字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 As dawn breaks in the Babylonian city of Sippar, Beltani receives an urgent visit from her brother. It's 1762 B.C.E., during the reign of King Hammurabi. Beltani is a naditu— a priestess and businesswoman, promised to the temple at birth. At puberty, she changed her name and gained her elevated naditu status in a ceremony where a priest examined the entrails of a sacrificed animal for omens. The naditu are an esteemed group drawn from Babylonia's most affluent families. Though the rules are different for naditu in each city, in Sippar they are celibate and never marry. They live inside the gagum, a walled area inside the temple complex, but are free to come and go, and receive visitors. Beltani owns barley fields and a tavern. Her brother manages these businesses while she fulfils her duties as a priestess. This morning, he makes a troubling accusation: her tavern keeper has been diluting wine with water. If true, this means she's been undermining the business Beltani relies on to sustain her in old age. But the consequences would be even higher for the tavern keeper: the punishment of diluting wine is death by drowning. The temple court is meeting this afternoon. Beltani has just a few short hours to find out whether there's any truth to these allegations. But she can't go to the tavern to investigate. Taverns are off limits for priestesses, even priestesses who own them. She could be burned to death for entering. So she sends for the tavern keeper to meet her at the temple of Shamash, the patron god of Sippar. The temple is a stepped pyramid called a ziggurat, in the heart of the city and visible from twenty miles away. It symbolically connects heaven and earth and is viewed as the literal home of the god Shamash, who gave humanity the code of laws and is the judge of the Babylonian pantheon. Beltani leaves an offering of bread and sesame oil in a private room. She never enters the inner chamber of the temple where the god lives, a place so holy only high priestesses and kings visit. Outside, worshippers play music and leave gifts, which are later collected and used to feed temple workers, including the naditu. The tavern keeper is waiting with grim news. She says Beltani's brother has been altering the weights used to measure payments to cheat customers. When the tavern keeper confronted him, he falsely accused her of watering down the wine. If true, Beltani's brother is the dishonest one— and altering weights is another crime punishable by death. Beltani is running out of time to get to the bottom of this. Though she can't go to the tavern, she can check on the barley fields her brother manages to see if he's been honest there. In the granary, she sees much more grain than he reported to her. He's been cheating her out of her share. Like all naditu in Sippar, Beltani inherited the same portion of her father's property as her brother. These were rare circumstances for women in a time and place where property passed through men. Still, their families didn't always honor their rights. Although naditu traditionally went into business with male relatives, the law stated they can choose someone else if their brothers or uncles weren't up to the task. With the evidence she needs, she hurries to court. A judge presides over the temple court along with two naditu— the overseer of the gagum and a scribe. Beltani asks to remove her brother as her business manager, citing the granary as evidence that he is mismanaging her properties. The judge grants her request. The scribe records the new contract in cuneiform into a wet clay tablet, and the matter is settled. She's protected her income and spared her brother's life by withholding the true extent of his crimes. Perhaps it is time to adopt a younger priestess: someone to take care of her in old age and inherit her property, who might do a better job of helping with her business.