Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Entemena Statue of the Baghdad Museum

This semester I had the privilege of studying Sumerian under Dr. Richard Averbeck. Sumerian is one of the oldest languages known to man [that we can read anyway]. There is a debate amongst scholars as to whether the oldest language we know is Sumerian or Egyptian. However, it was hard in that much of our knowledge of Sumerian is incomplete precisely because it is so old. Also, there is no known language related to Sumerian, and this also made it more difficult to study. Thus, many times you would ask a question in class for which no one knows the answer. That made it very difficult, but very interesting at the same time.

Anyway, I got through alright. For my final project, I had to transliterate, normalize, translate, and research this text from the Baghdad museum. Here is the final result of my project:


Column I

  1. [de]n-lil
  2. [e2-a]d-[da]-ka-ra
  3. en-te-me-na
  4. ensi2
  5. lagaški
  6. ša-pa-da
  7. dnanše
  8. ensi2-gal
  9. dnin-gir2-su2-ka
  10. [dumu-e]n-an-[na]-tum2
  11. [en]si2
  12. lagaški-ka
  13. dumu-ka
  14. ur-dnanše
  15. lugal
  16. lagaški-ka-ke4
  17. dnin-gir2-su2-ra
  18. eš-dug-ru
  19. mu-na-du
  20. a-huš

Column II

  1. e2-igi-zi-bar-ra
  2. mu-na-du
  3. dlugal-uruxkar2ki-ra
  4. e2-gal-uruxkar2ki-ka-ni
  5. mu-na-du
  6. dnanše
  7. e2-engur-ra-zu2-lum-ma
  8. mu-na-du
  9. den-ki
  10. lugal-eriduki-ra
  11. abzu-pa5-sir2-ra
  12. mu-na-du
  13. dnin-hur-sag-ra
  14. gi-gu-na
  15. tir-ku-ga
  16. mu-na-du
  17. dnin-hur-sag-ra
  18. an-ta-sur-ra
  19. mu-na-du
  20. sa-pa-da
  21. mu-na-du
  22. e2-dga2- tum-du10
  23. mu-du

Column III:

  1. dnanše
  2. gi-gu-na-mah-ni
  3. mu-na-du
  4. e2-ni ki-be2 mu-na-gi4
  5. den-lil2-la
  6. e2 ad-da-im-sag-ga2
  7. mu-na-du
  8. u4-ba-en-te-me-na-ke4
  9. alan-na-ni
  10. mu-tu
  11. en-te-me-na den-lil2-le ki-ag2
  12. mu mu-ni-sa4
  13. den-lil2-la
  14. e2-a

Column IV:

  1. mu-na-ni-du
  2. en-te-me-na
  3. lu2 e2-ad-da du-a
  4. digir-ra-ni
  5. dšul-utul12
  6. nam-ti
  7. en-te-me-na-ka-še3
  8. u4-ul-la-še3
  9. den-lil2-la
  10. kiri3 šu he2-na-gal2

Column V:

  1. 25; gana2 en-an-na-tum2 sur-dnanše e-ta-e11
  2. 11; gana2 im-ka-zi-zi-še3
  3. gana2-ambar-ninaki-ka
  4. pa5-ku3-ge us2-sa
  5. 1, 0; gana2 denlil2

Column VI:

  1. gana2-gu2-eden-na-ka
  2. en-te-me-na
  3. ensi2
  4. lagaški-ke4
  5. den-lil2
  6. e2-ad-da-ka-ra
  7. gir2 e-na-du


Column I

  1. enlil
  2. e adakara
  3. entemena
  4. ensi
  5. lagaš
  6. šag pada
  7. nanše
  8. ensi gal
  9. ningirsu-k(a)-a(k)
  10. dumu enanatum
  11. ensi
  12. lagaš-(a)k-a(k)
  13. dumu-(a)k-a(k)
  14. urnanše
  15. lugal
  16. lagaš-(a)k-a(k)-e
  17. ningirsu-ra
  18. eš dug-ru
  19. mu-na-(n)-du
  20. e hus

Column II

  1. e igi-si-bar-a
  2. mu-na-(n)-du
  3. lugal uru-ra
  4. e gal uru-k-ani
  5. mu-na-(n)-du
  6. e engura(k) zuluma(k)
  7. mu-na-(n)-du
  8. enki
  9. lugal eridu-(k)-ra
  10. abzu pasira
  11. mu-na-(n)-du
  12. ninhursag-ra
  13. giguna
  14. tirkuga
  15. mu-na-(n)-du
  16. ningirsu-ra
  17. antasura
  18. mu-na-(n)-du

19. ša-pad-da

20. mu-(n)-du

21. e gatumdu

22. mu-(n)-du

Column III

  1. nanše-(ra)
  2. gi-gu-na-mah-ni
  3. mu-na-(n)-du
  4. e-ni ki-bi-e mu-na-(n)-gi
  5. enlila
  6. e ada imsaga
  7. mu-na-(n)-du
  8. u-bi-a entemena(k)-e
  9. alan-ani
  10. mu-(n)-tu
  11. entemena enlil-e ki-a
  12. mu mu-ni-(n)-sa
  13. enlila
  14. e-a

Column IV

  1. mu-na-ni-(n)-du
  2. entemena
  3. lu e ada du-a
  4. digir-ani
  5. šulutul
  6. nam-til
  7. entemena(k)-(a)k-še
  8. u ula-še
  9. enlil-e
  10. kiri-šu- he-na-(n)-gal

Column V

  1. 25 gana enannatum sur-nanše
  2. e-ta-(i)-(n)-e
  3. 11 gana ambar ninak-a(k)
  4. pa-kug-e usa
  5. 1 gana enlil

Column VI

  1. gana gu-edenak-a(k)
  2. entemena
  3. ensi
  4. lagaš-ak-e
  5. enlil
  6. e ada-ra-(a)k-a(k)
  7. gir e-na-du


For Enlil of the house of Adakara, Entemena, the ensi of Lagash, chosen by Nanshe [in her] heart, the great ensi of Ningirsu, the son of Enanatum, the ensi of Lagash, the great grandson of Urnanshe, king of lagash built the sanctuary of Dugru, and a fearsome house. He built the house he chose. For the king of Uru, he built his great house of Uru. He also built the house of engura Zulmuma. For Enki, the king of Eridu, he built the Abzu of the Sira Canal. For Ninchursag, he built the reed chamber of Tirkuga. For Ningirsu, he built the Antasura. He built the chosen house, and he also built the house of Gatumdu. For Nanshe, he built his reed chamber, and restored his house to its place. For Enlil, he built the house of his father, Imsaga. On the day Entemena built his statue, he named it: “Entemena, beloved of Enlil,” and built it by Enlil in the temple. Entemena, the man who built the house of his father-may his God Shulutul, on a distant day, for the sake of the life of Entemena, pay homage to Enlil. Enannatum annexed 25 plots of land from Surnanshe. 11 Plots of land of the swamps of Nina, at the pure canal, and one plot of land of Enlil, the land of the Guedena of Entemena the ensi of Lagash to Enlil of his father’s house…

Column II

  1. zuluma(k)-This word literally means “date fruit.” [Haloran, 159]
  1. ninhursag- This proper name literally means, “The Lady of the Mountain Range” [Volk, 102]

14. tirkuga-This place means, “pure forest” [Volk, 109].

  1. antasura-This name literally means, “The house that twinkles in the heavens” [Volk, 110].

Column VI:

  1. Guedenaka-This is a steppe of land between Lagash and Umma, and there were often wars to decide who would control this state.
  1. gir e-na-du-I have found no one who can tell me what this verb means. Volk suggests that it may mean, “to cut off,” thus paralleling the “annexed” of Column 5, line 2. Cooper does not even attempt a translation, and I cannot even find the verb in Halloran. The reality is that we simply don’t know what this word means.

It is also worth noting that this is probably in the context of Entemena’s wars with Ur-Lumma and Il of Halab [Kramer, 56-59].


Cooper, Jerrold S. Sumerian and Akkadian Royal Inscriptions, Volume I. Presargonic Inscriptions. The American Oriental Society. New Haven, Connecticut. 1986

Kramer, Samuel, Noah. The Sumerians, Their History, Culture, and Character. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Illinois. 1963.

Steible, Horst. Die Altsumerischen Bau-Und Weihinschriften Teil I. Franz Steiner Verlag. Wiesbaden, Germany. 1982. pgs. 211-214.

Volk, Konrad. A Sumerian Reader. Second Edition. Editrice Pontifico Istituto Biblico. Roma, Italia. 1999

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