Episode 71 – Mitanni 6 Hurrian Wisdom

The Hurrian Song of Release is an odd text. Part wisdom, part legend, the best we can guess is that it was a set of rituals, cultural memories, and advice to accompany what may have been a monumental life event, when a debtor or perhaps slave was released from bondage. Or perhaps when a whole city’s worth of slaves are released. Or perhaps it is actually just a number of unrelated texts recorded on the same clay tablet because they were individually too small and there was still plenty of space on the tablet. We don’t really know. But, there is some fascinating wisdom here, a look at ideas of wealth and status in Hurrian society, and a very, very interesting debate on whether slaves should be freed.

In the last tale, of Ebla, I gave Megi’s speech first, then stated that Zazalla responded. However, the typical translation has the whole thing in Zazalla’s voice. I don’t think this makes sense in the context of the rest of the story, and often times one of the biggest challenges of translating ancient text is figuring out where quotations start and end, and so I feel confident in changing things a bit.

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