Dr. Jack M. Sasson
Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University
King Zimri-Lim ruled from Mari (on the Euphrates roughly where Syria meets Iraq) around 1760 BC, just about the time his ally, Hammurabi of Babylon, was preparing his famous Code of Law. The archives Zimri-Lim left behind consist of 15,000 cuneiform tablets, including very personal letters exchanged among the king's immediate family, many of whom were women. With them, we may observe how women created influential places for themselves in a world otherwise dominated by men.