On Reading the Diplomatic Letters in the Mari Archives
Sasson, Jack M.
"...one of my main points today is that when we read a document with political information we cannot afford to «let it speak for itself,» but must prod it to betray the motivation behind its writing. We should keep in mind that the transfer of information during the Mari age was so rampant that these peripatetic Amorites could be rated among the most garrulous people of antiquity. Kings, their commanders, their entourage, their kith and kin, their vassals, their allies and their enemies travelled near, far and surprisingly often. Since their security, welfare, and authority depended on their kings, officials were determined not to be forgotten, whether they themselves or their kings were on the road. They therefore delivered to their rulers the tidbits and gossips they picked up, thus demonstrating their loyalty and usefulness."