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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 rati¬ed by their seals: In

27 Unfortunately, these treaties are not dated and, therefore, we cannot reconstruct the negoti-
28 Text: DO 4641 = Ras es-Shamra 17.251. Publication: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal d™Ugarit

IV/II, plate XXXIII; Ugaritica 3 (1956), 41, ¬g. 55. Transliteration and translation: Nougayrol,
Le Palais Royal d™Ugarit IV/I, 236“237.
29 Text: DO 4678 = Ras es-Shamra 17.337. Publication: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal d™Ugarit

IV/II, plate XLVI. Transliteration and translation: Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal d™Ugarit IV/I,
30 Baba™s status is not mentioned in this tablet, nor can it be determined from other sources,

since he is not mentioned elsewhere.
31 J. D. Hawkins, “Karkamiˇ ,” RLA 5.430. On the power of the king of Carchemish vis-a-vis `
the Hittite king, see also Hawkins, “Kuzi “ teˇ ub and the ˜Great Kings™ of Karkamiˇ ,” Anatolian
s s
Studies 38 (1988), 99“108, esp. 104, nn. 27 and 28, and “˜Great Kings™ and ˜Country-Lords™ at
Malatya and Karkamiˇ ,” 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 re¬‚ection of
Ini-teˇ ub™s power, it is to be noticed that while the titles “Great King, Hero,” (LUGAL.GAL
qarradu) were reserved for the Hittite king, Ini-teshub occasionally assumes the title “Hero,”
qarradu. 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:
a-na pa-ni I i-ni-d teˇ ub LUGAL kur kar-ga-miˇ 2 I a-bal-la-a u `
s s
ˇ kur 3 I 4
´ ´
DUMU.MES u-ga-ri-it a-na di-ni iˇ -ni-qu a-bal-la-a a-kan-na
lu.meˇs 5 kur
iq-bi ma-a DAM.GAR sa SU-ia i-na u-ga-ri-it d`-ku-u-mi
u LUGAL DI.<KU5 >-ˇ u-nu a-kan-na ip-ru-us ma-a a-bal-la-a li-
6 I
` ´
´ ˇ kur u-ga-ri-it mu-ul-la-a 8 sa lu.meˇ DAM.GAR `
` ´
it-ma-mi u LU.MES
`´ ˇ
a-na I a-bal-la-a 9 li-ma-al-lu-mi I a-bal-la-a u LU.MES kur u-ga-ri-it ´
10 I 11
´ `
i-na bi-ri-ˇ u-nu im-tag-ru u a-bal-la-a iˇ -tu ma-mi-ti ut-te-er-
s s
´ ˇ kur u-ga-ri-it 12 1 li-im 2 me-at GIN KUG.BABBAR.MES
´ ˇ
a-na I a-bal-la-a 13 um-te-el-lu-u i-na EGIR UD-mi 14 I a-bal-la-a aˇ -
´ s
` 15 a-na muh-hi LU.MES kur u-ga-ri-
´ ˇ
ˇ ˇ ´
sum mu-ul-li-i sa DAM.GAR
ˇ kur u-ga-ri-it 17˜aˇ -ˇ um 1 li-im 2 me-a[t
it la-a i-ra-gu-um u LU.MES ´
` s
18 I
a-bal-la-a la-a [i-ra-gu-m]u 19 sa i-ra-ˇ
KUG.BABBAR] a-na muh-hi
˜ 20 i-le-™e-e-ˇ u
gu-um t[up]-p[u a]n-nu-u s
Before Ini-Teshub, king of Carchemish, Aballa and the citizens of
Ugarit engaged in legal proceedings. 3“5 Aballa said as follows: “Mer-
chants 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.”
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).
32 Ini-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.
33 Their country of origin is not speci¬ed.

the merchants, and the people of Ugarit shall not sue Aballa on ac-
count 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 sa iraggum . uppu t
annu ile”eˇ u, “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 speci¬es that (rev. 2“7) ur-ra
se-ra sum-ma I ta-l[im-mu] . up-pu kan-ka sa [da-ki] an-ni-i sa u-ˇ e-el-la-a i-
ˇ ˇ ´ ˇ ˇ ´s
´ ss t ´
ba-aˇ -ˇ i . up-pu an-nu-u i-le-e-e-ˇ u, “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 an-
other 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 pro-
cedures 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 citi-
zens 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 re¬‚ected 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 identi¬ed 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 ¬nancial compensation, not the execution of the killer. Third,
the taking of an oath is an indispensable element in validating the claim.

34 Itis 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 ¬gure.
In the international documents from Ugarit, the killer™s community takes
the initiative in assuming corporate responsibility.35 A similar principle in-
forms 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 indi-
viduals. 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 prop-
erty 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 con¬scation 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

35 A parallel concept is re¬‚ected in Deut 21:1“9, where in the case of the killer not being
identi¬ed, 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.
36 Hoffner, 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 re¬‚ected 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
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 doc-
uments from Ugarit, where the areas under Hittite hegemony share certain
legal concepts and institutions, such as corporate responsibility, compensa-
tion as the appropriate remedy for homicide, and an oath as an indispens-
able 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 speci¬ed in a treaty
or invoked by appealing to an overlord with enough in¬‚uence to impose a
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 dis-
junction could not be resolved, as in CTH 172. However, where there was

37 Although one could object that the laws and the letters are not close in date, it should be noted


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