Ep. 004 – Mesopotamian Merchants

Welcome back to the next installment of the Maritime History Podcast! In Episode 004 - Mesopotamian Merchants, we're going to look at just what the name suggests: Mesopotamian merchants! It's actually more interesting than it sounds, and we'll get to meet two of the more well known merchants from Mesopotamia: Ea-nāşir who lived during the time of the first Babylonian king, Hammurabi, and Lu-Enlilla from the Third Dynasty of Ur. We'll also look at some of the economic factors at play in the world of the Mesopotamian merchants, and we'll see how some the earliest law codes to have been discovered had an effect on the trade of the shipping merchants. I think you'll find it interesting and hopefully you'll learn something new!


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ea_nasir

A clay tablet letter addressed to Ea-nasir complaining that the wrong grade of copper ore has been delivered after a gulf voyage and about misdirection and delay of a further delivery.

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Sources

  • Edens, Christopher, Dynamics of Trade in the Ancient Mesopotamian “World System”, American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 94, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 118-139. [link]
  • King, L.W., translator, Hammurabi's Code of Laws. [link]
  • Powell, Marvin A., Sumerian Merchants and the Problem of Profit, Iraq, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring, 1977), pp. 23–29.

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