Female Agency by the Dead Sea: Evidence from the Babatha and Salome Komaїse Archives

Esler, Philip F ORCID: 0000-0002-4889-4889 (2019) Female Agency by the Dead Sea: Evidence from the Babatha and Salome Komaїse Archives. Dead Sea Discoveries, 26 (3). pp. 362-393. doi:10.1163/15685179-12341523

7328 Esler (2019) Female Agency by the Dead Sea.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (265kB) | Preview


The Babatha archive contains thirty-five legal papyri dating from 94 to 132 CE. They belonged to a Judean woman Babatha, from Maoza on the south-eastern shore of the Dead Sea, where date cultivation was a valuable cash crop. The Salome Komaïse archive, also concerning a family of date farmers until the kingdom became the Roman province of Arabia in 106. These papyri provide a rich array of evidence relating to the life of Babatha, Salome Komaïse and her mother Salome Grapte, and of other women, Judean and Nabatean, in this context. Particularly noteworthy is that women possessed considerable wealth, in cash and real property, and regularly acted as business-women, including by loans to their husbands. The papyri also reveal seizure of assets and frequent recourse to litigation by these women in defence of their rights. Although this was a patrilineal and patrilocal culture, the papyri provide striking examples of potent female agency, as women deployed and protected their wealth by every legal means.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Babatha; Salome Komaïse; Dead Sea; Female agency; Legal papyri; Archival ethnography
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 11:59
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:54
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/7328

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.