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Eannatum (Sumerian: 𒂍𒀭𒈾𒁺 É.AN.NA-tum2) was a Sumerian king of Lagash circa 2500–2400 BCE. He established one of the first verifiable empires in history. One inscription found on a boulder states that Eannatum was his Sumerian name, while his "Tidnu" (Amorite) name was Lumma.

King of Lagash
P1130735 Louvre stèle des Vautours rwk.JPG
Eannatum, King of Lagash, riding a war chariot (detail of the Stele of the Vultures). His name "Eannatum" (𒂍𒀭𒈾𒁺) is written vertically in two columns on the right and left of his head. Louvre Museum.
Reignc. 2500  BC – 2400  BC
SuccessorEn-anna-tum I


Conquest of SumerEdit

Eannatum, grandson of Ur-Nanshe, was a king of Lagash who conquered all of Sumer, including Ur, Nippur, Akshak (controlled by Zuzu), Larsa, and Uruk (controlled by Enshakushanna, who is 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, after personally commanding an army to subjugate the city in a war over the fertile plain of Gu-Edin.

Conquest outside SumerEdit

Eannatum of Lagash in full dress, reconstitution.

Eannatum expanded his influence beyond the boundaries of Sumer. He conquered parts of Elam, including the city Az off the coast of the modern Persian Gulf, allegedly smote Shubur, and demanded tribute as far as Mari. However, revolts often arose in parts of his empire. 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 VulturesEdit

Eannatum leading his troops in battle. Top: Eannatum leading a phalanx on foot. Bottom: Eannatum leading troops in a war charriot. Fragment of the Stele of the Vultures

The so-called Stele of the Vultures, now in the Louvre, is a fragmented limestone stele found in Telloh, (ancient Girsu) Iraq, in 1881. The stele is reconstructed as having been 1.80 metres (5 ft 11 in) high and 1.30 metres (4 ft 3 in) wide and was set up ca. 2500–2400 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 (his name appears inscribed around his head) stands in front of his phalanx of heaviy armoured soldiers, with a curved weapon in his right hand, formed of three bars of metal bound together by rings. In another register a figure, the king, his name again inscribed around his head, rides on his chariot in the thick of the battle, while his kilted followers, with helmets on their heads and lances in their hands, march behind him.

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 ed.). Belmont, California, USA: Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-495-00479-0.

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