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A round peg in a square hole?: the sikkatu in old Babylonian Susa

Lotte Oers (UGent)
(2010) AKKADICA. 131(2). p.121-143
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Abstract
In the Old Babylonian loans, sales and leases from Susa a frequently occurring clause states that a so-called sikkatu should be driven in a house, field, orchard or other real estate. This sikkatu is a peg-shaped object made of wood. Unlike the Mesopotamian sikkatu (which was a publicly displayed symbol of ownership) driving this in made a hypothecary pledge out of the property. This could be the case when someone lent silver or barley, or when a property was sold or leased, to make sure that the buyer or lessee would be reimbursed if the estate was claimed by a third party. The clause does not occur on all tablets of these genres, meaning that there was a choice involved. We assume that the driving of the sikkatu was merely symbolic. Not the physical presence of the peg was important for the permanence of the pledge, but the fact that the symbolic act of fixing it in real estate was recorded in a contract. Some texts contain information on the transmission of the pledge in case of forfeiture of the real estate.
Keywords
Old Babylonian, Susa, peg, pledge, sikkatu

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Citation

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Chicago
Oers, Lotte. 2010. “A Round Peg in a Square Hole?: The Sikkatu in Old Babylonian Susa.” Ed. Katrien De Graef. Akkadica 131 (2): 121–143.
APA
Oers, L. (2010). A round peg in a square hole?: the sikkatu in old Babylonian Susa. (K. De Graef, Ed.)AKKADICA, 131(2), 121–143.
Vancouver
1.
Oers L. A round peg in a square hole?: the sikkatu in old Babylonian Susa. De Graef K, editor. AKKADICA. 2010;131(2):121–43.
MLA
Oers, Lotte. “A Round Peg in a Square Hole?: The Sikkatu in Old Babylonian Susa.” Ed. Katrien De Graef. AKKADICA 131.2 (2010): 121–143. Print.
@article{1195040,
  abstract     = {In the Old Babylonian loans, sales and leases from Susa a frequently occurring clause states that a so-called sikkatu should be driven in a house, field, orchard or other real estate. This sikkatu is a peg-shaped object made of wood. Unlike the Mesopotamian sikkatu (which was a publicly displayed symbol of ownership) driving this in made a hypothecary pledge out of the property. This could be the case when someone lent silver or barley, or when a property was sold or leased, to make sure that the buyer or lessee would be reimbursed if the estate was claimed by a third party. The clause does not occur on all tablets of these genres, meaning that there was a choice involved. We assume that the driving of the sikkatu was merely symbolic. Not the physical presence of the peg was important for the permanence of the pledge, but the fact that the symbolic act of fixing it in real estate was recorded in a contract. Some texts contain information on the transmission of the pledge in case of forfeiture of the real estate.},
  author       = {Oers, Lotte},
  editor       = {De Graef, Katrien},
  issn         = {1378-5087},
  journal      = {AKKADICA},
  keyword      = {Old Babylonian,Susa,peg,pledge,sikkatu},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {121--143},
  title        = {A round peg in a square hole?: the sikkatu in old Babylonian Susa},
  volume       = {131},
  year         = {2010},
}

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