Being a scholar in Babylonia during the second half of the 1st millennium BC

Marie Young – Heidelberg / Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne

This paper aims to present an overview of my Ph.D. research started in October 2016. I try to figure out how the social function of the scholars in the Babylonian society evolve during the second half of the 1st millennium under different dynasties. Which image have the scholars of themselves? Does their position in the society evolve?To answer these questions, I’m surveying the colophons and the economics or law texts of this period who mentions the different professional specialised in the Mesopotamian knowledge (the exorcist āšipu, the astronomer/astrologer, ṭupšar Enūma Anu Enlil, and the lamentation-priest, kalû). Some scholars from the colophons appeared in archives. Thus, we can link their official career to their scholarly activities.  I want to present the results of this survey with a method based on the elaboration of a database analyse and with a precise example: the archive of the descendants of the Absummu. These texts give us an excellent example to understand the everyday life of an exorcist in a town of local importance in the Achaemenid Period. Ninurta-ahhe-bullit, one of the descendants of Absummu, was a brewer in the Ekur of the city of Nippur and he manages the date production of the temple, the cereal trade, and the cattle. He also wrote precise medicine recipes and list of stone-amulets. It is one of a lot of precious proof about the multi-talented life of the scholars during the second half of the first millennium BC in Babylonia.