru´ -ga-ri-it 16 [u` i-na kur . . . i-du]-uk-ku i-na kur

˘

ha-atti

na-pu-ul-ta u´ -ul i-du-uk-ku 17 [sˇum-ma i-na kur

˘

ha-at-ti na]-puul-

ta i-du-uk-ku sˇu´m-ma LUGAL i-sˇi-im- me a-na a-ma-ti sˇa-a-sˇi

18 [ . . . d]a-i-ka-na ˇsa na-pu-ul-ti i-s.a-ab-ba-tu4-ma a-na ˇSEˇS.MEˇS ˇsa

di-ki 19 [ . . .KUG.BABBAR a-na] mu-ul-le-e sˇa lu´ di-ki SˇESˇ .MESˇ -sˇu´

i-le-eq-qu- ´ u ` u l ´ uda-i-ka-na 20 [ . . . aˇs]-ra ˇsa na-pu-ul-tu4 i-na ˇSA` -sˇu´ diku

ul-la-lu u` sˇu´m-ma SˇESˇ .MESˇ -sˇu´ 21 [KUG.BABBAR mu-ul-le]-e u´ -ul

i-ma

˘

h-

˘

ha-ru da-i-ka-na ˇsa na-pu-ul-ti 22 [ . . . l]i-pu-ˇsu ˇs ´ um-ma L´U ˇsa

˘

hi-t ´a a-na LUGAL i-

˘

ha-t.u a-na KUR-ti sˇa-na-ti-ma 23 [ . . . ] u` a-na daa-

ki u´ -ul par-s.u SˇESˇ -u` -ia sˇa-’a-al-ma liq-bu-ni-ik-ku 24 [ . . . a]-ka-anna

ˇsa EN

˘ h

´e-t.i-i la-a i-du-uk-ku l ´ uDAM.G ` AR i-du-uk-ku 25 [ . . . L]´U

s ´ u-ba-ri-i a-i-ka-a i-di ˇs ´ um-ma i-du-uk-ku-ma i-na-an-na ˇSEˇS.MEˇS

DAM.G ` AR.MEˇS di-ku-ti 26 [sˇup-ra]-am-ma di-in-su´ -nu lu-mur

15–17 Since you wrote to me as follows: “My merchants are being

killed in the land of Amurru, the land of Ugarit, [and the land of . . . ].”

They do not kill [as punishment] in Hatti . . . they kill. 17–18 If the king

7The vassal kings Shum-adda and Shutatna, who killed the merchants of Burnaburiyash, do

not appear to have killed them themselves. Shum-adda and Shutatna sent their own men to kill

Burnaburiyash’s merchants.

8Burnaburiyash does not demand the return of his servants forced into the service of Shum-adda

and Shutatna.

9On the identification of the Subareans, see Ignace J. Gelb, Hurrians and Subareans (Studies in

Ancient Oriental Civilizations 22; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944), 44, 49, 85.

hears about it, [they investigate] that matter. They arrest the killer and

deliver him to the brothers of the slain man. 19 If his brothers accept

the silver as compensatory payment, [they allow] the killer [to go free].

20 The place in which the homicide occurred is purified. 20–22 If his

brothers do not accept the silver as the compensatory payment, they

may make the killer [their slave]. 22–24 If a man who has committed

an offense against the king escapes to another land, killing him is not

permitted. Inquire, my brother, and they shall tell you thus. Now,

if they do not kill an offender [against the king], would they kill a

merchant? 25–26 [But in regard to] the Subareans, how am I to know

if they are killing people? Now send me the brothers of the dead

merchants so that I can investigate their lawsuit.

Different countries have different sanctions. There is no single remedy

used throughout the ancient Near East.10 Although the Babylonian king

has demanded that the killers be executed, the Hittite emperor cannot and

will not execute them. The Hittite laws are in agreement with the Hittite

emperor’s claim: The penalty is compensation, albeit very high in the case of

a merchant in statute 5, 100 minas in contrast to 3 minas in the documents

from Ugarit:

HL 1

[If] anyone kills [a man] or a woman in a [quarr]el, he shall [bring him]

[for burial] and give 4 persons (lit. heads), male or female respectively,

and he shall look [to his house for it.]

HL 2

[If] anyone kills [a male] or female slave in a quarrel, he shall bring

him [for burial] [and] shall give [2] persons [lit. heads], male or female

respectively, and he shall look to his house for it.

HL 3

[If] anyone strikes a free [man] or woman so that he dies, with only his

hand at fault, he shall bring him [for burial] and shall give 2 persons

[lit. heads], and he shall look to his house for it.

HL 4

If anyone strike a male or female slave so that he dies, with only his

hand at fault, he shall bring him [for burial] and shall give one person

[lit. head], and he shall look to his house for it.

10Raymond Westbrook’s argument that capital punishment and compensation for homicide

were part of the common law of the ancient Near East and were in effect simultaneously is

contradicted by the evidence of the international documents analyzed here (Studies in Biblical

and Cuneiform Law, 45–46).

Late version of 3–4

[If anyone . . . ]s[?] [a woman,] so that she dies, but it is an accident,

[he shall pay 4? minas of silver]. But if the woman is a slave, he shall

pay 2 minas [ = 80 shekels] of silver.

HL 5

If anyone kills a merchant, he shall pay 4,000 shekels [lit. 100 minas]

of silver, and he shall look to his house for it. If it is in the lands of

Luwiya [ = Arzawa] or Pala, he shall pay the 4,000 shekels of silver

and also replace his goods.11 If it is in the land of Hatti, he himself

shall [also] bring the aforementioned merchant [for burial].

Late version of 5

[If] anyone kills a Hittite [merchant] in the midst of his goods, he

shall pay [ . . . minas of silver], and shall replace his goods threefold.

But [if] [the merchant] is not in possession of goods, and someone

kills him in a quarrel, he shall pay 240 shekels of silver. If it is only

an accident, he shall pay 80 shekels of silver.

The Hittite laws reflect the Hittite emperor’s refusal to execute the Babylonian

merchants’ killers, as the Babylonian king demands. Hittite law and

Babylonian law differ on the penalty for homicide, and the Babylonian king

must use diplomatic means to prevent his merchants from being denied justice

according to the standards of Babylonian law. He attempts to have

Babylonian law applied extraterritorially.

A king assumes responsibility for remedying the slaying of his merchants

in a foreign land. Assigning responsibility for initiating the process of remedying

the homicide is one of the major issues in the three treaties, RS 17.146,

17.230, and 18.115, between Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, and the citizens

of Ugarit, which address the death of merchants while engaged in trade

abroad.12 RS 17.146 is as follows:

1 Ii-ni-dteˇsub LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-miˇs 2DUMU-ˇsu ˇsa I ˇsa-

˘

hu-runu-

wa DUMU DUMU-ˇsu 3 ˇsa ILUGAL-d30 UR.SAG 4 ri-k´ıl-ta i-na

be-ri sˇa KUR urukar-ga-misˇ 5 u` be-ri sˇa kur uruu-ga-ri-it a-ka´n-na irku-

us 6ma-a sˇum-ma-me-e lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R ma-an-da-ti 7 sˇa LUGAL

kur uruu-ga-ri-it i-na ˇS ` A-bi KUR urukar-ga-miˇs 8 i-du-ku-m`ı ` u L ´ U.MEˇS

da-i-ku-ˇsu-nu is.-s.a-ba-tum-m`ı 9 ` u DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar-ga-miˇs

NI`.GAmesˇ -sˇu-nu 10 u´ -nu-te-MESˇ -sˇu-nu gab-ba ki-i sˇa SˇESˇ -sˇu-nu 11 iqa-

ab-bu-ni a-ka´n-na u´ -sˇal-la-mu-ni 12 u` mu-ul-la sˇa 1-en LU´ -lim 13 3

11It would appear the special rule for a slaying committed in Luwiya and Pala, countries east

and north, respectively, of Hatti in Asia Minor, was due to their political connections with

Hatti. This special rule is reflected in statutes 19–21 and 23, which prescribe special remedies

for offenses committed in or against a citizen of those countries.

12Even though the wording in RS 17.230, l. 4, refers to LU , “a person [in general],” it is clear

that the treaty deals with a merchant because of the attention paid to the goods that were in

the victim’s possession.

ma-na KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS DUMU.MEˇS KURurukar-ga-misˇ 14 u´ -sˇalla-

mu-ni ` u DUMU.MEˇS 15 ˇsa KUR uruu-ga-ri-it aˇs-ˇsum N`I.GAmeˇs-

ˇsu-nu 16 aˇs-ˇsum ´ u-nu-te-MEˇS-ˇsu-nu i-tam-mu-ni 17 ` u DUMU.MEˇS

KUR urukar-ga-misˇ NI`.GAmesˇ -sˇu-nu 18 u´ -nu-te-MESˇ -sˇu-nu a-ka´n-na

u´ -sˇal-la-mu-ni 19 u` sˇum-ma LU´ -ma UZU ka-a-ma i-s.a-ba-tu4-ni 20 u`

da-i-ku-ti-ˇsu-nu la-a i-s.a-ba-tu4-ni 21DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar-gami

ˇs il-la-ku-nim-ma i-na 22KUR uruu-ga-ri-it i-na NAM.ERIM2 itam-

mu-ni 23ma-a ˇsum-ma L ´ U.MEˇS da-i-ku-ti-sˇu-nu ni-di-m`ı 24 u`

ˇsa L ´ U.MEˇS DAM.GA` R sˇa-a-sˇu-nu NI`.GAmesˇ -sˇu-nu 25 u´ -nu-tu-MESˇ -

ˇsu-nu i-

˘

hal-li-iq 26 ` u DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar-ga-miˇs 3 ma-na

KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS 27mu-ul-la-a sˇa 1-en LU´ -im u´ -sˇal-la-mu-ni 28 u`

ˇsum-ma LU.MEˇS DAM.GA` R sˇa LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-misˇ 29 sˇa

ma-an-da-ti i-na ˇSA` -bi KUR uruu-ga-ri-it i-da-ku 30 u` da-i-ku-sˇu-nu

i-s.a-ab-ba- tu4-ni 31DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga-ri-it N`I.GAmeˇs ˇsu-nu

32 u´ -nu-te-MESˇ -sˇu-nu ki-i sˇa SˇESˇ .MESˇ -sˇu-nu 33 i-qa-ab-bu-ni a-ka´nna

´ u-ˇsal-la-mu-ni 34 ` u ˇsa 1-en L´U 3 ma-na KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS muul-

la-a 35 ˇsa BEmeˇs DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga-ri-it u´ -ma-al-lu-ni 36 u`

ˇsum-ma L ´ U.MEˇS da-i-ku-ˇsu-nu la-a is.-s.a-b[a]-tu 37 ` u DUMU.MEˇS

KUR uruu-ga-ri-it il-la-ku-nim-ma 38 i-na urunu-ba-an-na ` u ˇsum-ma

i-na urugur-a-ta 39 a-na pa-ni ˇSEˇS.MEˇS sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R sˇu-nu-ti

40 i-na NAM.ERIM2 i-tam-mu-ni <ma-a.ˇsum-ma L ´ U.MEˇS da-i-ku-

ˇsu-nu ni-di-mi> 41 ` u ˇsa L ´ U.MEˇS DAM.GA` RNI`.GAmesˇ -sˇu-nu u´ -nu-te-

MEˇ S-ˇsu-nu 42 i-

˘

hal-li-iq ´ u DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga-ri-it 43 3 ma-na

KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS mu-ul-la-a ˇsa 1-en L ´ U.MEˇS 44 u´ -ma-al-lu-nimma

45 Ii-ni-dteˇsub LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-miˇs DUMU-ˇsu 46 ˇsa Is ´ a-

˘

hu-ru-nu-wa DUMU DUMU-ˇsu ˇsa ILUGAL-d30 47UR.SAG ri-k´ıl-ta

an-ni-ta 48ma-an-nu-me-e sˇa ri-k´ıl-ta an-ni-ta 49 u´ -sˇa-asˇ-na-a dIMAN

dUD AN 50 [d]NIN ku-ba-ba GAˇSAN KUR urukar-ga-miˇs 51 dnin-gal

GASˇAN urunu-ba-an-ni 52 [d]nin-gal GASˇAN urugur-a-ti 53 lu-u´ be-lu

ma-mi-ti-ˇsu

1–5 Ini-Teshub, king of the land of Carchemish, son of Shahurunuwa,

grandson of Sharrukushuh, the warrior, made a treaty between the

land of Carchemish and the land of Ugarit as follows: 6–18 If merchants

in the service of the king of Ugarit are killed in the land of Carchemish

and the men who killed them are arrested, the citizens of the land of

Carchemish will ask for any property or goods of their brothers thus

and will pay in full. The citizens of the land of Carchemish will pay the

full compensation per person, 3 minas13 of silver. The citizens of the

land of Ugarit will take an oath concerning the property or goods, and

the citizens of the land of Carchemish will deliver safely the property

13The value of a mina was sixty shekels in Babylonia but apparently was fifty shekels at Ugarit

(see de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 203–204) and forty shekels at Hatti (see H. Otten, “Zum hethitischen

Gewichtssystem,” AfO 17 [1954–56]: 128–131).

or goods. 19–27 If they take hold of the body of a man but do not arrest

those who killed them, the citizens of the land of Carchemish will go

to the land of Ugarit and will take an oath thus: “We do not know the

men who killed them, and the property and goods of those merchants

are missing.” The citizens of the land of Carchemish shall pay 3 minas

of silver, the full compensation per person. 28–35 If merchants in the

service of the king of Carchemish are killed in the land of Ugarit

and the men who killed them are arrested, the citizens of the land

of Ugarit will ask for any property or goods of their brothers and

will pay in full. The citizens of the land of Ugarit will pay the full

compensation for the blood, 3 minas of silver. 36–44 If they do not

arrest those who killed them, the citizens of the land of Ugarit will

go either to Nubanna or to Gurata14 before the brothers of those

merchants and will take an oath thus: “We do not know the men

who killed them, and the property and goods of those merchants are

missing.” The citizens of the land of Ugarit shall pay 3 minas of silver,

the full compensation per person. 45–53 Ini-Teshub, king of the land

of Carchemish, son of Shahurunuwa, grandson of Sharrukushuh, the

warrior, made this treaty. Whoever changes this treaty, may Adad of

heaven, Shamash of heaven, Lady Kubaba lady of Carchemish, Ningal

lady of Nubanni, Ningal lady of Gurati, be the masters of its curse.

According to RS 17.146, if a merchant in the service of the king of Ugarit is

killed in the land of Carchemish and his killers are arrested, the citizens of

Carchemish are to confiscate the property of the killers, that is, their fellow

citizens who committed the homicide, and return the stolen goods15 as well

as pay compensation for the death. Likewise, if a merchant in the service

of the king of Carchemish is killed in the land of Ugarit and his killers are

arrested, the citizens of Ugarit are to seize the killer’s property and return

the stolen goods16 as well as pay compensation for the death. If, however,

the identity of the killers is not known, the citizens of the land in which the

murder occurred must travel to the country of the dead merchant(s) in order

to take an oath attesting to the fact that the killers have not been identified

and that the property of the merchants is missing. The other treaties,

RS 17.230 and 18.115, follow the same pattern of assigning responsibility

for initiating the legal process:

RS 17.230

1 Ii-ni-dteˇsub LUGAL kurkar-ga-miˇs 2 i[t-t]i L ´ U.MEˇS kur u´ -ga-ri-it 3 riik-

ˇsa an-ni-ta ir-ku-us 4 ˇsum-ma L ´ U.MEˇS ˇsa kurkar-ga-miˇs 5 i-na ˇS

`A

14W. Ro¨ llig speculated that Gurata was perhaps identical with the city of Qara— ti (“Gurata,”

RLA 3.703).

15Presumably the stolen goods are returned to the king of Ugarit.

16Presumably the stolen goods are returned to the king of Carchemish.

kuru´ -ga-ri-it 6 id-da-a-ak 7 sˇum-ma sˇa i-du-ku-sˇu 8 i-s.a-ab-ba-tu4

9 L´U

3-sˇu´ u´ -ma-al-la 10 u` u´ -nu-temesˇ 11 sˇa it-ti-sˇu [i-]

˘

hal-li-qu 12 3-sˇu´ -ma

u´ -ma-a[l]-la 13 u` sˇum-ma sˇa i-du-ku-sˇu 14 la-a im-ma-ru ZI 3-sˇu´ u´ -

ma-al-lu-u´ 15 u´ u´ -nu-temesˇ sˇa it-ti-sˇu 16 i-

˘

hal-li-qu 17 ma-la ˇsa i-

˘

hal-liqu

18 SAG.DU-ˇsu-nu-ma 19 ´ u-ma-al-lu- ´ u 20 ` u ˇsum-ma L´U kuru´ -ga-ri-it

21 i-na ˇS

`A

kurkar-ga-miˇs 22 id-da-a-ak 23 mu-ul-la-a a-k´an-na-ma

1–3 Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, made this treaty with the people

of Ugarit. 4–12 If a person of Carchemish is killed in Ugarit, and those

who killed him are arrested, they will pay a triple compensation per

individual, and [if] the goods which were with him [the deceased]

are missing, they will pay triple. 13–19 If those who killed him are not

seen, they [the people of Ugarit] will pay triple compensation per

person, and [if] the goods which were with him are missing, they will

pay simple compensation for whatever is missing. 20–23 If a person of

Ugarit is killed in Carchemish, the compensation is as follows . . .

RS 18.115

1 Ii[-ni-dteˇsub LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-mis DUMU I ˇsa-

˘

hu-ru-nuwa

LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-miˇs] 2 r[i-kil-ta i-na be-ri ˇsa KUR

urukar-ga-misˇ u` be-ri sˇa KUR uruu-ga-ri-it] 3 a-ka´n[-na ir-ku-us

ma-a ˇsum-ma-me-e L ´ U.MEˇS DAM.GA` R ma-an-da-ti] 4 sˇa LUGAL

kur ur[uu-ga-ri-it i-na ˇSA` -bi KUR urukar-ga-misˇ i-du-ku-mi] 5 u`

DUMU.MEˇS KUR uru[kar-ga-miˇs L ´ U.MEˇS da-ku-ti-ˇsu-nu] 6 is.-s.a-batum-

m`ı ` u [DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga-ri-it qa-du L ´ U.MEˇS ˇsa ba-bi-

ˇsu-nu] 7 il-la-ku-nim-ma [i-na KUR uruu-ga-ri-it li-it-mu-ma] 8 aˇs-ˇsum

ˇSEˇS.MEˇ S-ˇsu-[nu KUG.BABBAR.MEˇ S-ˇsu-nu LU.MEˇ S-ˇsu-nu gab-ba

ki-i] 9 ˇsa ˇSEˇS.MEˇ S-ˇsu[-nu i-qa-ab-bu-ni DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukarga-

miˇs a-k´an-na ´ u-ˇsal-la-mu-ni] 10 ` u KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS mu[-ul-laa

ˇsa ZI.MEˇS 3 ma-na ˇsa 1-en L´U 11DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar[-gamis

ˇ u´ -sˇal-la-mu-ni . . . ] 12 u` sˇum-ma lu´ .mesˇ [UZU ka-a-ma i-s.a-ba-tuni

` u l ´ u.meˇsda-ku-ti-ˇsu-nu] 13 la i-s.a-ba-tu[m-m`ı ` u DUMU.MEˇS KUR

urukar-ga-miˇs qa-du L ´ U.MEˇS ˇsa ba-bi- ˇsu-nu] 14 il-la-ku-nim-ma [ina

KUR uruu-ga-ri-it i-na NAM.NE.RU li-it-mu] 15 ma-a ˇsum-ma-mi

L ´ U.MEˇS [d]a-[ku-ti-sˇu-nu ni-di-mi] 16 u` sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R an-nu-ti

K[UG.BABBAR.MEˇS LU.MEˇS gab-bu mim-mu ˇsu-nu i-

˘

hal-liq] 17 u`

KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS mu-ul-la-a ˇsa ZI.[MEˇS 3ma-na sˇa 1-en LU´ ] 18 u´ -

ˇsal-la-mu-ni DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar-ga-[miˇs ` u KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS

LU.MESˇ ] 19 sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R la-a u´ -masˇ-sˇa-ru[ . . . ] 20 u` sˇum-ma

lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R sˇa ma-an-da-t[i sˇa LUGAL KUR urukar-ga-misˇina

KUR uruu-ga-ri-it] 21 i-du-ku-ni u` lu´ .mesˇda-ku-ti-sˇu-nu [i-s.a-batum-

m`ı ` u] 22DUMU.MEˇS KUR urukar-ga-miˇs qa-du L ´ U.MEˇS ˇs[a

ba-bi-ˇsu-nu il-la-ku-nim-ma] 23 i-na KUR uruu-ga-ri-it li-it-mu-ma

[aˇs-ˇsum ˇSEˇS.MEˇS-ˇsu-nu LU.MEˇS-ˇsu-nu . . . ] 24 ` u DUMU.MEˇS KUR

uruu-ga-ri-it KUG.BABBAR.[MEˇ S-ˇsu-nu LU.MEˇ S-ˇsu-nu gab-ba mimmu-

sˇu-nu] 25 a-ka´n-na u´ -sˇal-la-mu-ni u` [mul-la-a sˇa ZI.MESˇ ] 26 3

ma-na KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS ˇsa 1-en L ´ U-lim [a-na DUMU.MEˇS

KURurukar-ga-miˇs ´ u-ˇsal-la-mu-ni] 27 ` u ˇsum-ma DUMU.MEˇS KUR

urukar-ga-miˇs L ´ U.MEˇS [da-ku-ti-ˇsu-nu iˇs-tu DUMU.MEˇ S] 28KUR

uruu-ga-ri-it la-a ´ u-ˇse-el-l[u- ´ u DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga-ri-it il-la-kunim-

ma] 29 qa-du L ´ U.MEˇS sˇa ba-bi-sˇu-nu i-na uru[nu-ba-an-na u` sˇumma

i-na urugur-a- ta] 30 li-it-mu-u´ ma-a sˇum-ma-mi lu´ .mesˇda-[ku-ti-sˇunu

ni-di-mi] 31 u` sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R sˇa LUGAL KUR uruka[r-ga-misˇ

KUG.BABBAR.MEˇ S] 32LU.MEˇS gab-bu mim-mu-u´ -sˇu-nu i-[

˘

hal-liq

` u DUMU.MEˇS KUR uruu-ga- ri-it] 33 mu-ul-la-a ˇsa ZI.MEˇS 3 ma-[na

KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS sˇa 1-en LU u´ -sˇal-la- mu-ni] 34 u` lu´DAM.GA` R

a[-n]a? lu´ .mesˇsˇ[i]-b[u-ti?] 35 . . . 36 x . . .

1–3 Ini-Teshub, king of the land of Carchemish, son of Shahurunuwa,

king of the land of Carchemish, made a treaty between the land of

Carchemish and the land of Ugarit as follows: 3–11 If merchants in the

service of the king of Ugarit are killed in the land of Carchemish and

the citizens of land of Carchemish arrest the men who killed them,

the citizens of the land of Ugarit together with the men of their gate

will go and take an oath concerning their brothers, their silver, and

their sheep. They will ask for anything of their brother. The citizens

of the land of Carchemish will pay as follows: the full compensation

per person, 3 minas of silver for one person. 12–19 If they are in

possession of the body of a man but do not arrest those who killed

them, the citizens of the land of Carchemish together with the men

of their gate will go to the land of Ugarit and will take an imprecatory

oath: “We do not know the men who killed them, and that

which belongs to those merchants, their silver, their sheep, anything

of theirs, is missing.” They shall pay the full silver per person, 3 minas

of silver per person. If the citizens of the land of Carchemish do

not release the silver and the sheep of the merchants . . . 20–26 If merchants

in the service of the king of Carchemish are killed in the land

of Ugarit and the men who killed them are arrested, the citizens of

the land of Carchemish together with the men of their gate will go

and take an oath in the land of Ugarit and . . . concerning their brothers,

their silver, their sheep . . . the citizens of Ugarit will repay in full

their silver, their sheep, and anything of theirs thus. They shall pay

the full compensation for persons, 3 minas of silver per person, to

the citizens of the land of Carchemish. 27–36 If the citizens of the land

of Carchemish do not take away the men who killed them from the

citizens of the land of Ugarit, the citizens of the land of Ugarit will go

and will take an imprecatory oath together with the men of their gate

either in Nubanna or in Gurata: “We do not know the men who killed

them, and that which belongs to the merchants of the land of Carchemish,

their silver and their sheep, whatever is theirs, is missing.”

The citizens of the land of Ugarit shall pay the full compensation

for persons, 3 minas of silver per person. The merchants . . . to the

witnesses . . .

Thus, the citizens in the country in which the homicide took place must take

the initiative to remedy the slaying. They ascertain whether a homicide in

fact took place, and if possible, they determine the identity of the killers

and apprehend them. In the event that the killers cannot be identified, they

commission a delegation of their own to appear in the victim’s country in

order to acknowledge their obligation formally and then discharge it. In

short, they do not wait for a claim to be made by the king in whose service

the merchant belonged. They are the ones who must play the active role, not

the victim’s king nor the victim’s family. They initiate the process of redressing

a homicide of a foreigner since the individuals who are responsible for the

victim, such as his superior or his family, who would otherwise assume

the initiative for remedying the killing, are not present in the place where

the unlawful death took place.

The nature of the group named as the citizens of the country is left vague.

Is it an assembly that has been already constituted, or is it specially commissioned

by the ruler or administrator of the country? One of the treaties

between Ini-teshub and Ugarit provides more information on the composition

of the delegation sent from one country to another, and it is from this

evidence that we can extrapolate the identity of the “citizens of the country.”

RS 18.115 specifies that the citizens of both countries act in conjunction with

L U.MEˇS ˇsa ba-bi-ˇsu-nu, “the men of their gate” (lines 6, 22). The “men of

their gate” are elders who perform judicial functions.17 It is possible, then,

to assume with some degree of certainty that reference to the citizens of the

country reflects some sort of assembly. If they were commissioned by a ruler,

would they not have been designated, as the merchants were, as linked to

the king of their country?

Although in Ugarit there were three social classes, “servants of the king,”

“servants of the servants of the king,” and “the citizens of Ugarit,”18 besides

17Although CAD B, 23b, translates “the people of Ugarit together with the aliens [Akk.

LU .MESˇ ] living within their gates,” it seems more plausible to recognize the judicial function

of these men because the gate was a place at which legal functions would take place. This

holds true for Mesopotamian material (cf. CAD B, 19b–20a) and for the Bible (cf. Ruth 4:1–12).

While for Ugarit there are few references to gates in general, there is one that clearly indicates

their role as a judicial forum. In Aqhat (KTU 1.17.6–8), Daniel sits by the gate and ensures

justice for the widow and orphan. Furthermore, one of the titles of the Ugaritic king was mlk

gr, “king of the gate,” which may refer to the king in his role as dispenser of justice. Cf. Cyrus

H. Gordon, Ugaritic Textbook (AnOr 38; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1965), 505.

18Michael Heltzer, The Rural Community in Ancient Ugarit (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert,

1976), 5.

slaves, references are made in these documents to the citizens of Ugarit or of

a particular local or rural community within the kingdom of Ugarit without

any social distinction. It is important to recognize that the citizens were

treated as a collective body in the legal arena.19

The delegation undertakes certain actions in the country to which it travels.

It must perform a formal legal act, the taking of an oath, for the claim

to be valid. If the killers are not identified, the citizens of the country in

which the homicide occurred must take an oath attesting to the fact that

they cannot determine the identity of the killers. If the killers are arrested,

the citizens of the victim’s country, who are claiming the property, must take

an oath.20 The delegation also acts as the official body that disburses or

accepts compensation.

The records of legal cases reflect concern with certain aspects of legal

procedure assumed by the treaties. Collective responsibility is assumed by

the place in which the victim was killed. Delegations are dispatched from

one country to another to file a suit. In RS 17.234, the citizens of Shatega

lay a claim on the citizens of Ugarit because a number of citizens of Shatega

were killed in Ugarit.

RS 17.234

12 [ . . . KUG.BABBAR].MEˇS mu-ul-la-a 13 [a-na DUMU.MEˇS uru ˇsat]

e-ga id-d ´a-an-nu 14 [ur-ra ˇse-ra i-na EGIR U]D-mi DUMU.MEˇS

uru ˇsa-te-ga 15 [aˇs-ˇsum ZI.MEˇS sˇ]a i-na kuru´ -ga-ri-it 16 [di-i-ku a-na

h]i DUMU.MEˇS kur ´ u-ga-ri-it 17 [la-a i-ra-gu-mu ` u] DUMU.MEˇS

kuru´ -ga-ri-it 18 [a-na mu

hi DUMU.MEˇS uru ˇs]a-te-ga aˇs-ˇsum mu-ulli-

i 19 [ˇsa id-d ´a-an-nu la-a] i-ra-gu-mu 20 [ˇsa i-ra-gu-um t.

up-pu] annu-

u´ i-le-’e-e-sˇu

12–13 the silver as full compensation shall be given to the citizens of

Shatega. 14–19 In the future, the citizens of Shatega shall not sue the

citizens of Ugarit on account the people who were killed in Ugarit,

and the citizens of Ugarit shall not sue the citizens of Shatega on

account of the compensation which was given. 20 Whoever sues, this

tablet will prevail against him.

In RS 17.299, Qadidu brings a case against the citizens of the town in

which his brother was killed:

19Heltzer, The Rural Community in Ancient Ugarit, 18–47. They were also considered as

collective bodies for conscription, corv´ee, and taxes by the royal authorities. Heltzer believes

that this evidence reflects the persistence of rural structures of authority in both Ugarit and

Carchemish.

20If we extrapolate from the details about the oath taken when the killers are not arrested, the

oath taken when the killers are arrested probably consists of swearing to their identification as

the killers.

obv.

1 [a]-na pa-ni Iba-ba 2 [I]q´a-di-du it-ti DUMU.MEˇS uru

˘

hal-p´ı-

DAGAL-sˇi 3 [a]-na di-ni isˇ-ni-qu 4 [u` ] Iqa´ -di-du [a-k]a´n-na [i]q-

[bi] 5 ma-a ˇSEˇ S-ia [i-na uru

˘

hal-p´ı-DAGAL-sˇi] 6 d`ı-ik-mi [ . . . ] 7 u`

DUMU[.MEˇS uru

˘

hal-p´ı-DAGAL-ˇsi] 8 [ma-a] Iq´ a-[di-du . . .

rev.

1 [ . . .] x x [. . . ] 2 [I]x-ta

˘

h-mu [DUB.ˇSAR]

1–3 Before Baba, Qadidu and the citizens of

˘

Halpi-rapshi engaged

in legal proceedings. 4–6 Qadidu said as follows, “My brother was

killed in

˘

Halpi-rapshi.” 7–8 The citizens of

˘

Halpi-rapshi [said:] “Qadidu

. . .”. . . . rev. 2 X-ta

˘

hmu, the scribe . . .

Although RS 17.369B + 17.69 are in fragments, the sense that one town

is suing another because the inhabitants of the first were killed in the second

is clear:

RS 17.369B

rev.

1 [d]

˘ h

´e-bat urua-ri 2 [ˇs]a-m´e.e 3 [dUTU]-ˇsi LUGAL GAL LUGAL kur

˘

haat-

ti 4 [ . . . ] lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R kur[ . . . ] 5 [ . . . ] LU´ [ . . . ] . . .

RS 17.69

rev.

. . . 6_ [DU]MU.MEˇS m[u . . . ] 7_ [urui-r]i-ma-aˇs DUMU[. . . ] 8_ [ . . . -

na] ` u DUMU.MEˇS na[ . . . ] 9_ [i-na uruap-s]u´ -na i-du-ku-mi 10_ [x]-ma

DUMU.MEˇS uruap-su´ -[na] 11_ [ . . . ]-din a-na ˇSU Ipur-ˇs[i . . . ] 12_ [ . . . ]a

ˇsa dUTU-ˇsi LUGA[L GAL 13_ [ . . . ˇS]U Itu-ta-[ . . . ] 14_ [ . . . ] ˇSU fia-ar-

[ . . . ] 15_ [ . . . urui-]ri-ma-aˇs[ . . . ]

obv.

1 [ . . . ] x x LU´ isˇ-tu LU´ -l[um. . . ] 2 [ . . . ] mim-mu ga-mi-ir a-di

da-[ri-ti] 3 [iˇs-t]u UGU DUMU.MEˇS uruap-su´ -na[ . . . ] 4 [ . . .p]a-ni

d

˘ h

e´-bat urua-ri[ . . . ] 5 gam-]ri-sˇu-nu sˇum-ma-mi LU´ [ . . . ] 6 [ . . .m]i

ˇSEˇS.MEˇ S[ . . . ]

RS 17.369B rev. 1–5

˘

Hebat of Ari . . . of the heavens. The Sun, the great

king, king of

˘

Hatti . . . merchants . . .

RS 17.69 rev. 6_–9_ citizens of Mu. . . of Irimash, son of . . . and the sons of

Na . . . killed in Apsuna . . . the citizens of Apsuna . . .

10_-obv. 2 in the hand of Pur . . . of the Sun, the great king . . . hand of

Tuta . . . hand of Iar . . . the city of Irimash . . . one from the other . . . all

is finished. 3–6 In the future from the citizens of Apsuna . . . before

˘

Hebat of Ari . . . completely. If one . . . the brothers . . .

In RS 17.158 and 17.42, the citizens of Ugarit are sued by Arshimiga,

the representative of the king of Tarhudashshi, for the death of a merchant

in the service of the king of Tarhudashshi and the concomitant loss of his

goods:

RS 17.158

1 [a-na pa-n]i Ii-ni-dteˇsub LUGAL kurkar-ga-miˇs 2 [Iar-ˇsi-]mi-ga

lu´DAM.GA` R I´R sˇa LUGAL kurtar-

˘

hu-da-aˇs-ˇsi 3 [it-ti] DUMU.MEˇS

kuru´ -ga-ri-it a-na di-ni 4 [isˇ-ni-q]u Iar-sˇi-mi-ga a-ka´n-na iq-bi 5 [ma-a

lu´ ]DAM.GA` R sˇa LUGAL kurtar-

˘

hu-da-aˇs-si 6[DUMU.MEˇS kur]u´ -gari-

it i-du-ku-u´ -mi 7 [u` I]ar-sˇi-mi-ga u´ -nu-te-MESˇ -sˇu mi-im-ma

8 [sˇa lu´ ]DAM.GA` R sˇa i-na kuru´ -ga-ri-it 9 d`ı-i-ku u´ -ul u´ -sˇe-li u` LUGAL

10DI-sˇu-nu a-ka´n-na ip-ru-us ma-a Iar-sˇa-mi-ga 11 lu´DAM.GA` R sˇa

LUGAL kurtar-

˘

hu-da-aˇs-si 12 li-it-mi-ma ` u DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it

13mu-ul-la-a sˇa lu´DAM.GA` R sˇa-a-sˇu 14 sˇa i-na kuru´ -ga-ri-it d`ı-i-ku

15 li-ˇsal-li-mu i-na-an-na Iar-ˇsa-mi-ga 16 it-ta-ma ` u DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -

ga-ri-it 17 1 me-at 80 G´IN KUG.BABBAR mu-ul-la-a 18 a-na Iar-ˇsami-

ga ´IR ˇsa LUGAL kurtar-

˘

hu-da-asˇ-sˇi 19 u´ -sˇal-li-mu i-na EGIR-ki

UD-mi Iar-ˇsa-mi-ga 20 a-na mu

˘

h-

˘

hi DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it asˇ-sˇum

l ´ uDAM.G ` AR 21 ˇsa d`ı-i-ku la-a i-ra-gu-um 22 ` uDUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-riit

aˇs-ˇsum1ME 80G´IN KUG.BABBAR 23 mu-ul-li-ˇsu-nu a-na mu

˘

h-

˘

hi

Iar-ˇsa-mi-ga 24 la-a i-ra-gu-um ˇsa i-ra-gu-um 25 [t.]up-pu an-nu-u i-le-

’e-e-ˇsu

1–4 Before Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, Arshimiga, a merchant

[and] a servant of the king of Tarhudashshi, and the citizens of Ugarit

met in trial. 4–9 Arshimiga said as follows: “The citizens of Ugarit

killed a merchant of the king of Tarhudashshi.” Arshimiga had not

recovered any of the goods of the merchant who was killed in Ugarit.

9–15 The king decided their case as follows: “Arshimiga, merchant of

the king of Tarhudashshi, shall take an oath, and the citizens of Ugarit

shall pay the full compensation for that merchant who was killed in

Ugarit.” 15–19 Then Arshimiga took the oath, and the citizens of Ugarit

paid the full compensation of 180 shekels of silver to Arshimiga, servant

of the king of Tarhudashshi. 19–25 In the future, Arshimiga shall

not sue the citizens of Ugarit on account of the merchant who was

killed, and the citizens of Ugarit shall not sue Arshimiga on account

of the 180 shekels of silver of their compensatory payment. Whoever

does sue, this tablet will prevail against him.

RS 17.42

1 ISUM-dUTU-ga `IR LUGAL kurtar-

˘

hu-da-aˇs-ˇsi 2 [a-n]a DUMU.MEˇS

kuru´ -ga-ri-it a-ka´n-na iq-bi 3 [ma]-a SˇESˇ -ia lu´DAM.GA` R sˇa LUGAL

kurtar-

˘

hu-da-asˇ-sˇi 4 ta´ -du´ -ka-a u` u´ -nu-temesˇ mim-ma 5 sˇa SˇESˇ -

ˇsu ˇsa ISUM-dUTU ˇsa d`ı-i-ku 6 ISUM-dUTU iˇs-tu ˇ SU-ti DUMU.MEˇS

kur ´ u-ga-ri-it 7 la-a ´ u-ˇse-li DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it 8 ISUM-dUTU

u´ -tam-mu-u´ -ma 9 1ME 80 GI´N KUG.BABBAR mu-ul-la-a 10 sˇa SˇESˇ -

ia id-di-nu-uˇs-ˇsu 11 i-na EGIR-ki UD-mi 12 ISUM-dUTU aˇs-ˇsum ˇSEˇ S-

ˇsu 13 ˇsa d`ı-i-ku a-na mu

˘

h-

˘

hi 14DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it 15 la-a i-raag-

gu-um 16 ´ u DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it 17 [a]sˇ-sˇum 1 ME 80 GI´N

KUG.BABBAR 18 [m]u-ul-la-a ˇsa a-na ISUM-dUTU 19 [id]-d`ı-nu a-na

mu

˘

h-

˘

hi ISUM-dUTU 20 [la-a] i-ra-gu-mu 21 [ˇsa] i-ra-gu-umt.

up-pu annu-

u´ 22 [i]-le-’e-e-sˇu 23 za´KISˇ IB ISUM-dUTU za´KISˇ IB ISUM-dUTU

1–7 Arshimiga, a servant of the king of Tarhudashshi, said as follows

to the citizens of Ugarit: “You have killed my brother, a merchant

of the king of Tarhudashshi.” Arshimiga did not recover any of the

goods of the brother of Arshimiga who was killed from the hands

of the citizens of Ugarit. 7–10 The citizens of Ugarit made Arshimiga

swear an oath and gave him the full compensation of 180 shekels of

silver. 11–20 In the future, Arshimiga shall not sue the citizens of Ugarit

on account of his brother who was killed, and the citizens of Ugarit

shall not sue Arshimiga on account of the 180 shekels of silver of

their compensatory payment. 21–23 Whoever does sue, this tablet will

prevail against him. Seal of Arshimiga.

Arshimiga is not the actual brother of the victim, but he acts as the representative

for the merchants of the king of Tarhudashshi. It is not appropriate

for Arshimiga to make a claim on the actual killer, even if the identity of

the actual killer is known. Legal responsibility for the death of a foreigner

is assigned solely to the citizens of the country in which the homicide took

place.21 This is not to say that the killer would not be penalized in some

way by his fellow citizens. It is reasonable to assume that he would have to

reimburse his community, but holding the citizens of the country responsible

ensures that the payment would be made in any and all circumstances.

According to the treaties, the delegation from the victim’s country comes

to the country where the homicide occurred only when the killers have been

identified. However, it is not clear whether the legal records follow this

principle because the actual killer is named in only a single legal record.

In RS 17.229, Talimmu, a manager of foreign merchants, brings a claim in

Apsuna against the citizens of Apsuna because one of Talimmu’s merchants

was killed there:

RS 17.229

obv.

1 Ita-li-im-mu lu´DAM.GA` R 2 a-ka´n-na iq-bi 3ma-a lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` Ria

4 i-na uruap-s ´ u-na-a d`ı-ku8- ´ u-mi 5 ` u Ita-li-im-mu 6 it-ti DUMU.MEˇS

21Reuven Yaron, “Foreign Merchants at Ugarit,” Israel Law Review 4 (1969), 76.

uruap-su´ -u´ -na 7 a-na di-ni iq-ri-bu 8 di-na isˇ-ni-qu-u´ -ma 9 sˇa BE e-teep-

ˇsu 10 ` u DUMU.MEˇS uruap-su´ -u´ -na 11 1 GUN KUG.BABBAR

rev.

. . . 2 ur-r[a ˇse-ra] 3 ˇsum-ma Ita-l[im-mu] 4 tup-pu k´an-ku ˇsa [da-ki]

5 an-ni-i ˇsa ´ u-ˇse-el-la-a 6 i-b´a-aˇs-ˇsit.

up-pu an-nu-u´ 7 i-le-’e-e-sˇu

1–4Talimmu, the merchant, said as follows: “My merchants were

killed in Apsuna.” 5–8Talimmu with the citizens of Apsuna drew near

for judgment and engaged in legal proceedings. 9–11 Those who spilled

the blood and the citizens of Apsuna [will pay] 1 talent of silver . . .

rev. 2–7 In the future, if it happens that Talimmu does not produce a

sealed tablet about the murder, this tablet will prevail against him.

Although the killers appear to have been identified according to their mention

in line 9, Talimmu has traveled to Apsunu to make the claim. The citizens

of Apsuna as well as the killers are required to assume the responsibility to

pay one talent of silver.

According to two of the treaties, RS 17.146 and RS 18.115, if the killers

have not been identified, compensation for the death is paid but not compensation

for the missing property. According to the third treaty, RS 17.230,

compensation is to be made for both the death and the missing goods. The

single legal record that treats a case in which the killers have not been identified,

RS 20.22, notes that no compensation is to be paid at all.

40 u` asˇ-sˇum di-ni GEMEti 41 sˇa lu´mu-ut-sˇi it-ti DUMU I

˘

hu-ti-i[a] 42 ˇsa

i-na uruar-zi-ga-na i-du-ku 43 ˇsa t `aˇs-pu-ra i-na-an-na L ´ U.MEˇS uruarzi-

ga-na 44 i-na urua-ar-ru-wa li-it-mu-u´ 45 a-ka´n-na li-iq-bu-u´ ma-a

sˇum-ma 46 lu´mu-ut-sˇi sˇa GEME-ti 47 u` a´

˘ h

I `IR-a-na-tum 48 i-na URUlimni-

id-du4-ku 49 ia-nu-ma sˇa id-d[u4]-ku-sˇu 50 ni-de4-mi li-it-mu-u´ -

ma 51 [di]n?GEME-t´ım ˇsa-a-ˇsi qa-ta li-i-l[i] 52 ` u ˇsum-maDUMU.MEˇS

L ´ U.MEˇS uruar-zi-ga-na iˇs-tu ma-mi-ti 53 i[-n]a-a

˘

h-s[u´ ] u` ki-i [m]u-ulla-

a DUMU.MEˇS uruar-z[i-g]a-na 54 a-naDUMUI

˘

hu-t[i]-ia um-tal-lu-

u´ u` a-na GEME-ti sˇ[a-a-sˇi] 55mu-[u]l-la-a a-n[a SˇU-sˇi u` ] lu-u´ -[m]a´ l-

[li-ni-ˇsi]22

40–43 Regarding the matter of the woman’s husband who was killed in

Arzigana [and the matter of] the son of

˘

Hutiya [who was also killed

there]23 about which you wrote: 43–51Now, let the people of Arzigana

take an oath and let them say, “We have not killed the husband of

22P.-R. Berger, “Zu den ‘akkadischen’ Briefen Ugaritica V,” Ugarit Forschungen 2 (1987), 287.

23Although the text is somewhat ambigous as to whether

˘

Hutiya or his son was the one slain,

it is clear from the reference to the compensation paid to the son of

˘

Hutiya that

˘

Hutiya was

the one killed in Arzigana, not the son. Otherwise, the son would not be alive to accept the

payment.

this woman, the brother of Abdianatum, nor do we know who killed

him.” 52–55 If the sons of the men of Arzigana withdraw from the

oath, they will pay to that woman the same amount the people of

Arzigana paid to the son of

˘

Hutiya.

The oath alone is sufficient to release the people of Arzigana from the obligation.

As assumed by the three treaties, the oath is a formal requirement for

the completion of the case in the legal records. There is no mention of any

requirement that either physical evidence, such as a corpse, or testimony

from witnesses to the crime be produced.

The remedy for the homicide is conceived solely in financial terms. The

treaties differ on the compensation to be paid.24 In RS 17.146 and 18.115,

the compensation for each decedent is three minas. In RS 17.230, triple compensation

for each victim is prescribed, but the specific amount is not given.

In RS 17.146, when the killers have not been identified, compensation for

missing property is not to be paid,25 whereas in RS 17.230, simple compensation

is the rule for missing property.26 The amounts mentioned in the

legal records differ from the ones recorded in the treaties as well as from

each other. The compensation for the death of the merchant of the king of

Tarhudashshi, according to RS 17.158 and 17.42, is 180 shekels of silver. In

RS 17.145, the people of Ugarit pay 1,200 shekels of silver. The penalty in

RS 17.229 is one talent of silver. These amounts may depend on details of

the homicide or of the status of the victim that are not recorded in the documents

we have. Moreover, the fact that we have three treaties between the

24These three texts do not appear to be copies of the same treaty. While RS 17.230 contains

a fragment of a treaty between Carchemish and Ugarit, it is not the same treaty as RS 17.146

or 18.115 because the wording and content of its provisions are very different. RS 17.146 and

18.115 overlap far more. Nonetheless, they, too, are not identical.

25RS 18.115 is broken at the points where the compensation for missing property would have

been mentioned.

26At first glance, it may appear that RS 17.146 and 17.230 are addressing different kinds of

cases. RS 17.146 specifies that the killers are not identified, while RS 17.230 specifies that the

killers are not seen. Does this mean that there are no witnesses who can identify them and,

therefore, they are not known? Or is it, rather, that the killers have been identified but have not

been seen and located and, therefore, have not been arrested? The first possibility appears to

be the more plausible because of the varied terminology in RS 18.115. The case in which the

slayers are not arrested is described in the following terms in the third treaty, RS 18.115: lines

12–13, “If they are in possession of the body of a man but do not arrest those who killed him,”

and lines 27–28, “If the citizens of the land of Carchemish do not take away the men who killed

them [the merchants from Carchemish] from the citizens of Ugarit.” In neither case is the fact

that the killers have not been identified mentioned. Although it might be extrapolated that the

killers are known but have not been arrested or extradited for some reason, the oath to be taken

according to RS 18.115 specifies that the killers are not known to the citizens of the country in

which the slayings happened. Therefore, it is improper to posit that these treaties are dealing

with different kinds of cases. The treaties deal with only two cases: 1) The killers are known

and have been arrested, and 2) the killers are not known and, therefore, cannot be arrested.

same countries with differing amounts of compensation may reflect a dispute

over the appropriate amount: It may be speculated that new treaties were

negotiated in order to solve the diplomatic impasse over compensation since

the amounts of compensation were not standardized.27 There was no call

for the execution of the killer. There was no requirement that the merchants

who were in the service of a foreign king be replaced by equivalent personnel.

This is striking in light of the legal records RS 17.25128 and 17.337,29

which record the substitution of servants in the case of kidnapping, embodying

a concept of the fungibility of persons as compensation. In the case of

homicide, however, only monetary compensation is required.

In contrast to the treaties, the legal records recount that the cases are

brought before an outside party. In RS 17.299, the case of Qadidu against

the citizens of

˘

Halpi-rapshi is brought to trial before Baba.30 In addition,

Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, presides over a number of trials. Thus, in

RS 17.145, Aballa and the citizens of Ugarit appear before Ini-Teshub. The

trial recorded in RS 17.158 and 17.42, treating the death of a merchant in

the service of the king of Tarhudashshi in Ugarit, does not take place in either

Ugarit or Tarhudashshi but before Ini-Teshub in Carchemish.

It is likely that the outside party was selected because of his political or

social power to enforce the judgment. This was the case with Ini-Teshub, who

possessed political power in the region. After the conquest of Carchemish by

Suppiluliuma I, who installed his son Piyassili (throne name Sharrikushuh)

as king, the kings of Carchemish acted as the Hittite viceroys of Syria. Their

power in relationship to the Hittite empire can be illustrated in the legal

documents found at both Ugarit and Boghazkoy.31 These legal texts are

drafted as judgments or contracts made by kings and ratified by their seals: In

27Unfortunately, these treaties are not dated and, therefore, we cannot reconstruct the negotiations.

28Text: DO 4641 = Ras es-Shamra 17.251. Publication: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal dUgarit

IV/II, plate XXXIII; Ugaritica 3 (1956), 41, fig. 55. Transliteration and translation: Nougayrol,

Le Palais Royal dUgarit IV/I, 236–237.

29Text: DO 4678 = Ras es-Shamra 17.337. Publication: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal dUgarit

IV/II, plate XLVI. Transliteration and translation: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal dUgarit IV/I,

168–169

30Baba’s status is not mentioned in this tablet, nor can it be determined from other sources,

since he is not mentioned elsewhere.

31J. D. Hawkins, “Karkamiˇs,” RLA 5.430. On the power of the king of Carchemish vis- ` a-vis

the Hittite king, see also Hawkins, “Kuzi – teˇsub and the ‘Great Kings’ of Karkamiˇs,” Anatolian

Studies 38 (1988), 99–108, esp. 104, nn. 27 and 28, and “‘Great Kings’ and ‘Country-Lords’ at

Malatya and Karkamiˇs,” in Studio Historiae Ardens: Ancient Near Eastern Studies Presented to

Philo H. J. ten Cate on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday (ed. Theo van den Hout and Johan de

Roos, Uitgaven van het Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Instanbul 74; Leiden:

Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Instanbul, 1995), 73–85. As a reflection of

Ini-teˇsub’s power, it is to be noticed that while the titles “Great King, Hero,” (LUGAL.GAL

qarr¯adu) were reserved for the Hittite king, Ini-teshub occasionally assumes the title “Hero,”

qarr¯adu. Cf. RS 17.352.3, 17.68.4, 17.108.3 (PRU IV/I, 121, 164ff). Even a minor case of theft

some, the Hittite king takes the lead and the king of Carchemish assumes

the secondary role; in some, they act together without any clear distinction

between overlord and viceroy; and in others, the king of Carchemish acts

on his own authority. Presenting a case to a higher authority is simply not

an issue in the treaties because of the status of one of the signatories, Ini-

Teshub, the king of Carchemish.32 There is no one of greater prominence

in the region. To say it in another way, the Syrian vassals apparently had to

go through Carchemish; they could not avoid the viceroy of Carchemish by

making a direct appeal to the Hittite sovereign.

The legal records also show that the parties to a case may come to an

agreement outside of court even when a decision has already been rendered.

In RS 17.145, Aballa, the manager of a group of foreign merchants,33 has

made a claim against the citizens of Ugarit because one of the merchants in

his charge was killed in Ugarit:

1 a-na pa-ni Ii-ni-dtesˇub LUGAL kurkar-ga-misˇ 2 Ia-bal-la-a u`

DUMU.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it 3 a-na di-ni isˇ-ni-qu Ia-bal-la-a 4 a-ka´n-na

iq-bi ma-a lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R sˇa SˇU-ia 5 i-na kuru´ -ga-ri-it d`ı-ku-u-mi

u` LUGAL DI.<KU5>-sˇu-nu 6 a-ka´n-na ip-ru-us ma-a Ia-bal-la-a liit-

ma-mi 7 ` u L ´ U.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it mu-ul-la-a 8 sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R

a-na Ia-bal-la-a 9 li-ma-al-lu-mi Ia-bal-la-a ` u L ´ U.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it

10 i-na bi-ri-sˇu-nu im-ta´g-ru u` Ia-bal-la-a 11 isˇ-tu ma-mi-ti ut-te-erru

L ´ U.MEˇS kur ´ u-ga-ri-it 12 1 li-im 2 me-at G´IN KUG.BABBAR.MEˇS

a-na Ia-bal-la-a 13 um-te-el-lu-u´ i-na EGIR UD-mi 14 Ia-bal-la-a asˇ-

sˇum mu-ul-li-i sˇa lu´ .mesˇDAM.GA` R 15 a-na mu

˘

h-

˘

hi L ´ U.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-riit

16 la-a i-ra-gu-um ` u L ´ U.MEˇS kuru´ -ga-ri-it 17 asˇ-sˇum 1 li-im 2 me-a[t

KUG.BABBAR] a-na mu

˘

h-

˘

hi 18 Ia-bal-la-a la-a [i-ra-gu-m]u 19 ˇsa i-ragu-

umt.

[up]-p[u a]n-nu-u´ 20 i-le-’e-e-sˇu

1–3 Before Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, Aballa and the citizens of

Ugarit engaged in legal proceedings. 3–5 Aballa said as follows: “Merchants

in my charge were killed in Ugarit.” 5–9 The king decided their

case as follows: “Let Aballa take an oath, and the people of Ugarit

shall [then] pay in full the compensation for the merchants to Aballa.”

9–10 Aballa and the people of Ugarit came to an agreement. 10–11 They

released Aballa from the imprecatory oath. 11–13 The people of Ugarit

paid Aballa in full 1,200 shekels of silver. 13–18 In the future, Aballa

shall not sue the people of Ugarit on account of the compensation for

by a foreign merchant in Ugarit must be tried before Ini-Teshub in Carchemish, not locally in

Ugarit (Yaron, “Foreign Merchants at Ugarit,” 79).

32Ini-Teshub’s higher status has no effect upon his countrymen’s duty to pay compensation.

The rights and responsibilities of his country and of Ugarit are equal. Only in the matter of

form, not susbstantive law, is Ini-Teshub given prominence. Cf. Yaron, “Foreign Merchants at

Ugarit,” 76.

33Their country of origin is not specified.

the merchants, and the people of Ugarit shall not sue Aballa on account

of the 1,200 shekels. 19–20 Whoever sues, this tablet will prevail

against him.

Ini-Teshub has rendered a verdict, putting pressure on the two parties to settle

out of court. Aballa and the citizens of Ugarit then came to an agreement,

forestalling the need for Aballa to take an oath. However, the citizens of

Ugarit do agree to pay 1,200 shekels of silver as per Ini-Teshub’s order. It is

unclear why the citizens of Ugarit would release Aballa from the oath if they

would have to pay compensation in any case.34

Documentation was important. Many texts conclude ˇsa iraggum t.uppu

annuˆ ileesˇu, “whoever does sue, this tablet will prevail against him” (RS

17.234, 17.158, 17.42, 17.145, 17.337). Indeed, RS 17.229 shows that a

tablet could abrogate other tablets. RS 17.229 specifies that (rev. 2–7) ur-ra

sˇe-ra sˇum-ma Ita-l[im-mu] .tup-pu kan-ka sˇa [da-ki] an-ni-i sˇa u -sˇe-el-la-a iba

-asˇ-sˇi .tup-pu an-nu-u i-le-e-e-sˇu, “In the future, if [in regard to] Talimmu,

there is a sealed tablet about the murder which he [is able to] produce, this

tablet will prevail against him.” RS 17.229 negates the possibility that another

tablet pertaining to the homicide may be produced: It takes precedence

over any other tablet (possibly forged?) that purports to record a settlement

of the case. In addition, the legal records do provide evidence for legal procedures

that could produce multiple documents. RS 17.158 and 17.42 are

two documents that deal with the same case, the homicide of a merchant of

the king of Tarhudashshi in the land of Ugarit. RS 17.158 records the verdict

of the judge, Ini-Teshub, and contains the impression of his seal. RS 17.42

is a record of the discharge of the obligation of the citizens of Ugarit and

contains the seal impression of Arshimiga, the representative of the king of

Tarhudashshi, who received the payment. These two tablets were deposited

in the archives at Ugarit. The corresponding tablet with the seal of the citizens

of Ugarit was probably taken by Arshimiga back to Tarhudashshi and

deposited in the archives there.

Let us sum up what we have seen in the texts from Ugarit. The legal

process prescribed by the treaties is congruent with, but does not overlap, the

process reflected in the legal records. First, corporate responsibility in both

sets of texts is assumed by the place in which the slaying was committed. It is

so pervasive that it is the rule even when the killers have been identified and

apprehended. Despite the fact that an individual actually dealt the fatal blow,

it is a corporate body that assumes the debt and pays. Second, the remedy for

homicide is financial compensation, not the execution of the killer. Third,

the taking of an oath is an indispensable element in validating the claim.

34It is possible that the 1,200 shekels might be less than the amount they would otherwise be

obliged to pay. Unfortunately, this text does not indicate how many merchants were killed and,

therefore, we cannot compare the amount paid according to this text to the amounts mentioned

in the other texts from Ugarit.

However, an outsider presided over the cases in the legal records, whereas

the treaties did not require this provision because the individual with the

most political power in the region was a party to the treaty. It would be an

infringement on him to submit his case to a lesser figure.

In the international documents from Ugarit, the killer’s community takes

the initiative in assuming corporate responsibility.35 A similar principle informs

one statute in the Laws of Hammurapi and one in the Hittite Laws.

Statute 24 in the Laws of Hammurapi provides for the case in which the

killer has not been arrested. The mandate here is that if a person is killed in

the course of a robbery, the city and governor must pay sixty shekels to the

victim’s kinsman if the robber is not arrested. It appears that the communal

authorities must discharge the obligation to the family against whom the act

of killing was perpetrated when the killer himself cannot be apprehended.

Otherwise, in Mesopotamia, legal institutions managed the affairs of individuals.

The same kind of corporate responsibility is evident in the Hittite

Laws as well. The responsibility for paying compensation is imputed to the

person on whose land the homicide occurred:

HL 6

If a person, man or woman, is killed in another[?] city, [the victim’s

heir] shall deduct 12,000 square meters [ = 3 acres] from the land of

the person on whose property the person was killed and shall take it

for himself.

This statute was later emended:

Late version of 6

If a man is found killed on another person’s property, if he is a

free man, [the property owner] shall give his property, house and

60 shekels of silver. But if [the dead person] is a woman, [the property

owner] shall give [no property, but] 120 shekels of silver. But if

[the place where the dead body was found] is not [private] property,

but open uncultivated country, they shall measure 3 DANNA’s in

all directions, and whatever village is determined [to lie within that

radius], he shall take those very [inhabitants of the village]. If there

is no town/village, [the heir of the deceased] shall forfeit [his claim].

This extraordinarily high penalty for a village – the confiscation of the entire

town – may have been intended to prevent the inhabitants of the villages

from shielding their own.36 Despite the presence of corporate responsibility

35A parallel concept is reflected in Deut 21:1–9, where in the case of the killer not being

identified, the elders of the town closest to the spot in which the corpse was found perform a

ceremony in which they deny any involvement in the slaying.

36Hoffner, The Laws of the Hittites, 174.

in Babylonian and Hittite law,37 it was never expanded to the national

level. The concept of corporate responsibility on the part of the territory

in which the homicide occurred is not reflected in either EA 8 or CTH 172.

The kings whose men have been killed must take the initiative to protect

their citizens abroad and force a foreign government to comply with their

demands.

In EA 8 and CTH 172, in which a citizen of one territory is killed in

another, the law of one political entity is set over and against that of another.

One ruler attempts to impose the law of his realm upon another, and the

only way he can do so is by diplomatic means. This contrasts with the documents

from Ugarit, where the areas under Hittite hegemony share certain

legal concepts and institutions, such as corporate responsibility, compensation

as the appropriate remedy for homicide, and an oath as an indispensable

element of the legal process, not recognized between Babylonia and

Egypt or between Babylonia and the Hittite empire. Yet even this shared

set of legal procedures and principles must either be specified in a treaty

or invoked by appealing to an overlord with enough influence to impose a

settlement.

International law, in the sense of law that states feel obliged to observe,38

which has evolved after a long historical process, does not appear to have

existed, but that which might best be called interterritorial or interstate law

did. Each territory had its own law, but in the case of a citizen killed in

a foreign territory, the law of one territory might be contradicted by that

of another. In some cases, the leaders of the territories involved attempted

to devise ad hoc resolutions to a particular situation.39 Sometimes the disjunction

could not be resolved, as in CTH 172. However, where there was

37Although one could object that the laws and the letters are not close in date, it should be noted

that while the Laws of Hammurapi was written 500 years before these letters, it was extant in

many copies for over a millennium, and that the new version of the Hittite Laws dates from

the same period of Hittite history, the New Hittite period (the New Hittite recension dates from

ca. 1350 to ca. 1200 b.c.e.), as these letters.

38Cf. J. G. Starke, Introduction to International Law (10th edition; London: Butterworths,

1989), 3–6, 18–20.

39The attempts of one country to impose its law on another persist in contemporary times.

A case making headlines at the time this book was being written is that of an American convicted

of murdering his lover in the United States who escaped from there and was captured

in France twenty years later. The French authorities insisted that French law regarding capital

punishment be applied to his case in the United States in order for him to be extradited

from France to the United States. Cf. Steven C. Kiernan, “Extradition of a Convicted

Killer: The Ira Einhorn Case,” Suffolk Transnational Law Review 24 (2001): 353–385. A

recent case in which foreign authorities have attempted to apply elements of another system

of law in their own court as a response to the demands of another government is treated

in Renee Lettow Lerner, “The Intersection of Two Systems: An American on Trial for an

American Murder in the French Cour D’Assizes,” University of Illinois Law Review 2001:

791–856.

a power that held sway over the territories involved, this power could be

called upon to adjudicate a specific dispute between them, similar to forced

arbitration. In other cases, these territories followed a specific set of procedures

agreed apon in advance by the parties involved. This set of procedures

operated like a contract between the territories for their exclusive use, rather

than commonly accepted international law the parties felt constrained to

follow.