Hashban and Ashkelon on a text in 423 BCE


I ran into this Heshbon text while studying my lesson for each Sabbath.

Actually the text dates from year 41 of Artaxerxes I and thus in the year 423/2 BCE or his last year.

Heshbon is mentioned in line 8 on 86a a text which is maybe in the BM 5305.

Copy of original was published by Hilprecht and Clay in 1898 in the study of the Business Texts of the Murashu Brothers of Nippur. (see pp. 161-162).

The text definitely reads Heshbon at the end of the line in the form:

a-aš-ba-a. See my yellow marker in line 8. Just before the word omitted in the margin.

Right before the word appears the sound er and it is used before all cities. Maybe it refers to the Akkadian form uru for city.

It also appears before Ashkelon = Iš-ka-lu-nu in line 10 in the middle, see my yellow marker and before that word is also the sound er = uru. There are many cities listed here anyway.

I could not get hold of the translation so your curiosity will be just as strong as mine.

In the meantime I verified with René Labat Manuel that er=uru. So Heshbon and Ashkelon was indeed a city in 423/2 BCE.

Two other cities and probably a comparative word appeared before Heshbon.

“uru A9-ka-bi-šu uru Uš-ra-u-a a-na-na-u uru a-aš-ba-a”

Translated as: “city of Akabišu, city of Ušraua similarly the city asban”.