SEALS AND SEALING IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE STATE: A FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF SEALS IN SECOND MILLENNIUM BC SYRIA.
KeywordsCylinder seals -- Syria.
Syria -- Antiquities.
Seals (Numismatics) -- Syria.
Syria -- History -- To 333 B.C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCylinder seal impressions occur in many contexts in the ancient Near East. This disssertation focuses specifically on the function of sealing in the manipulation of state resources (land, labor, and goods) in second millennium B.C. Syria. The sources of information utilized in this study include textual references to sealing practices, sealed documents, bullae, and the seals themselves. The archives of Mari, Alalah, and Ugarit are particularly important as they provide textual and archaeological information on seals and sealing within the physical and institutional context of the palace, the center of state administration. Chapter 1 surveys the previous research on seals and sealing and briefly outlines Syrian geography and political history in the second millennium B.C. Chapter 2 examines the physical qualities of the seals--materials, methods of production, distribution and style. Chapter 3 addresses the problem of the physical and institutional context of seal use. A functional division between legal and administrative texts is reflected in the use of seals on them. On both types of documents, however, the use of a seal acknowledges the obligation of the sealer. The nature of that obligation varies with the contents of the text itself. Chapter 4 evaluates the use of seals on legal texts in palace archives. Most of these sealed documents record land grants. The historical trend in second millennium Syria is to an increasing involvement of heads-of-state in granting state land. Other sealed legal documents were kept in palace archives because the participants were in some way associated with the palace. Chapter 5 details the administrative use of seals at Mari. Receipts and expenditures are the most common sealed documents. The use of seals on these texts signals the acceptance by the sealer of responsibility for the goods or actions described therein. The conclusions (Chapter 6) summarize the differences in sealing practices in Mari, Alalah and Ugarit in light of the different historical circumstances and political needs of each state.
Degree ProgramOriental Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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