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Circa 550-543 - Circa 487 b.c.e.

Abylonian Financier


Babylonian Entrepreneursg. The Egibi were a financial family active in Babylon from the late sixth century through the fifth century b.c.e. Five generations are mentioned in surviving tablets from the family’s financial archives, which document their rise from commodities traders in the first two generations to leading landholders and speculators in many different economic ventures.

The Fourth Generation. Born sometime between 550 and 543 b.c.e., Marduk-nasir-apli, nicknamed Shirku, was eldest son of the fourth generation. After his father died in 522 b.c.e., he inherited leadership of the family business and ran it until 487 b.c.e.—or roughly during the reign of Persian king Darius I (521-486 b.c.e.). Under his leadership, family business activities became increasingly involved with the institutions of Babylon, the temples and the palace, and their officials. The Egibi family archives, especially the texts from the time of Marduk-nasir-apli, include examples of the wide variety of financial entrepreneurship that was indispensable to the Mesopotamian economy.


Kathleen Abrams, Business and Politics under the Persian Empire: The Financial Dealings of Marduk-nasir-apli of the House of Egibi (Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press, 2004).

Cornelia Wunsch, “The Egibi Family’s Real Estate in Babylon (6th Century BC),” in Urbanization and Land Ownership in the Ancient Near East, edited by Michael Hudson and Baruch Levine (Cambridge, Mass.: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 1999), pp. 391–419.

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