En (Borger 2003 nr. 164 ; U+12097 𒂗, see also Ensí) is the Sumerian cuneiform for "lord" or "priest". Originally, it seems to have been used to designate a high priest or priestess of a Sumerian city-state's patron-deity – a position that entailed political power as well. It may also have been the original title of the ruler of Uruk. See Lugal, ensi and en for more details.
The corresponding Emesal dialect word was UMUN, which may preserve an archaic form of the word. Earlier Emeg̃ir (the standard dialect of Sumerian) forms can be postulated as *ewen or *emen, eventually dropping the middle consonant and becoming the familiar EN.
Amarna letters: bêluEdit
The 1350 BC Amarna letters use EN for bêlu, though not exclusively. The more common spelling is mostly 'be' + 'li', to make "bêlí", or its equivalent. Some example letters using cuneiform 'EN' are letters EA (for 'El Amarna') 252, EA 254, and EA 282, titled: "A demand for recognition", by Abimilku; "Neither rebel or delinquent (2)", by Labayu; and "Alone", by Shuwardata.
Most of the uses are in the letter introduction, formulaic addresses to the pharaoh, stating typically to effect:
- "To the King (pharaoh), Lord-mine, (speaking) thus...." EA 254
- Saggs, H. W. F. 1988, The Greatness That Was Babylon (rev. ed.)
- Sahala, Aleksi: Sumerian phonology – Current state of its study. Part 1: Vowels (p. 12–13). Academia, updated 11.9.2015. Accessed 23.7.2020.
- Moran, The Amarna Letters, p. 239, 307, 323.
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