David Astle
The Babylonian Woe

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD



Every conclusion arrived at as a result of study of the fragments of information available in respect to money and its creators in the world of the Ancient Civilizations, indicates the existence of a far reaching conspiracy in respect to monetary issuance influencing the progression of man’s history in the earliest times of which written record exists.  It is also outstandingly clear that it was parent to that acknowledged and most obvious conspiracy such as exists today.1

According to the review of Tragedy and Hope by Dr. Carroll Quigley; (New York, 1966.), as contained in the Naked Capitalist published by W. Cleon Skousen, Salt Lake City, 1970.

The whole notion of the institution of precious metals by weight as common denominator of exchanges, internationally and nationally, cannot but have been disseminated by a conspiratorial organization fully aware of the extent of the power to which it would accede, could it but maintain control over bullion supplies and the mining which brought them into being in the first place.  Clearly such notion had originally come into being during that historically distant period when first of all free silver began to be extensively used as a convenient and highly portable commodity in settlement of balances outstanding in foreign trade;  certainly as far back as Neolithic times.  This fact was indicated by the evidence existing that values (and by inference money) were already expressed in terms of silver by weight at the time of the Azag-Bau Dynasty at Kish in Mesopotamia (3268-2897 B.C.);  although in a sense perhaps narrow and strictly national.

According to tablets unearthed recording a sale of land, the sellers were known as “The eaters of the silver of the field”.2  This expression clearly showed a connection between the conception of money as an abstract unit in circulation, and silver, the

On first reading this unusual expression, there is temptation to think that an error has been made in the translation of the tablet. However, according to the correspondent in Zaire for the magazine known as Awake, chiefs of the natives of this country in pre-Europeanized times announced the copper mining season with the words Tuye Tukadie, Tuye Tukadie mukuba, which literally translates as "Let us go eat copper;" in effect meaning "Let us go enrich ourselves to provide for our life."
tangible material on which the symbols of this money were later recorded.  Such silver would then be valued according to the ancient customs of the international trade routes which were manifested in the rules of the travelling merchants who controlled these routes;  these rules being established towards the better regulation of exchanges between themselves.

In other words, as a result of the establishment of the custom of settlement of balances in external trade by silver bullion by weight, it seems that a system of values had grown up in the cities of Mesopotamia, over what period of time it would be impossible to say for sure, in terms of those accepted values of definite weights of silver bullion in such external trade, relative to the staples of life:  barley, dates, etc.

That sales are recorded in the 4th Millennium B.C. means that even at that time there was a clear conception of the significance of the abstract monetary unit, which is in itself an integral part of the law structure of any state, for such sales were in terms of money.  The true meaning of such a concept being largely incomprehensible to most even as in this day, except they were the truly initiated, those controlling the internal exchanges, namely the priesthood and scribes, might well be excused if they early fell into the error of expressing values in terms of the standard of values in international trade.  This serious error brought about finally, not only the collapse of that power through whose medium the god kings were best able to serve their peoples, but also as a further consequence, the collapse and fading of the meaning and benevolent purpose of the god kings themselves.

With silver bullion controlled by an international and conspiratorial minded group, as indeed it is obvious it must have been, considering the main sources of silver supply as being far away from those centres of civilization whose money depended on it and yet with people coming to equate money, in actuality the law of the ruler, with value according to the law created in the exchanges by the custom of the use of that same privately controlled commodity, then it becomes quite clear that scarcity or plenty in money, whatever way it was evinced in the circulation, depended on the manipulations internationally of that group controlling the distribution of precious metal bullion, and the plenty or scarcity they created, as was convenient to them.

If there was no silver, why then ! there was no money, and prices fell.  Substitute gold for silver, and history seeming to fast repeat itself, we have the condition of the European world of the last 2000 years.  If there was no gold, Why then again !  There was no money !

Hence was able to develop that conspiracy against mankind most exemplified by a continuous propaganda of hate against all authority:  in pre-antiquity and antiquity against the many city gods, and in relatively modern times against the kings that rose out of the ruins of that which had been Rome.

As those controlling totally the economic life of a state through monetary creation and emission, must have felt that kings and gods were more of a nuisance than anything else, the instigators of this conspiracy in whatever place and era, obviously were those who first did the business of bankers;  the controllers of values, and consequently the economic life of the states wherever the precious metal standard was used.

According to Sir Charles L. Woolley, excavator of the city of Ur in Southern Mesopotamia, the unit of exchange in the days of the great city states of Mesopotamia of the third and fourth Millennium B.C., and which served, therefore, as common denominator of the value of goods and services, was the measure of barley.  While however pointing out that gold and silver came to pass from hand to hand, with a value dictated by their value with reference to the constant value of a measure of barley, he asserts that the salaries of government officials at the time of Hammurabai (about the beginning of the second millennium B.C.) were assessed in barley but paid in silver, such silver having neither stamp nor government guarantee 3...

The notion therefore herein implied, of the numerous officials and labourers of Hammurabai of Babylon waiting in line to have silver cut off from the bullion bar, and weighed as against pay for the day, or the week, or the month, as the case might have been, although offered with sincerity, patently is as erroneous as that conception of the every day use in the exchanges of the aes rude in a similar way, in which the classical scholars and numismatists would have us believe;  and which implied that the foreman and his labourers in ancient Rome of the days of the kings also waited in line after their day’s labour, say, on the Circus Maximus, to have a fragment of copper cut off and weighed in order that their wives might be able to go to the market to purchase the evening meal.4

Clearly the word silver in the texts means no more than the word Plata in modern day Spanish, or Argent in modern day French.  These words literally translate as silver, but as money which they are most used to indicate, they may be anything from grimy tattered paper note, to a silver peso, or to the brass coin which may function as divisible thereof.  Similarly the word from the texts denoting silver may be safely said to have meant that which passed for money, perhaps exchangeable in the temple or the money shops for silver, but being in itself anything which circulated, denoting multiple or divisible of the unit o exchange;  be it clay or wood or glass5 or leather or papyrus or stone.

Very little is known of the former relatively extensive use of glass as material to record definite numbers of the unit of exchange, or, more simply put, as money.

Thus, as was the case in Sumeria indeed, long, long before the time of the great Hammurabai once money had come to be more of an abstract unit of account based for its value in desirable goods and services, on the barter power of a certain weight of silver bullion related to the constant value of barley,6 it was no major advance for those who benefited most from this conception, namely the bullion brokers and their satellites, the money changers or barkers, to find a weak king and a corruptible priesthood, who could be brought to lose sight of the total control of the city which was the right of the god they served;  and who might turn a blind eye to those other more sinister activities by which the power of the Ziggurat was further undermined.

Of those time Dawson in the Age of the Gods remarks:

“Originally the state and the temple corporations were the only bodies which possessed the necessary stability and resources for establishing widespread commercial relations.  Temple servants were sent on distant missions, provided with letters of credit which enabled them to obtain supplies in other cities.  Moreover the temple was the bank of the community through which money could be lent at interest and advances made to the farmer on the security of his crop.  Thus in the course of the 3rd millennium there grew up in Mesopotamia a regular money economy based on precious metals as standards of exchange, which stimulated private wealth and enterprise and led to real capitalist development.  The temple and the palace remained the centres of the economic life of the community but by their side and under their shelter there developed a many sided activity wah found expression in the guilds of the free craftsmen and the merchants, and the private enterprise of the individual capitalist.”7

This information from Christopher Dawson with the translation of the tablets before him, and every assistance no doubt from those students in that particular field, is most illuminating;  but of the undertones of those highly significant years in man’s period upon this earth, he seems to see little, or he just does not choose to speculate as to their nature.

Principal amongst those undertones, and quite possibly the force that brought these changes about, may safely be assumed to be the secret and private expansion of the total money supply effected primarily by the issuance into circulation of false receipts for silver and other valuables supposedly being held on deposit in thief proof vaults, or otherwise, for safe custody.

Such receipts would be accepted by merchants instead of the actual metal, and would function as money, and would be an addition to the total money supply, though not understood as such by the rulers who would thus easily be inveigled into lending their sanction to seemingly harmless practices;  or at least into turning a blind eye; especially if priesthood and scribes so advised.

With that growth of the conception of private wealth which would automatically follow on the acceptance of the idea of buying and selling, or perhaps better put, preceded such idea of buying and selling as according to a silver standard internationally accepted, such involvement of priesthood and scribe would not be hard to achieve... According to Sir Charles Woolley, trade seemed to extend from the city of Ur, particularly during the so-called IIIrd. Dynasty, over the whole known world which certainly reached as far afield as Europe 8 being carried on by means of letters of credit, bills of exchange, and “promises to pay”

Actually evidence exists of Sumerian culture extending as far as the Caspian Sea even before the Dynastic Period. Reference to this subject is to be found on page 47 of The Sumerians.
(cheques), made out in terms of staple necessities; of life expressed in terms of silver at valuation of barley (probably at a given season of the year).9

On pages 124-125 of his book Abraham (London, 1936.) comment is made by Sir Charles Woolley :  "a trade which involved the greater part of the then known world was carried on with remarkable smoothness by means of what we should call a paper currency based on commodity values... The fluctuations of currency values which are the bugbear of modern commerce were virtually overcome by a currency which depended ultimately on the staple necessity of life but was qualified by the use of a medium possessed of intrinsic value;  the commercial traveller had to use his wits and exercise his judgement as to the form in which he cashed his credit notes."

There also is no doubt that the merchant as representative of the god of the city from which he journeyed, loaned money by which his customers were able to make their purchases, such money merely being an abstraction indicated by the figures on the clay tablet;  in earlier days being backed by the will-force of the god of the city, and in latter days by the promises of silver issued by one who at that time would be the equivalent of today’s banker, and who, should such need arise, such as would be occasioned by the temple withdrawing its sanction or permissiveness towards his activities would be able to partially back his self-created abstract money which was the reality of such promises, with actual silver.

Thus the caravaneer or travelling merchant gave credit.  Whether his own or that of the merchant for whom he was agent, or direct; from the Ziggurat itself, dwelling place of the god, it functioned as a form of foreign aid similar to the foreign aid of today.  Considering that the merchant in earlier times operated solely with the credit of the temple that raised him up, while the temple remained supreme, such foreign aid was instrument of state policy, maintaining the servility of lesser states, while at the same time maintaining the steady working capacity of the home manufactures, and contented people in consequence.  The classes of the dominant power were content that the manufacturies gave them daily labour, and the classes of the subordinate power were able to buy the luxuries they craved, and the necessities they needed as against money deducted from the credits loaned by the dominant power.  Repayment of these credits, as in today, was made by way of return shipment of raw materials such as were needed for the manufacturies of the dominant state.  That such raw materials were assessed in value as according to the international value of silver related to the national value of barley in the dominant state seems most likely.

However it is clear that with the growth of silver in circulation between private persons, and between private persons and states, as now would become an inevitability, that which had been total economic control from the gods through his servants in the Ziggurat, was bypassed, and merchants were now able to deal privately using their own credit, or powers of abstract money creation.  They were also able, through their control of distant mining operations, to afflict a previously dedicated priesthood with thought of personal possession; and through the control of the manufacture of weapons in distant places, they were able to arm warlike peoples towards the destruction of whosoever they might choose.

Those merchants of whatever race they may have been, who voyaged to the cities of Sumeria from places as far distant as the great cities of the Indus valley civilization known today as Mohenjo-Daro and Harrapa, as is clearly demonstrated by the Sumerian seals found at Mohenjo-Daro10 and the seals from Mohenjo-Daro found at Ur,11 and who were without a doubt one of the main sources of precious metal supply in Sumeria,12 came to realize that they could actually create that which functioned as money with but the record incised by the stylus on the clay

"Raw materials were imported sometimes from over the sea, to be worked up in the Ur factories; the Bill of Lading of a merchant ship which came up the canal from the Persian Gulf to discharge its cargo on the wharves of Ur details gold, copper ore, hardwood, ivory, pearls, and precious stones."
tablet promising metal or money.  Obviously, as a result of this discovery which depended on the confidence they were able to create in the minds of the peoples of their integrity, provided they banded themselves together with an absolute secrecy that excluded all other than their proven and chosen brethren, they could replace the god of the city himself as the giver of all.  If so be they could institute a conception of a one god, their god, a special god of the world, a god above all gods, then not merely the city, be it Ur or Kish or Lagash or Uruk, but the world itself could be theirs, and all that in it was... A strange dream!  One whose fulfilment they never really expected !

Some evidence of the knowledge and previous existence of such practice of issuance of false receipts as against supposed valuables on deposit for safe-keeping clearly exists in the Law No. 7 of the great Hammurabai, which same law was undoubtedly intended as a preventative to this sickness in society, which, even at that day, may very well have been the cancer that destroyed much that has been before.

According to Professor Bright, the Code of Hammurabai was but a revision of two legal codes promulgated in Sumerian by Lipit-Ishtar of Isin, and in Akkadian by the King of Eshnummua during the period of the breakup of that power formerly wielded by the God at Ur, that is, at about the same time that Ur was sacked by the Elamites in 1950 B.C., and Amorite and Elamite political power was established over Northern and Southern Mesopotamia.13  Both of these codes are well before the Code of Hammurabai, and are evidence of the latter being but a revision of law codes existing in the days of UR-NAMMU, or before, UR-NAMMU being that most outstanding ruler who reigned from 2278 B.C. to 2260 B.C. during the third dynasty at Ur.14

The severity of the penalty and the placing of the law so high in the code leaves little doubt that it was directed against an evil that was by no means new, and, who knows, may have been one of the deep seated causes of the invasions that devastated Ur, both from the Gutim,15 the Elamites, the Amorites, and the Hittites;  for no doubt of old, just as today, Money Power was as busy arming the enemies of the people amongst whom it sojourned, as that people themselves.

While the scholars do not appear to have paid any special attention to this particular law, or to have attached to it any special significance, its true intent and purpose is clear to anyone conversant with the origins of private money issuance in modern times, as indicated by the familiar story of the goldsmith’s multiple receipts...16

If a man buys silver or gold or slave, or slave girl, or ox or sheep or ass or anything else whatsoever from a [free] man’s son or a free man’s slave or has received them for safe custody without witness or contract, that man is a thief: he shall be put to death.17

The requisite of witnesses and contract attesting to the true facts of valuables on deposit, would to some extent obviate the danger of the goldsmiths, silversmiths or traders, involved in a transaction, creating receipts for valuables that did not exist, in safe custody or otherwise.  It was equally possible in ancient times as much as in modern times to circulate such receipts as money lawfully instituted.

Provided a corrupted priesthood turned a blind eye to this practice and loaned their sanction thereto, such fraudulent money or, in the misleading euphemism of a corrupted world, “credit”, would be equally effective in foreign markets as in the home markets, if not more so because of the greater danger of exposure of the criminal nature of this activity that would undoubtedly exist in the home market.

The severity of the penalty required by this Law Number 7 of the Code of Hammurabai, exercised by a strong and dedicated ruler, would have been an absolute deterrent to such practice that since that time, and more especially in modern times since the 16th Century A.D., has become so indurated to a fixture...  Its results are to be seen on every hand, not to speak of the final result which though not yet arrived, else this book would not be in existence, is clear.

The Laws of Hammurabai, King of Babylon, just the same as those more ancient codes of which they were revision, were directed towards the regulation of life of nobleman, as well as freeman, merchant, or slave, and no special concessions were given to either of these stations in life, even if such stations in life were accepted as integral part of the structure of the state life.  Euphemistic and misleading words such as “businessman” or “financier” had not yet, it seems, been planted in the vocabulary.  By and large, the king still ruled in absolute, and his law giving justice to all was carved in stone, and placed in the market place for the highest or the lowest to understand clearly the rules by which he must live...  Merchants were unequivocally described as such, and law ruthlessly prescribed severe penalties for their corrupt conduct.  They were kept in place as a caste, not of the highest order, and, it would appear, somewhat similar to the Hindu system, they served the priesthood and nobility, and were conceded a place in life as an instrument whereby the people generally might live a better life.

The Code of Hammurabai, revision of more ancient codes as it was, does not reveal any particular regard towards this caste of persons.  However, as by the time of its promulgation, both private property and privately issued money seem to have been well established, it is to be assumed that the ignorant of noble caste or otherwise, were already deferring to that magic known as money, in much the same manner as they did at all times through latter history when faced with the necessity of compromise with private money-creative power, whose activities had been permitted by foolish kings, and to whom such kings had even committed the finances of the realm.  Such was most clearly illustrated during the last four hundred years in England;  perhaps more so than at any other time in recorded history.

In the time of Hammurabai, King of Babylon, matters were by no means as desperate as they are today.  Merchandising was by no means regarded as an end in itself, and a means whereby it was the right of ignoble men to proffer any corruption to the people so long as it made “profit” for them, and “interest” for the so-called banker who supplied the original “finances” out of his secret and costless money-creative processes.  Money lending and merchandising as it is known, still had not come to be a means whereby man-hating and therefore corrupt secret societies might seek to overturn the tree of life itself by way of sowing the seeds of decay in that true and natural order of life which had been ordained from time immemorial.

Private money creators and the merchants their satellites, had at that time by no means arrived at that point when they might conspire to present complete defiance to the gods and their appointed, and as a small matter in the way of their business, instal jackasses, or whatever might be, in the places of the mighty, as too often was the case in the latter days.

 

 

 

Footnotes as endnotes

 

1 According to the review of Tragedy and Hope Dr. Carroll Quigley; (New York, 1966.), as contained in the Naked Capitalist published by W. Cleon Skousen, Salt Lake City, 1970.

2 Cambridge Ancient History; Vol. I; P. 371.  On first reading this unusual expression, there is temptation to think that an error has been made in the translation of the tablet.  However, according to the correspondent in Zaire for the magazine known as Awake, chiefs of the natives of this country in pre-Europeanized times announced the copper mining season with the words Tuye Tukadie, Tuye Tukadie mukuba, which literally translates as “Let us go eat copper;  in effect meaning “Let us go enrich ourselves to provide for our life.”  (Awake, p. 25; July 8th, 1974.).  Similarly the expression describing the sellers of land as “eaters of the silver of the field”, derives from the same root idea and implies that they enriched themselves to provide for the essentials of life by the sale of their land for silver.

3 Sir Charles L. Woolley:  Abraham, P. 123.

4 With all due deference to an otherwise most eminent scholar.

5 Very little is known of the former relatively extensive use of glass as material to record definite numbers of the unit of exchange, or, more simply put, as money.  On this subject François Lenormant commented in his book:  La Monnaie dans l’Antiquité (P. 214; Tome I, Book II):  “Nous possédons des preuves irréfragables da l’usage de monnaie de verre en Egypte des la temps du Haut-Empire (1) usage que se continua dans le même pays sous les Byzantins (2) puis sous les Arabes (3).  C’est principalement de temps des Khalifes Fatimite que l’Egypte vit fabriquer le plu grand nombre de ces assignats le verre, portant l’indication d’une valeur da monnaie.  Les Arabes de Sicile en firent aussi a l’imitation de ceux d’Egypte”

6 Sir Charles Woolley:  Abraham, P. 123; London; 1936.

7 Christopher Dawson:  Age of the Gods, P. 130. (London; 1928.).

8 Actually evidence exists of Sumerian culture extending as far as the Caspian Sea even before the Dynastic Period.  Reference to this subject is to be found on page 47 of The Sumerians.

9 On pages 124-125 of his book Abraham (London, 1936.) comment is made by Sir Charles Woolley:  “a trade which involved the greater part of the then known world was carried on with remarkable smoothness by means of what we should call a paper currency based on commodity values...  The fluctuations of currency values which are the bugbear of modern commerce were virtually overcome by a currency which depended ultimately on the staple necessity of life but was qualified by the use of a medium possessed of intrinsic value;  the commercial traveller had to use his wits and exercise his judgement as to the form in which he cashed his credit notes.”

Further comment was made by Sir Charles Woolley and Jacquetta Hawkes in Prehistory and the Beginnings of Civilization (pp. 615-616; London; 1963):  The difficulty was solved by what might be called Letters of Credit facilitated by the existence of established agents on the trade routes.

The traveller started with a consignment of grain, might sell it in some town on his road, receiving a signed tablet with the value expressed in copper, possibly, or in silver with which he could buy there or elsewhere something to the same value which he could sell at a profit farther along on his journey... his tablets payable on demand by the agents to whom he was accredited were the ancient equivalent of a Paper currency...”

10 E.J.C. McKay:  Further Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro p 582. (Govt. India. Delhi; 1938.)

11 Sir Charles Woolley:  Excavations at Ur;  P. 112.

12 In the words of Sir Charles L. Woolley on page 193 of Excavations at Ur:  “ Raw materials were imported sometimes from over the sea, to be worked up in the Ur factories;  the Bill of Lading of a merchant ship which came up the canal from the Persian Gulf to discharge its cargo on the wharves of Ur details gold, copper ore, hardwood, ivory, pearls, and precious stones.”

13 John Bright:  A History of Israel, P. 44;  London; 1960.

14 Sir Charles Leonard Woolley;  The Sumerians, P. 25 New York; 1965.

15 The Goyim of Genesis; Chapter XIV; verse I.

16 A. Andreades:  History of the Bank of England, P. 23; London; 1966.

17 The Laws of Hammurabai;  No. 7; (G.R. Driver & John C. Miles: Ancient Codes and Laws of the Near East, Vol. II, P. 15.  Oxford, 1952.).