By Isaac Mendelsohn
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Additional info for Slavery in the Ancient Near East
P. ' The meaning of BI is as yet unknown but it is evident from the verb gaz 'to break' that the BI must have been a tag of clay or metal that was broken after Ishtarutar was manumitted. The phrase is found in another manumission document (BE VI* 8:7), dated in the reign of Rim-Sin. ' Further evidence of the wearing of tags by slaves comes from Nuzi. "' The other case is that of a slave who had been stolen and sold into a foreign country. 6* Olive-shaped tags of clay pressed on the knot or the edge of a cord and tied around the neck or horns of animals as identification marks were widely used in Ancient Babylonia.
By the king he has sworn Beginning with the Sargonid period, slave-sale documents often contain the bukannu (Sumerian: gis-gan-na) clause. The exact meaning of this term is as yet not clear. It was undoubtedly a symbolical act consisting of the seller's handing over some kind of object to the buyer and thus legalizing the act of transfer of the sold commodity. Following are a few examples of slave-sale documents containing the bukannu clause from the Sargonid period, from the Third Dynasty of Ur, and from Larsa: ITT 11040 1.
2. 3. 4. 5. One male slave Shesh-dingirmu by name, for his price five and one-half shekels of silver 6. was paid. 7. A b u . . 36 SLAVERY IN T H E NEAR EAST Break. Date. RV 51 Obv. 1. 1 sag nita 2. lu-dsin 3. mu-ni-im 4. nig-sam-ma-ni 5. ) gin kù-babbar Break. Rev. 1. i-[si]-la 2. d en . . ma ( ? ) -ka-sè 10 3. mu lugal in-pà10 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. One male slave Lu-Sin by name, his price four [ ? ] shekels of silver [X] 1. has paid. 2. . 3. By the king he has sworn Beginning with the Sargonid period, slave-sale documents often contain the bukannu (Sumerian: gis-gan-na) clause.