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2.1 Sumerian history

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MS 2426

ms2426

ROYAL INSCRIPTION OF GISHAKIDU OF UMMA: WHEN SHARA SAID TO ENLIL, AND STOOD AT HIS SERVICE, GISHAKIDU, THE BELOVED OF SHARA - HERO AND FIERCE ENCHANTER OF SUMER, THE BOLD ONE WHO TURNS BACK THE LANDS, THE CONQUEROR OF NIN-URRA, THE MOTHERLY COUNSELLOR OF ENKI, THE BELOVED COMPANION OF ISHTARAN, THE MIGHTY FARMER OF ENLIL, THE KING CHOSEN BY INANNA; HE DUG THE CANALS, HE SET UP THE STELES -

MS in Sumerian on limestone, Umma, Sumer, ca. 2385 BC, 1/3 of a truncated cone, h. 11,9 cm, originally ca. 35 cm, diam. 5,3-7,3 cm, 2 columns, compartments with 30 lines in a transitional linear script between pictographic and cuneiform script.

Context: Continuation of the text (mainly listing the boundaries of Shara of Umma) on British Museum terracotta vase, former Erlenmeyer Collection (Christie's 13.12.1988:60), and also related to The Louvre AO 19225, a gold beard from a statue which alludes to the existence of King Gishakidu.
For another foundation inscription of Gishakidu of Umma, see MS 4983.

Commentary: The cone and the vase relate to the Umma-Lagash border conflict that lasted over the reign of many kings between ca. 2450 and 2300 BC, with many bloody battles. This conflict is the earliest well documented piece of history. All the written and artistic materials came from Lagash, such as the stele of the vultures in The Louvre. The cone and the vase for the first time tell the history from Umma's point of view. The present MS also reveals the unknown king of the British Museum vase, and dates it to ca. 2385 BC.
Information kindly given by Mark Wilson who will publish the text.




MS 4556

ms4556

ROYAL INSCRIPTION OF KING SHAR-KALI-SHARRI OF AKKAD, DESCRIBING HIS CAMPAIGNS AND CONQUESTS

MS in Sumerian on light green translucent alabaster, Akkad, Sumer, ca. 2217-2193 BC, 1 partial tablet, 10,0x11,5x4,7 cm, (originally at least ca. 20x25x5 cm), 2+2 columns (originally 5+5 columns), 18 compartments remaining in a formal archaizing cuneiform script of high quality.

Commentary: This was originally a luxury inscription of impressive size and beauty. No royal inscriptions have so far been published of this king, who is known from other sources, including monumental inscriptions. The king's name have been recut, after another name had been erased, possibly of the previous king, Naram-Sn (2254-2218 BC).




MS 2814

ms2814

ROYAL INSCRIPTION COMMEMORATING DEFEAT OF MAGAN, MELUKHAM, ELAM(?), AND AMURRU, AND ESTABLISHMENT OF REGULAR OFFERINGS TO HIS STATUE; SCHOOL TEXT?

MS in Neo Sumerian and Old Babylonian on clay, Sumer, 2100-1800 BC, 1 tablet, 14,8x14,0x3,3 cm (originally ca. 16x14x3 cm), 3+3 columns, 103 lines in cuneiform script.

Commentary: The text was copied from a Sargonic royal inscription on a statue in the Ur III or early Old Babylonian period. Magan was at Oman and at the Iranian side of the Gulf. Meluhha or Melukham was the Indus Valley civilisation (ca. 2500-1800 BC). This is one of fairly few references to the Indus civilisation on tablets. The 3 best known references are: 1. Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC) referring to ships from Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun; 2. Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BC) referring to rebels to his rule, listing the rebellious kings, including "(..)ibra, man of Melukha"; and 3. Gudea of Lagash (2144-2124 BC) referring to Meluhhans that came from their country and sold gold dust, carnelian, etc. There are further references in literary texts. After ca. 1760 BC Melukha is not mentioned any more.

Exhibited: Tigris 25th anniversary exhibition. The Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo, 30.1. - 15.9.2003.




MS 2855

LIST OF KINGS AND CITIES FROM BEFORE THE FLOOD

IN ERIDU: ALULIM RULED AS KING 28,800 YEARS. ELALGAR RULED 43,200 YEARS. ERIDU WAS ABANDONED. KINGSHIP WAS TAKEN TO BAD-TIBIRA. AMMILU'ANNA THE KING RULED 36,000 YEARS. ENMEGALANNA RULED 28,800 YEARS. DUMUZI RULED 28,800 YEARS. BAD-TIBIRA WAS ABANDONED. KINGSHIP WAS TAKEN TO LARAK. EN-SIPA-ZI-ANNA RULED 13,800 YEARS. LARAK WAS ABANDONED. KINGSHIP WAS TAKEN TO SIPPAR. MEDURANKI RULED 7,200 YEARS. SIPPAR WAS ABANDONED. KINGSHIP WAS TAKEN TO SHURUPPAK. UBUR-TUTU RULED 36,000 YEARS. TOTAL: 8 KINGS, THEIR YEARS: 222,600

ms2855

MS in Sumerian on clay, Babylonia, 2000-1800 BC, 1 tablet, 8,1x6,5x2,7 cm, single column, 26 lines in cuneiform script.

Context: 5 other copies of the Antediluvian king list are known only: MS 3175, 2 in Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, one is similar to this list, containing 10 kings and 6 cities, the other is a big clay cylinder of the Sumerian king list, on which the kings before the flood form the first section, and has the same 8 kings in the same 5 cities as the present. A 4th copy is in Berkeley: Museum of the University of California, and is a school tablet. A 5th tablet, a small fragment, is in Istanbul.

Commentary: The list provides the beginnings of Sumerian and the worlds history as the Sumerians knew it. The cities listed were all very old sites, and the names of the kings are names of old types within Sumerian name-giving. Thus it is possible that correct traditions are contained, though the sequence given need not be correct. The city dynasties may have overlapped. It is generally held that the Antediluvian king list is reflected in Genesis 5, which lists the 10 patriarchs from Adam to Noah, all living from 365 years (Enoch) to 969 years (Methuselah), altogether 8,575 years. It is possible that the 222,600 years of the king list reflects a more realistic understanding of the huge span of time from Creation to the Flood, and the lengths of the dynasties involved. The first of the 5 cities mentioned , Eridu, is Uruk, in the area where the myths places the Garden of Eden, while the last city, Shuruppak, is the city of Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah.




MS 2110/1

  1. DEBATE BETWEEN BIRD AND FISH; PART OF THE SUMERIAN CREATION STORY
  2. CREATION OF THE WORLD, THE MAN AND THE HOE, 1 - 33, SUMERIAN MYTH

ms2110/1

MS in Sumerian on clay, Babylonia, 1900-1700 BC, 1 tablet, 24x17x5 cm, 2+2 columns, 42 lines in cuneiform script.

Context: Creation of the hoe is the text on MSS 2423/1-5, 2110/1, text 2, and 3293. Bird and Fish is also the text on MSS 2884 and 3325. About 50-60 sources for the Creation of the Hoe is known.

Commentary: Text 1, a part of the Sumerian creation story; as a literary debate between the bird and the fish in which they argue for their usefulness in the universe as it was then conceived. It has a substantially variant form of the published text, and the end is unpublished. Parts of the text are similar to Genesis 1:20-22.
Text 2: The Sumerians believed that the hoe, one of their basic agricultural tools, in the beginning was given as a gift of the gods. A myth was created explaining the circumstances of this event. It opens with the Sumerian creation of the world and of man.
There are parallels to both the Bible's 1st creation story: "The Lord hastened to separate heaven from earth" (Gen. 1:6-10); "and Daylight shone forth" (Gen. 1:3-5); and the 2nd creation story: "The Lord put the (first) human in the brick mould, and Enlil's people emerged from the ground" (Gen. 2:7).

Exhibited: Tigris 25th anniversary exhibition. The Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo, 30.1. - 15.9.2003.




MS 5103

CREATION OF THE WORLD, SUMERIAN MYTH: IN DISTANT DAYS, IN THOSE DAYS, AFTER DESTINIES HAD BEEN DECREED, AFTER AN AND ENLIL HAD SET UP THE REGULATIONS FOR HEAVEN AND EARTH, ENKI, THE EXALTED KNOWING GOD, LIKE A HIGH PRIEST WITH WIDE KNOWLEDGE, ENLIL-BANDA, IN THE LANDS WAS THEIR RULER. BY THE RULES FOR HEAVEN AND EARTH, THE FIXED RULES, HE SET UP CITIES. - HE DUG THE TIGRIS AND THE EUPHRATES. THEREUPON HE ESTABLISHED THE RULES OF THE LANDS. HE SET UP HAND-WASHING RITES, HE SET UP LIBATIONS

ms5103

MS in Neo Sumerian on clay, Babylonia, 1900-1700 BC, 1 tablet, 10,6x5,0x2,2 cm, single column, 26 lines in cuneiform script, the lines on reverse missing.

Commentary: The present text is unique, and different from the abbreviated creation story which introduces the creation of the hoe (MSS 2423/1-5, 2110/1, text 2, and 3293), and the Neo Babylonian epic of Creation, Enuma Elish, 1000 years later.




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