Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some time has passed since I last blogged, but fall has set in and winter is on its way. This is my favorite time of year to research and write. Speaking of research, my favorite go to place is google books. I first learned of google books as a way to promote my book for free. Since then, it has become so much more to me. You can do a book search just like you do a web search. For instance, tonight I typed in the word naditu and it showed me all the books that contain this word. But that is not all, oh no, that is not all. If the book is out of copyright or if the publisher has given their permission, you are allowed to preview the book or in some cases view the entire book. I found that even in instances of preview only, I am often able to find sufficient material simply by perusing multiple texts. If the book is in the public domain, I can download a PDF of it. If I really like the book, I can click a link to "buy" or even "borrow" the book.

So I'm sure you're just dying to know what a naditu is. According to "Women in Antiquity", by Averil Cameron and Amelie Kuhrt, "The naditus (the ones I'm interested in anyway) were a very special group or institution of women, dedicated to the sun god Samas who lived in the city of Sippar in Northern Babylonia." They lived in individual houses within a cloister that was part of a temple complex. They did not marry, for they were betrothed to Samas, but they were property owners and conducted their own business, many of them coming from royal or high ranking families.

Why my interest in this gagum cloister? What a great place to lay low and hide out for a while among an amazing group of women separated from patriarchal society. The tenant list read like a "Who's Who" of the ancient world. There was the sulking Erishti-Aya, daughter of King Zimri-Lim of Mari. Her servants kept dying on her so she had to keep writing daddy begging for more. And there was Iltani, sister of King Hammurabi, one of the most famous kings of all times.