Home Region:  Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia)

Ur - Dynasty III

EQ 2020  iq_ur_dyn_3 / IqUrIII

The founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur was Ur-Nammu who probably came from Uruk, however he was a military commander (šagina) of Ur, and later its independent ruler who conducted victorious fights with the Gutians and took by force other lands of Sumer and consolidated the whole Akkad and Sumer. Moreover, he also conquered Elam and even reached Susa. His political power was related not only to his conquest, but mainly to his cultural and legislative activities. He was a builder of few great temples and was a lawgiver of one of the oldest ’code’ called Code of Ur-Nammu. [1] His son - Shulgi continued father’s politics and he "reorganized system and territorial administrative structure, but also much enlarged its lands and increased international prestige, turning it into a dominant power of the region." [2] He seized among other Simurrum, Lullubum, Kimaš, Hurti, Karahar, Šašrum, Harši. He used the political marriages and various alliances as well to cement his state (e. g. his daughters married the ruler of Marhaši and the ensi of Anshan). Two sons of Shulgi reigned 9 years each - Amar-Sin(Amar-Suen)and Shu-Sin(Su-Suen). Amar-Suen led few victorious campaigns against Urbilum, Šašrum and Hurrians. Su-Suen fight against Amorites, however his strategy was more defensive than offensive. The last king from this dynasty -Ibbi-Sin was less successful in fights with Amorites, Gutians and Elamites. After he was betrayed by the governor of Isin named Ishbi- Irra, the Ur became much weaker. Eventually the city of Ur was captured and looted in 2010 and Ibbi-Sin lost his throne and was transported to Susa. Generally speaking, the Ur III period is perceived as a flowering time when many significant changes took place, especially on the field of literature, culture and architecture. However, many important transformation concerning administration, army as well as the position of the ruler were happened. Ur is described often in the literature as "the centralized bureaucratic state" [3] with many civil servants and elaborated administration structures. According to Jason Ur: "The kings of Ur created centralized temple and above all royal administrative systems, and attempted to resuscitate a Sumerian identity. [4] The state of Ur consisted of three main zones: core, periphery and vassal territories. The core encompasses lands of Sumer and Akkad and it includes 18 provinces. The peripheral areas are defined as the land which were attached by Shulgi (in a consequence of his military activity) such as eastern Iraq, the western provinces of Kurdistan, Luristan, Khuzestan. The third zone, so called "sphere of influence" included vassal states. [5] Besides its military achievements, the marital alliances were often used tool to establish or broaden the power of Ur’s kings.

[1]: Stępień 2009, 11-12

[2]: Stępień 2009, 16

[3]: Ur 2014, 256

[4]: Ur 2013, 143

[5]: Stępień 2009, 55-60

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
38 S  
Original Name:
Ur - Dynasty III  
Capital:
Ur  
Alternative Name:
Dynasty III  
Sumer Renaissance Period  
IIIrd dynasty of Ur  
Neo-Sumerian Empire  
Ur III  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[2,097 BCE ➜ 2,038 BCE]  
Duration:
[2,112 BCE ➜ 2,004 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
personal union with [---]  
alliance with [---]  
Succeeding Entity:
Isin  
Preceding Entity:
Gutian Dynasty  
Degree of Centralization:
unitary state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
isolate language  
Semitic  
Language:
Akkadian  
Sumerian  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
200,000 people  
Polity Population:
[175,000 to 225,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4  
Religious Level:
4  
Military Level:
[6 to 7]  
Administrative Level:
4  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
present  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
present  
Court:
unknown  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Irrigation System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
present  
Canal:
present  
Bridge:
unknown  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
unknown  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Religious Literature:
present  
Practical Literature:
present  
Philosophy:
unknown  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
present  
Fiction:
unknown  
Calendar:
present  
Information / Money
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
present  
General Postal Service:
unknown  
Courier:
present  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
inferred present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
present  
  Fortified Camp:
unknown  
  Earth Rampart:
inferred present  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
unknown  
  Long Wall:
[190 to 300] km  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
inferred present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
unknown  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
present  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
present  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
unknown  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
inferred present  
  Dog:
present  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
inferred present  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
inferred present  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
inferred absent  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
unknown  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
unknown  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Ur - Dynasty III (iq_ur_dyn_3) was in:
 (2112 BCE 2029 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana
 (2029 BCE 2004 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia
Home NGA: Southern Mesopotamia

General Variables
Identity and Location



Alternative Name:
Dynasty III

[1]

[1]: Crawford 2004, 35

Alternative Name:
Sumer Renaissance Period

[1]

[1]: Crawford 2004, 35

Alternative Name:
IIIrd dynasty of Ur

[1]

[1]: Crawford 2004, 35

Alternative Name:
Neo-Sumerian Empire

[1]

[1]: Crawford 2004, 35

Alternative Name:
Ur III

[1]

[1]: Crawford 2004, 35


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[2,097 BCE ➜ 2,038 BCE]

the peak time is related to ruling of two kings: Shulgi and his son Amarsin [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 146


Duration:
[2,112 BCE ➜ 2,004 BCE]

or 2047-1940 BCE according to short chronology


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
personal union with [---]

[1]
"The kings of Ur interacted with the regions of Anshan (Fars), Shimashki and Zabshali (north of Susiana) through a series of peace treaties, containment policies and threats. At times this interaction was expressed through marriages between the daughters of the kings of Ur and the Elamite kings, or military expeditions." [2]

[1]: Stępień 2009, 16

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 168-169) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

[1]
"The kings of Ur interacted with the regions of Anshan (Fars), Shimashki and Zabshali (north of Susiana) through a series of peace treaties, containment policies and threats. At times this interaction was expressed through marriages between the daughters of the kings of Ur and the Elamite kings, or military expeditions." [2]

[1]: Stępień 2009, 16

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 168-169) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.




Degree of Centralization:
unitary state

[1]
Inscriptions from time of Ur (Shu-Sin) suggest unity within internal land. "the celebratory tone was not directed against Mesopotamian cities or other urbanised centres (such as the ones in Elam and Syria) anymore. The inscriptions rather focused on those turbulent ’barbarian’ groups from the steppes and mountains, considered to be uncivilised and inhuman." [2]

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 10

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Language

Language:
Akkadian

[1] Shulgi could write in both Sumerian and Akkadian. [2]

[1]: Wygnańska 2007, 29

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

Language:
Sumerian

[1] Shulgi could write in both Sumerian and Akkadian. [2]

[1]: Wygnańska 2007, 29

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
200,000 people

"In the Neo-Sumerian period, the population of Ur was ca. 200,000 people. Both this population increase and the urban improvements were largely supported by agricultural activities." [1] The territory of the largest cities is bigger than 200 ha ( e. g. Umma, Girsu, Lagash, Larsa, Isin, Suheri), the capital - Ur-50 ha, smaller cities- between 40-200ha (e. g. Zabalam, Adab), bigger towns - 20-40 ha (e.g. Wilaya), smaller towns - 10-20 ha and villages [2]

[1]: (Liverani 2014: 161) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/7DRZQS5Q/q/Liverani.

[2]: Ur 2013, 143-144


Polity Population:
[175,000 to 225,000] people

"In the Neo-Sumerian period, the population of Ur was ca. 200,000 people. Both this population increase and the urban improvements were largely supported by agricultural activities." [1]

[1]: (Leverani 2014, 161) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4

levels. [1]
1. Large cities2. smaller cities3. Towns4. Villages [1]

[1]: Ur 2013, 143


Religious Level:
4

levels.
Coded 4 for Akkadian period.
"Ur-Nammu and his successors continued the tradition of deifying the ruling king. However, the king was not seen as a hero, like in the Akkadian period, but as a central cultic and administrative figure." [1]
"The deified kings of Ur consequently replaced the city-gods as ultimate heads of the land.;

[1]: (Leverani 2014, 157) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Military Level:
[6 to 7]

levels. [1] [2]
1. Ruler2. Shagina (generals)3. Nu-banda (higher officers)4. Ugula gešda (officers commanding 60 soldiers)5. šeš-gal-nam (officers commanding 10 soldiers)6. Erin (soldiers) [1] [2]
Worth noting that the sukkal-mah (vizier) might have played important role during the war as well. [3]

[1]: Hamlin 2006, 114

[2]: Rutkowski 2007, 18

[3]: Lafont 2009, 14


Administrative Level:
4

levels. [1]
1. Ruler
_Palatial government_
2.3.4.
_Provincial government_
2. Provincial/regional governors - sukkalmah3.4.
3. town mayors - ensi4. village heads - hazannum. [1]

"The economy of earlier empires was predominantly based on commercial activities and political relations with states that were controlled by the centre and were dependent on it. However, the empires themselves did not directly control these resources. The direct management of resources was an innovation of the kings of Ur, who applied in throughout the centre of the empire, which was itself no longer divided into several tributary city-states, but into provinces governed by functionaries (the ensi) appointed by the kings of Ur. The bureaucratic management of these provinces was uniform and interchangeable, and could be applied throughout the land (although some some local variations remained in place)." [2]
"Under Ur III control, Susiana was governed by an ensi appointed by the king. The area was therefore included in the Mesopotamian nucleus of the empire and fully integrated both on a political and administrative level. However, in the surrounding areas, the rest of Elam remained independent. In fact, from an Elamite perspective Susa was only a marginal city bordering with Sumer. The kings of Ur interacted with the regions of Anshan (Fars), Shimashki and Zabshali (north of Susiana) through a series of peace treaties, containment policies and threats. At times this interaction was expressed through marriages between the daughters of the kings of Ur and the Elamite kings, or military expeditions." [3]
Inscriptions from time of Ur (Shu-Sin) suggest unity within internal land. "the celebratory tone was not directed against Mesopotamian cities or other urbanised centres (such as the ones in Elam and Syria) anymore. The inscriptions rather focused on those turbulent ’barbarian’ groups from the steppes and mountains, considered to be uncivilised and inhuman." [4]
"The Ur III rulers imposed their suzerainty over the Elamite princes of Anshan, who were probably semi-nomadic, in the southeast, and over others, including the princes of Shimashki, in an area that is likely to have extended to the north and southeast of Susiana." [5]
"With the rise of Ur, cities lost their traditional autonomy (which is an entirely different concept from their fluctuating state of independence). They were still ruled by an ensi. Now, however, the title did not designate a local ruler governing on behalf of the local city-god. The ensi became a governor, appointed by Ur and acting on behalf of the king of Ur". [6]
"The deified kings of Ur consequently replaced the city-gods as ultimate heads of the land. They therefore controlled the entire production and redistributive system, whose management was inevitably delegated to the local ensi." [6]
"The substitution of local rulers with functionaries appointed by Ur could not have been welcomed without opposition and conflict." [6]
"The farming of sheep was mainly focused on the production of wool. When a herd was entrusted to a shepherd its composition was recorded and the parameters of births and deaths were established. Similarly the quantity of wool to be produced was calculated, keeping in mind the differences between sheep and rams, as well as their size. Wool was then rank according to its quality (there were at least six or more categories) and sent to manufacturing centres. Each operation had its own parameters. The administration took into account losses during manufacturing (carding, spinning and washing) and the working days it required. Consequently, a given amount of wool needed a certain number of working days to produce a certain quantity of thread (either warp thread or weaving thread). In order to produce a fabric of given dimensions, then, the administration knew the quantity of working days and warp and weaving thread required. It was then able to calculate the cost and raw materials needed before the whole operation even began." [7]

[1]: Roux 1998, 149

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 161) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[3]: (Leverani 2014, 168-169) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[4]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[5]: (Amiet, Chevalier and Carter 1992, 7) Amiet, Pierre. Chevalier, Nicole. Carter, Elizabeth. in Harper, Prudence O. Aruz, Joan. Tallon, Francoise. eds. 1992. The Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

[6]: (Leverani 2014, 157) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[7]: (Leverani 2014, 163) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

"Many records clearly show the aga-uš in specifically military activities (...), particularly in the entourage of the king and of the army’s leadership (...). His life was that of a soldier (...); he was provided with weapons, for the use of which a regular regime of training was necessary (...) and he clearly served under a military chain of command". [1]

[1]: Lafont 2009,9-10


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

It appears that temple structures were used for the purposes of state administration. Livernai writes that the temple ’was the unit at the heart of the state administration, and was only accessible to the sons of the ruling class (sons of ensi and high officials, as well as scribes)’. [1]

[1]: (Liverani 2014, 166) Liverani, Marco. 2014. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. Translated by Soraia Tabatabai. Abingdon: Routledge. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/7DRZQS5Q/.


Full Time Bureaucrat:
present

[1] "literary texts emphasising the need for full commitment, the relationship between masters and students, and the prospective earnings and social advancements available to the scribe." - [2] earnings = professional

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 10

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 166) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Law


Formal Legal Code:
present

Ur-Nammu or Shulgi’s code. Regulated criminal, administrative and social cases, and included some protection for the poor against usurers and loan sharks [1] .
earliest known law codes. [2]
Law codes "not just laws meant to alleviate structural disfunctions in the system. They were an organic and solid re-organisation of the way justice was administered, and it is evident that the intention behind them was to create a uniform system." [3]

[1]: Van De Mieroop 2013, 282-283

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 157) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[3]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.



Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Irrigation System:
present

[1] construction of agricultural fields, drained marshes. [2]

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 4

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 157) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Transport Infrastructure

Shulgi built a road from Ur to Nippur [1]

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 6


[1] construction of canals. [2]

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 4

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 157) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.



Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

Cuneiform [1] Shulgi could write in both Sumerian and Akkadian. [2]

[1]: Roux 1998, 148

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.



Nonwritten Record:
present

Cuneiform [1] Shulgi could write in both Sumerian and Akkadian. [2]

[1]: Roux 1998, 148

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Information / Kinds of Written Documents

Religious Literature:
present

religious hymns [1]

[1]: Wygnańska 2007, 30-31


Practical Literature:
present

"land register, a text recording the measures of individual administrative districts, their borders, gods and imperial functionaries." [1] "Scribal culture already existed in earlier temple-cities in a more or less developed way. Now, however, the pan-Mesopotamian unification of the state made scribal culture more uniform and of a better quality. ... Sign lists and lexical lists became almost like ’encyclopaedias’, organising all the knowledge of the period in a canonical way." [2]

[1]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 166) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.



Lists Tables and Classification:
present

[1] "land register, a text recording the measures of individual administrative districts, their borders, gods and imperial functionaries." [2]

[1]: Roux 1998, 148

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 159) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


History:
present

e. g. lamentation over destruction of Ur [1]

[1]: Wygnańska 2007, 29



Calendar:
present

[1]

[1]: Szeląg 2007, 7


Information / Money
Precious Metal:
present

mostly silver and gold [1]

[1]: Roux 1998, 149


Paper Currency:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Ur III polity.


Indigenous Coin:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Ur III polity.


Foreign Coin:
absent

Monetary system did not exist in the Ur III polity.


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
present

Shulgi introduced the system of couriers and postal stations [1]

[1]: Postgate 2007, 42



Courier:
present

Shulgi introduced the system of couriers and postal stations [1] royal messengers very important to the Ur III system. [2]

[1]: Postgate 2007, 42

[2]: (Leverani 2014, 162) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "My master: the Asag has constructed a wall of stakes on an earthen rampart". [1]

[1]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown

Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "Its walls were built from stone." [1]

[1]: The death of Gilgameš: c.1.8.1.3. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown

Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "Its walls were built from stone." [1] Mortar existed at this time because they also built with brick which would have required mortar. Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "Now Aratta’s battlements are of green lapis lazuli, its walls and its towering brickwork are bright red, their brick clay is made of tinstone dug out in the mountains where the cypress grows." [2]

[1]: The death of Gilgameš: c.1.8.1.3. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.

[2]: Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird: c.1.8.2.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

e. g. Badigihursaga [1] , also two fortresses were erected by Shulgi - Shulgi-Nanna and Ishim-Shulgi [2] Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "the fortress is too high and cannot be reached". [3]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 26

[2]: Hamblin 2006, 110

[3]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.



e. g. at Ur. [1]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 26



Earth Rampart:
present

Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "My master: the Asag has constructed a wall of stakes on an earthen rampart". [1]

[1]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Irrigation ditches referred to frequently in late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE texts but I cannot find any in the context of a fortification. [1]

[1]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Complex Fortification:
unknown

Complex Ziqqurat of Ur-Nammu. [1]

[1]: (Leverani 2014, 158) Liverani, Mario. Tabatabai, Soraia trans. 2014. The Ancient Near East. History, society and economy. Routledge. London.



Military use of Metals

The earliest evidence of steel use are dated to 1800 BC and site Kaman-Kalehoyuk in Central Anatolia. [1] Not sure what to make of this reference. More context/info needed.

[1]: Akamuna 2005, 147-158


Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "He shall take my axe whose metal is tin, he shall wield my dagger which is of iron." [1] Presumably refers to the use of meteoric iron?

[1]: Lugalbanda in the mountain cave: c.1.8.2.1. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Copper:
present

Required for bronze.


Bronze:
present

[1]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 23


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
unknown

Note: the alternative translation of this hymn states slings shot the rocks. In the hymn - ’Lamentation over destruction of Ur and Sumer’, there is mentioned some ’sieges’ throwing big stones, however the interpretation of this siege engines is controversial. [1]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 23



slingshots [1] "Round and ovoid sling pellets have been dug up in early Sumer and Turkestan. Ovoid sling pellets have been unearthed at the neolithic sites on the Iranian tableland. In later times, the sling was used in Palestine and Syria. It was introduced in Egypt at a still later date." [2]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 21

[2]: (Singh 1997, 90) Sarva Daman Singh. 1997. Ancient Indian Warfare: With Special Reference to the Vedic Period. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Delhi.


Self Bow:
present

[1] [2] "Composite bows are known from both Mesopotamia and the Great Steppe from the III millennium BCE. The Scythian bow was different from the Mesopotamian one primarily in its overall dimensions - it was smaller so that it could be used from the horseback. At the same time, self bows were also in use, but because of their large size they were not suitable for use by horse riders." [3]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 21

[2]: Lafont 2009, 15

[3]: Sergey A Nefedov, RAN Institute of History and Archaeology, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Personal Communication to Peter Turchin. January 2018.


Javelin:
present

Present. [1] What did this reference say? "Unlike other areas of the world where the spear developed into a thrown weapon, in the Middle East it remained primarily a stabbing weapon." [2]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 23

[2]: (Gabriel and Metz 1991, 59) Richard A Gabriel. Karen S Metz. 1991. The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies. Greenwood Press. Westport.


Handheld Firearm:
absent

The first very simple firearms came from China and are dated to 13th century AD [1]

[1]: Ho Peng Yoke 1997, 389.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

The gunpowder was invented around 9th century AD, but the gunpowder artillery was in use since Middle Age. [1]

[1]: Needham 1987, 266.


Crossbow:
absent

Not invented at this time: "the hand-held crossbow was invented by the Chinese, in the fifth century BC, and probably came into the Roman world in the first century AD, where it was used for hunting." [1] The crossbow also developed after the Syracuse Greek Dionysios I invented a form of crossbow called the gastraphetes in 399 BCE. [2]

[1]: (Nicholson 2004, 99) Helen Nicholson. 2004. Medieval Warfare: Theory and Practice of War in Europe, 300-1500. PalgraveMacmillan. Basingstoke.

[2]: (Keyser and Irby-Massie 2006, 260) Paul T Keyser. Georgia Irby-Massie. Science, Medicine, And Technology. Glenn R Bugh. ed. 2006. The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.


Composite Bow:
present

"The first evidence of the composite bow appears on the victory stele of Naram Sin (2254-2218 B.C.E.)". [1] "The effective range of the simple bow varied from 50 to 100 yards. And the arrow shot by a simple bow was unable to penetrate leather or bronze armour. The effective range of the composite bows varied between 250 and 300 yards." [2] However, the composite bow itself could not penetrate armour more than 2mm thick [all designs or just the early designs?] and was susceptible to rotting in high-moisture environments. [1] "The composite bow was a recurve bow made of wood, horn and tendons from oxen, carefully laminated together. These bows were probably invented by the nomads of the Eurasian steppe and brought into Sumer by the mercenary nomads." [2] "Composite bows are known from both Mesopotamia and the Great Steppe from the III millennium BCE." [3] "The composite bows spread into Palestine around 1800 BCE and were introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in 1700 BCE." [2]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 28) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Roy 2015, 20) Kaushik Roy. 2015. Warfare in Pre-British India - 1500 BCE to 1740 CE. Routledge. London.

[3]: Sergey A Nefedov, RAN Institute of History and Archaeology, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Personal Communication to Peter Turchin. January 2018.


New World weapon.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
present

Present. [1] Present. [2] What explanation accompanied these suggestions of present? Gabriel says the mace was the dominant weapon of war from 4000 BCE but had disappeared from Sumerian illustrations before 2500 BCE, a time when the helmet appears. [3]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 24

[2]: Lafont 2009, 15

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 24) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


In Sumer the first swords appeared about c3000 BCE but until c2000 BCE their use were restricted because the blade often became detached from the handle. The sickle-sword of c2500 BCE was cast whole but it was unable to break armour so the battle axe was preferred. [1] Also present before this time: Late 3rd - early 2nd millennium BCE text: "Urutum stone, they shall sharpen you for the battle-mace; with bronze, the arrowheads of the gods, they shall smash you with the axe, stinging with fierce swords." [2] Late 3rd - early 2nd millennium BCE text: "Each girded with a sword belt, the strength of battle, they parade before her, holy Inana." [3]

[1]: (Gabriel and Metz 1991, 63) Richard A Gabriel. Karen S Metz. 1991. The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies. Greenwood Press. Westport.

[2]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.

[3]: A šir-namursaĝa to Ninsiana for Iddin-Dagan (Iddin-Dagan A): c.2.5.3.1. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


[1] [2] Spear-using phalanx first used in Sumer 2500 BCE. The phalanx was in use until the 1st century BCE. [3] "Unlike other areas of the world where the spear developed into a thrown weapon, in the Middle East it remained primarily a stabbing weapon." [4]

[1]: Postgate 2007, 242

[2]: Lafont 2009, 15

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 25) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[4]: (Gabriel and Metz 1991, 59) Richard A Gabriel. Karen S Metz. 1991. The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies. Greenwood Press. Westport.


Polearm:
present

[1]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 24-5


Dagger:
present

e.g. battle axes were found in the graves at Asur. [1] Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "He shall take my axe whose metal is tin, he shall wield my dagger which is of iron." [2]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 23

[2]: Lugalbanda in the mountain cave: c.1.8.2.1. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Battle Axe:
present

e.g. battle axes were found in the graves at Asur. [1] Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "He shall take my axe whose metal is tin, he shall wield my dagger which is of iron." [2]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 23

[2]: Lugalbanda in the mountain cave: c.1.8.2.1. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Animals used in warfare

Horse riding was present before the iron age but there is no explicit evidence of use in warfare at this time. [1]

[1]: Javier Alvarez-Mon, ‘Khuzestan in the Bronze Age’, In Daniel T. Potts (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran, 2013, p. 433



Donkey:
present

Present. [1] "During the Bronze Age the standard mechanism of transport was the donkey (Egypt) or the solid-wheeled cart drawn by the onager (Sumer)." [2]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 19

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 7) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


[1]

[1]: Tsouparopoulou 2012, 1-16


3rd millenium BC, bactrian camels appear in engravings showing their importance but no military use until much later. [1]

[1]: Javier Alvarez-Mon, ‘Khuzestan in the Bronze Age’, In Daniel T. Potts (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran, 2013, pp. 312-314


Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

No evidence has survived for obvious reasons but the presence of shields strongly suggests the use of wood.


Shield:
present

[1]

[1]: Rutkowski 2007, 24


Scaled Armor:
present

"The first recorded instance of body armor is found on the Stele of Vultures in ancient Sumer, which shows Eannatum’s soldiers wearing leather cloaks on which are sewn spined metal disks. The disks do not appear to be arranged in any order, and we do not know if the disks were made of copper or bronze. By 2100 BCE the victory stele of Naram Sin appears to show plate armor, and it is likely that plate armor had been in wide use for a few hundred years. Plate armor was constructed of thin bronze plates sewn to a leather shirt or jerkin." [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 21) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Plate Armor:
absent

"The first recorded instance of body armor is found on the Stele of Vultures in ancient Sumer, which shows Eannatum’s soldiers wearing leather cloaks on which are sewn spined metal disks. The disks do not appear to be arranged in any order, and we do not know if the disks were made of copper or bronze. By 2100 BCE the victory stele of Naram Sin appears to show plate armor, and it is likely that plate armor had been in wide use for a few hundred years. Plate armor was constructed of thin bronze plates sewn to a leather shirt or jerkin." [1] Coding this as scale armor.

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 21) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Limb Protection:
absent

This time is earlier than the earliest reference, for Greece c1600 BCE: "Early Mycenaean and Minoan charioteers wore an arrangement of bronze armor that almost fully enclosed the soldier, the famous Dendra panoply." [1] Closest reference is Mesopotamia (the Assyrians) c800 BCE?: iron plates used for shin protection. [2]

[1]: (Gabriel 2007, 78) Richard A Gabriel. 2007. Soldiers’ Lives Through History: The Ancient World. Greenwood Press. Westport.

[2]: (Gabriel and Metz 1991, 51) Richard A Gabriel. Karen S Metz. 1991. The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies. Greenwood Press. Westport.


Leather Cloth:
present

No evidence has survived for obvious reasons but the presence of shields might indicate use of hide.


Laminar Armor:
absent

Technology not yet available. Lamellar armour introduced by the Assyrians (9th century BCE?): "a shirt constructed of laminated layers of leather sewn or glued together. To the outer surface of this coat were attached fitted iron plates, each plate joined to the next at the edge with no overlap and held in place by stitching or gluing." [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 21) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Helmet:
present

Earliest known helmet dates to 2500 BCE in Sumer. After this time use of helmets became widespread. [1] The example from Sumer was "a cap of hammered copper" fitted onto a leather cap. [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 22) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Chainmail:
absent

Iron chain mail not introduced until the third century BCE, probably by Celtic peoples. [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 21) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Breastplate:
unknown

Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "May Ninurta, Enlil’s son, set the helmet Lion of Battle on your head, may the breastplate (?) that in the great mountains does not permit retreat be laid on your breast!" [1]

[1]: Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird: c.1.8.2.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.


Naval technology

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present

There were some boats which were used to "control of the foreign maritime trade" in Persian Gulf during the Ur-Nammu’s reign, but there is no detailed information concerning type of ship or existence of any special naval military formation. [1] Late 3rd - early 2md millennium BCE text: "He hurried to battle on the boat Ma-kar-nunta-ea". [2]

[1]: Hamblin 2006, 108

[2]: Ninurta’s exploits: a šir-sud (?) to Ninurta: c.1.6.2. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL). etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk.




Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.