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Title: The Care of the Elderly in the Ancient Near East
Author: Stol, Marten S P Vleeming
Publisher: Brill; Publication Date: 1998
Hardcover; ISBN: 9789004108967
Volumes: 1; Pages: 250
List Price in Cloth: $150.00 Our price: $126.99
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Material support in old age: how did the various cultures of the Ancient Near East counter this problem? Surprisingly, this problem has hardly been discussed before and consequently this volume is the first work to concentrate on this important social topic.A group of scholars convened to study the strategies used when there was no son at hand to 'honour father and mother'. Lawbooks remain silent, but a wealth of information can be retrieved from legal texts otherwise not easily accessible to outsiders.In a testament, for example, the testator can assure his maintenance; in other cases a dowry or other gift may take care of a surviving widow. A 'son' could be installed by adopting a wealthy adult person, or a slave be set free under the condition of serving the manumitter until his death. Unmarried women appointted 'daughters' for the same purpose.The role of the 'public sector' (in this case the temple or the palace) in taking care of the destitute elderly remains a matter of debate, also in this book.All regions with rich source materials are covered: Egypt, ancient Sumer, the Old Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian periods in the history of Mesopotamia, the Old Assyrian colonies in Anatolia, Emar.The introduction and the conclusion are by Raymond Westbrook.