Death of an Old Assyrian Salesman
- Číslo 1 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceChatreššar, 2020, 1, 5-34
Old Assyrian Trade network, Šalim-Aššur, network analysis of the family model
Were it not for the death of the salesman, it would have been an otherwise mundane story. What made Death of a Salesman unique, was that it dealt respectfully with the decline of a generation, juxtaposed against the death of one man. It described the daily life of a middle-class American, which has remained in the cultural memory for at least six generations—a story which many could relate to still today. In this same way, the archives of Šalim-Aššur preserve a similar sounding story. Written upon 1,600 clay tablets is the impression of a man who opened new territories with his family’s trade, and who marked a cycle of decline that impacted all subsequent generations. The overarching message confronts the many years of scholarly emphasis of the ‘family model’ to address what has clearly been lacking: the social context that extended beyond the family, which was paradigmatically leveraged by the Assyrians to form a vast hierarchical network of trade. By situating this one family within their extra-familial ties, this paper explores how extended relationships exerted their strong and weak forces in supporting and sustaining the viability of the trade during the Old Assyrian Period (ca. 1950–1750 B.C.E.).