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King of Lagash
Statue of Entemena, Iraq Museum.jpg
Statue of Entemena, Iraq Museum. The statue has a long inscription on the back dedicated to Enlil.[1][2]
Reignc. 2400  BC
PredecessorEnannatum I
SuccessorEnannatum II[3]
Dynasty1st Dynasty of Lagash
Entemena was king of Lagash, circa 2400 BC.

Entemena, also called Enmetena (Sumerian: ๐’‚—๐’‹ผ๐’ˆจ๐’ˆพ, EN-TE-ME-NA), flourished 2400 BC,[4] was a son of En-anna-tum I, and he reestablished Lagash as a power in Sumer.[5] He defeated Il, king of Umma, in a territorial conflict, through an alliance with Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk, successor to Enshakushanna, who is in the king list. The tutelary deity Shul-utula was his personal deity.[6] According to Jones (2012), his rule lasted 29 years.[7]


Entemena of Lagash controlled the cities of southern Mesopotamia, from Badtibira to Uruk:

"At that time, Entemena built and reconstructed the E-mush, his beloved temple, in Badtibira, for the god Lugalemush, (and) he set free the citizens of Uruk, Larsa, and Badtibira."

โ€” Inscriptions of Entemena.[8][9]

Alliance treaty[edit]

"Entemena Ensi Lagash-ki" (๐’‚—๐’‹ผ๐’ˆจ๐’ˆพ๐’‘๐’‹ผ๐’‹›๐’‰ข๐’“๐’†ท๐’† ) on the Treaty Cone of Entemena, king of Lagash, to god of Bad-Tibira, about the peace treaty between Lagash and Uruk. This text is the oldest known diplomatic document. Dated circa 2400 BC. British Museum.[10]

The most remarkable document in which he is mentioned is a clay nail found in Girsu and commemorating the alliance which he concluded with Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk, the oldest mention of a peace treaty between two kings that we know:[11][12]

Cone of Entemena mentioning the alliance with Lugal-kinishe-dudu

1st line:
Dinanna-ra / Dlugal-e2-muลก3-ra / en-mete-na / ensi2 / lagaลกki-ke4 / e2-muลก3 e2 ki-ag2-ga2-ne-ne / mu-ne-du3 / KIBgunรป mu-na-du11 / en-mete-na / lu2 e2-muลก3 du3-a
2nd line:
D-ra-ni / dลกul-utul12-am6 / u4-ba en-mete-na / ensi2 / lagaลกki / lugal-ki-ne2-eลก2-du7-du7 / ensi2 / unuki-bi / nam-ลกeลก e-ak

1st line:
"For Inanna / and Lugal-emuลก / Enmetena / ruler / of Lagaลก, / the E-muลก, their beloved temple, / built / and ordered (these) clay nails for them. / Enmetena, / who built the E-muลก,"
2nd line:
"his personal god / is ล ul-utul. / At that time, Enmetena, / ruler / of Lagaลก, / and Lugal-kineลก-dudu, / ruler / of Uruk, / established brotherhood."

โ€” Alliance treaty between Entemana and Lugal-kinishe-dudu.[12]

Territorial conflict with King Il of Umma[edit]

"Entemena, Governor of Lagash"
Entemena ensi Lagash-ki

Entemena entered in a territorial conflict with Il, king of Umma, as mentioned in the "war inscription" on his cone in the Louvre Museum:[13]

"He (Il, Governor of Umma) diverted water from the boundary-channel of Ningirsu and the boundary-channel of Nanshe (...). When because of those channels, Enmetena, the governor of Lagash, sent envoys to Il, Il, the governor of Umma, who steals fields (and) speaks evil, declared: โ€˜The boundary-channel of Ningirsu (and) the boundary-channel of Nanshe are mine! I will shift the boundary-levee from Antasura to Edimgalabzu!โ€™ But Enlil (and) Ninhursang did not give it to him."[13]

Il was defeated by Entemena, who had sought the aid of Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk, successor to Enshakushanna, who is in the king list.[6]

War inscription by Entemena of Lagaลก[edit]

Foundation cone of Entemena[edit]

A foundation cone of Entemena, in excellent condition relates the beginning of a war between the city-states of Lagaลก and Umma during the Early Dynastic III period, one of the earliest border conflicts recorded. (RIME[14] This text was inscribed on a small clay cone c. 2400 BC (Louvre Museum, reference AO 3004). The first row of cuneiform characters reads:[14]

Cone of Entemena
Cone of Enmetena, king of Lagash, Room 236 Reference AO 3004, Louvre Museum (upside down).[15][14]
Transcription of the cone of Entemena.
I.1โ€“7 ๐’€ญ๐’‚—๐’†ค ๐’ˆ— ๐’†ณ๐’†ณ๐’Š ๐’€Š๐’€ ๐’€ญ๐’€ญ๐’Œท๐’‰ˆ๐’†ค ๐’…— ๐’„€๐’ˆพ๐’‰Œ๐’‹ซ ๐’€ญ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ†๐’„ˆ๐’‹ข ๐’€ญ๐’‡‹๐’‰ ๐’†  ๐’‚Š๐’‰ˆ๐’‹ฉ
den-lil2 lugal kur-kur-ra ab-ba digฬƒir-digฬƒir-re2-ne-ke4 inim gi-na-ni-ta dnin-gฬƒir2-su dลกara2-bi ki e-ne-sur
"Enlil, king of all the lands, father of all the gods, by his firm command, fixed the border between Ningirsu and ล ara."
8โ€“12 ๐’ˆจ๐’ฒ ๐’ˆ—๐’†ง๐’† ๐’†ค ๐’…— ๐’€ญ๐’…—๐’ฒ๐’ˆพ๐’‹ซ ๐’‚  ๐’ƒท ๐’‰๐’Š ๐’† ๐’€ ๐’ˆพ ๐’‰ˆ๐’†•
me-silim lugal kiลกki-ke4 inim diลกtaran-na-ta eลก2 gana2 be2-ra ki-ba na bi2-ru2
"Mesilim, king of Kiลก, at the command of Iลกtaran, measured the field and set up a stele there."
13โ€“17 ๐’‘ ๐’‰บ๐’‹ผ๐’‹› ๐’„‘๐’†ต๐’† ๐’†ค ๐’‰† ๐’…—๐’ˆ  ๐’‹›๐’€€๐’‹›๐’€€๐’‚  ๐’‚Š๐’€
uลก ensi2 ummaki-ke4 nam inim-ma diri-diri-ลกe3 e-ak
"Ush, ruler of Umma, acted unspeakably."
18โ€“21 ๐’ˆพ๐’†•๐’€€๐’‰ ๐’‰Œ๐’‰ป ๐’‚” ๐’‰ข๐’“๐’†ท๐’† ๐’‚  ๐’‰Œ๐’บ
na-ru2-a-bi i3-pad edin lagaลกki-ลกe3 i3-gฬƒen
"He ripped out that stele and marched toward the plain of Lagaลก."
22โ€“27 ๐’€ญ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ†๐’„ˆ๐’‹ข ๐’Œจ๐’Š• ๐’€ญ๐’‚—๐’†ค๐’‡ฒ๐’†ค ๐’…— ๐’‹›๐’ฒ๐’‰Œ๐’‹ซ ๐’„‘๐’†ต๐’† ๐’• ๐’ฎ๐’„ฉ๐’Š ๐’‚Š๐’•๐’€
dnin-gฬƒir2-su ur-sag den-lil2-la2-ke4 inim si-sa2-ni-ta ummaki-da dam-แธซa-ra e-da-ak
"Ningirsu, warrior of Enlil, at his just command, made war with Umma."
28โ€“31 ๐’…— ๐’€ญ๐’‚—๐’†ค๐’‡ฒ๐’‹ซ ๐’Š“ ๐’Œ‹ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‰ˆ๐’Œ‹ ๐’…–๐’‡ฏ๐’‹บ๐’‰ ๐’‚”๐’ˆพ๐’†  ๐’€๐’‰Œ๐’‘๐’‘
inim den-lil2-la2-ta sa ลกu4 gal bi2-ลกu4 SAแธชAR.DU6.TAKA4-bi eden-na ki ba-ni-us2-us2
"At Enlil's command, he threw his great battle net over it and heaped up burial mounds for it on the plain."
32โ€“38 ๐’‚๐’€ญ๐’ˆพ๐’บ ๐’‰บ๐’‹ผ๐’‹› ๐’‰ข๐’“๐’†ท๐’†  ๐’‰บ๐’„‘๐’‰‹๐’‚ต ๐’‚—๐’‹ผ๐’ˆจ๐’ˆพ ๐’‰บ๐’‹ผ๐’‹› ๐’‰ข๐’“๐’†ท๐’† ๐’…—๐’†ค
e2-an-na-tum2 ensi2 lagaลกki pa-bil3-ga en-mete-na ensi2 lagaลกki-ka-ke4
"Eannatum, ruler of Lagash, uncle of Entemena, ruler of Lagaลก"
39โ€“42 ๐’‚—๐’€‰๐’†—๐’‡ท ๐’‰บ๐’‹ผ๐’‹› ๐’„‘๐’†ต๐’† ๐’• ๐’†  ๐’‚Š๐’•๐’‹ฉ
en-a2-kal-le ensi2 ummaki-da ki e-da-sur
"fixed the border with Enakalle, ruler of Umma"

Net cylinder of Entemena[edit]

"Net cylinder" of Entemena, the second known cylinder describing the border conflict between Lagash and Umma. The textual content is identical to the cone cylinder.[16]

The "Net cylinder" of Entemena is a cylinder of a peculiar design, with a net pattern on the bottom, which is the second known cylinder describing the border conflict between Lagash and Umma. The content is identical to the cone cylinder.[16] It is located in the Yale Babylonian Collection.[17][18]

Statue of Entemena[edit]

The statue of Entemena back in the National Museum of Iraq, following its rescue.

Entemena has one of the earliest statues of a known king from Mesopotamia. It is made of diorite, and is 76 centimeters tall.[19] Entemena, although ruler of the city-state of Lagash, wears the typical dress of a devotee: a kaunakes fleeced skirt with a tassel in the back.[19] He is clasping his hands at the chest, in a typical pose of perpetual attendance before the deity.[19]

The statue of Entemena reflects a style of which a few other examples are known from Mesopotamia, such as the statue of Ikun-Shamash from Mari, the statue of Enzi from Der, or the statue of Lugal-dalu, which still has its head intact.

The statue of Entemena has a very long cuneiform inscription on the side (right arm) and on the back.[2] It includes the names and titles of Entemena, and the mention "Enlil (the supreme Sumerian god) loves Entemena".[19]

The statue was housed in the National Museum of Iraq. In May 2003 the statue was stolen during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was found in New York and returned in 2010.[4][19]

Silver vase of Entemena[edit]

Silver vase, with decorated panels, inscribed with cuneiform around rim. Louvre Museum.[20]

A tripod of silver dedicated by Entemena to his god is now in the Louvre. A frieze of lions devouring ibexes and deer, incised with great artistic skill, runs round the neck, while the eagle crest of Lagash adorns the globular part. The vase is a proof of the high degree of excellence to which the goldsmith's art had already attained. A vase of calcite, also dedicated by Entemena, has been found at Nippur. The inscription of the neck of the silver vase reads:

"For Ningirsu, the foremost warrior of Enlil. Entemena, the ensi of Lagash, whom Nanshe had chosen in her heart, the great ensi of Ningirsu, the son of Enannatum, the ensi of Lagash, made for Ningirsu, the king who loved him, a vase of pure silver and stone (?), out of which Ningirsu drinks, and brought it to the Ningirsu of the Eninnu, for his life. At that time, Dudu was the sanga of Ningirsu."[21][22]

Foundation tablets[edit]

A votive tablet of Entemena, made of alabaster, with its foundation nail. Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul.

Several votive tablets in the name of Entemena are known. They usually records Entemena's name, title and filiation, and his accomplishment in establishing temples or devotional images. The tablets are often associated with a "foundation nail", called temen ("foundation") in Sumerian, which was inserted into the ground under the foundation of temples, together with the inscribed tablets and offerings such as jewelry or small statuettes of protective divinities.[25][26]

Perforated plate of Dudu[edit]

Votive plaque of Dudu, Priest of Ningirsu, during the reign of Entemena, Patesi of Shirpurla. Louvre Museum.

Another artifact related to Entemena is a votive plaque beating the name of Dudu, priest of Lagash for Ningirsu in Entemena's time.[27] Dudu is known as priest of Lagash under Entemena from the last line of the inscription on the silver vase of Entemena.[22] The plate was made out of bitumen, a rather distinctive feature, as most such plaques were made of limestone or gypsum.[27] The plaque depicts various scenes: a standing man in a kaunakes holding a walking stick, a resting cow, and the symbol of Lagash: an eagle holding two lions, although the lions are uncharacteristically biting back at the wings of the eagle.[27] A symbolic wave pattern at the bottom of the plate is thought to symbolize the flow of water.[27]

It is inscribed with the following text: "For Ningirsu of the Eninnu, Dudu, priest of Ningirsu ... brought [this material] and fashioned it as a mace stand."[27] The exact function of the plaque is unknown: it has been interpreted as a mace-holder, a plaque to be nailed into the wall of a temple, or a door panel.[27]

Other artifacts[edit]

Door sockets in the name of Entemena, or the plaque of the priest Dudu, associated with Entemena in another inscription, are among the other famous artifacts related to Entemena.


  1. ^ The Looting Of The Iraq Museum Baghdad The Lost Legacy Of Ancient Mesopotamia. 2005. p. 91.
  2. ^ a b "CDLI-Archival View". cdli.ucla.edu.
  3. ^ Finegan, Jack (2019). Archaeological History Of The Ancient Middle East. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-429-72638-5.
  4. ^ a b "Kept safe in US, Iraqi royal statue heads home". Boston Globe. September 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-11. King Entemena ruled in 2400 BC, when the land that makes up modern-day Iraq was a cradle of civilization. ...
  5. ^ Bertman, S. (2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Facts on File Library of world history. OUP USA. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-19-518364-1. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b Jordan, Michael (1993). Encyclopedia of gods : over 2,500 deities of the world. Internet Archive. New York : Facts on File. pp. 245.
  7. ^ Jones, C. H. W. (2012). Ancient Babylonia. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-107-60572-5.
  8. ^ MAEDA, TOHRU (1981). "KING OF KISH" IN PRE-SARGONIC SUMER. Orient: The Reports of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan, Volume 17. p. 13.
  9. ^ "CDLI-Archival View". cdli.ucla.edu.
  10. ^ "CDLI-Found Texts". cdli.ucla.edu.
  11. ^ Hayes, William (1950). Chronology. Cambridge Ancient History. p. 51.
  12. ^ a b [1] Deena Ragavan, Cuneiform Texts and Fragments in the Harvard Art Museum / Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cuneiform Digital Library Journal, vol. 2010:1, ISSN 1540-8779
  13. ^ a b Sallaberger, Walther; Schrakamp, Ingo (2015). History & Philology (PDF). Walther Sallaberger & Ingo Schrakamp (eds), Brepols. pp. 77โ€“78. ISBN 978-2-503-53494-7.
  14. ^ a b c "CDLI-Found Texts". cdli.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  15. ^ "Cone of Enmetena, king of Lagash". 2020.
  16. ^ a b "CDLI-Archival View". cdli.ucla.edu.
  17. ^ Nies, James B. (1916). "A Net Cylinder of Entemena". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 36: 137โ€“139. doi:10.2307/592673. ISSN 0003-0279. JSTOR 592673.
  18. ^ "the "Net Cylinder" of Entemena (Yale Babylonian Collection), the oldest peace treaty known, among the sanctions against the possible violator of the treaty is the threat that the god Ningirsu will cast his great net over the culprit" in Pope, Marvin H. (1965). The Anchor Bible Job. p. 131.
  19. ^ a b c d e Polk, Milbry; Schuster, Angela M. H. (2005). The looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: the lost legacy of ancient Mesopotamia. Harry N. Abrams. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-8109-5872-2.
  20. ^ Translation in: Kramer, Samuel Noah (1971). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-226-45238-8.
  21. ^ Kramer, Samuel Noah (1971). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-226-45238-8.
  22. ^ a b Kramer, Samuel Noah (1971). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-226-45238-8.
  23. ^ Translation in: Kramer, Samuel Noah (1971). The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. University of Chicago Press. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-226-45238-8.
  24. ^ a b Monuments et mรฉmoires publiรฉs par l'Acadรฉmie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. Paris : E. Leroux. 1894. pp. 26โ€“27.
  25. ^ Thomas, Ariane; Potts, Timothy (2020). Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins. Getty Publications. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-60606-649-2.
  26. ^ a b de Sarzec, E. (1892). "Deux Tablettes Archaรฏques de Tello". Revue d'Assyriologie et d'archรฉologie orientale. 2 (4): 146โ€“149. ISSN 0373-6032. JSTOR 23284262.
  27. ^ a b c d e f "Perforated plaque of Dudu". Louvre Museum.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Lagash
ca. 25th century BCE
Succeeded by
Enannatum II