Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Powell, Marvin A.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Babylonia--Economic conditions


This study is an investigation of the economic documents from the kingdom of Babylon during the Old Babylonian period for the purpose of determining long term changes in prices and wages in this kingdom. I have confined my research to a limited area, exclusive of Nippur in the south, inclusive of Sippar in the north, and encompassing the territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The following categories are used for the determination of long term changes in prices: slaves, oxen and cows, house rentals, barley, oil, wool, and land. For each of these categories, as well as for wages paid to hired labor, all the price or wage data falling within a particular time interval has been averaged and the resulting mean graphed. Changes in the mean have been considered as indicative of price or wage fluctuation. As a general introduction to the study of prices and wages, chapter one discusses previous research into the area of Old Babylonian economics, examines the sources for price and wage information, justifies this study with regard to earlier criticisms of the value of price and wage data, defines the area of study, and sets forth my objectives. Each category is then separately treated in chapter two. In the final chapter, the body of price data is considered in its entirety and its pattern of fluctuation is compared with the movement of wages. It is argued in chapter three that periods of high prices coincide with periods of political instability. The evidence from the economic documents is correlated with that from other sources in order to project a theoretical reconstruction of conditions in the Old Babylonian period.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations and map.


xii, 127 pages




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