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The Use of Numbers and Quantifications in the Assyrian Royal Inscriptions
State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume III
by Marco De Odorico

Helsinki 1995 • 175 x 250 mm • Pp. xxxii + 206
Paper • $64.00 • ISBN 951-45-7125-8

“The numbers in the Assyrian royal inscriptions are wildly exaggerated.” Such sweeping generalizations, common in the past, can no longer be accepted uncritically, since this work for the first time makes a detailed analysis of the nature of the numbers (and other quantifications) used in the Assyrian royal inscriptions, taking account not only of their relationship to the context of the inscription, but also of the overall purpose of the inscriptions themselves. Based primarily on the “annals” of the Assyrian kings, this study shows how the numbers can vary in different editions of the same text and explores the possible reasons behind these variations, pointing out the various devices (both literary and mathematical) that were used to manipulate the numbers and suggesting some of the reasons behind the manipulations. The study also points out the different categories of objects or activities that were subject to quantification, explaining how these quantifications were used to reinforce the purpose of the inscriptions. The discussion includes numerous tables and appendices and concludes with an index to the numerical quantifications in the royal inscriptions.
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