Real Estate Transactions

A basic characteristic of a modern enterprise economy is the ownership of and trade in private property. The Babylonians dealt in both rentals and sales. Provides an example of a house rental, while records the rental of a boat. Both date to the 6th century BCE.

An open question in the study of the Mesopotamian economies concerns the lack of clear evidence for the handling of insurance. We suspect that an economy at the level of sophistication which permits the rental of risky items such as a boat would have explicit evidence concerning insurance arrangements; so far none have been found.

An indication of the importance of real estate transactions is given by these two tablets dating from the Old Akkadian (Sargonic) period (ca. 24th-23rd centuries BCE).

They are land sale records.

The economy is embedded in the political and legal system of the state. In turn the state must be viewed in terms of its society. The evolution of economic institutions is a complex blend of chance, law, custom and history as well as the conscious drive for efficiency. The early development of the Mesopotamian economies is a monument to this drive and blend.