Sumerian Royal Inscription on Clay Cone

This clay cone bears the most commonly attested royal inscription, which is written in the Sumerian language using cuneiform script, of Gudea, the “ensi” of Lagash. Numerous copies of the same inscription have been found on bricks, blocks, tablets, and door sockets, in addition to cones such as the one pictured above. The inscription is dedicated to the god Ningirsu, whose name appears at the beginning of the only fully visible line in this photo. (Source)

Lagash, c. 2200-2100 BCE.

Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University (Sydney). Photo from CDLI.

God Ningirsu, seen with a long, wavy beard, uses a mace traditional symbol of power and kingship to smite one of the many nude captives in a fish net,detail of stela of the vultures of Eannatum, ensi of Lagash, limestone, from Telloh, ancient Girsu, ht. 1.80 m; w. 1.30m.
from the Early Dynastic - Period, 2350 BCE - 2900 -BCE 

Seated statue of Gudea holding temple plan, from Girsu(Telloh), Iraq. ca. 2100 BCE. Diorite, height approx. 2’5” (73.66 cm). Musée du Louvre. Paris

Ancient rulers recognized the political power of imagery. One example was Gudea, the ruler of Lagash(in present-day Iraq). By rebuilding the temple of Lagash’s city-god, Ningirsu, he reinforced his title of king. The remains of the building do not longer exist, but 20 statues depicting Gudea, represent the Akkadian tradition that exalted king’s person. In the life-size seated example, inscriptions reveal that the king had to meticulously obey the god’s instructions. By doing that, he would ensure the temple’s sanctity, bring fortune to his city and purify it.

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Herbst9 ~ Ningirsu Ušumgal

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