No collection of laws from the Neo-Assyrian period is known to us. If a text of this kind had ever existed, it seems highly likely that it would have been part of Assurbanipal's famous library in Nineveh. But neither in Nineveh nor in twenty-three excavated sites located in different parts of the empire have archaeologists have succeeded in unearthing so much as a fragment of such a text. In addition, in none of the numerous Neo-Assyrian texts is the existence of a collection of laws hinted at, making it implausible to argue that such a text had existed, written on perishable material such as wooden writing tablets or scrolls of leather or papyrus.
1.1.1 Whatever the reason for the lack of a Neo-Assyrian collection of laws, it is certainly not the result of unfamiliarity with the subject, as the concept of a compilation of laws was well known in the Neo-Assyrian period. Copies of collections of laws from earlier periods of Mesopotamian history have been found in Neo-Assyrian libraries, in particular, tablets with Neo-Assyrian copies of Hammurabi's Laws.2 Furthermore, the Middle Assyrian Laws were handed down by tradition, as is shown by a tablet that was found in Neo-Assyrian context in Assur.3 However, it is not known whether the ancient____________________