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Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir

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Title: Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir  
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Language: English
Subject: Clay tablet
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir


Kept at the British Museum is an inscribed clay tablet, a complaint letter to a merchant named Ea-nasir from a customer named Nanni. It is considered to be the oldest known written complaint.

Ea-Nasir travelled to the Persian Gulf to buy copper and return to sell it in Mesopotamia. On one particular occasion, he had agreed to sell copper ingots to Nanni. Nanni sent his servant with the money to complete the transaction.[1] The copper was sub-standard and not accepted. In response, Nanni created the cuneiform letter for delivery to Ea-nasir. Inscribed on it is a complaint to Ea-nasir about a copper ore delivery of the incorrect grade, and issues with another delivery.[2] He also complained that his servant (who handled the transaction) had been treated rudely. He stated that, at the time of writing, he had not accepted the copper but had paid the money.

The tablet dates from 1750 BCE. It is 11.6 centimetres (4.6 in) high, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) wide, 2.6 centimetres (1.0 in) thick, and slightly damaged.

The tablet was acquired by the British Museum following the 2003 looting of Baghdad's National Museum of Iraq. It was originally found in the ruins of Ur.

Possible residence of Ea-nasir



  1. ^ Crawford, Harriet (July 2015). "Sir Leonard Woolley and Ur of the Chaldees". The Bible and Interpretation. 
  2. ^ a b "British Museum - tablet". British Museum. 
  3. ^ a b duffyjac (5 March 2015). "Customer Service in Ancient Mesopotamia". ANP363: Rise of Civilization. 
  4. ^ Oppenheim, A. Leo (1967). "Letters From Mesopotamia: Official, Business, and Private Letters on Clay Tablets from Two Millennia". The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 
  5. ^ Baraniuk, Chris (2 March 2015). "Ancient customer-feedback technology lasts millennia". New Scientist. 
  6. ^ Kruszelnicki, Karl S. (24 March 2015). "The oldest known complaint letter". 
  7. ^ Kalinauskas, Nadine (10 March 2015). "Clay tablet with oldest recorded customer-service complaint on display at the British Museum". Yahoo News Canada. 
  8. ^ McNally, Victoria (27 February 2015). "Ancient Babylonians Were Just Like Us, Complained About Poor Service From Retailers". 
  9. ^ Wheaton, Oliver (5 March 2015). "Believe it or not, this carving is actually a 3,750-year-old customer service complaint - Metro News". Metro. 
  10. ^ "Bluff The Listener". 7 March 2015. 

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