Regulation of the female Sābītu’s Business Ventures: does a unified corpus exist in LH §108–111?
Van Wyk, Susandra
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Although at first glance it might seem that §108–111 of the Laws of Hammurabi (LH) are not a unified corpus, this article shows that §108–111 is a unified corpus containing a main denominator – the king/state’s intervention and control of the female sābītu’s business venture in her capacity as either an entrepreneur or a state agent. In all four paragraphs, we encounter sub-denominators, i.e., (1) the sābītu, holding a leading or supplementary position together with (2) the sābītu’s business place or her house, and (3) the sābītu’s business activities. Then, although only §108–110 entail dramatic executions, §111 is still part of the unified corpus for it serves as a transitional phrase to the preceding corpus. Overall the different scenarios in the unified corpus of §108–111 illustrate King Hammurabi’s idealistic ambition for centralisation and control, especially with regards to the femalesābītu’s business venture, thus engrossing the reader in different case studies within a certain grouping.
- Faculty of Humanities