Brick of Amar-Suen

Brick of Amar-Suen

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Third Dynasty of Ur

The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to have been a nascent empire.

The Third Dynasty of Ur is commonly abbreviated as Ur III by historians studying the period. It is numbered in reference to previous dynasties, such as the First Dynasty of Ur (26-25th century BCE), but it seems the once supposed Second Dynasty of Ur never existed. [1]

The Third Dynasty of Ur was the last Sumerian dynasty which came to preeminent power in Mesopotamia. It began after several centuries of control by Akkadian and Gutian kings. It controlled the cities of Isin, Larsa, and Eshnunna and extended as far north as Upper Mesopotamia. The dynasty corresponded to a Sumerian renaissance following the fall of the First Dynasty of Ur.

For the goddess Ningal , queen of Ekišnugal , divine Ninmenna ( “Lady-of-the-Crown” ) , beloved of Ur , his lady :

Sin-balassu-iqbi , viceroy of Ur , built anew the Gipāru ,

the house of the supreme goddess , beloved wife of the god Sîn ( Nannar ) .

After he constructed a statue , a ( re- ) creation of the goddess Ningal ,

( and ) brought it into the house of the wise god ,

she took up residence in Enun , ( which was ) built ( to be ) her lordly abode .

“ Assembly of the Gods” – 12 Royal Anunnaki Family Members King Anu & Selected Descendants

( ANU + ANTU – King & Queen, royal rulers of Nibiru)

The 12 main royal family of gods from Nibiru, & their ranking order numbers

( Anunnaki King Anu ) ( Anu in his sky-disc) (son & heir Enlil , King Anu , & eldest son Enki in their sky-disc)

The History of the Tummal

(Enlil‘s ziggurat residence in Nippur , the Anunnaki Earth Colony Command Central, top of structure on left was added by American archaeologists around 1900)

En-me-barage-si , the king, built the Iri-nanam in Enlil‘s temple.

(Ninlil on shore, Enlil, & son Nusku)

Aga , son of En-me-barage-si , made the Tummal flourish and brought Ninlil ( Enlil ‘s spouse) into the Tummal.

Then the Tummal fell into ruins for the first time.

Mes-ane-pada built the Burcucua in Enlil‘s temple.

Mes-ki-aj-nuna , son of Mes-ane-pada , made the Tummal flourish and brought Ninlil into the Tummal.

Then the Tummal fell into ruins for a second time.

( Ningishzidda , mixed-breed son-king of Ninsun’s , Ninsun , & another of her son-kings)

Gilgamec ( Gilgamesh , Ninsun‘s son-king ) built the Numunbura in Enlil‘s temple.

Ur-lugal, son of Gilgamec , made the Tummal flourish and brought Ninlil into the Tummal.

Then the Tummal fell into ruins for a third time (each time a thousand + years).

Nanni built the Lofty Garden in Enlil‘s temple.

Mes-ki-aj- Nanna , son of Nanni , made the Tummal flourish and brought Ninlil into the Tummal.

(mud-brick-built ruins of Enlil‘s ziggurat residence)

Then the Tummal fell into ruins for a fourth time (standing for thousands of years) .

( Enlil leads Ur-Namma , Ninsun ‘s 2/3rds divine son-king, to the E-kur, Enlil‘s house in Nippur)

Ur-Namma , built the E-kur.

Culgi ( Shulgi ), son of Ur-Namma , made the Tummal flourish and brought Ninlil into the Tummal.

Then the Tummal fell into ruins for a fifth time.

until king Ibbi- Suen ( Ninsun‘s semi-divine great-great-grandson-king) chose En-am-gal-ana

(1. ms. has instead: En-me-gal-ana ) by extispicy as the high priest of Inana ( Inanna ) of Unug (Uruk ),

( Nannar‘s daughter Inanna , espoused mixed-breed kings for thousands of years / The Goddess of Love)

( Ninlil follows spouse Enlil to the Underworld)

Ninlil came regularly to the Tummal.

Written according to the words of Lu-Inana the (unidentified?) chief leatherworker of Enlil.

Icbi-Erra ( Enlil‘s semi-divine descendant-king ) , who looks after the E-kur ( Enlil ‘s residence in Nippur ), built the E-cutum of Enlil .

Brick of Amar-Suen - History

Within the framework of an agreement of cooperation between the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg (BNUS) and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI), Ludek Vacin of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science was given direct access to the full cuneiform collection of the BNUS. With the support of Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire staff, Vacin proceeded to scan the collection in August of 2010 following procedures discussed in the methods pages of the CDLI. The BNUS and the CDLI are happy to present in the following pages the new results (after those of the Institut Catholique de Paris) that are part of a larger online project documenting all accessible cuneiform collections in public and private hands in France.

The object to the right (BNUS 374) is a brick stamp seal of the third Ur III king Amar-Suen (ca. 2046-2038 BC), inscribed in the clay surface in an orientation mirroring the inscription found on numerous bricks of the period (click on the image to be directed to the text’s corresponding CDLI page).

in Nippur
by Enlil,
in the house of Enlil,
strong man,
king of Ur,
king of the four corners.

Brick Inscription to Enlil for Ashur-etel-ilani (4)

(Texts: All Artifacts, Color Coding, & Writings in Bold Type With Italics Inside Parenthesis, are Added by Editor R. Brown, not the Authors, Translators, or Publishers!)

( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal )

For [the god Enlil , lord of the la]nds, his [lord: Aššu ] r-etel-ilāni , his obedient [shephe]rd,

who provides for Nippur , supporter of Ekur , mighty king, king of the four quarters (of the world),

(re)built Ekur , his beloved temple with caked bricks.


The list blends prehistorical, presumably mythical predynastic rulers enjoying implausibly lengthy reigns with later, more plausibly historical dynasties. Although the primal kings are historically unattested, that does not preclude their possible correspondence with historical rulers who were later mythicized. Some Assyriologists view the predynastic kings as a later fictional addition. [1] [3] 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 BC. Reference to him 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 BC. The list is important to the chronology of the 3rd millennium BC. However, the fact that many of the dynasties listed reigned simultaneously from varying localities makes it difficult to reproduce a strict linear chronology. [1]

Sources Edit

The following extant ancient sources contain the Sumerian King List or portions of it:

  • Apkullu-list (W.20030,7)
  • Babyloniaca of Berossus
  • Dynastic Chronicle (ABC 18) [4] including copies, K 11261+ and K 12054
  • Kish Tablet
  • UCBC 9-1819 ("California Tablet")
  • WB 62
  • WB 444 (Weld-Blundell Prism) [5][6]
  • Nippur fragment (Ni. 3195)

The two sources marked WB 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 one side, unearthed from Larsa. It is the oldest dated source, at c. 2000 BC, that contains the list. [7] WB 444, in contrast, is a unique inscribed vertical prism, [1] [8] [9] [10] dated c. 1817 BC, although some scholars prefer c. 1827 BC. [11] The Kish Tablet or Scheil dynastic tablet is an early 2nd millennium BC tablet which came into possession of Jean-Vincent Scheil, but only contains list entries for four Sumerian cities. [12] UCBC 9-1819 is a clay tablet housed in the collection of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California. [13] The tablet was inscribed during the reign of the Babylonian King Samsu-iluna, or slightly earlier, with the earliest date of 1712 BC. [14] The Dynastic Chronicle (ABC 18) is a Babylonian king list written on six columns, beginning with entries for the antediluvian (prior to the flood) Sumerian rulers. K 11261+ [15] is one of the copies of this chronicle, consisting of three joined Neo-Assyrian fragments discovered at the Library of Ashurbanipal. [16] K 12054 is another of the Neo-Assyrian fragments from Uruk (c. 640 BC) but contains a variant form of the antediluvians on the list. The later Babylonian king lists and Assyrian king lists repeated the earliest portions of the list, thus preserving them well into the 3rd century BC. At this time, Berossus wrote Babyloniaca, which popularized fragments of the list in the Hellenic world. In 1960, the Apkullu-list (Tablet No. W.20030, 7) or "Uruk List of Kings and Sages" (ULKS) was discovered by German archaeologists at an ancient temple at Uruk. The list, dating to c. 165 BC, contains a series of kings, equivalent to the Sumerian antediluvians, called "Apkullu". [17]

Early dates are approximate, and are based on available archaeological data. For most of the pre-Akkadian rulers listed, the king list is itself the lone source of information. Beginning with Lugal-zage-si and the Third Dynasty of Uruk (which was defeated by Sargon of Akkad), a better understanding of how subsequent rulers fit into the chronology of the ancient Near East can be deduced. The short chronology is used here.

Antediluvian rulers Edit

None of the following predynastic antediluvian rulers have been verified as historical by 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 great deluge.

The "antediluvian" reigns were measured in Sumerian numerical units known as sars (units of 3,600), ners (units of 600), and sosses (units of 60). [18] Attempts have been made to map these numbers into more reasonable regnal lengths. [19]

Tension between Enki and Enlil (B/W Theoretical)



Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Dec 7, 2007 22:01:43 GMT -5

Thread Orientation : This thread is intended to explore one facet of the Theoretical Model of Magic in History and its application to Mesopotamia presented Binsbergen and Wiggermann. For further context see the thread "Theoretical Understandings (Binsbergan/Wiggermann)" found on the Mesopotamian Magic board. In particular, this thread corresponds to the following study point (I have the uncharacteristic color pink in attempting to make these points stand out). I hope here to hit upon some surrounding context and parallels.

[ 2 ] The authors imply in this paper and later explicitly suggest, a tension between Enki and Enlil and they refer to Kramers work "Enki and his inferiority complex". This theme is worth investigating, and I hope shortly to have relevant material on a thread dedicated to Ninurta and the Turtle (also a follow to the Imdugud thread).


Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Dec 16, 2007 5:56:37 GMT -5

Under the heading "Holism in the arcane arts of Mesopotamia" B/W make the following rather potent mytho-historical statement about underlying religious currents:

" Thus, although E n k i / Ea is a full member of the pantheon and as such fulfills his role as embedding agent, a certain tension is expected between him, the ancient guardian of the m e / par_u ordered universe, and the representatives of theistic hegemony. In fact, as we will see below, this tension, which from a different perspective S. N. Kramer59 has called ‘E n k i / Ea’s inferiority complex’, is attested in the demonisation of E n l i l ’s rule. "

An echo of this statement especially regarding the rise of the "representatives of theistic hegemony" might be seen in the opening of Thorkild Jacobsen's " Treasures of Darkness ." On p.20 Jacobsen gives an outline of three major religious metaphors in which the gods were seen and presented. In sum they are:

    [li] 1. As spiritual cores in phenomina, indwelling wills and powers mostly corresponding to natural phenomina of primarily economic importance.

Relevant here is " 2. As rulers ." Because the terms used differ widely in verbiage, I believe its roughly correct that 'as rulers' = 'representatives of theistic hegemony'. Jacobsen's accompanying explanation reads about gods as rulers reads: "The second metaphor, that of the ruler, appears to be later. It is less common, and where it occurs it is intimately bound up with the social and political forms of relatively advanced character. Our earliest evidence for this metaphor dates from the outgoing Protoliterate, the so-called Jemdat Nasr period, and the following Early Dynastic period when divine names composed with e n "lord" begin to appear: E n - l í l, "Lord Wind" and En - k i ( . a k ), "Lord of the soil." The rather elaborate political mythology associated with this metaphor with its general assembly of gods meeting in Nippur would appear to reflect historical political conditions not earlier than Early Dynastic. Nippur itself seems to date as a major site from just before Early Dynastic I and so the political mythology connected with it is most likely to be placed in the period of transition from Early Dynastic I to II."

In "Toward the Image of Tammuz" , p.140, Jacobsen further details that the elaborate political mythology, such as the election of the king of all Sumer with in an assembly headed by An and Enlil at Nippur, may testify to the role of Nippur as gathering point to which "the citizens of Sumerian cities assembled to elect common leaders, "lords" or "kings" as the case might be." He suggests this may be the original political reality behind the myths and later political mythology, which would agree well with the observation "the only term we have for Sumer as a political unit, [is] the term kengir for there is good evidence that this term was originally a term for Nippur itself, and its understandable that a political organization created in Nippur meetings should take its name from the meeting place." Jacobsen refers collectiviely to the cities brought under the influence of Nippur as the "kengir league."

Mythological and Theological Rivalery

In an article "The West, the Bible and the Ancient East: Apperceptions and Categorisations" (1974), J. J. Finkelstein writes:

" The supremacy of Enlil - deriving from the theology of Nippur, which achieved dominance in Sumer early in the third millennium B.C. - did not entail the absorption of, or even any realy encroachment upon, the jurisdictional province of other major gods. Enlil's supremancy- as that of Marduk of Babylon and Ashur of Assyra, which were little more than adaptations of this theology for other times and places- lay rather in his relationship to humanity than to the other gods. For Enlil personified the vital forces inherent in that part of cosmic geography - from the surface of the earth up to the vault of the skies- which most immediately affected the well-being of mankind (and of all living things), namely the life-sustaining ones of fertility, vegetation, and all the phenomena associated with the maintenance of an abundant food-supply. But Enlil's overlordship as regards the other gods, as distinct from his perceived relationship to humanity, was more honorific than substantive. He was the overlord of such gods as An, Inanna, Utu, and Nanna but he neither delegated to them their respective jurisdictions, nor could he usurp them. Even more to the point, the Nippurian theology could not eradicate- nor is there evidence of any deliberate effort in this direction- the older and 'rivalling' theology of Eridu, wherein Enki was the supreme deity. Enki (Ea in the later Semitic literature) remained throughout totally independent of Enlil. He was the fountainhead of all the arts and civilisation and of wisdom in general, the archetypical Promethean god, the patron of, and spokesman for, mankind. In this guise he retained the power even to thwart Enlil's decision to destroy mankind through the primeval Flood alerting Atrahasis (later identified by thr additional name Utanapishtim, the Mesopotamian prototype of Noah) of the impending catastrophe and giving him explicit and detailed instructions for securing the means to escape the fate awaiting him the rest of his fellow me. "

For those who may take Kramer's classic explanation of Sumerian Cosmology in "Sumerian Mythology" as the end all say all of Sumerian theological matters - its safe to say that with a fair amount of trouble, one can glimpse the true complexity of this subject as it is discussed in scholarly circles. Finklestein makes an additional comment which is helpful in this regard "When, in the context of some particular cosmogony, a single god is elevated to supremacy and proceeds to parcel out the cosmic domains to the rest of the pantheon -as Marduk does in Enuma Elis, the so-called 'Babylonian Epic of Creation' - the secheme is best understood as a reflection chiefly of local, time-bound, political realities that have been transposed onto a cosmic plane. They do not offer us an authentic insight into the more profound constants of Mesopotamian cosmology, i.e., its apperceptions of the nature of 'deity', and the immutable interrelationships between the great gods."

Different Theologies are referred to by W.W. Hallo in his 1996 JAOS review of the book "Myths of Enki: The Crafty God" (Kramer/Maier 1986.) Hallo relays that three discrete ideologies may be identified in Sumer, "the theologies of Nippur, Lagash, and Eridu" of which he remarks Kramer and Maier's work is the first systematic survey of the latter. (although "it does not operate with the notion of a theology of Eridu" it does represent a systematic survey of the text which constitute such.) He continues "The first and oldest of these theologies centered upon Enlil, effectively the head of the Sumerian pantheon, and reflected conditions of the Early Dynastic times, a period when Nippur, Enlil's cult city, also served as the religious center of a league of all Sumer (Jacobsen's Kengir League") and later, under the Sargonic and Ur III Dynasties, of Sumer and Akkad. It served into Old Babylonian times when the First Dynasty of Isin tried to present itself as the heir to all Sumerian tradition since the Flood. " [Here Hallo refers to the writing of the Sumerian King List - refer to the "Numerology' Enenuru thread, esp. P. Michalowski.] " It was enshrined at this time in the Neo-Sumerian canon as fixed in the scribal schools, particularly at Nippur. In addition to the hymns, lamentations, and other genres on Enlil and/or his consort Ninlil (or Sud or even Ashnan), the theology of Nippur is exemplified primarily in the Nippur recension of the Sumerian King List. "
The author comments on the theology of Lagash, noting it revolved around Ningirsu, who was prominent in the later E.D. and Sargonic periods, and this theology was reflected in myths about Ninurta. About the theology of Eridu its explained that it centered on Enki -

"His cult center was at Eridu, and Eridu was the oldest city in fact as well as in tradition (Sumerian, Akkadian and even Hebrew). It was thus possible to claim a hoary antiquity for this theology, though, in fact, it was probably not systematized before the middle of the Old Babylonian Period and the rise to prominence of Babylon. Here Marduk, the local deity, was equated with Asarluhi, the son of Enki, and turned, like his Sumerian prototype, into a patron of incantation and magic. The Sumerian flood story, in which Enki bests Enlil to assure the survival of humankind, was modified to provide a new antediluvian prologue, beginning with Eridu, to the Sumerian King List. A whole host of myths focusing on Enki developed the theme of his solicitude for humanity as a conterwieght to the terror inspired by Enlil and his unalterable "word."

Thus it seems that what is termed the "Theology of Eridu" by scholars is perhaps implicitly evident in texts, and can be infered from 'tension' in the myths, however despite the greater antiquity of Eridu and its cult, and perhaps for lack of textural evidence from Abu Shahrain, the Theology of Eridu refers a religious outlook with explicit attestation no earlier then "The Eridu Genesis" (referred to as the modified Sumerian Flood story above). Jacobsen dates this to approx 1600 B.C. That the Theology of Eridu is not textually explicit before tihs date, does not mean the tension between Enki and Enlil begain here - or even that the Theology started at this time. Currently I am unable to explain the exact distinctions between the Theology of Eridu, and the 'Eridu circle' - that is a circle of gods connected with Enki.

Hallo (JAOS 1990) refers to the flood thusly "From the perspective of religious history, the Flood originates as a chapter in the struggle between the deities Enki and Enlil or, if one prefers, between the rival theologies and priesthoods of the first city, Eridu, and the later center of the amphictyony, Nippur."
Most notable in his conviction of a tension between Enlil and Enki is S.N. Kramer whose article "Enki and his Inferiority complex" Or 39 (1970) I do not have access to, however this theory is hinted at in numerous of his works, and its clear Kramer held a similiar assessment of the theological aspects of the flood as Hallo has demonstrated above. Another example is Kramer's comment on the "Spell of Enki" (aka "Spell of Nudimmud") from the Enmerker and the Lord of Arrata. He comments about these lines:

" To judge from the context, it seems safe to surmise that Enki, displeased with, or jealous of, the sway of Enlil, took some action to disrupt it, and thus put an end to man's Golden Age by bringing about conflicts and wars among peoples of the world. Perhaps (on the assumption that lines 10 and 11 are to be taken literally), Enki even brought about a confusion of languages. "

However Vanstiphout in a new interpretation of this piece has posited that it should be read in the future tense, and that foreign nations are to be the subject of the effects of the spell, not Sumer proper. (reviewed at ***Enenuru*** :: General :: Mesopotamian Magic :: Literary Magic (Black Magic?/Spell of Nudimmud)

Still to come:
-What cant be said about the significance of the tablet of Destinies in Enki's hands in the myth "Ninurta and the Turtle"
-And Tension between Enki and Enlil in Incantation literature



The Third Dynasty of Ur arose some time after the fall of the Akkad Dynasty. The period between the last powerful king of the Akkad Dynasty, Shar-Kali-Sharri, and the first king of Ur III, Ur-Nammu, is not well documented, but most Assyriologists posit that there was a brief "dark age", followed by a power struggle among the most powerful city-states. On the king-lists, Shar-Kali-Sharri is followed by two more kings of Akkad and six in Uruk however, there are no year names surviving for any of these, nor even any artifacts confirming that any of these reigns was historical — save one artifact for Dudu of Akkad (Shar-Kali-Sharri's immediate successor on the list). Akkad's primacy, instead, seems to have been usurped by Gutian invaders from the Zagros Mountains, whose kings ruled in Mesopotamia for an indeterminate period (124 years according to some copies of the king list, only 25 according to others). An illiterate and nomadic people, their rule was not conducive to agriculture, nor record-keeping, and by the time they were expelled, the region was crippled by severe famine and skyrocketing grain prices. Their last king, Tirigan, was driven out by Utu-hengal of Uruk, beginning the "Sumerian Renaissance".

Following Utu-Hengal's reign, Ur-Nammu (originally a general) founded the Third Dynasty of Ur, but the precise events surrounding his rise are unclear. The Sumerian King List tells us that Utu-hengal had reigned for seven years (or 426, or 26 in other copies), although only one year-name for him is known from records, that of his accession, suggesting a shorter reign.

It is possible that Ur-Nammu was originally his governor. There are two stelae discovered in Ur that include this detail in an inscription about Ur-Nammu's life.

Ur-Nammu rose to prominence as a warrior-king when he crushed the ruler of Lagash in battle, killing the king himself. After this battle, Ur-Nammu seems to have earned the title 'king of Sumer and Agade.'

Ur's dominance over the Neo-Sumerian Empire was consolidated with the famous Code of Ur-Nammu, probably the first such law-code for Mesopotamia since that of Urukagina of Lagash centuries earlier.

Many significant changes occurred in the empire under Shulgi's reign. He took steps to centralize and standardize the procedures of the empire. He is credited with standardizing administrative processes, archival documentation, the tax system, and the national calendar. He captured the city of Susa and the surrounding region, toppling Elamite king Kutik-Inshushinak, while the rest of Elam fell under control of Shimashki dynasty. [2]

The military and conquests of Ur III Edit

In the last century of the 3rd millennium BC, it is believed that the kings of Ur waged several conflicts around the frontiers of the kingdom. These conflicts are believed to have been influenced by the king of Akkad. As we have little evidence of how the kings organized their forces, it is unclear whether defensive forces were in the center or outside the kingdom. One of the things we do know is that the second ruler of the dynasty, Šulgi achieved some expansion and conquest. These were continued by his three successors but their conquests are less frequent with time. [3]

At the very height of the expansion of Ur, they had taken territory from southeastern Anatolia (modern Turkey) to the Iranian shore of the Persian Gulf, a testimony to the strength of the dynasty. The armies of Ur did bring back precious booty when they conquered a place. There are hundreds of texts that explain how treasures were seized by the Ur III armies and brought back to the kingdom after many victories. Also in some texts it appears that the Shulgi campaigns were the most profitable for the kingdom. It is most likely the main people who benefited from the spoils were the kings and temples that were back in the main parts of the kingdom. [3]

Conflicts with northeastern mountain tribes Edit

The rulers of Ur III were often in conflict with the highland tribes of the Zagros mountain area who dwelled in the northeastern portion of Mesopotamia. The most important of these tribes were the Simurrum and the Lullubi tribal kingdoms. [4] [5] They were also often in conflict with Elam.

Military rulers of Mari Edit

In the northern area of Mari, Semitic military rulers called the Shakkanakkus apparently continued to rule contemporaneously with the Third Dynasty of Ur, or possibly in the period that just preceded it, [6] with rulers such as military governors like Puzur-Ishtar, who was probably contemporary with Amar-Sin. [7] [8]

Timeline of rulers Edit

Assyriologists employ many complicated methods for establishing the most precise dates possible for this period, but controversy still exists. Generally, scholars use either the conventional (middle, generally preferred) or the low (short) chronologies. They are as follows:

Ruler Middle Chronology
All dates BC
(Utu-hengal) 2119–2113
Ur-Nammu 2112–c. 2095
Shulgi 2094–2047
Amar-Sin 2046–2038
Shu-Sin 2037–2029
Ibbi-Sin 2028–2004

The list of the Kings of the Third Dynasty of Ur with the length of their reigns, appears on a cuneiform document listing the kings of Ur and Isin, the "List of Reigns of Kings of Ur and Isin" (MS 1686). The list explains: "18 years Ur-Namma [was] king, 48 years Shulgi [was] king, 9 years Amar-Suen, 9 years Su-Suen, 24 years Ibbi-Suen." [11]

Abraham Edit

Abraham, the common patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions, is often put forward as having been born in Ur around this time, although estimated dates range from 2300 BC until 1960 BC (the date of the destruction of Ur), and the identification of Ur with the Ur of the Chaldees in the Hebrew Bible is not entirely certain. [12]

Fall of Ur III Edit

The power of the Neo-Sumerians was waning. Ibbi-Sin in the 21st century launched military campaigns into Elam, but did not manage to penetrate far into the country. In 2004/1940 BC (middle/short chronology respectively), the Elamites, allied with the people of Susa and led by Kindattu, king of the Elamite Shimashki dynasty, managed to sack Ur and lead Ibbi-Sin into captivity, ending the third dynasty of Ur. After this victory, the Elamites destroyed the kingdom, and ruled through military occupation for the next 21 years. [13] [14]

Mesopotamia then fell under Amorite influence. The Amorite kings of the Dynasty of Isin formed successor states to Ur III, starting the Isin-Larsa period. They managed to drive the Elamites out of Ur, rebuilt the city, and returned the statue of Nanna that the Elamites had plundered. The Amorites were nomadic tribes from the northern Levant who were Northwest Semitic speakers, unlike the native Akkadians of southern Mesopotamia and Assyria, who spoke East Semitic. By around the 19th century BC, much of southern Mesopotamia was occupied by the Amorites. The Amorites at first did not practice agriculture as did the more advanced Mesopotamians, preferring a semi-nomadic lifestyle, herding sheep. Over time, Amorite grain merchants rose to prominence and established their own independent dynasties in several south Mesopotamian city-states, most notably Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, Lagash, and later, founding Babylon as a state.

When Kings of the Third Ur dynasty ruled they had specific dates and names for each period of their rule. One example was "the year of Ur-nammu king" which marked the time that Ur-Nammu proclaimed and told of his independence from Utu-Hegal of Uruk. Ur-Nammu controlled a small area on the Euphrates that was surrounding Ur. Another important time was the year named "The threshed grain of Largas." This year name tells us of the time that Ur-Nammu attacked the territory of Largas. One consequence of this attack was that the Ur-Nammu's forces took grain back to Ur. Another year-name that has been discovered was the year that Ur-Nammu's daughter became en of the god Nanna and was renamed with the priestess-name of En-Nirgal-ana. This designation as en of Nanna makes the year's designation almost certain. [15]

Political organization Edit

The land ruled by the Ur III kings was divided into provinces that were each run by a governor (called an ensí). In certain tumultuous regions, military commanders assumed more power in governance.

Each province had a redistribution center where provincial taxes, called bala, would all go to be shipped to the capital. Taxes could be paid in various forms, from crops to livestock to land. The government would then apportion out goods as needed, including funding temples and giving food rations to the needy.

The city of Nippur and its importance Edit

The city of Nippur was one of the most important cities in the Third Dynasty of Ur. Nippur is believed to be the religious center of Mesopotamia. It was home to the shrine of Enlil, who was the lord of all gods. This was where the God Enlil spoke the king's name and was calling the king to his existence. This was used as a legitimacy for every king in order to secure power. The city is also believed to be a place where people would often take disputes according to some tablets that were found near the city. Politically it is hard to say how significant Nippur was because the city had no status as a dynastic or military power. However, the fact that Nippur never really gave kings any real political or military advantages suggests to some that it was never really conquered. The city itself was more viewed as "national Cult Center." Because it was viewed this way it was thought that any conquest of the city would give the Mesopotamian rulers unacceptable political risks. Also as the city was seen as a holy site this enabled Nippur to survive numerous conflicts that wiped out many other cities in the region. [16]

Social system Edit

This is an area where scholars have many different views. It had long been posited that the common laborer was nothing more than a serf, but new analysis and documents reveal a possible different picture. Gangs of labourers can be divided into various groups.

Certain groups indeed seem to work under compulsion. Others work in order to keep property or get rations from the state. Still other laborers were free men and women for whom social mobility was a possibility. Many families travelled together in search of labor. Such laborers could amass private property and even be promoted to higher positions. This is quite a different picture of a laborer's life than the previous belief that they were afforded no way to move out of the social group they were born into.

Slaves also made up a crucial group of labor for the state. One scholar [ who? ] estimates that 2/5 of chattel slaves mentioned in documents were not born slaves but became slaves due to accumulating debt, being sold by family members, or other reasons. However, one surprising feature of this period is that slaves seem to have been able to accumulate some assets and even property during their lifetimes such that they could buy their freedom. Extant documents give details about specific deals for slaves' freedoms negotiated with slaveowners.

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