From Assyria to Persia – Putting State Officials in Context

Recorded: July 4, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 2
Citation: Groß, Melanie. "From Assyria to Persia – Putting State Officials in Context." Pourdavoud Institute: Achaemenid Workshop 2 (July 4, 2023).

by Melanie Groß (Leiden University)

The aim of this talk is the reconsideration and in-depth analysis of a key office in first millennium BCE Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. Associated with several different designations – AGRIG, abarakku, maš/sennu, ganzabaru as well as rab kāṣiri – this office – often referred to as “treasurer” – seems not only multifarious considering its many titles, but also considering its manifold functions and development over time. We will look into this office beginning with the Neo-Assyrian period (with a quick look back into the second millennium BCE), continuing with the Neo-Babylonian period and ending with the Persian period. Sources which help to identify and define the office include state correspondence, everyday documents (legal records, administrative documents), and unique records such as the so-called “Hofkalender” of Nebuchadnezzar II. The office of the “treasurer” was a key office in 1st millennium BCE Mesopotamia and is one of the best documented examples of what such state offices entailed as well as how ambivalent and tangible – or not – they were. By focusing on one particular office, we can discover more about 1st millennium BCE officialdom and its evolution in general. It will come down to the question of how much change versus continuity occurred in the course of time and through altering power relations.

About the Speaker

Melanie Groß graduated from Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology in 2009 at Innsbruck University and since 2014 holds a PhD in Assyriology from the University of Vienna. She is an Assyriologist focusing on the socio- economic history of the first millennium BCE Mesopotamia. Her studies are especially devoted to the Neo- Assyrian palace institution on which she published a monograph in 2020. Currently she is working on a monograph about trading families in Late Babylonian Sippar.