The female tavern-keeper in Mesopotamia

Some aspects of daily life *

Authored by: Anne-Isabelle Langlois

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910


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If some well-known characters testify to the existence of the female tavern-keeper/tapstress 1 in Mesopotamia—such as Šiduri, the tapstress in the Epic of Gilgameš who counseled the hero to enjoy life, or Ku-Baba, the only woman to have achieved royalty according to the Sumerian King List 2 —what do we know about their daily lives in light of the cuneiform documents? The literary texts certainly allow an initial approach to these women and their activities, but what more specific information can the documents provide on these tapstresses who seem to have sold their beer on the outskirts of the cities?

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