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The Central Archive of Ebla (24th century BC) preserved a series of annual documents which allow us to reconstruct on one side the incomes of metals and garments to the Central Administration, and on the other side the expenditures of metals in the shape of objects (weapons, decorative objects, and jewels) for about forty-six years. To date, this documentary sequence is unparalleled in the entire body of cuneiform literature. It encompasses the eleven years of the reign of Irkab-damu (Arrukum being his minister for the last six years), and the thirty-five years of his son Iš‛ar-damu (when the ministers were first Ibrium, and then his son Ibbi-zikir). This volume includes the annual documents concerning the incomes, together with partial and recapitulative accounts, for a total of 110 texts. Numbers 1 and 2 also register the amounts of silver and gold connected to two previous kings. These metals were hoarded in bars and also in vessels of standard weights. By far, most of the goods were collected yearly by the minister; further silver and garments were delivered by a dozen of “lords” at the head of “gates” (a term that denominate areas which included several villages), and by “overseers” of villages. The city-states which recognized Ebla’s hegemony also delivered small tributes. The silver collected during Ibrium’s eighteen years amounted to more than 3,571 kg, while Ibbi-zikir delivered personally 2,640 kg of silver and 206 kg of gold of low quality. The remarkable increase of the incomes shows that the administration of the state was still in the process of being organized. The kingdom of Ebla extended from the present Syrian-Turkish border as far as Ḥama, about 200 km north-south, and Mari dominated the Euphrates valley from the present Syrian-Iraqi border up to Al-Raqqa. This proves that northern Syria must have preceded Mesopotamia in the formation of the regional state by several decades.
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