Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: 𒌨𒀭𒇉, ca. 2047-2030 BC short chronology) founded the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, following several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule. His main achievement was state-building, and Ur-Nammu is chiefly remembered today for his legal code, the Code of Ur-Nammu, the oldest known surviving example in the world.

King of Ur
ConsortDaughter of Utu-hengal
ReligionSumerian religion


Mud-brick stamped with the name of king Ur-Nammu. Nippur was written in Arabic; therefore, this brick might well have been found in Nippur. Erbil Civilization Museum, Iraq
Mud-brick stamped with the name of king Ur-Nammu. Using a marker pen, Nippur was written in Arabic at one of the corners; therefore, this brick might well have been found in Nippur. Neo-Sumerian Period. Erbil Civilization Museum, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Year-names are known for 17 of Ur-Nammu's 18 years, but their order is uncertain. One year-name of his reign records the devastation of Gutium, while two years seem to commemorate his legal reforms: "Year in which Ur-Nammu the king put in order the ways (of the people in the country) from below to above", and "Year Ur-Nammu made justice in the land".[1]

Among his military exploits were the conquest of Lagash and the defeat of his former masters at Uruk. He was eventually recognized as a significant regional ruler (of Ur, Eridu, and Uruk) at a coronation in Nippur, and is believed to have constructed buildings at Nippur, Larsa, Kish, Adab, and Umma. He was known for restoring the roads and general order after the Gutian period.[2]

A brick stamped with the name of Ur-Nammu of Ur
A brick stamped with the name of Ur-Nammu of Ur

Ur Nammu was also responsible for ordering the construction of a number of stepped temples, called ziggurats, including the Great Ziggurat of Ur.[3]

He was succeeded by his son Shulgi, after an 18-year reign. His death on the battle-field against the Gutians (after he had been abandoned by his army) was commemorated in a long Sumerian poetic composition.[2]


In 1925, a shattered nine-foot tall limestone pillar was discovered in Mesopotamia. Under the remote supervision of Leonard Woolley, it was reconstructed by the Penn Museum. In 1985, Jeanny Canby determined that it had been pieced back incorrectly. She removed the plaster filler of the stele, and added the rearranged pieces she found in the museum's storeroom, and discovered the figure of a courtesan embracing a deity. "It's an amazingly intimate scene for a royal monument," she said.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Year-names for Ur-Nammu
  2. ^ a b Hamblin, William J. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. New York: Routledge, 2006.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (November 28, 2007). "Archaeologist Jeanny 'Jes' Canby". The Washington Post.

External links

Code of Ur-Nammu

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known law code surviving today. It is from Mesopotamia and is written on tablets, in the Sumerian language c. 2100–2050 BC.

Cuneiform law

Cuneiform law refers to any of the legal codes written in cuneiform script, that were developed and used throughout the ancient Middle East among the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Hurrians, Kassites, and Hittites. The Code of Hammurabi is the most well-known of the cuneiform laws, but there were a number of precursor laws.


E-sara (Cuneiform: E2 SAR.A 𒂍𒊬𒀀 "House of the Universe"), was the temple dedicated to Inanna in Uruk by Ur-Nammu.

In the Enuma Elish, E-sara was created by Marduk at the end of Tablet IV, as he divided Tiamat into two halves, and created a "House of Heaven", for Anu, Bel, and Ea.


Ehursag (ÉḪURSAG, É.ḪAR.SAG, ekharsag) is a Sumerian term meaning "house of the mountains".Sumerian ÉḪURSAG is written as a special ligature (ÉPAxGÍN 𒂍𒉺𒂅), sometimes etymologized as É.ḪAR.SAG (𒂍𒄯𒊕), written with the signs É "temple" (or "house"), ḪAR "mountain" and SAG "head".

Ehursag is commonly associated with a temple of Enlil discovered by Sir. Charles Leonard Woolley during excavations at Ur in modern-day Iraq. He originally considered this to be a palace, a view that was later rejected in replace for a temple. The location of the royal palace at Ur remains unknown. No graves were discovered under the Ekursag during these excavations. Woolley eventually conceded that it was a "minor temple of some sort." Modern scholars still vary on their interpretations of it as a temple, palace or administrative building. It has even been suggested to be a wing or annex of the main temple, having had some of its foundations destroyed. Stamped bricks used in the construction of the foundations revealed that they were built by Ur-Nammu of the Third Dynasty of Ur. Bricks from the pavement bore the stamp of his successor, Shulgi and later ones of the Isin-Larsa period after Ur was destroyed by Elamites. Ehursag is also the name or epithet of Ninhursag's temple at Hiza and has been suggested to have been an interchangeable word with Enamtila. The Ehursag at Ur was restored in 1961 using ancient and modern bricks, a 2008 report for the British Museum noted that this had collapsed in some areas, especially the northwest corner.

Gutian dynasty of Sumer

The Gutian dynasty (Sumerian: 𒄖𒋾𒌝𒆠, gu-ti-umKI) was a dynasty that came to power in Mesopotamia c. 2135—2055 BC [ short ] after displacing the "Sargonic" dynasty. It ruled for roughly one century; however, some copies of the Sumerian King List (SKL) vary between 4 and 25 years. The end of the Gutian dynasty is marked by the accession of Ur-Nammu (founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which fl. c. 2112 BC [ middle ] or 2055 BC [ short ] ).

The Gutian people (Guti) were native to Gutium, presumably in the central Zagros Mountains, though almost nothing is known about their origin.

Jeanny Canby

Jeanny Vorys Canby (July 14, 1929 – November 18, 2007) was an American archaeologist and scholar of the Ancient Near East. She is best known for her restoration of the Ur-Nammu stele.


Kutik-Inshushinak (also known as Puzur-Inshushinak) was king of Elam around 2100 BC, and the last from the Awan dynasty according to the Susa kinglist.His father was Shinpi-khish-khuk, the crown prince, and most likely a brother of king Khita. Kutik-Inshushinak's first position was as governor of Susa, which he may have held from a young age. About 2110 BC, his father died, and he became crown prince in his stead.

Elam had been under the domination of Akkad since the time of Sargon, and Kutik-Inshushinak accordingly campaigned in the Zagros mountains on their behalf. He was greatly successful as his conquests seem to have gone beyond the initial mission.

In 2090 BC, he asserted his independence from Akkad, which had been weakening ever since the death of Naram-Sin, thus making himself king of Elam. He conquered Anshan and managed to unite most of Elam into one kingdom. He built extensively on the citadel at Susa, and encouraged the use of the Linear Elamite script to write the Elamite language. This may be seen as a reaction against Sargon's attempt to force the use of Akkadian. Most inscriptions in Linear Elamite date from the reign of Kutik-Inshushinak.

His achievements were not long-lasting, for after his death the linear script fell into disuse, and Susa was overrun by the Third dynasty of Ur, while Elam fell under control of Simashki dynasty (also Elamite origin).It is now known that his reign in Elam overlapped with that of Ur-Nammu of Ur-III, although the previous lengthy estimates of the duration of the intervening Gutian dynasty and rule of Utu-hengal of Uruk had not allowed for that synchronism.

List of ancient legal codes

The legal code was a common feature of the legal systems of the ancient Middle East. The Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100-2050 BC), then the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1760 BC), are amongst the earliest originating in the Fertile Crescent. In the Roman empire, a number of codifications were developed, such as the Twelve Tables of Roman law (first compiled in 450 BC) and the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian, also known as the Justinian Code (429 - 534 CE). In ancient China, the first comprehensive criminal code was the Tang Code, created in 624 CE in the Tang Dynasty.

The following is a list of ancient legal codes in chronological order:

Code of Urukagina (2,380-2,360 BC)

Cuneiform law (2,350-1,400 BC)

Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (c. 2050 BC)

Laws of Eshnunna (c. 1930 BC)

Codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (c. 1870 BC)

Babylonian laws / Code of Hammurabi (c. 1790 BC)

Hittite laws (c. 1650–1100 BC)

Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 BC)

Law of Moses / Torah (10th-6th century BC)

Assyrian laws / Code of the Assura (c. 1075 BC)

Draconian constitution (7th century BC)

Gortyn code (5th century BC)

Twelve Tables of Roman Law (451 BC)

Edicts of Ashoka of Buddhist Law (269-236 BC)

Law of Manu (c. 200 BC)

Corpus Juris Civilis (Justinian code) (529 to 534 AD)

Sharia or Islamic Law (c. 570)

Tang Code (624 to 637)

Halakha (Jewish religious law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions)

Traditional Chinese law

Gentoo Code

Brehon Law


Lugalbanda (Sumerian: 𒈗𒌉𒁕 lugal-banda3da, young/fierce king) is a character found in Sumerian mythology and literature. Lugalbanda is listed in the postdiluvian period of the Sumerian king list as the second king of Uruk, saying he ruled for 1,200 years, and providing him with the epithet of the Shepherd. Whether a king Lugalbanda ever historically ruled over Uruk, and if so, at what time, is quite uncertain. Attempts to date him in the ED II period are based on an amalgamation of data from the epic traditions of the 2nd millennium with unclear archaeological observations.Lugalbanda prominently features as the hero of two Sumerian stories dated to the Ur III period (21st century BCE), called by scholars Lugalbanda I (or Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave) and Lugalbanda II (or Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird). Both are known only in later versions, although there is an Ur III fragment that is quite different than either 18th century version These tales are part of a series of stories that describe the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug (Uruk), and Ensuhkeshdanna, lord of Aratta, presumably in the Iranian highlands. In these two stories, Lugalbanda is a soldier in the army of Enmerkar, whose name also appears in the Sumerian King List as the first king of Uruk and predecessor of Lugalbanda. The extant fragments make no reference to Lugalbanda's succession as king following Enmerkar.Lugalbanda appears in Sumerian literary sources as early as the mid-3rd millennium, as attested by a mythological text from Abu Salabikh that describes a romantic relationship between Lugalbanda and Ninsun.A deified Lugalbanda often appears as the husband of the goddess Ninsun. In the earliest god-lists from Fara, his name appears separate and in a much lower ranking than Ninsun, but in later traditions, until the Seleucid period, his name is often listed in god-lists along with his consort Ninsun. Ample evidence for the worship of Lugalbanda as a deity comes from the Ur III period, as attested in tablets from Nippur, Ur, Umma and Puzrish-Dagan. In Old Babylonian period, Sin-kashid of Uruk is known to have built a temple called É-KI.KAL dedicated to Lugalbanda and Ninsun, and to have assigned his daughter Niši-īnī-šu as the eresh-dingir priestess of Lugalbanda.In royal hymns of the Ur III period, Ur-Nammu of Ur and his son Shulgi describe Lugalbanda and Ninsun as their holy parents, and in the same context call themselves the brother of Gilgamesh. Sin-Kashid of Uruk also refers to Lugalbanda and Ninsun as his divine parents, and names Lugalbanda as his god.In the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh and in earlier Sumerian stories about the hero, the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, calls himself the son of Lugalbanda and Ninsun. In the Gilgamesh and Huwawa tale, the hero consistently uses the assertive phrase: “By the life of my own mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda!”. In Akkadian versions of the epic, Gilgamesh also refers to Lugalbanda as his personal god, and in one episode presents the oil filled horns of the defeated Bull of Heaven "for the anointing of his god Lugalbanda".

Magan (civilization)

Magan (also Makkan) was an ancient region which was referred to in Sumerian cuneiform texts of around 2300 BC and existed to 550 BC as a source of copper and diorite for Mesopotamia.

The location of Magan is not known with certainty, but most of the archaeological geological evidence suggests that Magan was part of what is now the United Arab Emirates and Oman. However, some archaeologists place it in the region of Yemen known as Ma'in, in the south of Upper Egypt, in Nubia or the Sudan, and others as part of today's Iran or Pakistan.

The first Sumerian mentions of a land of Magan (Akkadian Makkan) are made during the Umm al-Nar period (2,600-2,000 BCE), as well as references to 'the Lords of Magan'. Sumerian sources also point to 'Tilmun' (accepted today as modern Bahrain) and Meluhha (thought to refer to the Indus Valley). Akkadian campaigns against Magan took place in the twenty-third century, again possibly explaining the need for fortifications, and both Manishtusu and Naram-Sin and Manishtusu, in particular, wrote of campaigning against '32 lords of Magan'.Magan was famed for its shipbuilding and its maritime capabilities. King Sargon of Agade (2,371-2,316 BCE) boasted that his ports were home to boats from Tilmun, Magan and Meluhha. His successor, Naram-Sin, not only conquered Magan, but honoured the Magan King Manium by naming the city of Manium-Ki in Mesopotamia after him. Trade between the Indus Valley and Sumer took place through Magan, although that trade appears to have been interrupted, as Ur-Nammu (2,113-2,096 BCE) laid claim to having 'brought back the ships of Magan'.Archaeological finds dating from this time show trade not only with the Indus Valley and Sumer, but also with Iran and Bactria. They have also revealed what is thought to be the oldest case on record of poliomyelitis, with the distinctive signs of the disease found in the skeleton of a woman from Tell Abraq, in modern Umm Al Quwain.Trade was common between Magan and Ur before the reigns of the Gutian kings over Ur. After they were deposed, Ur-Nammu of Ur restored the roads and trade resumed between the two nations (c. 2100 BC).

Mina (unit)

The mina (also mĕnē, Aramaic; Hebrew: מנה‬) is an ancient Near Eastern unit of weight, which was divided into 50 shekels. The mina, like the shekel, was also a unit of currency. In ancient Greece, it originally equalled 70 drachmae and later was increased to 100 drachmae. The Greek word mna (μνᾶ) was borrowed from Semitic; compare Hebrew māneh, Aramaic mĕnē, Syriac manyā, Ugaritic mn, and Akkadian manū.

However, before it was used as currency, a mina was a unit of measurement, equal to 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg).

From earliest Sumerian times, a mina was a unit of weight. At first, talents and shekels had not yet been introduced. By the time of Ur-Nammu, the mina had a value of 1/60 talents as well as 60 shekels. The value of the mina is calculated at 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg).

Evidence from Ugarit indicates that a mina was equivalent to fifty shekels. The prophet Ezekiel refers to a mina ('maneh' in the King James Version) as sixty shekels, in the Book of Ezekiel 45:12. Jesus of Nazareth tells the "parable of the minas" in Luke 19:11-27.

From the Akkadian period, 2 mina was equal to 1 sila of water (cf. clepsydra, water clock).


In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically 𒀭𒇉 dNAMMA = dENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology.

Nammu was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. An indication of her continued relevance may be found in the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. Nammu is the goddess who "has given birth to the great gods". It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil requested from Nammu the creation of humans, and Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods.

Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the "only female prime mover" in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

Rod-and-ring symbol

The Rod and ring symbol is a symbol that is depicted on Mesopotamian stelas, cylinder seals and reliefs. It is held by a god or goddess and in most cases is being offered to a king who is standing, often making a sacrifice, or otherwise showing respect. The symbol dates from the Sumerian Renaissance to the Neo-Assyrian Period, and is commonly explained as a coil of measuring string and a yardstick. Other theories are that they are a shepherd's crook and a nose rope, or that the ring is no rope at all.The best known example of the symbol is seen on the Code of Hammurabi stela. The most elaborate depiction is found on the Ur-Nammu-stela, where the winding of the cords has been detailed by the sculptor. This has also been described as a "staff and a chaplet of beads". There is discussion whether the Ur-Nammu-stela is showing the same thing.

Salawat Gallyamov

Salawat Abdrakhmanovich Gallyamov (December 24, 1959 – September 5, 2018) was a Russian linguist, researcher, supporter of the theory of the Turanian origin of the Bashkir people. Gallyamov, himself a Bashkir, used the shape of the 'bashkord' for the name of the people. He is known for his research in the field of the epics and myths of the peoples of Eurasia and the connections and linguistic parallels of the Bashkir language with some ancient and modern languages of the world.


Shulgi (𒀭𒂄𒄀 dŠulgi, formerly read as Dungi) of Ur was the second king of the Sumerian Renaissance in the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 48 years, from c. 2029 – 1982 BC (short chronology) or (c. 2094–c. 2047 BC). His accomplishments include the completion of construction of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, begun by his father Ur-Nammu.

Third Dynasty of Ur

The terms "Third Dynasty of Ur" and "Neo-Sumerian Empire" refer to both 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.

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 the Jazira.


Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar (Arabic: تل المقير‎) in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq.The city dates from the Ubaid period circa 3800 BC, and is recorded in written history as a city-state from the 26th century BC, its first recorded king being Mesannepada.

The city's patron deity was Nanna (in Akkadian, Sin), the Sumerian and Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) moon god, and the name of the city is in origin derived from the god's name, URIM2KI being the classical Sumerian spelling of LAK-32.UNUGKI, literally "the abode (UNUG) of Nanna (LAK-32)".The site is marked by the partially restored ruins of the Ziggurat of Ur, which contained the shrine of Nanna, excavated in the 1930s. The temple was built in the 21st century BC (short chronology), during the reign of Ur-Nammu and was reconstructed in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, the Assyrian-born last king of Babylon. The ruins cover an area of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) northwest to southeast by 800 metres (2,600 ft) northeast to southwest and rise up to about 20 metres (66 ft) above the present plain level.


Utu-hengal (also written Utu-heg̃al, Utu-heĝal, and sometimes transcribed as Utu-hegal, Utu-hejal) was one of the first native kings of Sumer after centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule.

Ziggurat of Ur

The Ziggurat (or Great Ziggurat) of Ur (Sumerian: 𒂍𒋼𒅎𒅍 é-temen-ní-gùru "Etemenniguru", meaning "temple whose foundation creates aura") is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age (21st century BCE) but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BCE of the Neo-Babylonian period, when it was restored by King Nabonidus.

Its remains were excavated in the 1920s and 1930s by Sir Leonard Woolley. Under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, they were encased by a partial reconstruction of the façade and the monumental staircase. The Ziggurat of Ur is the best-preserved of those known from Iran and Iraq, besides the ziggurat of Dur Untash (Chogha Zanbil). It is one of three well preserved structures of the Neo-Sumerian city of Ur, along with the Royal Mausolea and the Palace of Ur-Nammu (the E-hursag).

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.