Gu-Edin (also transcribed "Gu'edena" or "Guedena") was a fertile plain in Sumer, in modern-day Iraq. It lay between Umma and Lagash, and claims made on it by each side were a cause of war. Argument over the territory continued for around 150 years.
Reign of Eannatum
It is recorded on the Stele of the Vultures that Gu-Edin was pillaged by a later (énsi) of Umma, who ruled that city on behalf of its god Shara, and whose name, according to the Cone of Enmetena,[a] was Ush. Gu-Edin had been claimed by the énsi of Lagash, Eannatum – author of the Stele of Vultures – as the property of Lagash's god, Ninĝirsu, and the pillaging precipitated a war between the two cities.
A peace treaty was agreed between his successor, Enakalli, and Eannatum which established Gu-Edin as the property of Ninĝirsu. A deep canal was dug to mark the freshly agreed border and two stone monuments were put in place: the Stele of Mesilim, which had been there before, and a newly carved one. Leonard William King, writing in 1910, suggested that the second stele may have had much the same text as the Stele of the Vultures, but that the latter would not have been on the boundary itself.
The treaty, which was sealed with oaths and the erection of temples, also included the establishment of an 'ownerless' tract of land intended as a buffer, and treated any barley Umma grew in that area of Gu-Edin to which it had access as a loan from Lagash, with resulting interest. That area of land, then, could be used by Umma but only by paying rent. However, Umma did not reliably pay up.
Gu-Edin was invaded by Umma at least twice during the reign of Eannatum's son, Enmetena: once by Ur-Lumma and once by his successor Il. The first attack was defeated soundly, according to Enmetena's account, and the second was not lastingly successful.
- King, Leonard W. (1994) [1st published 1910 by Chatto and Windus]. A History of Sumer and Akkad. Ripol Classic. ISBN 978-5-87664-034-5.
Flannery, Kent; Marcus, Joyce (2012). The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06497-3.</ref>