University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > "Whatever they (weigh) will be given to him in plenty”: Commemorative Objects as Expression of Mercantile Religious Identities in the Ancient Near East

"Whatever they (weigh) will be given to him in plenty”: Commemorative Objects as Expression of Mercantile Religious Identities in the Ancient Near East

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Throughout the history of Mesopotamian commemorative practice, individuals often included their professional title such as scribe, temple administrator, merchant, etc. within their inscription and thus signaled their social status and social network in their message to the god(s) and, perhaps even their peers. This paper will focus on the commemorative inscriptions and dedicatory practices of one such professional group that is highly represented in commemorative inscriptions of the third and second millennia: the merchant (dam-gàr/tamkārum). Through a holistic analysis of the textual content, material, object type, and archaeological context of these inscribed objects, we can better understand the merchants’ access to raw materials, access to the temple, and relationships with other professional groups, officials, and the royal family. Furthermore, one can explore how understand how merchants viewed themselves with regards to their work and how that work shaped their access to, and ways of communicating, with the divine. These mercantile dedicatory and commemorative practices will be discussed within the larger framework of greater religious beliefs and practices that intersected with the professional lifeways of merchants as well as extant knowledge on the social status and networks of these highly connected and mobile people in the ancient Near East.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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