This series of scholarly publications focuses on the collection of cuneiform tablets and inscriptions in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. These objects were acquired largely during the 1880s, when the Metropolitan became the first American museum to collect a substantial number of cuneiform texts. Today, the Museum's holdings total about six hundred texts and fragments. The four volumes in this series will make these texts available in a manner that will instruct and inform as wide an audience as possible.
Cuneiform Texts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume III: Private Archive Texts from the First Millennium B.C., co-authored by Ira Spar and Eva von Dassow with contributions by J.N. Postgate and Linda B. Bregstein, admits us to the private worlds of several of the leading financial families of Babylon during the Neo- and Late Babylonian periods of Mesopotamian history and illuminates the management and investment practices of family-run Babylonian enterprises. Four Assyrian tablets included here illustrate business practices during Neo-Assyrian times as well. The 164 texts and fragments that comprise the Museum's holdings from private family archives written during the first millennium B.C. are presented in a format that includes copies, transliterations, and commentary together with drawings, photographs, and commentary on stamp seal, cylinder seal, and ring impressions.
Volume I of this series contains 120 tablets, cones, and bricks of the third and second millennia B.C., notably commercial and legal texts as well as letters. Literary and scholastic texts primarily from the first millennium B.C. are forthcoming in Volume II. The current publication, Volume III, covers private archive texts from the first millennium B.C. Volume III, in preparation, will include and edition of cuneiform tablets from Babylonian temples written during the first millennium B.C., along with royal records of the kings of Babylon and Assyria inscribed on bricks, cylinders, and prisms.