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ACHAEMENID ADMINISTRATION

HAMÂRAKARA

(Accountant/Bookkeeper)


 

By: Muhammad A.Dandamayev

 

 

(*hmâra-kara-, lit. "account-maker"), "bookkeeper," an Old Iranian title attested in various sources of Achaemenid and later times. It occurs in Babylonian documents in the following spellings: hammarakara, ammarkarra/ammari(/u)akal. Wolfram von Soden (p. 44) considered these forms as separate words, the latter having the meaning "Proviantmeister" (see, however, Greenfield, p. 181, n. 8). All the individuals who bore this title in cuneiform texts, to judge by their personal names, were Babylonian. It first appears in a document from Babylon drafted during the reign of Darius I (see Eilers, p. 57). Except for this document and Royal Ontario Museum Cuneiform Texts (II, No. 35), all other references to this title come from the archive of the Murašû business firm, which flourished in the Nippur region in the second half of the 5th century B.C.E. (see Eilers, pp. 43-59; The Assyrian Dictionary VI, pp. 59 f.; add now Stopler, No. 108). The bearers of this title were agents of the firm, a "bookkeeper of the king" and a bookkeeper of the important Persian dignitary Artahšar. They are mainly mentioned as witnesses to legal transactions.

The earliest Aramaic occurrence of this title is in an Aramaic postscript to an Elamite document composed in the Persepolis area in 504 B.C.E. in the form hmrkrƆ (Hallock, p. 140, No. 281). It also appears in an Aramaic document from Elephantine, according to which "accountants (hmrkry) of the treasury" were to issue some materials needed to repair a boat (Porten and Yardeni, p. 99, No. A 6.2). This title is also attested in letters of Aršâma, the Persian satrap of Egypt in the second half of the 5th century B.C.E., addressed to the manager of his estates in that country and to "the accountants" (hmrkƆ, see Driver, Nos. 8-10). It is also known from Parthian and Sasanian bullae, where it is applied to finance ministers of various districts (in Parthian: Ɔhámrkr, the Pahlavi forms are: mƆlkly and ƆmƆlkly, see Greenfield, pp. 181 f.) as well as from Nisa texts of the 1st century B.C.E. in the form Ɔmrkr (see Dyakonov and Livshits, pp. 146 f.). This word also entered Hebrew, Armenian, and Syriac (Greenfield, pp. 182-86).

 

Bibliography

Muhammad A. Dandamaev, Iranians in Achaemenid Babylonia, Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1992, pp. 36-37. 

Muhammad A. Dandamaev and Vladimir Lukonin, The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran, tr. Philip L. Kohl, Cambridge etc., 1989, pp. 97, 112. 

Igor Mikhailovich D'yakonov (Diakonoff) and V. A. Livshits, "Novye nakhodki dokumentov v Staro¥ Nise," Peredneaziatski¥ Sbornik 2, Moscow, 1966. 

Godfrey Rolles Driver, ed. and tr., Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B.C., Oxford, 1965. 

Wilhelm Eilers, Iranische Beamtennamen in der keilschriftlichen Überlieferung, pt. 1, Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 15, 3, Leipzig, 1940. 

Jonas C. Greenfield, "*Hmarakara>Ɔamarkal," in Mary Boyce and Ilya Gershevich, eds., W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, London, 1970, pp. 180-86. 

Richard T. Hallock, Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Chicago, 1969. Bezalel Porten and Ada Yardeni, eds. and trs., Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt I, Jerusalem, 1986. 

Royal Ontario Museum Cuneiform Texts II, Toronto, 1982. Wolfram von Soden, Akkadisches Handwörterbuch, Wiesbaden, 1959. Matthew W. Stolper, Entrepreneurs and Empire. The Murašû Archive, the Murašû Firm, and Persian Rule in Babylonia, Inst. Ne‚erlandais de Stamboul 54, Leiden, 1985.

Veysel Donbaz and Matthew W. Stolper, Istanbul Murašû Texts, Inst. Ne‚erlandais de Stamboul 79, Leiden, 1997, No. 110. The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago VI, Glückstadt, 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

Source/Extracted From: Encyclopaedia Iranica

 

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