ARAMAIC OSTRACA OF THE FOURTH CENTURY...

The 201 of containing in the book Aramaic ostraca dating 361-311 BC are almost exclusive source for the study of the ethnic structure and the economic life for end of the Persian rule in the Land of Israel and the beginning of the Hellenistic period.

Introduction # 3. Of the 201 ostraca listed here, Nos. 200 and 201 should be separated from the rest. Their script clearly indicates a fifth- century BC date, while the remaining 199 ostraca are from the fourth century. # 4. Ostraca Nos. 1- 36, the photographs of which were received together, form a specific group within the 199 texts. In most of these 36 ostraca, Halfat is described as the person who provides the goods and the name Bacalcid is preceded by a lamed— i. e., Bacalcid is the person who receives the goods. It can be said that ostraca Nos. 1- 36 belong to the archive of Halfat, perhaps with the exception of Nos. 20, 22, 23 ( in which the payer is Zabdi). The texts in Halfats archive were written in a relatively short period of time, within the years 360- 355 BC. The earliest dated document belongs to year 45 of Artaxerxes II, and the latest to year 4 of Artaxerxes III ( see pp. 16- 17, note 5). Since the names Halfat and Bacalcid and the signatures in some of the 36 ostraca recur in some other ostraca ( such as Nos. 37- 39, 57), it is quite clear that the origin of ostraca Nos. 1- 36 does not differ from that of the other sherds. All the texts were presumably found at the same site. # 5. On a number of ostraca a personal name appears at the end of the text; most often it is Zebadel or Shacadel, and/ or a sign that can roughly be described as two vertical strokes, sometimes forming a V, standing on a curved horizontal. This sign is well known from the Aramaic ostraca of Arad ( Naveh 1981: 175), where η s n r ( Yadduac on the Xth [ of the month] + sign) recurs quite frequently. In our ostraca the signature * 7* TOT ( Zebadel) appears in Nos. 7, 10, 71, 109 and 160 ( there is no sign attached to the signature of Zebadel). It is quite clear that these five sherds were inscribed by the person who undersigned the text ( in No. 7 the signature is very cursive). ^ K^ ytz; ( Shacadel) wrote and undersigned ostraca Nos. 2, 6, 28 and 54 ( only in Nos. 2 and 54 is the sign added); snrp ( Yatuac) signed sherds Nos. 65 and 96 ( sign in No. 65) and ymoip ( Qausyetac) Nos. 15 and 29 ( no clear sign). Six ostraca end with the same illegible signature plus the sign: Nos. 1,3,5, 52,104 and 145. Single signatures are in No. 33 ( ιττ [ Zaydu]), No. 57 Ci^ ny [ cAbdmelek]) and No. 100, which ends with mi xvm ( Netina wrote [ it]) and a different sign: four half circles on a horizontal stroke. What is the meaning and origin of the sign recurring both in our texts and in the Aramaic ostraca from Arad? Although there is no unequivocal answer, the clue may perhaps be found in ostraca Nos. 45 and 72 ( there are no signatures), where the sign has the shape of an alef. In No. 72 the alef is the lapidary form of the letter. Such lapidary alefs recur between the various proverbs of Ahiqar ( Elephantine, 5th century BC), presumably indicating ρ π κ ( another [ mat­ter]; see Yardeni 1990: 132- 34). The designations ΊΠΧ in Hebrew and p i n in Aramaic sepa­rate one recipe from the other in the medieval magic books from the Cairo Geniza; see Naveh and Shaked 1985: 226- 27, 230- 35. # 6. The economic reality reflected in the ostraca relates mainly to the cultivation of fields and orchards. Most of the documents deal with raw wheat and barley, or with their products: flour, fine flour, crushed barley/ wheat, barley groats and straw. Among fruit trees, vines and [ 1 0 ] Chapter Home  | TOC | Index

ARAMAIC OSTRACA OF THE FOURTH CENTURY BC FROM IDUMAEA


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Front Matter Half Title Page Title Page Copyright Page Table Of Contents Preface INTRODUCTIONREFERENCESABBREVIATIONSContents TEXTS, TRANSLATIONS AND COMMENTARYBack Matter GLOSSARYINDICES OF NAMESPersonal Names in Nos. 1-199 ToponymsPersonal Names in Nos. 200-201 Back Cover
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