Episode 24 – Ur 1 The rebirth of Sumer

The Sumerian Renaissance, a fruitful period of literary achievement and military conquest. We are going to see the first Sumerian kings in 250 years as they revive their ancient culture and leave their mark on history.

Parts of this episode overlap with episode 10, King Shulgi’s mailbag. You don’t have to listen to them in any particular order, but there are some nice stories in the earlier episode that compliment this one.

The poem The death of Ur-Nammu  is a pretty good resource for those among you who are trying to revive the worship of the ancient Mesopotamian gods. Unlike many later kings, he never was elevated to godhood, either during or after his life despite being well regarded and successful. So the account of his funeral and details of his passage through the netherworld are good models for an average but successful man.

The war against Der may have simply been an attack on Barbarians. But we have preceding year names in which Der is given a temple, a year name both for the start and end of construction which is pretty significant, and it is followed by the war and then Shulgi’s deification. It is on the basis of this that I am inferring a religious component to the war. Similarly, the Akkadian uprising is usually called the Babylonian uprising in later documents, but because these documents are from much, much later, and Babylon doesn’t actually exist yet, it is very uncertain whether it actually happened and was covered up by Shulgi or if it was completely invented later to justify condemning him.

As mentioned, Shu-Sin is the subject of the oldest known love poem, Shu-Sin B. We can see Inana / Ishtar used here as a stand in for the generic woman in love.

Here is our boy Shulgi. What is he carrying and why is he carrying it is a mystery to me.

In the middle here is Ur-Nammu, sitting on his throne. Behind him is some good looking cunieform, and above him is the moon, domain of the chief god of Ur Sin, also spelled Suen, also wriiten as Nanna.

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