Grants of Land and Tax Exemption

We have included in Chapters 1-3 all grants of land and tax exemption made by Assyrian kings, lumping together the three categories of land grants distinguished by Postgate, NARGD, p.2. There are clearly two major types of royal grants involved here: grants of land and/or tax exemption to individuals as a reward for faithful service (Postgate's category 1) and grants of land as endowments to temples (Postgate's categories 2 and 3). In the following discussion these two groups will be referred to as private grants and temple grants respectively and grants of land and/or tax exemption will simply be called land grants or simply grants. Presenting these groups together creates no problems so long as they are grouped under the kings who made them as there is very little overlap between the two types for each king (see Table I). In fact, only for Adad-nerari III are both types attested, although the fragmentary nature of the corpus makes this hardly a certainty. In any case this is surely only an accident of discovery since the inscriptions of Sargon and Esarhaddon inform us that tablets of exemption were well known, [[24]] and the letter SAA 10 173 refers to a grant made 14 years earlier by the father of the king, who must have been Esarhaddon. Quite simply, presenting all land grants together eliminates the necessity for dealing with finer points of classification in the case of fragmentary pieces.

The land grants span the time from the reign of Adad-nerari III (beginning of the 8th century) to that of Aššur-etel-ilani (around 627 B.C) and distinct developments in the institution can be seen over this lengthy period. Because of this historical perspective, the discussion of these texts will be given in a historical framework, presenting each grant under the ruler who made it, capped off by a brief discussion of the unattributed pieces.

24 Cf. above, nos. 4 and 5.

Laura Kataja & Robert Whiting

Laura Kataja & Robert Whiting, 'Grants of Land and Tax Exemption', Grants, Decres and Gifts of the Neo-Assyrian Period, SAA 12. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1995; online contents: SAAo/SAA12 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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