The household as enterprise
DOI link for The household as enterprise
The household as enterprise book
In 1979, the contribution of that most eminent Sumerologist, the late Ignace J.Gelb, to a symposium held the previous year in the University of Louvain, Belgium, was published along with the other papers, under the heading of State and Temple Economy in the Ancient Near East (Lipinsky, ed., 1979). For many decades Gelb himself, in parallel with other eminent Assyriologists-notably the Russian scholar I.M. Diakonoff and the Dane Thorkild Jacobsen-had been working to elucidate the social structure of ancient Sumer and Akkad. Some progress had been made: by Jacobsen principally on political and religious structures; by Diakonoff mostly on economic organization; and by Gelb on a variety of subjects, famously, for instance on the ‘Ancient Mesopotamian ration system’ (1965), and on the ‘Alleged temple and state economies’ (1969). Indispensable as all those contributions were, however, in my opinion it is Gelb’s lengthy (1979) contribution (to the aforementioned symposium) entitled Household and Family in Early Mesopotamia that enables us to clearly identify, and to ‘see inside’ as it were, the social molecule of early Sumero-Akkadian society.