Greetings formulas in the Old Babylonian letters ana šapirīya and ana bēlīya

Izabela Nowak, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan

Greetings formulas were elective part of Old Babylonian letters. They can be found in the formal letters as well as in the private correspondence. However, the way Old Babylonian letters were constructed does not always clearly indicate to whom the message was sent. Greetings formulas appearance or absence can be seen as an important indication of who exactly was the addressee of the letter. Sometimes it can also imply who was the sender. It is important especially when addressee is specified only by general name. Length of the greetings formulas as well as the gods specified in formulas are interesting matter that can help setting the facts such as location of sender, location of addressee, occupation of both parties and finally sometimes distinguish formal letters from private.

The aim of this paper is to show what kind of formulas can be found in Old Babylonian letters ana šapirīya and ana bēlīya, and then compare the results with the main subject of each letter under discussion. Here, among the others, statistical method will be in use. Deliberations will revolve around possible reasons of why sometimes formulas are very short and why the other time greetings are very complex or even personal. Also appearance of specific god’s names will be taken under consideration.

Conclusions will be focusing on comparison of all factors together, such as length of the greetings, gods that were chosen and possible occupation of sender and addressee.