Gutian dynasty of Sumer
The Gutian dynasty came to power in Mesopotamia around 2150 BC (short chronology), by destabilising Akkad, according to the Sumerian kinglist at the end of the reign of king Ur-Utu (or Lugal-melem) of Uruk. They reigned for perhaps around one century (copies of the kinglist vary between 25 and 124 years; 91 years is often quoted as probable). The dynasty was succeeded by the 3rd dynasty of Ur. The Gutian people (Guti) were native to Gutium, presumably in the central Zagros Mountains, though almost nothing is known about their origins.
The Gutians practiced hit-and-run tactics, and would be long gone by the time regular troops could arrive to deal with the situation. Their raids crippled the economy of Sumer. Travel became unsafe, as did work in the fields, resulting in famine.
The Sumerian king list indicates that king Ur-Utu of Uruk was defeated by the barbarian Guti, perhaps around 2150 BC. The Guti swept down, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Akkad, and destroyed it around 2115 BC. However, they did not supplant all of Akkad, as several independent city states remained alongside them, including Lagash, where a local dynasty still thrived and left numerous textual and archaeological remains.
Ultimately Akkad was so thoroughly destroyed that its site is still not known. The Guti proved to be poor rulers. Under their crude rule, prosperity declined. They were too unaccustomed to the complexities of civilization to organize matters properly, particularly in connection with the canal network. This was allowed to sink into disrepair, with famine and death resulting. Thus, a short "dark age" swept over Mesopotamia.
Akkad bore the brunt of this as the center of the Empire, so that it was in Akkad that the Guti established their own center in place of the destroyed Akkad. Some of the Sumerian cities in the south took advantage of the distance and purchased a certain amount of self-government by paying tribute to the new rulers.
Uruk was thus able to develop a 5th dynasty. Even in the city of Akkad itself, a local dynasty was said to have ruled. The best known Sumerian ruler of the Gutian period was the ensi of Lagash, Gudea. Under him, ca. 2075 BC (short), Lagash had a golden age.
After a few kings, the Gutian rulers became more cultured. Guti rule lasted only about a century - around 2050 BC, they were expelled from Mesopotamia by the rulers of Uruk and Ur, when Utu-hengal of Uruk defeated Gutian king Tirigan. Utu-hengal's victory revived the political and economic life of southern Sumer.
1,500 years later, the Weidner Chronicle (ABC 19) accounts for the Gutian period as follows:
- "Naram-Sin destroyed the people of Babylon, so twice Marduk summoned the forces of Gutium against him. Marduk gave his kingship to the Gutian force. The Gutians were unhappy people unaware how to revere the gods, ignorant of the right cultic practices.
- Utu-hengal, the fisherman, caught a fish at the edge of the sea for an offering. That fish should not be offered to another god until it had been offered to Marduk, but the Gutians took the boiled fish from his hand before it was offered, so by his august command, Marduk removed the Gutian force from the rule of his land and gave it to Utu-hengal."
List of the Gutian kings
According to the Sumerian kings list, "In the army of Gutium, at first no king was famous; they were their own kings and ruled thus for 3 years." The listed reign durations through much of the Gutian period are comparatively short and uniform (6,6,6,6,5,6,3,3,3,1,3,2,2,1,2,7,7, and 7 years, from Inkishush to Si-um).
|Erridupizir||ca. 2141–2138 BC||Royal inscription at Nippur|
|Imta or Nibia||ca. 2138–2135 BC|
|Inkishush||ca. 2135–2129 BC||First Gutian ruler named on the Sumerian king list|
|Sarlagab||ca. 2129–2126 BC||or possibly same as Sharlag, Gutian king captured by Shar-kali-sharri of Akkad|
|Shulme||ca. 2126–2120 BC|
|Elulumesh or Elulmesh||ca. 2120–2114 BC||or possibly same as Ilulu, who contended for power following Shar-kali-sharri's death|
|Inimabakesh||ca. 2114–2109 BC|
|Igeshaush||ca. 2109–2103 BC|
|Yarlagab||ca. 2103–2088 BC|
|Ibate||ca. 2088–2085 BC|
|Yarla or Yarlangab||ca. 2085–2082 BC|
|Kurum||ca. 2082–2081 BC|
|Apilkin||ca. 2081–2078 BC|
|La-erabum or Lasirab||ca. 2078–2076 BC||Mace head inscription|
|Irarum||ca. 2076–2074 BC|
|Ibranum||ca. 2074–2073 BC|
|Hablum||ca. 2073–2071 BC|
|Puzur-Suen||ca. 2071–2064 BC||Son of Hablum|
|Yarlaganda||ca. 2064–2057 BC||Foundation inscription at Umma|
|Si'um or Si'u||ca. 2057–2050 BC||Foundation inscription at Umma|
|Tirigan||ca. 2050–2050 BC||Defeated by Utu-hengal of Uruk|
Notes and references
- De Mieroop, Marc Van. (2004). A History of the Ancient Near East: ca. 3000-323 BC. (pp.67) Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- De Mieroop, Marc Van. (2004). A History of the Ancient Near East: ca. 3000-323 BC. (p.67) Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Howorth 1901: "The Early History of Babylonia", Henry H. Howorth, The English Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 61 (Jan. 1901), p. 1-34