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30 beru to Dilmun/Tilmun?

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  • wrwmattfeld
    The current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun is the Bahrein/Bahrain archipelago embracing (1) the island of Bahrain, (2) the island of Failaka; and (3) the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 21, 2009
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      The current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun is the Bahrein/Bahrain archipelago embracing (1) the island of Bahrain, (2) the island of Failaka; and (3) the east coast of Arabia between Kuwait and Bahrain. The distance from Mesopotamia and head of the Arabian/Persian Gulf to Bahrain is roughly 300 miles. Therefore some scholars suggest that the 30 beru to Dilmun means that it takes one 30 "double-hours" to "sail" 300 miles from Mesopotamia to Bahrain/Dilmun:

      Sargon II:

      "...Bit-Iakin on the shore of the Bitter Sea, as far as Dilmun's border- all these I brought under one rule..." (p. 335. D.T.Potts)

      "...Uperi, king of Dilmun, whose camp is situated, like a fish, thirty beru (double-hours) away in the midst of the sea of the rising sun..." (p. 334. D.T.Potts)

      Crawford, who believes Bahrain is Dilmun (300 miles from Mesopotamia) seems to suggest that the 30 beru to Dilmun was calculated from the border of Sumer:

      "Much later, Sargon II of Assyria describes Dilmun as lying thirty beru from Sumer, in the middle of the sea...This confirms the information gathered from the earlier documents suggesting that some or all of the territory of Dilmun was an island. As a beru is usually thought to have been a measure of time equivalent to two hours, it provides us with an approximate traveling time from Mesopotamia...this distance of 300 miles would fit well."

      (p. 2. Harriet E. W. Crawford. Dilmun and Its Gulf Neighbours. Cambridge University Press. 1998. 1st Edition)

      Regarding the above distance of "thirty beru" to Dilmun: This appears to be a unit of measurement for distance as traveled by a land army. The Reallexicon der Assyriologie (Vol. 7, p. 467.1990) suggests that the distance of 30 beru is approximately 220 kilometers (roughly 132 miles). Is the 30 beru to Dilmun then 220 km or 132 miles and not 300 miles?

      "In Esarhaddon's account of a march from Aphek to Raphia (Borger, As. 112f.), the distance (probably rounded to the nearest 0 or 5) is given as 30 beru. Direct distance: c. 220 km, thus beru is 7.3+ km. A similar account gives 6 beru as the distance of Ashurbanipal's march from Damascus to a town called Hululityu, which, if correctly identified with a ruin c. 50 km to the south, leads to 8.3 km for the beru...Sparse evidence from the marching patterns of the Assyrian army suggests that 2 beru was the normal day's march...This corresponds roughly to the marching practices of the Roman army, for which the normal march (iter justum) was c. 20 km...The length of the danna/beru therefore corresponded roughly to 2 parsangs or 60 Greek stadia..."

      (p. 467. Vol. 7. Erich Ebeling, Bruno Meissner, et. al. Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archaologie. Walter de Gruyter. 1987-1990)

      Using calipers (on 14 Oct. 2009) I set them to a map scale of 220 km and noted that this is "roughly" the distance from ancient Eridu and Ur near Nasiriyah to the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab where it empties into the Persian Gulf. I note that in 1881 Professor Friedrich Delitzsch (Leipzig) _also_ located Dilmun in this same general location suggesting it was probably buried under sediments near the ancient mouth of the Shatt al-Arab. Note: The distance from mouth of the Shatt al-Arab to Bahrain which is currently favored to be Dilmun is roughly 430 kms, the equivalent 60+ beru (if Esarhaddon's 30 beru is 220 km). Please also note that ancient texts speak of Eridu and Ur as near the "shore of a sea," and marshlands could be called a "sea" according to Professor D.T. Potts. So, Dilmun, in a "marshland/sea" was reachable from Ur/Eridu in that it was only 220 kms/132 miles east of these cities. The river of Dilmun "might" be the Shatt al-Arab as proposed by Delitzsch (1881) and Dr. Theresa Howard-Carter PhD (1981 and 1987).

      "If" the Reallexicon is "correct" that Esarhaddon's 30 beru is 220 kilometers, is Sargon II's 30 beru to Dilmun _also_ 220 kilometers as well? Is Dilmun, from Eridu and Ur in Sumer then, 220 kilometers to the east of Sumer/Ur, in the Tam-ti "Sea Land" (marshes between Sumer and Elam)?

      cf. the below url for more details:


      Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y De la Torre, M.A. Ed.
      Worcester, Massachusetts
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