History of Sumer

The history of Sumer, taken to include the prehistoric Ubaid and Uruk periods, spans the 5th to 3rd millennia BC, ending with the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2004 BC, followed by a transitional period of Amorite states before the rise of Babylonia in the 18th century BC.

The first settlement in southern Mesopotamia was Eridu. The Sumerians claimed that their civilization had been brought, fully formed, to the city of Eridu by their god Enki or by his advisor (or Abgallu from ab=water, gal=big, lu=man), Adapa U-an (the Oannes of Berossus). The first people at Eridu brought with them the Samarran culture from northern Mesopotamia and are identified with the Ubaid period, but it is not known whether or not these were Sumerians (associated later with the Uruk period).

The Sumerian king list is an ancient text in the Sumerian language listing kings of Sumer, including a few foreign dynasties. Some of the earlier dynasties may be mythical; the historical record does not open up before the first archaeologically attested ruler, Enmebaragesi (ca. 2600 BC), while conjectures and interpretations of archaeological evidence can vary for earlier events. The best-known dynasty, that of Lagash, is omitted from the kinglist.


Early Dynastic Period of Sumer Ur III period Gutian period Akkadian Empire Uruk Uruk Uruk Chalcolithic Uruk period Chalcolithic Ubaid period
Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details
Uruk III = Jemdet Nasr period[1]

Earliest city-states

Map of Sumer

Permanent year-round urban settlement may have been prompted by intensive agricultural practices. The work required in maintaining irrigation canals called for, and the resulting surplus food enabled, relatively concentrated populations. The centres of Eridu and Uruk, two of the earliest cities, had successively elaborated large temple complexes built of mudbrick. Developing as small shrines with the earliest settlements, by the Early Dynastic I period, they had become the most imposing structures in their respective cities, each dedicated to its own respective god. From south to north, the principal temple-cities, their principal temple complex, and the gods they served,[2] were

Before 3000 BC the political life of the city was headed by a priest-king (ensi) assisted by a council of elders[3] and based on these temples, but it is unknown how the cities had secular rulers rise in prominence from the earliest times.[4] The development and system of administration led to the development of archaic tablets[5] around 3500 BC[6]-3200 BC[7] and ideographic writing (ca 3100 BC) was developed into logographic writing around 2500 BC (and a mixed form by about 2350 BC).[8] As Sumerologist Christopher Woods[9] points out in Earliest Mesopotamian Writing: "A precise date for the earliest cuneiform texts has proved elusive, as virtually all the tablets were discovered in secondary archaeological contexts, specifically, in rubbish heaps that defy accurate stratigraphic analysis. The sun-hardened clay tablets, having obviously outlived their usefulness, were used along with other waste, such as potsherds, clay sealings, and broken mudbricks, as fill in leveling the foundations of new construction — consequently, it is impossible to establish when the tablets were written and used."[10] Even so, it is proposed that the ideas of writing developed across the area, according to Theo J. H. Krispijn,[11][12] along the following time-frame:[13]

Relative stratigraphy chronology

Uruk Uruk Uruk

A : ca. 3400 BC : Numerical Tablet; B : ca. 3300 BC : Numerical Tablet with Logograms;
C : ca. 3240 BC : Script (Phonograms); D : ca. 3000 BC : Lexical Script


Early Dynastic Period


Sumerian King List
Main article: Sumerian King List

None of the following pre-dynastic antediluvian rulers have been verified as historical via archaeological excavations, epigraphical inscriptions, or otherwise. While there is no evidence they ever reigned as such, the Sumerians purported them to have lived in the mythical era before the "Flood". The antediluvian reigns were measured in Sumerian numerical units known as "sars" (units of 3600), "ners" (units of 600), and "sosses" (units of 60.) Early dates are approximate, and are based on available archaeological data; for most pre-Sargonic rulers listed, the "Sumerian King List" (SKL) is itself the lone source of information. The SKL is an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer from both Sumerian and neighboring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of kingship. Throughout its Bronze Age existence, the document evolved into a political tool. Its final and single attested version, dating to the Middle Bronze Age, aimed to legitimize Isin's claims to hegemony when Isin was vying for dominance with Larsa and other neighboring city-states in Lower Mesopotamia.[14][15]

An image of the most well-known extant copy of the Sumerian King List.

The SKL blends prehistorical, presumably mythical pre-dynastic rulers enjoying implausibly lengthy reigns with later, more plausibly historical dynasties. Although the primal kings are historically unattested, this does not preclude their possible correspondence with historical rulers who were later mythicized. Some Assyriologists view the predynastic kings as a later fictional addition.[14][16] Only one ruler listed is known to be female: Kug-Bau, “the (female) tavern-keeper,” who alone accounts for the Third Dynasty of Kish. The earliest listed ruler whose historicity has been archaeologically verified is Enmebaragesi of Kish, c. 2600 BCE.

Reference to both Enmebaragesi of Kish and his successor (Aga of Kish) in the Epic of Gilgamesh has led to speculation that Gilgamesh himself may have been a historical king of Uruk. Three dynasties are absent from the list: the Larsa dynasty, which vied for power with the (included) Isin dynasty during the Isin-Larsa period; and the two dynasties of Lagash, which respectively preceded and ensued the Akkadian Empire, when Lagash exercised considerable influence in the region. Lagash in particular is known directly from archaeological artifacts dating from c. 2500 BCE. The SKL is important to the Bronze Age chronology of the ancient near east. However, the fact that many of the dynasties listed reigned simultaneously from varying localities makes it difficult to reproduce a strict linear chronology.[14]

The following extant ancient sources contain the SKL (or fragments): the Apkullu-list, Babyloniaca, Dynastic Chronicle,[17] Scheil dynastic tablet, California Tablet, WB 62, and Weld-Blundell Prism.[18] The last two sources (WB 62 and Weld-Blundell Prism) are a part of the “Weld-Blundell collection” donated by Herbert Weld Blundell to the Ashmolean Museum. WB 62 is a small clay tablet, inscribed only on the obverse, unearthed from Larsa. It is the oldest dated source (c. 2000 BCE) containing the list.[19] WB 444 in contrast is a unique inscribed vertical prism,[14][20][21][22] dated c. 1817 BCE, although some scholars prefer c. 1827 BCE.[23]

Antediluvian rulers

The mythological antediluvian section of the SKL has the following entry:

After the kingship descended from Heaven, the kingship was in Eridu. In Eridu, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28,800 years.[24][25]

William H. Shea suggests that Alulim was a contemporary of the Biblical figure Adam (whose name and character may have been derived from "Adapa" of ancient Mesopotamian religion.[26] In a chart of antediluvian generations in both Babylonian and Biblical traditions, professor William Wolfgang Hallo associated Alulim with Adapa. The earliest known use of the name "Adam" as a genuine name in historicity is "Adamu".[27] The "Assyrian King List" stated that Tudiya (the earliest named Assyrian king) was succeeded by Adamu.[28] The Assyriologist Georges Roux stated that Tudiya would have lived c. 2450 BCE — c. 2400 BCE.

The SKL has the following entries for Alulim's succesors:

Alalngar ruled for 36,000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64,800 years. Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira. In Bad-tibira, En-men-lu-ana ruled for 43,200 years. En-men-gal-ana ruled for 28,800 years.

Dumuzid, the Shepherd is the subject of a series of epic poems in Sumerian literature and the SKL has the following entry for him:

Dumuzid, the shepherd, ruled for 36,000 years.

However, in these tablets he is associated not with Bad-tibira but with Uruk, where a namesake ("Dumuzid, the Fisherman") was king sometime after the Flood (in between Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh.) Following Dumuzid (the Shepherd), the SKL has these entries:

3 kings; they ruled for 108,000 years. Then Bad-tibira fell and the kingship was taken to Larak. In Larak, En-sipad-zid-ana ruled for 28,800 years. 1 king; he ruled for 28,800 years. Then Larak fell and the kingship was taken to Sippar. In Sippar, En-men-dur-ana became king; he ruled for 21,000 years. 1 king; he ruled for 21,000 years. Then Sippar fell and the kingship was taken to Shuruppak. In Shuruppak, Ubara-Tutu became king; he ruled for 18,600 years. 1 king; he ruled for 18,600 years. In 5 cities 8 kings; they ruled for 241,200 years.

En-men-dur-ana's name means: "Chief of the Powers of Dur-an-ki" while "Dur-an-ki" (in turn) means: "The Meeting-Place of Heaven and Earth" (literally: "Bond of Above and Below".)[29] A myth written in a Semitic language tells of En-men-dur-ana being taken to heaven by the gods Shamash and Adad, and taught the secrets of heaven and of earth.

The mythological pre-dynastic period of the Sumerian king list portrays the passage of power in antediluvian times from Eridu to Shuruppak in the south, until a major deluge occurred. Some time after that, the hegemony reappears in the northern city of Kish at the start of the Early Dynastic period. Archaeologists have confirmed{Citation needed} the presence of a widespread layer of riverine silt deposits shortly after the Piora oscillation that interrupted the sequence of settlement. It left a few feet of yellow sediment in the cities of Shuruppak and Uruk and extended as far north as Kish. The polychrome pottery characteristic of the Jemdet Nasr period (3100–2900 BC) below the sediment layer was followed by Early Dynastic I artifacts above the sediment layer. The earliest tablets from this period were retrieved from Jemdet Nasr in 1928. They depict complex arithmetic calculations such as the areas of field-plots. However, they have never been fully deciphered, and it is not even certain that the few words on them represent the Sumerian language.

The Early Dynastic Period began after a cultural break with the preceding Jemdet Nasr period that has been radio-carbon dated to about 2900 BC at the beginning of the Early Dynastic I Period. No inscriptions have yet been found verifying any names of kings that can be associated with the Early Dynastic I period. The ED I period is distinguished from the ED II period by the narrow cylinder seals of the ED I period and the broader wider ED II seals engraved with banquet scenes or animal-contest scenes.[30] The Early Dynastic II period is when Gilgamesh, the famous king of Uruk, is believed to have reigned.[31] Texts from the ED II period are not yet understood. Later inscriptions have been found bearing some Early Dynastic II names from the King List. The Early Dynastic IIIa period, also known as the Fara period (named for the site of the city of Shuruppak),[32] is when syllabic writing began. Accounting records and an undeciphered logographic script existed before the Fara Period, but the full flow of human speech was first recorded around 2600 BC at the beginning of the Fara Period.[33] The Early Dynastic IIIb period is also known as the Pre-Sargonic period.

Hegemony, which came to be conferred by the Nippur priesthood, alternated among a number of competing dynasties, hailing from Sumerian city-states traditionally including Kish, Uruk, Ur, Adab and Akshak, as well as some from outside of southern Mesopotamia, such as Awan, Hamazi, and Mari, until the Akkadians, under Sargon of Akkad, overtook the area.

The Flood

Further information: Sumerian flood myth and flood myth

The SKL has the following entry succeeding the antediluvian rulers:

Then the Flood swept over.

The SKL relied on the flood myth motif to divide its history into "pre-Flood" (antediluvian) and "post-Flood" (postdiluvian) periods. The pre-Flood kings had enormous lifespans, whereas post-Flood lifespans were much reduced. The Sumerian flood myth found in the Deluge tablet was the "Epic of Ziusudra". Ziusudra (recorded on the SKL versions: "WB-62" and "WB-67", also on ancient literature such as the: "Epic of Ziusudra” and "Eridu Genesis") reigned as both king and gudug priest for 10 "sars" (periods of 3,600 years), although; this was probably a copy error for 10 years. In this version, Ziusudra inherited from his father (father is named: Shuruppak, who ruled for 10 sars) the kingship of their home city (the city is likewise named: Shuruppak.)

The tale of Ziusudra is known from a single fragmentary tablet written in the Sumerian language (dated to c. 1700 BCE, and published in 1914 CE by Arno Poebel.) The tablet stated that the deities had decided to send a Flood to destroy mankind. The deity Enki then warned Ziusudra to build an ark. A terrible storm raged for seven days: "the huge boat had been tossed about on the great waters." Once the Flood was over, Ziusudra was given "breath eternal" by the deities An and Enlil.

Atra-Hasis was the protagonist of an epic poem, the "Epic of Atra-Hasis". A few general histories can be attributed to the Mesopotamian Atra-Hasis by ancient sources; these should generally be considered mythology but they do give an insight into the possible origins of the character. The "Epic of Gilgamesh" labeled Atra-Hasis as the son of Ubara-Tutu (king of Shuruppak) on Tablet XI, "Gilgamesh spoke to Utnapishtim (Atrahasis), the Faraway… O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubara-Tutu."[34] The "Instructions of Shuruppak" instead labeled Atra-Hasis (under the name "Ziusudra") as the son of the eponymous "Shuruppak" (who was himself labeled as the son of "Ubara-Tutu".)[34] At this point we are left with two possible fathers for Atra-Hasis: Ubara-Tutu and Shuruppak.

Ziusudra being a king from Shuruppak is supported by the Gilgamesh XI Tablet making reference to “Utnapishtim” (the Akkadian language translation of the Sumerian name "Ziusudra") with the epithet "man of Shuruppak" at line 23. On the eleventh tablet of the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh", Utnapishtim was described as having been the wise king of the Sumerian city-state of Shuruppak (Utnapishtim, along with his unnamed wife, survived the Flood after having built the giant ship "The Preserver of Life".) Overcome with the death of his friend Enkidu, the hero of the epic (Gilgamesh) set out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor (Utnapishtim) who lived at the mouth of the rivers. Utnapishtim counseled Gilgamesh to abandon his search for immortality but told him about a plant that could make him young again. Gilgamesh obtained the plant from the bottom of the sea in Dilmun, however; a serpent stole it, and Gilgamesh returned home to the city-state of Uruk having abandoned hope for both immortality and renewed youth.

An impact event theory suggests that a bolide hit the Indian Ocean c. 3000 BCE — c. 2800 BCE (suggested date for the impact event: 2807 BCE, based on a May 10 solar eclipse, and an analysis of flood stories),[35][36] created the 19-mile-wide undersea Burckle Crater, the Fenambosy Chevron, and generated a megatsunami that flooded coastal lands.[37] Excavations in Iraq have revealed evidence of localized flooding at the archaeological site of the ancient city-state Shuruppak and the sites of various other Sumerian city-states. A layer of riverine sediments (radiocarbon-dated to c. 2900 BCE) interrupted the continuity of settlement (extending as far north as the city-state of Kish) which took over hegemony after the Flood. Polychrome pottery from the Jemdet Nasr period (fl. c. 3000 BCE — c. 2900 BCE) was discovered immediately below the Shuruppak flood stratum,[38] and the Jemdet Nasr Period immediately preceded the ED I Period. The city-state of Kish flourished in the ED Period soon after an archaeologically-attested river flood in Shuruppak and various other Sumerian city-states.

First Dynasty of Kish

Further information: Kish (Sumer)
A marble statue of a Sumerian worshiper dated to c. 2800 BCE — c. 2300 BCE, currently in the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq.
This head of a stand was inscribed with cuneiform inscriptions and is c. 2800 BCE — c. 2300 BCE, currently also in the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq.

According to the SKL, Jushur was the first king of the First Dynasty of Kish. The SKL has the following entry for Jushur:

After the Flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish. In Kish, Jushur became king; he ruled for 1,200 years.

No archaeological evidence corroborating Jushur's existence or identity has been found. If he was indeed a historical figure, he may thus mark the beginning of the ED Period. This corresponds very roughly to the Early Bronze Age II. The SKL has the following entries for Jushur's successors:

Kullassina-bel ruled for 960 years. Nangishlishma ruled for 670 years. En-tarah-ana ruled for 420 years ……, 3 months, and 3 1/2 days. Babum …… ruled for 300 years. Puannum ruled for 840 years. Kalibum ruled for 960 years. Kalumum ruled for 840 years. Zuqaqip ruled for 900 years. Atab ruled for 600 years. Mashda, the son of Atab, ruled for 840 years. Arwium, the son of Mashda, ruled for 720 years.

As Kullassina-bel's name seems to be an Akkadian phrase meaning: "All of them were lord", it has sometimes been suggested that the occurrence of this name on the SKL was intended to denote a period of no central authority in the early period of Kish. All of Kullassina-bel's successors up until Etana all appear to be Akkadian words for animals: Nangishlishma, En-tarah-ana, Babum, Puannum, Kalibum (this name is written: "Ga-lí-bu-um ... normalized as Kalibum" and is believed to be derived from the Akkadian word for: "hound"),[39] Kalumum, Zuqaqip (his name means: "scorpion"),[40] Atab, Mashda, and Arwium. Etana was both a Sumerian ruler and character of a Babylonian legend (according to the scholar Georges Roux, Etana may have fl. c. 3000 BCE.)[41] The SKL has the following entry for Etana:

Etana, the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries, became king; he ruled for 1,500 years.

The Babylonian legends stated that Etana was desperate to have a child, until one day he helped save an eagle from starving (the eagle then took Etana to its nest at the top of the tree.) Etana had been sent by the sun god Utu to save the eagle from a pit, after which Etana succeeded and asked the eagle for the location of the plant of birth (which would allow Etana to become a father.) The eagle had then taken Etana up to the heaven of the god Anu, but Etana became afraid in the air and so returned to the ground. Etana later made a successful attempt to find the plant of birth, enabling him to become the father of his successor. The SKL has the following entries for Etana's successors (Etana's successors had Semitic language names suggesting that Semitic people made up a sizable portion of the population of the city-stae of Kish):

Balih, the son of Etana, ruled for 400 years. En-me-nuna ruled for 660 years. Melem-Kish, the son of En-me-nuna, ruled for 900 years. 1,560 are the years of the dynasty of En-me-nuna. Barsal-nuna, the son of En-me-nuna, ruled for 1,200 years. Zamug, the son of Barsal-nuna, ruled for 140 years. Tizqar, the son of Zamug, ruled for 305 years. Ilku ruled for 900 years. Iltasadum ruled for 1,200 years. En-me-barage-si, who made the land of Elam submit, became king; he ruled for 900 years. Aga, the son of En-me-barage-si, ruled for 625 years. 1,525 are the years of the dynasty of En-me-barage-si. 23 kings; they ruled for 24,510 years, 3 months, and 3 1/2 days. Then Kish was defeated and the kingship was taken to E-ana.

The earliest monarch on the SKL whose historical existence has been independently attested through archaeological inscription is En-me-barage-si (believed to have fl. c. 2600 BCE.) Two alabaster vase fragments inscribed with his name were found at the site for the ancient city-state of Nippur (where, according to the "Sumerian Tummal Chronicle": he was said to have built the first temple.) The SKL stated that he was captured "single-handedly" by Dumuzid, the Fisherman. Aga was mentioned in the "Epic of Gilgamesh" as having besieged the city-state of Uruk. Aga also appeared in the earlier Sumerian text "Bilgames and Akka" where he was referred to as "Akka".

First Dynasty of Uruk

Mesh-ki-ang-gasher (if indeed a historical figure, he may have fl. c. 2700 BCE) was the founder of the First Dynasty of Uruk, according to the SKL (which has the following entry for him):

In E-ana, Mesh-ki-ang-gasher, the son of Utu, became en and lugal; he ruled for 324 years. Mesh-ki-ang-gasher entered the sea and disappeared. Enmerkar, the son of Mesh-ki-ang-gasher, the king of Uruk, who built Uruk, became king; he ruled for 420 years.[42]

E-ana (meaning: "House of Heaven") was the name of the temple to the deity Inanna in the city-state of Uruk. The entry thus has Mesh-ki-ang-gasher ruling the fortress or castle around which his son would build the city-state of Uruk, and which was to become the main temple to its patron deity. Unlike Mesh-ki-ang-gasher's successors, Mesh-ki-ang-gasher is known from neither epics nor legends aside from the SKL. His nature as the son of the sun deity, the founder of a major dynasty and his mysterious "disappearance" in the sea give him a mostly mythological flavor. His son Enmerkar is also called "son of Utu" in the Sumerian language epic poem: "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta". In the Egyptologist David Rohl's system of identifications of Bronze Age individuals with characters in the Hebrew Bible, Mesh-ki-ang-gasher corresponds to Cush.[43]

Enmerkar,[44] according to the SKL, was said to have reigned for 420 years. The SKL adds that Enmerkar became king after his father had, “entered the sea and disappeared.” Enmerkar is also known from the epic poem: Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta[45] which told of his voyage by river to Aratta (a mountainous, mineral-rich country up-river from Sumer), and mentioned a confusion of mankind's languages. Enmerkar is credited with building a temple at Eridu, founding Uruk, and even with the invention of writing on clay tablets (for the purpose of threatening Aratta into submission.) Enmerkar furthermore seeks to restore the disrupted linguistic unity of the inhabited regions around Uruk, listed as: Shubur, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki, and the land of the Martu.

Lugalbanda (Lugalbanda's name is composed of two Sumerian words "banda": "young"; "lugal": "king") is a character found in Sumerian mythology and literature.[46][47] The SKL has the following entry for him:

Lugalbanda, the shepherd, ruled for 1,200 years.[48]

Whether Lugalbanda ever historically ruled over Uruk, and if so, at what time, is quite uncertain. Attempts to date him to the ED II Period are based on an amalgamation of data from the epic traditions of the second millennium BCE with unclear archaeological observations.[49]

Dumuzid, the Fisherman was the third king in the First Dynasty of Uruk, according to the SKL (which has the following entry for him):

Dumuzid, the fisherman whose city was Kuara, ruled for 100 years. He captured En-me-barage-si single-handed.

There may have been some confusion in the earlier Sumerian compositions between this figure and that of "Dumuzid, the Shepherd" (whom they called the "King of Uruk", and who appeared as the deity (Tammuz) in later works.) However, the SKL stated that "Dumuzid, the Shepherd" ruled before the Flood, and located him in Bad-tibira.

Gilgamesh (Sumerian: 𒄑𒂆𒈦; if Gilgamesh existed, he probably fl. c. 2800 BCE — c. 2500 BCE) is the main character in the Epic of Gilgamesh (an Akkadian language poem that is considered the first great work of literature)[50] and in earlier Sumerian poems. The SKL has the following entry for Gilgamesh and his successors:

Gilgamesh, whose father was a phantom, the lord of Kulaba, ruled for 126 years. Ur-Nungal, the son of Gilgamesh, ruled for 30 years. Udul-kalama, the son of Ur-Nungal, ruled for 15 years. La-ba'shum ruled for 9 years. En-nun-tarah-ana ruled for 8 years. Meš-ḫe, the smith, ruled for 36 years. Til-kug ruled for 6 years. Lugal-kitun ruled for 36 years.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh was described as having been a demigod with superhuman strength who built the walls of the city-state Uruk to defend his people and then traveled to meet the sage Utnapishtim (who survived the Flood.) Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as a historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the existence of other figures associated with him in the epic.

First Dynasty of Ur

The SKL has the following entry preceding the First Dynasty of Ur:

Then Uruk was defeated and the kingship was taken to Ur.

The First Dynasty of Ur is believed to have flourished circa 2600 BCE — circa 2500 BCE. Meskalamdug is the first archaeologically recording king of the city-state of Ur who does not appear in the SKL. His tomb (discovered by English archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery of Ur in 1924 CE) contained numerous gold artifacts including a golden helmet with an inscription of the king's name. His wife's name was queen Ninbanda. Meskalamdug was also mentioned on a seal in another tomb with the title lugal, however; because his own tomb lacked attendants, Woolley assumed that Meskalamdug was not royal.

Meskalamdug was succeeded by his son Akalamdug. Akalamdug was, in turn, succeeded by his son Mesannepada.

The SKL has the following entry for Mesannepada:

In Ur, Mesannepada became king; he ruled for 80 years.

Mesannepada is the first king of the First Dynasty of Ur listed on the SKL, and it says that he defeated Lugalkildu of Uruk. Mesannepada, and his son and successor Meskiag-nuna, are both named on the Tummal Inscription as upkeepers of the main temple in Nippur along with Gilgamesh of Uruk and his son Ur-Nungal, verifying their status as overlords of Sumer. Judging from the inscriptions, Mesannepada then assumed the title "King of Kish" to indicate his hegemony.[51] This title would be used by many kings of the preeminent dynasties for some time afterward.

Mesilim of Kish is known from inscriptions from both Lagash and Adab. Those inscriptions state that Mesilim built temples in both Lagash and Adab. Mesilim seems to have held some influence in both Lagash and Adab. He is also mentioned in some of the earliest monuments from Lagash as arbitrating a border dispute between Lugal-sha-engur of Lagash and the ensi of Umma. Mesilim's placement before, during, or after the reign of Mesannepada of Ur is uncertain, owing to the lack of other synchronous names in the inscriptions, and his absence from the SKL.

Mesannepada was the first king listed for the section of the First Dynasty of Ur on the SKL. He is listed to have ruled for eighty years, having overthrown Lugal-kitun of Uruk. Mesannepada gave gifts to the kings of Mari (and according to a lapis lazuli bead inscription found in Mari, Mesannepada's father was: Meskalamdug.) Seals from the royal cemetery at Ur have also been found bearing the names of Mesannepada and two of his predecessors (Meskalamdug and Akalamdug), along with Queen Puabi. Mesannepada (along with his son and successor Meskiag-nuna) are both named on the Tummal Inscription as upkeepers of the main temple in Nippur alongside Gilgamesh of Uruk and Gilgamesh's son Ur-Nungal, verifying their status as overlords of Sumer.

Another son of Mesannepada (A-anne-pada) is known for having a temple constructed, though he is not named on the SKL. During the 1950s CE, Edmund I. Gordon conjectured that Mesannepada and Mesilim were actually one and the same, (as their names were interchanged in certain proverbs in later Babylonian tablets) however; this has not proved conclusive. More recent scholars tend to regard Mesannepada and Mesilim as distinct, usually placing Mesilim in Kish before Mesannepada.

The SKL has the following entry for Mesannepada's successors:

Meskiag-nuna, the son of Mesannepada, became king; he ruled for 36 years. Elulu ruled for 25 years. Balulu ruled for 36 years.

First Dynasty of Awan

The SKL has the following entry preceding the First Dynasty of Awan:

Then Ur was defeated and the kingship was taken to Awan.

The First Dynasty of Awan was the first dynasty of Elam of which anything is known today. The Elamites were likely major rivals of neighboring Sumer from remotest antiquity; they were said to have been defeated by Enmebaragesi of Kish. Awan was the capital city of Elam that is believed to have fl. c. 2600 BCE — c. 2078 BCE, about the same time as Elam is also mentioned clearly.[52] According to the SKL, a dynasty from Awan exerted hegemony in Sumer at one time.

The SKL has the following entry for the First Dynasty of Awan:

In Awan... became king; he ruled for... years... ruled for... years... ruled for 36 years. 3 kings; they ruled for 356 years.

The names of the three Awan kings have not survived on the extant copies of the SKL (aside from a partial reconstruction of the name of the third king, “Ku-ul...”, which the SKL states ruled for 36 years.)[53] This information is not considered reliable, but it does suggest that Awan had political importance circa 2600 BCE. Very little of these kings' reigns is otherwise known, however; Elam seems to have kept up a heavy trade with the Sumerian city-states during this time, mainly importing foods, and exporting slaves, cattle, wool and silver (among other things.) It is also known that the Awan kings carried out incursions in Mesopotamia, where they ran up against the most powerful city-states of this period: Kish and Lagash. One such incident is recorded in a tablet addressed to Enetarzi, a minor ruler or governor of Lagash, testifying that a party of 600 Elamites had been intercepted and defeated while attempting to abscond from the port with plunder.

Second Dynasty of Kish

The SKL has the following entry for the Second Dynasty of Kish:

In Kish, Susuda, the fuller, became king; he ruled for 201 years. Dadasig ruled for 81 years. Mamagal, the boatman, ruled for 360 years. Kalbum, the son of Mamagal ruled for 195 years. Tuge ruled for 360 years. Men-nuna, the son of Tuge, ruled for 180 years. …… ruled for 290 years. Lugalgnu ruled for 360 years. 8 kings; they ruled for 3195 years. Then Kish was defeated and the kingship was taken to Ḫamazi.

First Dynasty of Lagash

Votive relief of Ur-Nanshe (top, creating the foundation for a shrine; bottom, presiding over its dedication.) Currently located in the Louvre Museum of France.) Dated to between c. 2550 BCE and c. 2500 BCE.
One fragment of the victory stele (Stele of Vultures) of the king Eannatum of Lagash over Umma, dated to c. 2450 BCE. Currently likewise located in the Louvre Museum of France.

The First Dynasty of Lagash (flourished circa 2500 BCE — circa 2271 BCE) is not mentioned in the SKL, though it is well known from inscriptions. One extremely fragmentary supplement has been found written with the Sumerian cuneiform script (written as “the rulers of Lagash”.) This fragmentary supplement recounts how after the Flood mankind was having difficulty growing food for itself, being dependent solely on rainwater; it further relates that techniques of irrigation and cultivation of barley were then imparted by the gods. At the end of the list is the statement: “Written in the school,” suggesting this list was written in a scribal school production. A few of the names from the Lagash rulers listed below may be made out, including: Enhengal, Lugal-sha-engur, Ur-Nanshe, Akurgal, Eannatum, En-anna-tum I, Entemena, Enanatum II, Enentarzid, Lugalanda, and Urukagina.

En-hegal is the earliest known ruler of First Dynasty of Lagash. The city-state Lagash was (during En-hegal's reign) tributary to the city-state of Uruk. En-hegal was preceded by Lugalngu of the Second Dynasty of Kish. En-hegal was then succeeded by Lugal-sha-engur (also known as “Lugal-Suggur”.) Lagash was (during Lugal-sha-engur's reign) similarly tributary to Mesilim of the city-state of Kish.

Following the hegemony of Mesannepada of Ur, Ur-Nanshe succeeded Lugal-sha-engur as the new high priest of Lagash and achieved independence, (making himself the first king of an independent Lagash during the ED III.) Ur-Nanshe was succeeded by his son Akurgal. Eannatum (grandson of Ur-Nanshe) made himself master of Sumer. Eannatum was succeeded by his brother, En-anna-tum I. During En-anna-tum I's rule, Lagash was unsuccessfully attacked by Ur-Lumma as Umma once more asserted independence.

En-anna-tum I's son and successor (Entemena) restored the prestige of Lagash after Illi of Umma's attack on Lagash. With the help of Entemena's ally in the city-state of Uruk (Lugal-kinishe-dudu), Entemena defeated Illi of Umma. Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk seems to have been the prominent figure at the time, since he also claimed to rule Kish and Ur. A silver vase dedicated by Entemena to his god is now in the Louvre. A series of weak, corrupt priest-kings is attested for Lagash after Entemana's reign: En-anna-tum II, Enentarzid, and Lugalanda.

Lugalanda (also known as: Lugal-anda) was a Sumerian king of the First Dynasty of Lagash. Lugalanda was appointed as king by his father (who was the high priest of Lagash.) All documents mentioning the reign of Lugalanda described him as a wealthy and corrupt king. After nine years in power, Lugalanda was overthrown by Urukagina. Urukagina was known for his judicial, social, and economic reforms, and his reign may well be the first legal code known to have existed.

First Dynasty of Hamazi

The SKL has the following entry for the First Dynasty of Hamazi:

In Hamazi, Hadanish became king; he ruled for 360 years. 1 king; he ruled for 360 years. Then Hamazi was defeated and the kingship was returned a second time to Uruk.

Hamazi's exact location is unknown, but is thought to have been located roughly between Elam and Assyria somewhere in the western Zagros Mountains (possibly near Nuzi or modern Hamadan.)

Second Dynasty of Uruk

The SKL has the following entry for the Second Dynasty of Uruk:

In Uruk, Enshakushanna became king; he ruled for 60 years. Lugal-kinishee-dudu ruled for 120 years. Argandea ruled for 7 years. 3 kings; they ruled for 187 years. Then Uruk was defeated and the kingship was taken to Ur.

Enshakushanna conquered the city-states of Hamazi, Akkad, Kish, and Nippur (subsequently claiming hegemony over all of Sumer.) He adopted the Sumerian language title en ki-en-gi lugal kalam-ma,[54][55] which may be translated to "Lord of Sumer and King of All the Land" (or possibly translated to "En of the Region of Uruk and Lugal of the Region of Ur"[56]), and could correspond to the later title lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri ("King of Sumer and Akkad") that eventually came to signify kingship over Mesopotamia as a whole. He was succeeded by Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk, however; the hegemony over Sumer seems to had passed briefly to Eannatum of Lagash. Lugal-kinishe-dudu was later allied with Entemena of Lagash against their principal rival: the city-state of Umma.

Second Dynasty of Ur

The SKL has the following entry for the Second Dynasty of Ur:

In Ur, Nanni became king; he ruled for 54 years. Meš-ki-aĝ-Nanna, the son of Nanni, ruled for 48 years. ……, the son of ……, ruled for 2 years. 3 kings; they ruled for 120 years. Then Ur was defeated and the kingship was taken to Adab.

First Dynasty of Adab

The SKL has the following entry for the First Dynasty of Adab:

In Adab, Lugal-Ane-mundu became king; he ruled for 90 years. 1 king; he ruled for 90 years. Then Adab was defeated and the kingship was taken to Mari.

Following the Second Dynasty of Ur, Mesopotamia seems to have come under the sway of a Sumerian conqueror named Lugal-Ane-mundu. According to the fragmentary inscription attributed to Lugal-Ane-Mundu, he subjected the “Four Corners of the World” (i.e., the entire Fertile Crescent region: from as west as the Mediterranean Sea to as far east as the Zagros Mountains, including Elam.)[57] His empire is said to have included the provinces of Elam, Marhashi, Gutium, Subartu, Amurru, "Sutium" (?),[58] the Cedar Mountain Land and Mountain of E-anna. According to the inscription, he: “made the people of all the lands live in peace as in a meadow.” He also mentions having confronted a coalition of thirteen rebel governors or chiefs, led by Migir-Enlil of Marhashi (all of their names are considered Semitic.)[59]

Following the death of Lugal-Ane-mundu, the SKL indicated that the “kingship” (i.e., the Nippur-based hegemony) fell to a dynasty from Mari in Upper Mesopotamia, beginning with Anbu, however; it has been suggested that more likely, only the last of these Mari kings (Sharrumiter) held the hegemony over Sumer after Lugal-Anne-Mundu.[60] With the break-up of Lugal-Anne-Mundu's empire, other prominent city-states appear to have concurrently regained their independence: Lagash, Akshak, and Umma. Arno Poebel published a preliminary translation of one of the fragments of the Lugal-Ane-Mundu Inscription in 1909 CE, although Poebel was unable to make out the king's name (which he rendered as: “Lugal[.....]ni-mungin”.)[61] Hans Gustav Güterbock published a more complete translation in 1934 CE, but quickly dismissed the account as pseudepigraphic and largely fictional. However, some more recent Sumerologists, following Samuel Kramer, have been more willing to give it credence as possibly a late copy of an actual inscription of Lugal-Anne-Mundu.[57]

First Dynasty of Mari

The SKL has the following entry for the First Dynasty of Mari:

In Mari, Anbu became king; he ruled for 30 years. Anba, the son of Anbu, ruled for 17 years. Bazi, the leatherworker, ruled for 30 years. Zizi, the fuller, ruled for 20 years. Limer, the gudug priest, ruled for 30 years. Šarrum-īter ruled for 9. 6 kings; they ruled for 136 years. Then Mari was defeated and the kingship was taken to Kish.

The SKL recorded a dynasty of six kings between the two Sumerian dynasties of the city-states Adab and Kish centered at the capital city of the First Mariote Kingdom, Mari. Archaeologist Georges Dossin noted that the name of city-state "Mari" was spelled identically to the name of an ancient storm deity of Upper Mesopotamia who was considered the patron deity of the city-state[62] and thus Dossin concluded that the city was named after the deity.[63] Mari is not considered a small settlement that later grew,[64] however; it was instead a planned city that was built by the Sumerians during the ED I c. 2900 BCE (as a method of controlling the trade routes connecting Sumer to the Levant along the Euphrates river's waterways.) The city of Mari was built about one to two kilometers away from the Euphrates river to protect the city against flooding, and the city was also connected to the river with an artificial canal that was between seven and ten kilometers long (the canal's length depends on which old meander it used to be attached with, which is hard to identify today.) Mari is difficult to excavate as it is buried deep under later layers of habitation, however; a defensive system has already been unearthed at the present-day archaeological site of Mari which includes: a circular embankment (the circular embankment defended the city against floods), an outer embankment which had a height of eight to ten meters (the outer embankment was strengthened by defensive towers), a circular 6.7-meter-thick inner rampart (the inner rampart defended the city against its enemies), and an area 300 meters long filled with gardens and craftsmen quarters (the garden-filled area separated the outer embankment from the inner rampart.)

The site of Mari was abandoned at the end of the ED II (c. 2550 BCE) for reasons unknown. Around the beginning of the ED III (c. 2500 BCE), the site was revived and subsequently repopulated to be transformed into the capital city of a prosperous political center and great power of Mesopotamia: Second Mariote Kingdom. The kings of the Second Mariote Kingdom held the title of "lugal". An important source of information for the Second Mariote Kingdom is the letter of king Enna-Dagan (dated to c. 2350 BCE) which was sent to Irkab-Damu of Ebla (in the letter the Mariote king mentioned his predecessors and their military achievements.) However, the reading of this letter is still problematic and many interpretations have been presented by scholars.

Third Dynasty of Kish

The SKL has the following entry for the Third Dynasty of Kish:

In Kish, Kubaba, the woman tavern-keeper, who made firm the foundations of Kish, became king; she ruled for 100 years. 1 king; she ruled for 100 years. Then Kish was defeated and the kingship was taken to Akshak.

Kubaba of the Third Dynasty of Kish is the only queen on the SKL (the SKL stated that she reigned for 100 years.) The SKL adds that she had been a tavern keeper following the defeat of Sharrumiter of the First Dynasty of Mari. Most versions of the SKL placed her alone in the Third Dynasty of Kish. However, other versions combined the Third Dynasty of Kish with the Fourth Dynasty of Kish. The Third Dynasty of Kish was preceded by the First Dynasty of Akshak (which was then succeeded by the Fourth Dynasty of Kish.)

The Weidner Chronicle (also known as: the Esagila Chronicle) is a religious text written in ancient Babylonia and also referred to Kubaba as "Kugbaba".[65] In fact, it is not a chronicle but a piece of propaganda in the form of a letter, although it contains after line thirty-one a part that resembles a chronicle. The presumed author (the author was possibly King Damiq-ilisu of Isin) wrote to King Apil-Sin of Babylon about the blessings that the gods bestowed upon earlier rulers who sacrificed to the supreme god Marduk in the Esagila shrine of Babylon. Most of the kings named on the Weidner Chronicle fl. c. 3000 BCE — c. 2000 BCE (when Babylon and the shrine probably did not exist.) It contains a brief account of rise of: "the House of Kubaba" occurring during the reign of Puzur-Nirah of the First Dynasty Akshak:

In the reign of Puzur-Nirah, king of Akšak, the freshwater fishermen of Esagila were catching fish for the meal of the great lord Marduk; the officers of the king took away the fish. The fisherman was fishing when 7 (or 8) days had passed [...] in the house of Kubaba, the tavern-keeper [...] they brought to Esagila. At that time BROKEN[4] anew for Esagila [...] Kubaba gave bread to the fisherman and gave water, she made him offer the fish to Esagila. Marduk, the king, the prince of the Apsû, favored her and said: "Let it be so!" He entrusted to Kubaba, the tavern-keeper, sovereignty over the whole world. (lines 38-45)

First Dynasty of Akshak

The SKL has the following entry for the First Dynasty of Akshak:

In Akshak, Unzi became king; he ruled for 30 years. Undalulu ruled for 6 years. Urur ruled for 6 years. Puzur-Niraḫ ruled for 20 years. Išu-Il ruled for 24 years. Šu-Suen, the son of Išu-Il, ruled for 7 years. 6 kings; they ruled for 99 years. Then Akšak was defeated and the kingship was taken to Kish.

King Enshakushanna (he adopted the Sumerian title en ki-en-gi lugal kalam-ma,[54][55] which may be translated as "Lord of Sumer and King of all the Land", or possibly as "En of the Region of Uruk and Lugal of the Region of Ur",[56] and could correspond to the later title lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri "King of Sumer and Akkad" that eventually came to signify kingship over Mesopotamia as a whole) of the Second Dynasty of Uruk is recorded as having plundered the city-state Akshak. King Eannatum of the First Dynasty of Lagash became embroiled in a war against the city-state of Akshak, where one inscription has Eannatum claim that he had King Zuzu of Akshak smitten after Akshak was captured. King Puzur-Nirah of the First Dynasty of Akshak is mentioned in the Weidner Chronicle as having reigned when Queen Kubaba of the Third Dynasty of Kish was appointed overlordship over Sumer. King Lugal-zage-si of the Third Dynasty of Uruk defeated Akshak c. 2350 BCE.

Fourth Dynasty of Kish

The SKL has the following entry for the Fourth Dynasty of Kish:

In Kish, Puzur-Suen, the son of Kubaba, became king; he ruled for 25 years. Ur-Zababa, the son of Puzur-Suen, ruled for 4 years. 131 are the years of the dynasty of Kubaba. Zimudar ruled for 30 years. Usi-watar, the son of Zimudar, ruled for 6 years. Eštar-muti ruled for 17 years. Išme-Šamaš ruled for 11 years. Šu-ilīšu ruled for 15 years. Nanniya, the jeweller, 3 years. 8 kings; they ruled for 586 years. Then Kish was defeated and the kingship was returned a third time to Uruk.

Ur-Zababa's mother is unknown.[66][67] It is known that King Lugal-zage-si of the Third Dynasty of Uruk destroyed Kish toward the end of his reign, before he was himself deposed by Sargon the Great of the Akkadian Empire. It is often assumed that Sargon also played a role in Ur-Zababa's downfall, but the relevant texts are too fragmentary to be explicit. Ur-Zababa's successors in Kish as named on the SKL (beginning with Zimudar) seem to have been vassals of Sargon the Great, and there is no evidence that they ever exercised hegemony in Sumer.[68]

Third Dynasty of Uruk

A map detailing the empire of the King Lugal-zage-si of the Third Dynasty of Uruk at its maximum extent.

The SKL has the following entry for the Third Dynasty of Uruk:

In Uruk, Lugal-zage-si became king; he ruled for 25 years. 1 king; he ruled for 25 years. Then Uruk was defeated and the kingship was taken to Akkad.

King Urukagina of the First Dynasty of Lagash (fl. c. 2359 BCE — c. 2335 BCE short chronology timeline of the ancient near east) was overthrown and his city Lagash captured by Lugal-zage-si (lugal-zag-ge4-si = LUGAL.ZAG.GI4.SI 𒈗𒍠𒄄𒋛; frequently spelled Lugalzaggesi, sometimes Lugalzagesi or "Lugal-Zaggisi"), the high priest of Umma. Lugal-zage-si began his career as énsi of Umma, from where he conquered several of the Sumerian city-states including: Kish (where he overthrew Ur-Zababa), Lagash (where he overthrew Urukagina), Ur, Nippur, Larsa, Uruk, where Lugal-zage-si established the capital city of his empire. In a long inscription that Lugal-zage-si of Uruk made engraved on hundreds of stone vases dedicated to the deity Enlil of the city-state Nippur, he boasted that his kingdom extended: “from the Lower Sea, along the Tigris and Euphrates, to the Upper Sea" (or, “from the Persian Gulf, along the Tigris river and Euphrates river, to the Mediterranean Sea.”)[69] Although his incursion to the Mediterranean Sea was (in the eyes of some modern scholars) not much more than “a successful raiding party” the inscription: “marks the first time that a Sumerian prince claimed to have reached what was, for them, the western edge of the world.” Sargon of the Akkadian Empire captured Lugal-zage-si after destroying the walls of Uruk, then led Lugal-zage-si in a neck-stock to Enlil's temple in Nippur (according to later Babylonian versions of Sargon's inscriptions.)

Akkadian Empire

Main article: Akkadian Empire
Victory stele of Naram-Sin (Louvre)

The Akkadian period lasted ca. 2334–2218 BC (short chronology).

Sargon ca. 2334–2279 BC
Rimush ca. 2278–2270 BC younger son of Sargon
Man-ishtishu ca. 2269–2255 BC elder son of Sargon
Naram-Sinca. 2254–2218 BC son of Man-ishtishu
Shar-kali-sharri ca. 2217–2193 BC son of Naram-Suen
Dudu ca. 2189–2168 BC
Shu-Durul ca. 2168–2147 BC Akkad defeated by the Gutians

Gutian period

Further information: Gutian dynasty of Sumer

Following the fall of Sargon's Empire to the Gutians, a brief "Dark Ages" ensued. This period lasted ca. 2147–2047 BC (short chronology).

Second Dynasty of Lagash

Further information: Lagash

This period lasted ca. 2260–2110 BC.

Puzer-Mama ca. 2200 BC contemporary of Shar-kali-sharri of Akkad
Kaku or Kakug
Ur-Bau or Ur-baba ca. 2093–2080 BC (short)
Gudea ca. 2080–2060 BC son-in-law of Ur-baba
Ur-Ningirsu ca. 2060–2055 BC son of Gudea
Pirigme or Ugme ca. 2055–2053 BC
Ur-gar ca. 2053–2049 BC
Nammahani ca. 2049–2046 BC grandson of Kaku, defeated by Ur-Nammu

Fifth Dynasty of Uruk

Further information: Uruk

This dynasty lasted between ca. 2055–2048 BC short chronology. The Gutians were ultimately driven out by the Sumerians under Utu-hegal, the only king of this dynasty, who in turn was defeated by Ur-Nammu of Ur.

Third Dynasty of Ur

Main article: Third Dynasty of Ur

The Third Dynasty of Ur is dated to ca. 2047–1940 BC short chronology. Ur-Nammu of Ur defeated Utu-hegal of Uruk and founded the Third Dynasty of Ur. Although the Sumerian language ("Emegir") was again made official, Sumerian identity was already in decline, as the population became continually more and more Semiticised.

After the Ur III dynasty was destroyed by the Elamites in 2004 BC, a fierce rivalry developed between the city-states of Larsa, more under Elamite than Sumerian influence, and Isin, that was more Amorite (as the Western Semitic nomads were called). Archaeologically, the fall of the Ur III dynasty corresponds to the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. The Semites ended up prevailing in Mesopotamia by the time of Hammurabi of Babylon, who founded the Babylonian Empire, and the language and name of Sumer gradually passed into the realm of antiquarian scholars. Nevertheless, Sumerian influence on Babylonia, and all subsequent cultures in the region, was undeniably great.

During the third millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.[70] The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence.[70] This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.[70]

Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere around the turn of the third and the second millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate),[71] but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the first century AD.

See also



Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

  1. Pollock, Susan (1999), Ancient Mesopotamia. The Eden that never was, Case Studies in Early Societies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 2, ISBN 978-0-521-57568-3
  2. George, Andrew (1993), House Most High. The Temples of Ancient Mesopotamia (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns)
  3. Jacobsen, Thorkild (Ed) (1939),"The Sumerian King List" (Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; Assyriological Studies, No. 11.)
  4. Harriet Crawford. Sumer and the Sumerians. 2004. Page 28
  5. Cuneiform. By C. B. F. Walker.
  6. Records of the Past, Volume 5, Issue 11. Edited by Henry Mason Baum, Frederick Bennett Wright, George Frederick Wright. Records of the Past Exploration Society., 1906. Pg 352.
  7. The Adaptation of Cuneiform to Akkadian Piotr Michalowski University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  8. Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries. Cengage Learning, Jan 1, 2008. Page 12-13.
  9. Christopher Woods. Associate Professor of Sumerian. http://nelc.uchicago.edu/faculty/woods
  10. Woods, Christopher (2010), "The Earliest Mesopotamian Writing", in Woods, Christopher, Visible Language. Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond (PDF), Oriental Institute Museum Publications, 32, Chicago: University of Chicago, pp. 33–50, ISBN 978-1-885923-76-9
  11. The Idea of Writing: Writing Across Borders. Edited by Alex de Voogt, Joachim Friedrich Quack. BRILL, Dec 9, 2011. Page 181.
  12. Drs. T.J.H. (Theo) Krispijn - Assyriology - Faculty of Humanities http://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/organisation/assyriology/krispijntjh.html
  13. via Dietrich Sürenhagen (1999)
  14. 1 2 3 4 Van De Mieroop, Marc (2004). A History of the Ancient Near East. Blackwell. p. 41. ISBN 0-631-22552-8.
  15. The spelling of royal names follows the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
  16. von Soden, Wolfram (1994). The Ancient Orient. Donald G. Schley (trans.). Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 47. ISBN 0-8028-0142-0.
  17. translation
  18. translation
  19. Langdon, OECT2 (1923), pl. 6.
  20. Stephen Langdon, Historical inscriptions, containing principally the chronological prism, W-B 444, Oxford University Press, 1923
  21. "WB-444 High Resolution Image from CDLI".
  22. "WB-444 Line Art from CDLI".
  23. Ancient Iraq: (Assyria and Babylonia), Peter Roger Stuart Moorey, Ashmolean Museum, 1976; The Sumerian King List, T. Jacobsen, University of Chicago Press, 1939, p. 77.
  24. Jona Lendering (2006). "Sumerian King List".
  25. Wang, Haicheng (2004). Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 1107785871. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  26. William H. Shea (1977). "Adam in Ancient Mesopotamian Traditions".
  27. Hamilton, Victor (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1 - 17. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802825216.
  28. Roux, Georges (1992). Ancient Iraq. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9780140125238.
  29. A. R. George. Babylonian topographical texts. p 261.
  30. Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, page 129
  31. Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, page 502
  32. The reason for the name is historical; the first substantial find of pre-Sargonic cuneiform material was made at Tell Fara (Shuruppak) in the excavation season of 1902 by Robert Koldewey and Friedrich Delitzsch of the German Oriental Society. These finds were instrumental in the decipherment and description of archaic cuneiform in the 1910s and 1920s. Heinrich, Ernst; Andrae, Walter, eds. (1931). Fara, Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Fara und Abu Hatab. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
  33. Early Ancient Near Eastern Law. By Claus Wilcke. Eisenbrauns, 2003. Pg 26.
  34. 1 2 http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab11.htm
  35. Cambridge Conference Correspondence
  36. Did an Asteroid Impact Cause an Ancient Tsunami? - New York Times
  37. Carney, Scott (November 7, 2007). "Did a comet cause the great flood?". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  38. Harriet Crawford (2004), Sumer and the Sumerians, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-53338-6
  39. Ran Zadok: The Pre-hellenistic-Israelite Anthroponymy and Prosopography. Peeters Publishers, 1988. p. 101
  40. Hallo, William W. and William Kelly Simpson, The Ancient Near East: A History, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York, 1971, p. 41
  41. Roux, Georges (1971) "Ancient Iraq" (Penguin, Harmondsworth)
  42. Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
  43. Legend: Genesis of Civilisation Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp. 451-452. See also Mizraim.
  44. Identified by David Rohl with Nimrod the Hunter, mentioned in the Bible as founding Erech
  45. http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.
  46. Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project
  47. Vanstiphout, H. (2002) “Sanctus Lugalbanda” in Riches Hidden in Secret Places, T. Abusch (ed.), Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, p.260; The name has no such connotations of 'crown prince'.
  48. English translation of Sumerian King List in The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
  49. Lugalbanda, Reallexikon der Assyriologie 7, p.117.
  50. Keys, David (16 November 1998). "First lines of oldest epic poem found". The Independent. Retrieved 20 August 2014. The beginning of the world's first truly great work of literature - the 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the poem on which the story of Noah and the Flood was probably based - has been discovered in a British Museum storeroom.
  51. S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, Chicago, 1963, p. 49.
  52. D. T. Potts, The Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of an Ancient Iranian State. Cambridge World Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, 2015 ISBN 1107094690 p79
  53. Encyclopedia Iranica, "AWAN"
  54. 1 2 "The Emar Lexical Texts : Part 2 - Composite edition" (PDF). Openaccess.leideuniv.nl. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  55. 1 2
  56. 1 2 See e.g. Glassner, Jean-Jacques, 2000: Les petits etats Mésopotamiens à la fin du 4e et au cours du 3e millénaire. In: Hansen, Mogens Herman (ed.) A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures. The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen., P.48
  57. 1 2 Samuel Kramer, The Sumerians, 51-52.
  58. The precise identification of "Sutium" is unresolved, but it was apparently a Semitic-speaking region somewhere west of the desert, and probably near Amurru. It is rarely heard from again after this. Cf. Carleton, Buried Empires (1939) p. 235.
  59. The names of the 13 rebel chiefs in the inscription (as given by Guterbock) were: Migir-enlil, ensi of Marhashi; Enlil-ezzu, ensi of [...]; SHESH-kel (?), ensi of Kel; Su-Anum, ensi of Kagalla (?); [...]-Ellum, ensi of Amdama; Ibi-mama, ensi of Ardama; Nurshu-eli, ensi of [...]; Adad-sharrum, ensi of [...]; Badganum, ensi of [...]; Zumurtanu, ensi of [...]; Rimshunu, ensi of [...]; Abi-han[ish?], ensi of [...]; and [...]-bi-maradda(?), ensi of [...].
  60. "Kingdoms of Mesopotamia: Mari" at HistoryFiles
  61. A. Poebel, Babylonian legal and business documents: from the time of the first dynasty of Babylon, chiefly from Nippur, 1909, pp. 123-4; cuneiform diagram on p. 281.
  62. Alberto Ravinell Whitney Green (2003). The Storm-god in the Ancient Near East. p. 62.
  63. Ulf Oldenburg (1969). Diss Ertationes : The Conflict Between El and Ba'al in Canaanite Religion. p. 60.
  64. Pierre-Louis Viollet (2007). Water Engineering in Ancient Civilizations: 5,000 Years of History. p. 36.
  65. The Weidner Chronicle (ABC 19) or Esagila Chronicle.
  66. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History: Kaffka by Bonnie G. Smith
  67. Literatur, Politik und Recht in Mesopotamien: Festschrift für Claus Wilcke
  68. Kish at The History Files
  69. Crawford, Harriet E.W. Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-521-53338-4. Page 33.
  70. 1 2 3 Deutscher, Guy (2007). Syntactic Change in Akkadian: The Evolution of Sentential Complementation. Oxford University Press US. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-19-953222-3.
  71. Woods C. 2006 “Bilingualism, Scribal Learning, and the Death of Sumerian”. In S.L. Sanders (ed) Margins of Writing, Origins of Culture: 91-120 Chicago
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