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Title: Ur-Nammu  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Third Dynasty of Ur, Jeanny Canby, Ur, History of Sumer, Utu-hengal
Collection: 21St-Century Bc Rulers, Ancient Legislators, Sumerian Rulers, Ur
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


King of Ur
Stela of Ur-Nammu
Successor Shulgi
Consort Daughter of Utu-hengal
Issue Shulgi
Religion Sumerian religion

Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, ca. 2047-2030 BC short chronology) founded the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, following several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule. His main achievement was state-building, and Ur-Nammu is chiefly remembered today for his legal code, the Code of Ur-Nammu, the oldest known surviving example in the world.


  • Reign 1
  • Stele 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


Year-names are known for 17 of Ur-Nammu's 18 years, but their order is uncertainly One year-name of his reign records the devastation of Gutium, while two years seem to commemorate his legal reforms: "Year in which Ur-Nammu the king put in order the ways (of the people in the country) from below to above", and "Year Ur-Nammu made justice in the land".[1]

Among his military exploits were the conquest of Lagash and the defeat of his former masters at Uruk. He was eventually recognized as a significant regional ruler (of Ur, Eridu, and Uruk) at a coronation in Nippur, and is believed to have constructed buildings at Nippur, Larsa, Kish, Adab, and Umma. He was known for restoring the roads and general order after the Gutian period.[2]

A brick stamped with the name of Ur-Nammu of Ur

Ur Nammu was also responsible for ordering the construction of a number of stepped temples, called ziggurats, including the Great Ziggurat of Ur.[3]

He was succeeded by his son Shulgi, after an eighteen-year reign. His death on the battle-field against the Gutians (after he had been abandoned by his army) was commemorated in a long Sumerian poetic composition.[2]


In 1925, a shattered nine-foot tall limestone pillar was discovered in Mesopotamia. Under the remote supervision of Leonard Woolley, it was reconstructed by the Penn Museum. In 1985, Jeanny Canby determined that it had been pieced back incorrectly. She removed the plaster filler of the stele, and added the rearranged pieces she found in the museum's storeroom, and discovered the figure of a courtesan embracing a deity. "It's an amazingly intimate scene for a royal monument," she said.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Year-names for Ur-Nammu
  2. ^ a b Hamblin, William J. Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. New York: Routledge, 2006.
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (November 28, 2007). "Archaeologist Jeanny 'Jes' Canby". The Washington Post. 

External links

  • Site drawings of the temple built by Ur-Nammu at Ur to the moon god Nanna.
  • Nabonidus dedication to the Ziggurat
  • The Code of Ur-Nammu at Britannica
  • Foundation Figurine of King Ur-Nammu at the Oriental Institute of Chicago
  • The "Ur-Nammu" Stela. Penn Museum. 2006.  
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