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A fragment

Eannatum was a Sumerian king of Lagash who established one of the first verifiable empires in history.


Conquest of Sumer

Eannatum, grandson of Ur-Nanshe, was a king of Lagash who conquered all of Sumer, including Ur, Nippur, Akshak, Larsa, and Uruk, which was controlled by Enshakushanna, a king on the King List. He also annexed the kingdom of Kish, which regained its independence after his death. He made Umma a tributary, where every person had to pay a certain amount of grain into the treasury of the goddess Nina and the god Ingurisa.

Conquest outside Sumer

Eannatum expanded his influence beyond the boundaries of Sumer. He conquered parts of Elam, including the city Az on the Persian Gulf, and demanded tribute as far as Mari. However, often parts of his empire were revolting. During Eannatum’s reign many temples and palaces were built, especially in Lagash. The city of Nina, probably a precursor of Niniveh, was rebuilt, with many canals and reservoirs being excavated.

Stele of the Vultures

The so-called "Stele of the Vultures", now in the Louvre, is a fragmented limestone stele found in Ngirsu, (modern Telloh) Iraq, in 1881. The full stele is approximately 5 feet, 11 inches (1.8 m) high and was set up ca. 2,600–2,500 BCE.[1]

It was erected as a monument of the victory of Eannatum of Lagash over Enakalle of Umma. On it various incidents in the war are represented. In one register, the king stands in his chariot with a curved weapon in his right hand, formed of three bars of metal bound together by rings, while his kilted followers, with helmets on their heads and lances in their hands, march behind him. In another register a figure, presumed to be that of the king, rides on his chariot in the thick of the battle. On the other side of the stele is an image of Ninurta, a god of war, holding the captive Ummaites in a large net. This implies that Eannatum attributed his victory to Ninurta, and thus that he was in the god's protection (though some accounts say that he attributed his victory to Enlil, the patron deity of Lagash). [1]


  1. ^ a b Kleiner, Fred S.; Mamiya, Christin J. (2006). Gardner's Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective — Volume 1 (12th Edition ed.). Belmont, California, USA: Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-495-00479-0.  


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