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Idealized representation of Eanatum advancing his victorious army

Eanatum was a Sumerian king of Lagash .


From Eanatum's reign, so-called royal inscriptions have come down to us, which the ruler had added on special occasions such as buildings or victories. These royal inscriptions were placed on objects such as steles, statues, seals, but also on buildings. The vulture stele received special attention among Eanatum's inscriptions . These are limestone slab fragments that have been machined on both sides. In addition to pictorial representations of defeated enemies, they also include an extensive text that describes the clashes between the cities of Lagaš and Umma . Eanatum's successors also had royal inscriptions attached, the inscriptions of his nephew En-metena being particularly relevant as sources for Eanatum.


Eanatum was the son of King Aja-kurgal of Lagaš. Eanatum ruled in the middle of the 25th century BC. Chr .; Dietz-Otto Edzard , who calculates the reigns of the 1st dynasty of Lagaš by generations, gives the time frame for Eanatum's reign around 2470 BC. Chr.

During Eanatum's rule, conflicts arose with the city of Umma, which continued into later generations. They seem to have their origin in the dispute over the water supply. Umma was located further upstream on the Tigris and was able to drain large amounts of water onto its own lands through canals. This caused a drop in yield in Lagaš. According to a text from En-metena's reign, the armed conflicts were sparked off by disputes over the demarcation of borders. Mesilim originally set up a border post , probably in the function of an arbitrator. A ruler of Umma said that Uš removed this stele again. This broke out into a violent conflict that ended with a victory for Lagaš. Due to parallels in the text from En-metena's time and the inscription on the vulture stele, it is assumed that both describe the same event. After his victory, Eanatum had new border markings set up with chiseled peace terms and the Mesilim's stele put up again. En-akale of Umma had to recognize the new borders in a contract that obliged Umma to deliver crops .

Later, Eanatum took on the title of King of Kiš , which was always intended to express a kind of supremacy over the southern Mesopotamian area. Indeed, the vulture stele reports on Eanatum's victories over the cities of Uruk , Ur , Kiš , Larsa and Akšak (northern Mesopotamia) as well as the Elamites . Once he defeated an alliance between Kiš, Akšak and Mari . In Ur and Uruk there were inscriptions of Eanatum. The thesis of the creation of a large empire is questioned.


  • Dietz-Otto Edzard : History of Mesopotamia. From the Sumerians to Alexander the Great . CH Beck, Munich 2004, pp. 42, 48, 52, 54 f., 62, 64, 71, 98, ISBN 3-406-51664-5 .
  • Helmut Uhlig: The Sumerians. A people at the beginning of the story . Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1992, pp. 59, 171 f., 176, 210, ISBN 3-404-64117-5 .

Notes and individual references

  1. See Dietz-Otto Edzard: Geschichte Mesopotamiens , p. 56.
  2. ^ Dietz-Otto Edzard: History of Mesopotamia , p. 42.
  3. ^ Dietz-Otto Edzard: History of Mesopotamia , p. 55.