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The Laws of Ur-Namma (Ur-Nammu) (2.153)

(2,009 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary At the end of the third millennium BCE, the Sumerian city-states had been subject to the occupations of the Akkad Dynasty of Sargon the Great and then of the barbarian Gutian invaders from the east. These foreign invaders finally were expelled by King Utu-hegal of Uruk (biblical Erech). After Utu-hegal’s death, his brother Ur-Namma, governor in Ur, assumed leadership t…

Reforms of Uru-inimgina (2.152)

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary The last ruler of the “First Dynasty of Lagash” (ca. 2570–2342 BCE) is known in the literature variously as Uru-inimgina or Uru-kagina (ca. 2351–2342 BCE).1 He promulgated the first known systematic legal reforms which, though not yet cast in the casuistic (conditional) form of later precedent law, nevertheless stand at the head of the long tradition of “social justice in ancient Israel and in the ancient Near East” (Weinfeld 1995). In …

Shulgi (2.139B)

(172 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An eight-line brick inscription records Shulgi’s construction of Inanna’s temple E-dur-anki in Nippur. The temple was excavated during 1955–58 and 1960–61 by a team of archaeologists from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Shulgi (2.139B) (1–2) For the goddess Inanna, his lady, (3–6) Shulgi, mighty man, king of Ur, king of the…

Ibbi-Sin (2.141B)

(324 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An inscription known from an Old Babylonian tablet copy deals with Ibbi-Sin’s fashioning of a golden šikkatu vessel (Sumerian BUR-ŠAGAN, Akkadian pūr šikkatu) “a large container used for the storage of oil” from gold that had been taken as booty from Susa. An idea of the kind of motifs that may have decorated this vessel may be gained by studying the iconographic elements adorning Early D…

Amar-Suena (2.140B)

(239 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A thirteen-line brick inscription from Eridu (modern Abu Shahrain) records Amar-Suena’s construction of Enki’s abzu temple. Sumerian abzu “sweet underground source” may conceivably be connected with the “abyss” of Gen 7:11, but the connection is far from certain. Abu Shahrain was excavated by Loftus in 1849, Taylor in 1855, Thompson in 1918, Hall in 1919, and by a team of Iraqi ar…

Ur-Nammu (2.138C)

(219 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A ten-line inscription found on bronze canephores, stone foundation tablets, and a door socket records Ur-Nammu’s construction of the goddess Inanna’s Eanna temple in Uruk (modern Warkāʾ). Uruk was excavated by a team of archaeologists from the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Berlin from 1912–13 and 1925–1939, and by a team from the Deutsches Archäolo…

Ibbi-sin (2.142)

(181 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions Commentary Old Babylonian copy on a clay tablet of a royal inscription of neo-Sumerian date originally carved on the sculpture of an exotic animal, perhaps a leopard. Ibbi-sin (2.142) For Nanna, the impetuous bullock of Heaven, the lord who is first-born son of Enlil, his master, Ibbi-Sin, the god of his nation, the mighty king, the king of Ur, the king of the four heavenly quarters — (of) a “dappled dog” of Meluhha (= India?…

Lugal-murube Son of Zuzu (2.143)

(387 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions Commentary Dogs were sacred to Nintinuga, the goddess of healing, perhaps because they were thought to aid recovery by licking wounds. Numerous skeletons of dogs have been found in Isin, her sacred city, where she was worshipped as Nin-Isina, “our lady of Isin,” or as Gula, “the great (goddess).” The following literary text records the fashioning and dedication of the sculpture of a dog to the godd…

The Cylinders of Gudea (2.155)

(17,675 words)

Author(s): Averbeck, Richard E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Temple Hymns of Gudea Commentary The composition known as the Cylinders of Gudea is inscribed on two large cylinders (i.e., hollow clay barrels), referred to as Cylinders A and B. The rims of the two cylinders are ca. 2.9 and 2.5 cm thick, respectively. Cylinder A is 61 cm long and 32 cm in diameter, and has 30 columns of writing parallel to the long axis. Cylinder B is 56.5 cm long and 33 cm in diameter, and has 24 col…

Shulgi (2.139A)

(220 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A steatite foundation tablet of unknown provenance — it probably came from Uruk — deals with the construction by Shulgi (the second king of the Ur III dynasty, who reigned ca. 2094–2047 BCE) of a temple to the goddess Ninsiʾana. Ninsiʾana, a form of the goddess Inanna, appears in two aspects in Sumerian texts, one female (likely the planet Venus as the “Evening Star” as in this text), and o…

Shulgi (2.139D)

(168 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An eight-line Sumerian brick inscription from Susa (modern Shush in western Iran) records Shulgi’s construction of the temple of the god Inshushinak, tutelary deity of Susa (for Susa, cf. Neh 1:1; Esth 1–4, 8–9, passim; Dan 8:2). The site of Susa has been excavated since 1897 by successive teams of French archaeologists. Shulgi (2.139D) (1–4) Shulgi, mighty man, king of Ur, king of the lands of Sumer and Akkad, (5–7) b…

Servants of Kings (2.145)

(277 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions Commentary In Old Babylonian times, it became customary for royal officials to indicate their status and that of their sovereign implicitly — rather than explicitly — by resorting to a formula, A son of B servant of C, in which C was understood to be a ruler and A his appointee.1 Much the same usage was followed in Judah and Israel, as shown by numerous archaeological finds there (above,  COS COSB.2.70R). In the following Old Babylon…

Ur-Nammu (2.138B)

(246 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A ten-line inscription found on two door sockets records Ur-Nammu’s construction of Enlil’s Ekur temple in Nippur. Nippur (modern Nuffar) was the religious capital of the Sumerians; its city god Enlil was the effective head of the Sumerian pantheon. The city was excavated by a joint expedition of the University of Pennsylvania and the Babylonian Explo…

Babati (2.144)

(265 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions Commentary The queen-mother wielded great influence in Sumer as she did in Judah and Israel, where she was known as gevira and shegal respectively (de Vaux 1961:117–119). The latter term presumably derives from Akkadian ša ekalli, lit. “she of the palace,” and this in turn from Sumerian É.GAL, “palace” (cf. Hebrew hēkāl). In the case of Abi-simti, Babati used his sister’s influence to attain multiple posts for himself — military…

Amar-Suena (2.140A)

(180 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A nine-line inscription known from two foundation tablets and a bronze canephore1 from Uruk records the construction by Amar-Suena (third king of the Ur III dynasty, who reigned ca. 2046–2038 BCE) of a temple for the goddess Inanna under her surname Ninsiʾana. Amar-Suena (2.140A) (1–3) For the goddess Inanna/Ninsiʾana, his lady, (4–7) Amar-Suena, mighty man, king of Ur, king of the four quarters, (8–9) built her…

Old Babylonian Inscriptions (2.SU.A.2)

(58 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions Commentary ISIN I DYNASTY See above,  COS COSB.2.92–94, COSB.96–97 LARSA DYNASTY See above,  COS COSB.2.98–102 URUK DYNASTY See above,  COS COSB.2.104–105 BABYLON I DYNASTY See above,  COS COSB.2.107A, COSB.C, COSB.D, COSB.108–109 2. Old Babylonian Inscriptions

Ur-Nammu (2.138A)

(214 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An eight-line brick inscription from the temenos wall at Ur records the construction by Ur-Nammu (the first king of Ur III dynasty, who reigned ca. 2112–2095 BCE) of the “wall of Ur.” Ancient Ur, the dynastic capital, was located at modern Tell al-Muqayyar The site was excavated in 1850 by Loftus, 1855 by Taylor, 1918 by Thompson, 1919 by Hall, and fr…

The Laws of Lipit-Ishtar (2.154)

(2,910 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary The last ruler of the Ur III Dynasty, Ibbi-Sin (the son or brother of King Shu-Sin), held the throne for twenty-four years in the face of the increasing pressures from the Elamite invaders from the east and the Amorite incursions from the west. With the collapse of Ur III hegemony, one of Ibbi-Sin’s governors, Ishbi-Erra of Mari, founded his own dynasty at Isin (modern…

Shulgi (2.139C)

(175 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A Neo-Babylonian tablet copy of a Shulgi inscription records the king’s construction of the E-meslam temple, shrine of the underworld god Nergal in Cuthah (modern Tell Ibrahim). Sargon II of Assyria, after his conquest of Samaria, repopulated the former capital city with inhabitants of Cuthah (IDB 1: 752). Shulgi (2.139C) Subject: 2 Kgs 17:24, 30 (1–4) Šulgi, mighty man, king of Ur, king of the lands of…

Ur-Nammu (2.138D)

(291 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A tablet copy of a royal inscription of Ur-Nammu deals with a campaign against the Elamite King Kutik-Inshushinak (Puzur-Inshushinak). The copy was found at Isin, excavated by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft under B. Hrouda since 1973. Elam was the ancient name for the land east of Sumer and Akkad, corresponding in part to modern-day Iran. Of inte…
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