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For the city in Japan, see Amagi, Fukuoka.
𒂼𒄄 ama-gi4 written in Classical Sumerian cuneiform.

Ama-gi is a Sumerian word written 𒂼𒄄 ama-gi4 or 𒂼𒅈𒄄 ama-ar-gi4. It has been translated as "freedom", as well as "manumission", "exemption from debts or obligations",[1] and "the restoration of persons and property to their original status" including the remission of debts.[2] Other interpretations include a "reversion to a previous state"[3] and release from debt, slavery, taxation or punishment.[4]

The word originates from the noun ama "mother" (sometimes with the enclitic dative case marker ar), and the present participle gi4 "return, restore, put back", thus literally meaning "returning to mother".[5] Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer has identified it as the first known written reference to the concept of freedom. Referring to its literal meaning "return to the mother", he wrote in 1963 that "we still do not know why this figure of speech came to be used for "freedom.""[6]

The earliest known usage of the word was in the reforms of Urukagina.[7] By the Third Dynasty of Ur, it was used as a legal term for the manumission of individuals.[7]

It is related to the Akkadian word anduraāru(m), meaning "freedom", "exemption" and "release from (debt) slavery".[3][8][9]

A number of Libertarian organizations have adopted the cuneiform glyph as a symbol. It is used as a logo by the Instituto Político para la Libertad of Peru,[10] and another version is a trademarked logo of the Libertarian publishing firm, Liberty Fund.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Alan Halloran (2006). Sumerian Lexicon: A Dictionary Guide to the Ancient Sumerian Language. David Brown Book Company. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-9786429-0-7. 
  2. ^ Karen Radner, Eleanor Robson, ed. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 978-0199557301. 
  3. ^ a b "amargi". Electronic Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary. 
  4. ^ Åke W. Sjöberg, ed. (1998). The Sumerian Dictionary of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Philadelphia. pp. 200–201; 208–210. 
  5. ^ A Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian
  6. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah (1963). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. p. 79. ISBN 0226452387. 
  7. ^ a b Niels Peter Lemche (19 September 2014). Biblical Studies and the Failure of History: Changing Perspectives 3. Taylor & Francis. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-1-317-54494-4. 
  8. ^ Niels Peter Lemche (January 1979). "Andurārum and Mīšarum: Comments on the Problem of Social Edicts and Their Application in the Ancient near East". Journal of Near Eastern Studies 38 (1): 11–22. JSTOR 544568. 
  9. ^ Jeremy A. Black; Andrew George; J. N. Postgate (January 2000). A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 17. ISBN 978-3-447-04264-2. 
  10. ^ "Instituto Politico para la Libertad – Inicio". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  11. ^ "Trademark Electronic Search System". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2012-11-16.