A society of people that seemed to arrive over night and got a lot of things right the first time. Truly amazing culture. Introduction to Samuel Noah Kramer For the past 26 years I have been active in Sumerological research, particularly in the field of Sumerian literature. The first written documents were found in a Sumerian city named Erech. That is, as early as B.
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He probably did not come from the city, but had married Ninalla, daughter of the ruler Urbaba - BC of Lagash, thus gaining entrance to the royal house of Lagash. He was succeeded by his son Ur-Ningirsu. His era was especially one of artistic development. Ningirsu the war god, for whom Gudea built maces, spears, and axes, all appropriately named for the destructive power of Ningirsu—enormous and gilt. In matters of trade, Lagash under Gudea had extensive commercial communications with distant realms.
According to his own records, Gudea brought cedars from the Amanus and Lebanon mountains in Syria, diorite from eastern Arabia, copper and gold from central and southern Arabia and from Sinai, while his armies were engaged in battles in Elam on the east.
However, the common intimation that Gudea was a peaceful ruler as made by Edzard , who funded his projects through trade, ignores the attention paid to Ningirsu, as well as the martial nature of Southern Mesopotamia in general. While Gudea was not likely an autocrat who ruled over all of Southern Mesopotamia, this part of the world was full of religious fervor and universal conflict.
And it worked. The dynasty was led by Gudea. Gudea took advantage of artistic development because he evidently wanted posterity to know what he looked like. And in that he has succeeded—a feat available to him as royalty, but not to the common people who could not afford to have statues engraved of themselves.
Gudea, following Sargon, was one of the first rulers to claim divinity for himself, or have it claimed for him after his death. Some of his exploits were later added to the Gilgamesh epic N.
Sandars, , The Epic of Gilgamesh. Gudea rose -- it was sleep; he shuddered -- it was a dream. He performed it on the kid and his omen was favourable.
He is wise, and able too to realise things. The ruler gave instructions to his city as to one man. He opened manacles, removed fetters; established ……, rejected legal complaints, and locked up those guilty of capital offences instead of executing them. He undid the tongue of the goad and the whip, replacing them with wool from lamb-bearing sheep. No mother shouted at her child.
No child answered its mother back. No slave who …… was hit on the head by his master, no misbehaving slave girl was slapped on the face by her mistress. Nobody could make the ruler building the E-ninnu, Gudea, let fall a chance utterance. The ruler cleansed the city, he let purifying fire loose over it. He expelled the persons ritually unclean, unpleasant to look at, and …… from the city. The citizens were purifying an area of 24 iku for him, they were cleansing that area for him. For him the day was for praying, and the night passed for him in supplications.
History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History / Edition 3
The book will interest both the scholar and the general educated reader. The ensuing studies have appeared primarily in the form of highly specialized books, monographs, and articles scattered in a number of scholarly journals. The present book brings together--for the layman, humanist, and scholar--some of the significant results embodied in those Sumerological researches and publications. They are thus of no little significance for the history of ideas and the study of cultural origins. But this is only secondary and accidental, a by-product, as it were, of all Sumerological research. All the major fields of human endeavor are represented: government and politics, education and literature, philosophy and ethics, law and justice, even agriculture and medicine.
Unearthed about at century ago from the mounds in Mesopotamia where they had lain for more than three thousand years, and deciphered only after decades of painstaking work, the tablets tell the story of civilization long forgotten, where culture as we know it was born. In this book, which won an award as the best foreign book of the year when it was published in France in , Dr. The book will interest both the scholar and the general educated reader. The first formal educational system?