Jonathan S. Tenney (Near East Studies)

Recipients: 

Jonathan S. Tenney (Near East Studies)

Project Title: 
Research Group for Middle Babylonian Documentation, Economy, and Population
Project Abstract: 
This long-term project is an effort to collect, document, and harmonize the Middle Babylonian written record (1595-1155 B.C.), especially bureaucratic sources, and to quantify the economic and demographic data they contain so that modern statistical measures and models may be applied. Existing partial data bases will be expanded so that they may be queried about a number of questions of socio-economic import; including, but not limited to, rates of inflation or deflation, changes in monetary standards, the amount of tax revenue and government spending, the values of exported goods, wages, debt and whether any of these experienced chronological fluctuations. Questions regarding Babylonian society, most notably those pertaining to ethnic minorities and women, will be considered. It is known that forced labor strained social institutions (marriage, childbirth), and this effort will seek information about what made large-scale bondage necessary, how integral it was to the entire economy, and whether (and why) certain members of the population were at greater risk of servitude. Iraq at this time was controlled by a dynasty of foreign origin. Under the hegemony of these nonnative monarchs, the region experienced its longest period of peace and internal prosperity; and it is an additional goal of this project to explore how this centralization was affected, and how the native Babylonians incorporated this fact into their historical memory.