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  • Nicholas Postgate

As today, bread in antiquity came in a multitude of varieties, some of which were specific to particular regions or populations. Examining the terminology and iconography of breads in Assyrian texts, it is clear that there was a continuity of certain types of bread peculiar to Assyria from the Middle Assyrian period to the final century of the Assyrian empire. This exemplifies the strength of Assyria's identity over half a millennium, and the persistence of its cultural independence in some respects from its Babylonian neighbour. The majority of the written sources refer to cultic activities, and the conservatism expected in cultic contexts no doubt contributes to the long-term persistence of certain types of bread. There may even be reason to see one variety (ḫuḫḫurtu) as the forerunner of a bread used in Jewish cultic contexts to this day (challah).

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Nicholas Postgate, Trinity College Cambridge, CB2 1TQ
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It is a great pleasure to offer these crumbs to Dominique Collon in recollection of many a shared Near Eastern meal.

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