Speak to Sin-magir: Thus say Ipqu-Ishtar and Sin-ituram your colleagues.The letter shows that the ambitious jockeying for position is nothing new. It is as despicable now as it ever was.
May An and Inanna, Shamash, Iggalla, and Amurrum, your god, keep you in good health forever for our sake!
Concerning the report that was, in your words,
"Because Hadi-amer-Shamash has taken an oral promise to somebody else upon himself, he is keeping me waiting":do not be slow always to stand firm against him. You tell him this, as follows:
"The fact that you speak in a decietful way is an insult to me. People will say'Hadi-amer-Shamash has removed him from that office, even though he was trustworthy'.What did you think that I was that you have given my office to somebody else in my absence?".Thus speak to him and he shall answer you immediately.
And now Nabi-ilishu's intentions are prone to unseemly things in that he wants to oust the honourable . . . Apil-Sin from the temple of Enlil. If this is proper, tell him that he must not seek out complaints. But don't you know that Apil-Sin is ours? Do not be negligent about this!
May An and Inanna, Shamash, Iggalla, and Amurrum, your god, keep you in good health forever for our sake! (M. Stol, Altbabylonische Briefe 9: Letters from Yale [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981], 3, format altered).
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Troubles that seem very modern are actually nothing new. This is an Old Babylonian letter written in Akkadian written in what is now Iraq about 1600 B.C. It is now in the Yale Babylonian collection (YBC 4519). It provides a window into the politics of petty tyrants three and a half millennia ago: