– a house of 20 reeds: for 26 m white silver
– a field of 0;3 on the canal of the kurgarrûs: sold for 1 m 20 š silver
– a date garden of 0;2.3 kurru, of which 0;1.2 is arable land, in Bīt-arahtu: sold for 3 m of silver
– a date garden of 0;0.4 in Parak-tū’ami: sold for ½ m silver
– 8 single date palm trees: sold for 10 š silver
– a date garden of 0;3 in front of the gate towards the swamps: sold for 6 m silver
– a plot of 0;1.2 on which 20 date palm trees can be elevated, on the canal of the qīpu: sold for 16 š of silver
– a date garden of 0;3.2 in Iddin-Amurru: sold for 5 m 20 š white silver
– a date garden of 0;1.1: sold for 20 š silver of nu[hhutu quality (?)]; the field that Murašû entrusted
– 4 sheep of the irregular offerings in front of Sutītu: sold for 2 m white silver
– 2 hulamēšu sheep of month I in front of Nanāya of Ehuršaba: sold for 22 š silver
– 2 hulamēšu of month XI in Babylon and Kish: sold ‹for› 19 š white silver
– meat cuts (maššaktu) of beef, mutton, fowl and lamb in front of Nergal: sold for 1 m white silver
– 3 x bowls of malītu flour in front of the Lords: sold for 5 š white silver
– fŠār-Ninlil-ṭāb, slave woman of Nabû-uṣuršu: sold for 3 m 13 š silver
– Ṣibā: sold for 3½ m silver
– 2 days of month VI: sold for 7 š white silver
In total: 50 m 8 š white silver.
15-IX-20; the account is made.
BM 26576 records a sizeable sale of 17 items of property for nearly a talent of silver. The assets sold include real estate (a house, a piece of arable land, six plots of date palm gardens and eight single date palm trees) as well as movable property (the right to sacrificial sheep at three festivals, the blood offerings to Nergal at an unspecified moment of the year, a number of flour offerings to the Lords, two slaves and two prebend days). This list gives a very good picture of the variety of assets that can be found in the property portfolio of Babylonian priests. Although the name of the seller is not mentioned, we have no difficulty to identify him as Rēmūt-Nabû/Nabû-mukīn-zēri/Rē’i-alpi since nearly all the items in the list are known to have belonged to him or his father prior to Dar 20.
1. Rēmūt-Nabû had acquired the field at the kurgarrû-canal (item 2 on the list) as part of his wife fAhattu’s dowry in Dar 01. In the dowry text (BM 82609, Roth 1989 no. 22), it was described as an orchard, but as the size and location are the same, there can be no doubt that BM 26576 deals with the same piece of land.
2. The date grove with arable land at the Arahtu canal (item 3 on the list) was bought by Rēmūt-Nabû for 4 m silver from Dadia/Bunānu/Ibni-Adad in Dar 03 (BM 26623, BM 82619, BM 26610, BM 82713, EAH 215; it was a complicated affair, as can be seen in the number of tablets involved).
3. The date grove in Parak-tū’ami (item 4 on the list) was bought by Rēmūt-Nabû for 1 m 1 š silver from Ša-Nabû-šū/Sîn-iddin in Dar 12 (BM 26510). Rēmūt-Nabû incurred some delays in paying the price of this property (BM 82733, BM 94540).
4. The date grove at the gate facing the swamps (item 6) was probably the dowry field of Rēmūt-Nabû’s mother. Several tablets in the Rē’i-alpi archive deal with this property (it is sometimes referred to as hanšû Mubannû, after the hanšû to which it belonged,): BM101980//BM 82607, BM 26514, BM 26492//BE 8 108, BM 94628, all dating from Dar 05 and Dar 06. The property is last attested in the hands of Rēmūt-Nabû in Dar 09 when he pledged it for ⅚ m silver (BM 82728).
5. The plot of 0;1.2 kurru located on the canal of the qīpu (item 7) is known from a number of contracts drafted between Rēmūt-Nabû and his tenants dated between Dar 15 and Dar 18 (BM 26524, BM 26527, BM 94675).
6. The 0;3.2 (or half) kurru orchard in Iddin-Amurru (item 8) was acquired by Rēmūt-Nabû’s father in Dar 00 (BM 94546) in exchange for three slaves. Together with a fourth one, these slaves were worth about 7 m of silver, as we know from an earlier sales record (BM102007). This corresponds well with the high price that Rēmūt-Nabû received for the plot in our text.
7. The various sacrificial sheep (items 10-12) are attested in various tablets of the Rē’i-alpi arhive, see §3.4.
8. The meat cuts from the offerings to Nergal (item 13) were bought by Rēmūt-Nabû’s father in Camb 06 for 1 m 40 š silver (BM 82714 no. 164).
9. The malītu bowls before the Lords (item 14) are mentioned as property of Rēmūt-Nabû’s father in Dar 05 (BM 28872 no. 179). They temporarily came into possession of a cousin but Rēmūt-Nabû gained them back in Dar 07 (BM 26494 no. 183 and duplicates).
10. The slave woman fŠār-Ninlil-ṭāb (item 15) was pledged by Rēmūt-Nabû for 51 š silver in Dar 11 (BM 26542). Why she is identified in BM 26576 as the slave of Nabû-uṣuršu, and who this person is, is unclear.
11. The two unspecified prebend days (item 17), finally, were probably part of the oxherd prebend. According to BM 26509 no. 191: 12, Rēmūt-Nabû owned only two days of the oxherd prebend in month VI, his smallest share in any single month. It therefore made sense to sell these isolated days of his portfolio.
Still, we are left with many complex questions about BM 26576. First, we would like to know, if the property was sold, and if so: why and to whom? Given that the ‘mother tablets’ of most items were found in Rēmūt-Nabû’s archive, it may be doubted that the sale ever took place. The property deeds should have been handed over to the new owner together with the property, as was the legal custom. On the other hand, BM 94670 no. 195, dating four years after BM 26576, does suggest that Rēmūt-Nabû lost some of the property listed in BM 26576 (see commentary to BM 94670 no. 195). Regardless of the question whether the sale went through, the fact remains that Rēmūt-Nabû was in serious financial trouble. Nothing supports the scenario that he required cash to invest in new properties, in a business venture, or for some other voluntary enterprise. The most likely scenario is that he had incurred debts; but how? Rēmūt-Nabû paid his taxes regularly, as far as we can tell, and no large dues to Ezida were outstanding. We do find traces of increasing financial distress in the last ten years before the sale. Rēmūt-Nabû incurred a number of debts between Dar 09 and Dar 20 that were subject to severe conditions of security and interest (BM 26642 Dar 09, BM 94667 // VS 4 124 Dar 09, BM 82728 and BM 82735 Dar 09, BM 94674 // BM 26654 Dar 09, BM 25717 Dar 10, BM26542 Dar 10), BM 26490 and dupls. Dar 11, Michigan no. 51 Dar 12, BM 26550 // BM 27857 Dar 13, BM 82742 [-], BM26547 and BM 26584 Dar 14, BM 26678 Dar 14, BM 27793 Dar 17, BM 26554 Dar 17, BM 26618 Dar 18, BM BM 26644 Dar 19, BM 94685 and BM 26624 // BM 102002 Dar 19). Some relief came in Dar 20 when he managed to cancel a debt of 3 m of silver to a temple enterer of Nabû (BM 26647 no. 193). However, in the next year, Rēmūt-Nabû took out a loan of 10 m of silver for which he pledged all his possessions in city and countryside (EAH 225, see BM 94670 no. 195 below), showing that his financial troubles were not yet over.
A second question that we should ask is about the text itself. It is just a list, unwitnessed, unsealed and without the names of the parties involved. Not even the date is fully written out. Obviously, it was meant for personal use or as a draft for an official document. It is unfortunate that we get not information about the person, or more likely institution, who bought the property from Rēmūt-Nabû.
(2) The canal of the Acrobats is also attested in Roth 1989 no. 22 (Rē’i-alpi archive; collated)
(6) For the rural district known as bára maš.tab.ba, Parak-tū’ami (“Shrine of the Twins”), see Zadok 2006: 396 and 2008: 95*.
(11) lúqí-me should be read lúqí-pi!. This canal is known from other texts from the Rē’i-alpi archive (references at no. 5 in the list above and Zadok 2006: 419).
(15) The reading of the last two signs is uncertain.
(18) hul-mi-iš (also l. 20) seems to refer to a breed of sheep; the word is unattested in this particular meaning so far, cf. hulamēsu/hulamīšu(1) a tree and its fruit, (2) chameleon (CAD H 227-8).
(24) The sign nagar (naggāru, “carpenter”) is unexpected. The malītu was a bowl containing a flour offering that was distributed as income among certain priestly classes (references in CAD M/1 165). At the place of nagar one would expect dug or perhaps a sign indicating the material of which the bowl is manufactured. The same income in mentioned in BM 28872 no. 179: 12-3 but there it is simply spelled ma-la-tu4 šá qé-me pa-ni den.meš without any preceding signs. Note that this last reference also secures the reading en.meš at the end of l.24, though there is no dingir-sign in this case.
(31) The total is wrong; the individual posts add up to 53 m 32 š of silver.