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The Umma-Lagash border conflict


Artifact: Clay cone
Provenience: Girsu, modern Tello
Period: ED IIIb (ca. 2500-2340)
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris
Text genre, language: Royal inscription; Sumerian
CDLI page

Description: The text on this clay cone is also attested on a clay cylinder and on two vessel fragments. It relates a series of conflicts during the Early Dynastic III period over land and canal management in the Eden district between Lagaš and Umma, the latter a neighbour to the north along the Tigris. It is written from the perspective of Lagaš during the reign of En-metena, Ensi of Lagaš. The narrative begins by describing the history of disputes. Firstly, the supreme god of the Sumerian pantheon Enlil is given credit for demarcating the border between Lagaš and Umma, and then in a historic event, the third-party king Me-silim of Kiš (at a distance to the northeast of the two city-states) erects monuments to mark the border between the two. After king UŠ of Umma commits the first border transgression, he is defeated by the god Ningirsu (city-god of Lagaš). Eanatum of Lagaš then settles the border with En-akale of Umma, in an agreement, however, that causes Umma to build up disastrous debt in agricultural wealth, described with impossibly large numerals. A later king of Umma, Ur-lumma, does not repay this debt but diverts water from the canal and attacks the monuments and chapels established by Eanatum. This is during the reign of En-metena (son of En-anatum and nephew of Eanatum) - En-metena defeats Ur-Lumma, who is then killed in his own city. When Il of Zabala takes control of Umma and continues to transgress against Lagaš, the narrative ends by stating that “Enlil and Ninhursag did not give him [success in] this”, then giving blessings to En-metena and curses against any who would transgress the “boundary of Ningirsu”.

Lineart: Frayne,Douglas R. RIME

Edition(s): Frayne,Douglas R. RIME; FAOS 05/1, Ent 28; CIRPL Ent 28-29

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umma_lagash_border_conflict.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/05 10:41 by
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