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Extra resources for Bloomberg Businessweek (7 May 2012)

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C) The continuous presence of Assyrian traders in Anatolia, in a network of ca. 30 trading stations and "colonies", substantially enlarged commercial possibilities. More and different markets could be reached, storage in reaction to seasonal fluctuations in demand and supply or to political disturbances became possible, and medium and long term credit (up to 12 months; ana umZ qurbitim/patiutim) could be granted, both to Assyrian agents (tamkirum) and to local traders and palaces. v. naruqqum (forthcoming).

Sealed by two witnesses)". The persons who were granted such commercial credit were not working for a fee or a share in the profit, as a Babylonian commercial agent ($amallii 'um23) might, nor was interest charged for the credit received (as could be the case in Old Babylonian, see the Laws of Hammurabi, paragraph 100). They were only liable for paying the amount of silver stated in the promissory note at the due date mentioned. They would sell the goods during the term granted at the best possible prices and what they earned over the amount due was their own profit, from which they had to live and to cover their expenses.

If this is correct, we may perhaps distinguish two kinds of merchants. On the one hand those directly involved in the actual trade on Anatolia, frequently on the move or staying abroad and constantly in need of silver for their transactions and hence pressing their debtors and selling agents for prompt payment. On the other hand those, presumably older and richer, who lived in Assur as wholesale dealers, investors, and merchant-bankers. They enjoyed the 30 per cent interest received on credit and loans and hence perhaps were more patient with their debtors as long as the latter did not default on interest, while they could supplement their earnings as money-lenders by the dividends and profits which their investments yielded.

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