Year names

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Under years behalf understands Ancient Near Eastern Studies a common in early Babylonian period system of dating . One year was named after an outstanding event of the previous year. The name of the year could occasionally be changed in the course of a year when another significant event occurred. Then a year had two year names; so from the 14-year rule of the Zimrī-Līm of Marî about 28 annual names have been handed down.

This dating system was used from Enšakušana of Uruk to the end of the Old Babylonian period. The names were usually set in Old Babylonian and Sumerian . The ruler was usually at the center of the year names.

The term “name of the year” is modern and has no ancient equivalent. From Mariotian letters it is known, however, that the process of giving a name was called nīb šattim ( naming the year).


  • Karen Radner: The Power of the Name. Ancient oriental strategies for self-preservation. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-447-05328-3 , p. 111, (also: Munich, University, habilitation paper, 2004).